"America was built by the contributions of immigrants, and our diversity only adds to the greatness of this country. As a U.S. Senator, I will advocate for comprehensive immigration reform that treats immigrants fairly and gives them a path to earned citizenship." - Kirsten Gillibrand - U.S. Senator
Creating Opportunities for Immigrants
Senator Gillibrand knows that our current immigration system is broken. That is why she has called for comprehensive immigration reform and supports the Senate Immigration Bill, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, introduced in this Congress.
The immigration bill was introduced earlier this year (4/16/2013), but went through several procedural hurdles before being considered by the whole Senate this June where it passed with a bipartisan supermajority.
Senator Gillibrand supports creating a real path to citizenship with strict accountability. She is a co-sponsor of Senator Menendez's Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill aimed at addressing the broken immigration system with tough, smart, and fair measures.
We must uphold America's security and the rule of law, while working to right-size our immigration system to unite families and provide our farms and businesses the hard-working people they need. Senator Gillibrand will work closely with the Obama Administration to fix America's immigration system and treat all immigrants and workers with respect.
Provide Education & Resources To Succeed
Every student deserves the opportunity to achieve his or her God given potential. Current law is unfairly punishing thousands of young people who have spent nearly their entire lives in this country. America is the only home many of them know, yet they are being denied the opportunity to achieve their full potential.
Senator Gillibrand believes if you work hard and play by the rules, then you should have the opportunity to get a good education and earn your way to legal status. That’s why she’s a strong supporter of the DREAM Act. The DREAM Act would make college more affordable for immigrant students by repealing outdated regulations that effectively deny in-state tuition and other higher education benefits to immigrant students. It would also put students 16 years old or younger on a path for citizenship upon acceptance to higher education or high school graduation.
Treat All Immigrants With Respect, End The Home Raids
Until we can find consensus on a strategy for reform, Senator Gillibrand thinks we must treat all immigrants humanely and respect their civil rights. She has urged the Department of Homeland Security to bring an immediate end to illegal, warrantless home raids. Immigration reform will not be easy, but it is essential that our country recognize the important role all immigrants play in our economic prosperity.
Relief for Family-Based Petitions for Same-Sex Bi-National Couples
Bi-national same-sex couples deserve the same respect and rights as every other American couple. Senator Gillibrand has called on the Department of Homeland Security to provide relief for family-based petitions to be held in abeyance for same-sex bi-national couples. Senator Gillibrand also urged the Administration to do everything it could to ensure that those tasked with making these decisions are given clear and documented directives on what parameters to consider for these applications.
Extend Temporary Protected Status for Haitians
Prior to the devastating 2010 earthquake, Haiti was already facing a humanitarian crisis due to four major hurricanes that ravaged the country. This crisis was only exacerbated by Haiti’s extreme poverty. The earthquake brought the operations of the country to a complete standstill, and millions of people were displaced, living in tent camps while conditions in the country continued to deteriorate. Senator Gillibrand toured Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake, seeing the devastation firsthand.
More than two years later, the Haitian people continue to face enormous challenges, and Senator Gillibrand championed a bicameral effort urging the Administration to extend the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians currently living in America through 2012, without fear of returning to a country ravaged by devastation, which the Administration granted. Senator Gillibrand re-introduced the Help Haiti Act, which would allow these individuals to leave Haiti and work in the U.S. The bill also authorizes the Secretary of State to allow up to 35,000 legal Haitians to petition for immediate relative status.