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We Support Comprehensive Immigration Reform Now -- Statement by the Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans, CANAN

Contact: Laolu Akande, Executive Director, Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans (CANAN), 516-819-4355, laolu@cananusa.org

NEW YORK, May 10, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ -- The debate on the immigration reform opened at the Committee level yesterday in Washington DC, on the floor of the Senate.

Today, the Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans, CANAN with more than 800 local parishes across the country join several other US-based groups to commend the resolve of our politicians and public officials in Washington DC, including President Barack Obama and the Congress, especially the Senate, to address the immigration crisis.

With the estimate of more than 11 million undocumented immigrants, a national reform policy has truly become an imperative. A bipartisan group of senators from both aisle of the Senate have actually gone ahead to propose a legislation whose debate opened yesterday, May 9 in the Senate at the Judiciary Committee.

CANAN is delighted at the bipartisan effort that this bill has managed to encourage. It also our earnest hope that such would be sustained for the advantage of the American people.

Under the proposed legislation before the Senate, a path to citizenship will be offered to undocumented immigrants and it is our fervent prayer that this would be promptly passed into law in the larger interest of the United States.

Although less than 1% of the over 11 million undocumented immigrants are from Nigeria, CANAN is aware that several thousands of them hail from the largest black nation in the world and would benefit from a comprehensive immigration reform as currently packaged.

Besides, in the states that have the largest pool of these immigrants, like California, Texas, Florida, Illinois, New York, Arizona, Georgia, New Jersey and North Carolina among others, there is a huge community of African and Nigerian immigrants.

Many of these undocumented immigrants are women, children and married men seeking freedom and better opportunities.

It is never in doubt that immigrants have a lot to contribute to the economic and social fabric of the United States, a nation famous for its immigrant foundations.

We agree with what the White House Director of Domestic Policy Council Ms. Cecilia Munoz said this week that "the truth is, if we go back far enough, nearly every American story begins somewhere else -- so often with ancestors setting out in search of a different life, carving out a future for their children in this place that all of us now call home."

Therefore as President Obama, Senators Patrick Leahy, Lindsay Graham, Chuck Schumer, John McCain and others lead the charge for a comprehensive reform of America's immigration laws, CANAN supports the following:

  • Enhanced border security -- which should include funding to hire more Border Patrol agents and construct more monitoring devices along the borders
  • Tougher penalties against employers who hire illegal workers -- and this should include a requirement for Businesses to check out workers immigration status on the E-Verify data network.
  • An enhanced guest worker program including an expansion of the H1-2b visas
  • A path to legal residency and citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US, with an initial documentation that allows them to legally join the country's work force promptly

In the pursuit of these objectives, which a group of 8 bipartisan senators have already agreed to, CANAN will commence an advocacy campaign and also seek interaction with members of the US Congress in states where our members are located.

Reforming the immigration laws of the United States is a long overdue, common sense policy direction and doing it in a fair manner will produce benefits both the government, the economy and the people of this our great country.