81st Annual Meeting: June 21-24, 2013 in Las Vegas

COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM

WHEREAS, on April 18 a bipartisan group of Senators introduced S. 744 The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act which would further strengthen border security, improve and expand the employer verification system, reform the legal immigration system, reunite families, provide visas to highly skilled workers and entrepreneurs who have so much to contribute to our economic growth, and allow the 11 million people residing in the country illegally to earn a pathway to citizenship; and

WHEREAS, the President of the United States has signaled his support for the Senate immigration reform bill; and

WHEREAS, The United States Conference of Mayors has had long-standing policy calling for quick passage of comprehensive immigration reform and the Senate bill’s principles are largely consistent with those established in Conference policy: 

    • Providing greater border security and enforcement, with a “zero tolerance” policy against gang members, smugglers, terrorists and undocumented immigrants who commit violent and dangerous felonies while residing in the U.S.; and

    • Recognizing the human and civil rights of both citizens and non-citizens being detained with a special emphasis on not separating families; and

    • Strengthening the penalties against employers who knowingly employ undocumented workers and especially those employers who exploit undocumented workers; and

    • Creating a program for the admission of temporary workers based upon the needs of the economy and over time qualifying for legal permanent residency; and

    • Providing more fiscal support for city and state governments which are already disproportionately shouldering the costs of the current broken immigration system; and

    • Implementing an earned pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11.1 million undocumented immigrants that requires a background check, payment of fines or back taxes, proficiency in English and standing in the “back of the citizenship line;” and

WHEREAS, while the nation’s mayors may not agree with every detail that is being proposed in the Senate bill, they recognize that the bill is a historic bipartisan compromise that will go far in establishing an immigration policy worthy of our heritage and enhances the nation’s economic competitive fitness for the 21st century; and 

WHEREAS, if the 11.1 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States were provided legal status, studies reveal that GDP would increase as would the personal income of all Americans including the undocumented immigrants; and

WHEREAS, local and state governments already are disproportionately shouldering the costs of the current broken immigration system and will benefit from comprehensive immigration reform; and

WHEREAS, a bipartisan group in the House continues to work its version of comprehensive immigration reform,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors registers its strong support for passage this year of comprehensive immigration reform legislation consistent with its adopted policies; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Conference of Mayors urges:

    • Congress to include in any such legislation provisions that would provide support to local and state government for current and future costs associated with immigration; and

    • The House of Representatives to follow the Senate’s lead and take a comprehensive approach to immigration reform legislation this year; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the nation’s mayors through the United States Conference of Mayors intend to be a part of the process which develops comprehensive immigration reform and to work with Congress and the Administration to see legislation enacted this year.

    Projected Cost: Unknown


    RESOLUTION ADOPTED JUNE 2013