By Janet Murguía, President and CEO, NCLR
(Originally posted on The Hill Congress Blog.)
While the ongoing fight to reform this country’s broken immigration system has been long and arduous, one thing has been made clear over the past year: Americans understand the value that immigrants bring to this country.
The path our lawmakers will choose to modernize our immigration system remains unclear, as is the question of addressing the tragic outflow of unaccompanied refugee children from Central America. But for the benefit of our economy and our communities, we hope that a solution comes quickly. In the meantime, we have an opportunity to bolster our economy by harnessing the potential of the millions of lawfully present immigrants already living in the United States.
Earlier this week, Reps. Tony Cardenas (D–Calif.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R–Fla.) introduced the “New American Success Act,” a bill designed to help these new arrivals through the naturalization process and to better integrate them into American society. This long-overdue legislation brings to light a pressing need that has gone unaddressed. For decades, this country has lacked a coherent federal strategy to maximize the speed and depth of immigrant integration. The various agencies that run programs for new arrivals too often work in silos. To better coordinate all of these agencies’ efforts, the “New American Success Act” would establish a National Office of New Americans within the White House, charged with creating a comprehensive federal strategy to better assist new arrivals through the naturalization process. The office would help to determine which programs are operating effectively, which need to be improved upon, and how agencies can align their work in order to maximize their efforts.
(Read the whole post at The Hill.)