The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) -- the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States -- welcomed yesterday’s report in the New York Times that President Obama has made immigration reform one of his top priorities for this year.

We understand that a strong economic recovery is built on a platform of shared prosperity, and immigration reform is part and parcel of that approach.  When you have a system in which one in 20 workers is susceptible to exploitation, it affects working conditions for everyone.  When you have a system where bad employers abuse workers and avoid taxes, it undermines us all.  (The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that previous immigration reform proposals that would get people in the system would have generated new revenue to the tune of $48–$66 billion).  Immigration reform can help lift wages, increase revenue, and level the playing field—all things our economy needs.  And significantly, it can help do so in a way that does not trample the values we hold dear.

“The message from the 2008 election is that this nation wants leaders who will solve tough problems.  President Obama pledged that he would address the issue of immigration during his first year of office, and we are pleased by this signal that he intends to make good on his promise,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO.  “It is clear that the path to a strong economic recovery includes strategies that lift wages, increase revenue, and create a level playing field—and immigration reform is a crucial element of that equation.”

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“Poll after poll have shown that the vast majority of Americans are looking for a fair and effective way to fix the immigration system.  The Latino community is ready to work with the White House and Congress to arrive at solutions that protect families and workers, and uphold both the American value of shared prosperity and our nation’s can-do attitude.  We intend to work with the President and Congress to make this a reality,” concluded Murguía.

We need you to take action and let the President and Congress know that we are ready to roll up our sleeves and work with them to get this done!

-NCLR Immigration and National Campaigns Director Clarissa Martínez De Castro