Creating a Just Immigration System
Like many Americans, my story is one of immigrants who sought safety, freedom, and opportunity in this country. My mother’s Jewish ancestors fled persecution in Kyiv nearly a century ago, making their way across Europe and eventually to Pennsylvania and Illinois. My father and his family fled the part of India that became Pakistan during the Partition, and then came to the United States to access education and the American Dream of entrepreneurship and prosperity.
My Jewish American mother and Indian immigrant father opened an Irish pub where I grew up waiting tables and pitching in to help the family business. I watched them struggle with access to capital and the inability to afford retirement. I also watched my father lose the ability to return to India for over a decade during the post-9/11 era.
People with the courage and tenacity to move to America for a better life, like my ancestors did, embody our country’s commitment to being the land of the free. And that is why we must do right by them if we want to hold up our ideals and values.
That is why we must build a just and accountable immigration system that upholds the dignity of all who seek refuge and opportunity in America.
Defunding ICE and Stopping Inhumane Practices
Families seeking safety in this country are being torn apart by ICE and the immigration system. This is not only an issue at the southern border, but it is one that migrant farmworkers in Vermont face every day. We must stop the criminalization of immigrants and put an immediate moratorium on detention and deportations. In Montpelier, I would repeal and replace ICE and CBP and instead invest those funds into resources for immigrant communities.
Equal Opportunity for Immigrants & Refugees
Many immigrants are stuck in unstable situations due to our employment and visa policies. In the State House, I’ll fight for a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS holders, farmworkers, and other undocumented immigrants, while also increasing the number of refugees and asylum seekers admitted annually. We must provide temporary solutions for undocumented immigrants to be able to fully participate in our communities. In 2013, I led efforts in Vermont to allow undocumented immigrants to register for a drivers’ licenses, giving them agency and tools to travel to the doctor’s office, work, or the grocery store and will work to advance similar solutions in the State Senate.
Finally, we must reform our immigration system to invest in robust refugee resettlement programs to support displaced individuals across the globe and at home in Vermont. As the war unfolds in Ukraine and global unrest continues, we must ensure that our refugee resettlement systems are appropriately identifying and addressing the needs of the people they are set up to support.