I support reform modeled on our current system of sponsorship-based immigration. I do NOT support a point-system, which both Ds and Rs supported during the last reform discussions.
- Create permanent category for essential workers (agriculture, hotel & restaurant industries and others) similar to the PERM/I-140 system that we have for professionals. Create a corollary temporary system modeled on the H-1B that allows workers to be in U.S. and working while they are on path to green card.
- Provide adequate funding for border and port security. Port inspections at a rate of 2% per year is the very definition of homeland insecurity.
- Address backlog in employment-based categories by not counting family members in the annual 140,000 count.
- Address backlog in family-based categories.
- Create legalization for undocumented—must pay fine of ~$4000; pass English, government tests; file and pay any and all back taxes; get in line behind current applicants. Currently, someone who obtains a green card (other than immediate relative) must wait 5 years before they can apply for naturalization. For those who legalize, I would consider a wait of 7 years before natz.
- Erase discrimination in asylum law by creating categories for women and LGBT as their own recognized group rather than making them fit into the social group category. (You can see my scholarly article on Gender Asylum Bringing the Law into the 21st Century.
- Increase funding for immigration court system.
- STOP passing bad trade deals a la NAFTA/Korea/Panama/Colombia that will undermine any immigration reform because they destroy the economy of our trading “partner”, as NAFTA did when it killed the economy of Mexico, and most particularly its corn farmers.
I support equal marriage for all and the inclusion of orientation in Title VII, it is decades overdue. Repeal DOMA NOW. Transgender rights for all (we recently had a great victory here in Massachusetts, but a person’s civil rights should not depend on the vagaries of state law—state by state is too slow, we need action on the federal level). I have represented lesbian and gay individuals in discrimination and asylum claims, winning an important case this year for a gay man from Uganda who fled persecution under their abominable laws.
This past year, I experienced first-hand, on behalf of my client (pro bono), the entrenched discrimination faced by people with disabilities, specifically in one matter, a person who is deaf. When I sought ASL services for my client, services required under the Americans with Disability Act, I encountered extreme hostility from both state entities and non-profits. These entities tried to deny my client his rights by saying that ASL was a foreign language, and I had to fight with them over and over again until they understood (just barely) that the ADA required them to provide American Sign Language interpreters.
Direct government loans at low rates of no more than 4%, get the private banks entirely out of the system. Next, make state schools affordable again, and then the private institutions will have to lower tuition to compete. Students with $50,000 to $200,000 in loans? As the richest country in the world, we can do better. A person should not have to go into oppressive debt in order to obtain a college and graduate education. As Tony Benn, British MP said, "People in debt become hopeless and hopeless people don't vote. Choice depends on the freedom to choose and if you're shackled with debt, you don't have the freedom to choose."
Campaign Finance Reform
We will never have ethics reform until we get the money out of politics. Without the obscene fundraising, candidates could actually do what they are supposed to do—meet with voters and discuss ideas. I will sponsor and advocate for a Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens United as well as the part of Buckley v. Valeo that equates money to free speech.
I will support publicly-funded elections, and I will support and advocate for a law that requires all broadcast networks to provide free and equal airtime to all candidates—no paid ads, because the people own the airwaves.