Whether your family was part of the voyage on the Mayflower, one of the millions that stepped off a ship at Ellis Island, part of those who were brought to this nation through no fault of their own, or, like Senator Menendez’s parents, came to this country searching for freedom, the vast majority of Americans have a personal connection to immigration. Unfortunately, our current immigration laws have failed us. That is why Senator Menendez supports balanced comprehensive immigration reform that will enforce our laws, secure our borders and protect our national security, while also reflecting current economic realities and respecting the core values of family unity and fundamental fairness.
By requiring those who are here in an undocumented manner to register with the federal government, pass a background check, pay all of their taxes and learn English, we can determine who is here to pursue the American Dream, and who might be here to destroy it. Immigration reform would contribute to our national security and our economic recovery. We need immigration policies that welcome families and immigrant professionals to stay in America and help grow the U.S. economy, create jobs and innovate.
- Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Authored a bill that would secure our borders and require the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. to register with the government, pay their taxes, pay a fine, and learn English. The bill would also reunite families, hold unscrupulous employers accountable, reform our employment immigration system to ensure that individuals with advanced degrees in STEM (high technology) fields are able to apply for green cards, and continue to create jobs in the U.S. Senator Menendez favors a federal approach to immigration rather than a patchwork of state laws.
- Widow and Orphan Immigration. Authored a law enacted in 2009 that allows orphans, widows and widowers to continue to process their applications in the family immigration system. There are more than 200 surviving spouses of U.S. citizens fighting against immigration deportation and countless other legal immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers who have been deported or risk deportation because of the death of a loved one. This law offers a lasting solution for these legal immigrants impacted by the death of a loved one.
- DREAM Act. Lead co-sponsor of the Dream Act, a bill that would give students a chance to earn legal immigration status if they came here as children, pass a background check, are long-term U.S. residents, have good moral character, and complete two years of college or military service in good standing. Senator Menendez successfully pushed for a vote on the Dream Act in the Senate in 2010 and spoke in favor of its passage. While a majority of the Senate supported the bill, this legislation did not receive enough support to overcome a Senate filibuster requiring 60 votes for passage.
- Relief from Deportation for DREAM Act Youth. Worked closely with the Obama Administration to support new immigration policies that will keep more immigrant families together. He was instrumental in pushing for deferred action for DREAM Act youth, leading to the historic August 2012 step by the Obama administration to begin processing “DREAMer” applications for deferred action and work authorization. He also supports the Administration’s prosecutorial discretion policies which prioritize the deportation of criminals rather than hard-working families.
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