America is a country built by immigrants and our diverse backgrounds enrich our nation, grow the economy, and spur creativity and innovation. Congresswoman Lee believes it is long past time to fix our broken system by passing fair and comprehensive immigration reform.
• Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Congresswoman Lee believes we need a comprehensive plan that promotes equity, economic well-being, and long-term growth. The overwhelming majority of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country are active contributors to our communities, and as a nation of immigrants, we need to recognize and honor these contributions. She believes that any reform effort must be fair, preserve family unity, support the safety and economic prosperity of our communities, respect the dignity of immigrants, and most importantly, include a pathway to citizenship.
Congresswoman Lee is a strong supporter of Congressman Joe Garcia’s bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform legislation, H.R. 15, The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. This legislation would create jobs, bring millions of hardworking families out of the shadows, and reduce the deficit by $900 billion over the next two decades.
• Diversity Visa Program: Congresswoman Lee has long been a strong advocate for the Diversity Immigrant Visa program, and she will continue to fight to preserve this avenue for many aspiring immigrants. This program awards about half of its 50,000 annual visas to continental African immigrants, and is the vehicle for many African and Caribbean professionals to become legal permanent residents. The Diversity Immigrant Visa program creates the opportunity for immigrants from underrepresented countries to immigrate to the United States and live the American dream.
• Visas for Foreign Students: Congresswoman Lee also supports increasing the number of visas for foreign students who come to the United States to further their education, especially in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. The United States is losing its investment in these bright students by educating them here in fields integral to the growth of our economy and then forcing them to return to their home countries.
• Advocating for Immigrant Communities: In Alameda County there are more than 450,000 residents who were born outside of the United States. These immigrants have made the East Bay what it is today: a richly diverse, innovative home to entrepreneurs, artists, and families. Representative Lee is committed to ensuring that these immigrants have a voice in Congress. She believes the federal government should focus its efforts on deporting violent criminals, not parents of small children who are here trying to make a better life for their families. She has opposed the policies and tactics of the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, such as the use of intimidation and enforcement of arbitrary detention policies that split up families.
• Ending the Immigration and Travel Ban for Individuals Living with HIV: Congresswoman Lee was instrumental in ending the HIV ban on travel and immigration in January, 2010. The ban, which was first instated by President Reagan in 1987, relied upon outdated science to separate families and increase the stigma surrounding HIV. The repeal of the ban was an important and long overdue step towards fairness in immigration policy.
More on Immigration
Washington, DC – Congresswoman Barbara Lee spoke out against the House Republican bill that holds critical Department of Homeland Security funding hostage to appease their extreme anti-immigration fringe.
Oakland, CA – Following President Obama’s announcement of expanded executive action on immigration reform, Congresswoman Lee released this statement:
“I applaud President Obama for this bold action to keep families together.
It has been more than 500 days since the Senate passed bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform and the House Republican leadership has refused to allow a vote on the legislation.
The time is now to act.
Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee joined Congressman Gutiérrez (D-IL), Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and many of her House Democratic colleagues in calling for action to prevent American families from being torn apart by a broken immigration system.
“It has been more than 500 days since the Senate passed bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform.
This has resulted in more than 500 days of inaction by House Republican leadership. Enough is enough. Time has run out.
Why do we fight? Soldiers and Marines will have varied secondary answers: for national security, or a patriotic ideal, or even because your peers were enlisting. But there is another, overriding reason. You fight for those ahead of you or behind you on patrol, for the people in your squad or platoon, for the people who are fighting for—and protecting—you.
Washington, DC - Congresswoman Lee issued this statement following the passage of several extreme Republican anti-immigrant measures:
“I am shocked at the inhumanity and lack of consideration for vulnerable children that I saw this evening on the House floor.”