With the U.S. Senate poised to vote on immigration reform before July 4, City Councilor Sal LaMattina ensured that Boston became the fifth city in the state to pass a local resolution in support of federal immigration reform legislation.
LaMattina’s resolution, which calls on the 113th Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform that addresses earned legalization with a path to citizenship and updated policy towards the future immigration of families and workers, passed unanimously last week during Wednesday’s Council session.
“Immigration is a federal responsibility and a comprehensive approach to solve our broken immigration system would strengthen our City’s and nation’s economies and frees aspiring citizens to make an even greater contribution to our communities,” said LaMattina, whose district has one of the highest Latino populations in the city.
A copy of LaMattina’s resolutions was sent to Speaker of the U.S. House John Boehner, President of the U.S. Senate Vice President Joe Biden, Governor Deval Patrick, President of the State Senate Therese Murray, Speaker of the State House Robert DeLeo and to the General Assembly. The U.S. Senate is expected to vote before July 4 on the federal legislation.
Approximately 20 percent of Massachusetts residents are immigrants, working and contributing over $1 billion a year in state income taxes yet those who are undocumented cannot fully participate in society.
“America’s current immigration system is dysfunctional, harms our economy, and does not reflect our Boston or national values and the federal government’s inability to enact immigration reform has created several economic, cultural, and political strains here and across America,” said LaMattina.
In his resolution, LaMattina argues that comprehensive immigration reform must update the legal immigration system so that future flow of immigrant workers more realistically matches our nation’s labor needs and is structured to protect the wages and working conditions of U.S. and immigrant workers while providing for strict compliance with U.S. labor standards.
“We are at a critical point in the national debate, so every voice raised in support is important,” said Rocio Saenz, SEIU Local 615 President. Adding, “The Boston City Council recognizes a basic truth about immigration reform – it is good for all of us.”
In the end, LaMattina said becoming a U.S. citizen means membership and participation in society that should be encouraged and not barred.
“This City supports a comprehensive immigration reform bill that keeps families together, upholds our values as a nation, promotes economic growth, and provides a long-term solution to the immigration system,” he said. “The Boston City Council is proud to join their neighbors in Cambridge, Somerville, Lawrence and Springfield in passing a resolution, unanimously supporting immigration reform. Progressive values embracing immigration have always been the foundation of the City of Boston, from Copley Square, to Dudley Square, to Copp’s Hill and beyond.”