Larsen: Time for Congress to Take Comprehensive Immigration Reform over the Finish Line

Apr 11, 2013 Issues: Jobs Labor and the Economy

Immigration Press Conference

WASHINGTON—Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, today spoke out in support of the New Democrat Coalition’s principles for comprehensive immigration reform. Larsen is a Vice-Chair of the Coalition which represents the largest group of moderates in the House of Representatives.

“One of my top priorities in Congress is to break down the barriers for all people to fully participate in the economy and democracy based on an understanding of the needs of the increasingly diverse communities in the Second District,” Larsen said. “Immigrants living in Northwest Washington deserve the opportunity to contribute to our country. The future of our economy depends on the development of a pro-growth, efficient and fair immigration system.”

Larsen endorsed the coalition’s principles which are based on economic growth, efficiency, fairness and inclusion. The principles are available here.

Larsen called for comprehensive immigration reform based on these principles at an event in the U.S. Capitol today. The text of his remarks follows:

Larsen Statement on New Democrat Coalition’s Principles for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

I’m Congressman Rick Larsen, and I represent the Second District of Washington state. I’m a Vice-Chair of the Coalition, and I am pleased to endorse the New Democrat Coalition’s immigration reform principles of growth, efficiency, fairness, and compassion.  I’d like to thank Representatives Castro, Garcia, and Polis for their hard work in drafting these principles.

We are a nation of immigrants. Whether we come from places like Norway, like my ancestors in 1878, or from places like Mexico or other places in Latin America, or Korea or the Philippines, like many of the constituents in my District, we are all looking for the same thing then, and now: a good education, opportunity and work.

The complex problems of the immigration system impact nearly every person in our country and every part of our economy. When families face the pain of separation, each person’s contributions are held back. When businesses can’t find employees with the right type of skills, profits are lost. And when workers can’t find good-paying jobs, our economy can’t reach its full potential.

This is why it will take a comprehensive approach to reform.

If done right, immigration reform will ensure all workers are contributing in taxes, create fair guidelines for businesses and workers, and that will be compassionate to everyone who wants to become an American.

The New Democrats are uniquely positioned to push reform forward in the House. We are the pragmatic, moderate voice that can bring business together with labor and advocacy groups in order to find the best solutions.

I’ve spent a lot of time recently with folks in my corner of the country in Northwest Washington state who told me their personal stories. I’d just like to share one: A year ago, I met with a young student from my district named Baudelina who told me about her life as an undocumented immigrant and her dream of becoming a special-needs teacher. I was thrilled to run into her again last month as she and her brother were applying for deferred action that would allow them to legally continue to live in the country they call home.

It’s young people like Baudelina who have moved this debate forward. It’s now up to us in Congress to take comprehensive immigration reform over the finish line. We can do that by following the principles laid out by the New Dems.