As New York’s preeminent, nonpartisan “good government” group for the past 120 years, Citizens Union has focused on holding our government accountable — particularly when it comes to issues of concern to New Yorkers. Our nation’s dysfunctional immigration policy has become such an issue, profoundly affecting us here in New York as the nation’s most diverse city. What we are witnessing is an appalling lack of leadership resulting in this divisive policy:
- Helpless infants stripped from their parents’ arms at the border and then held, traumatized, in make-shift internment camps;
- False claims that federal law compelled these actions when, in reality, this mistreatment is purely a policy choice made by the current administration, in sharp contrast to the practice of past administrations of both political parties; and
- Treating the fate of thousands of DACA recipients like a political football, instead of finding bipartisan solutions.
The federal government’s failure to act responsibly and humanely in this regard has very real consequences for New York State, which is home to more than 4.5 million immigrants — hundreds of thousands of whom are undocumented — and nearly 42,000 DACA recipients. Most of these immigrants live in New York City, where more than 200 languages are spoken.
Citizens Union feels compelled to call out the injustice, ineffectiveness, and ineptitude that pervade our country’s current immigration policy, and to demand that our federal government do better by all of us, whether we were born here or not. As New Yorkers, we stand in the shadow of Ellis Island and the Statute of Liberty, reminding us every day of our immigrant roots. That is why we declare, today, that our country has to do better and be better than this.