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Senate ‘Gang’ Immigration Bill a Promising Start for Children
Ed Walz (Former Staff)
Washington – A bipartisan “Gang of 8” U.S. senators today released immigration reform legislation. An initial review by the bipartisan children’s advocacy organization First Focus Campaign for Children confirms that the proposal includes components aligned with principles for immigration reform critical to advancing children’s interests and protecting their basic rights. Specifically, the legislation creates a roadmap to citizenship for aspiring citizens, including a more streamlined and inclusive version of the DREAM Act for undocumented youth, appointment of counsel for unaccompanied children in immigration proceedings, and reforms to help children in foster care reunite with parents who have been detained or deported.
The principles for immigration reform that meets children’s needs have been endorsed by more than 200 organizations representing children, immigrants, academia, faith traditions, and civil rights. While the new legislation incorporates components of the children’s principles, other reforms that protect children and families’ basic rights, such as access to healthcare and other lifelines, were not addressed in the legislation.
In the coming days, the Campaign for Children will release a thorough analysis of the bill’s potential impact on children and families. In response to the legislation’s release, Bruce Lesley, president of the Campaign for Children, made the following statement:
“The status quo devalues kids and tears families apart, so real progress on reform is an important step forward. The ‘Gang of 8’ bill is a promising starting point for immigration reform that delivers for kids. We look forward to working with lawmakers in both chambers and on both sides of the aisle to build an immigration plan that works for children and families.”
The First Focus Campaign for Children is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization. The Campaign for Children advocates directly for legislative change in Congress to ensure children and families are the priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visitwww.ffcampaignforchildren.org.