We are, at our core, a nation of immigrants. The American story is one of people crossing oceans and deserts, fleeing poverty or persecution, to build a better life for their families. There is no moral, political or legal justification to deny refugees the right to seek asylum. As much as this President might want us to believe otherwise, America is not “full,” and never will be. Diversity is our strength not only from a social, cultural, and economic perspective, but also from a national security perspective. We are safer and stronger when the oppressed peoples of the world know that America stands up for their safety and freedom.

This is not just a theoretical question for me. My parents fled communist Hungary with just the clothes on their backs. Armed with little English but a determination to work hard for a better future, my family’s story is a testament to the American Dream. When I am elected to Congress, this perspective will guide every decision I make, as it has throughout my entire career.

I intend to deliver results. While working with leading voices within the Democratic party to build a comprehensive immigration reform package, I would reach across the aisle—as I did working to craft and pass legislation in Congress as a senior Senate Armed Services Committee Staffer from 2001-2008—to build a coalition to push a “narrow” bill that solely addresses the status of the Dreamers. Although I would like to hold out for a comprehensive immigration package, I do not think it is fair to the DACA Dreamers to hold up their legal status until immigration policies which enjoy less consensus are solved.

Refugees on our southern border are fleeing horrific violence and poverty, and we as Americans have a national responsibility to support them. That the current administration is further terrorizing these people is an affront to American values and brings shame to our nation. Except for instances of neglect or abuse, no parent should ever have their child taken from them by officers of the United States—regardless of their race, religion, or immigration status.

As the Representative for NY-17, I will go into this fight with a clear understanding of what is at stake, what we are fighting for, and what policies are most effective. I will reverse the cuts to foreign aid, increase our cooperation with Central American governments to address the root issues driving migration, and fund innovative programs like Family Case Management to address immigration at our southern border in a humane fashion—one that is worthy of our great nation of immigrants.

In Congress, I will fight to:

  • Support comprehensive immigration reform that establishes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people currently residing in the US, broadens and streamlines pathways for people to immigrate legally, and secures our borders
  • Push for “clean” legislation that directly protects the “dreamers”
  • End the disastrous, immoral, and inhumane child separation policy, and hold people accountable with a comprehensive investigation into the deaths of people in US custody
  • Surge humanitarian assistance to the border region
  • End for-profit detention centers
  • Support those claiming asylum at our southern border and refugees from around the world by increasing funding to expand the number of judges, social workers, and others who can speed up and facilitate settlement
  • Fund and scale successful programs from the Obama Administration, such as the Family Case Management Program, that allows those seeking asylum to live with dignity until their cases are adjudicated
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