My parents immigrated to the United States from Egypt for religious freedom and economic opportunity. Their path to citizenship was long, but it was worth it. When the United States balances common-sense security measures with the welcoming spirit embodied in the Statue of Liberty, the new Americans we add to our ranks — like my parents — make all of us stronger, culturally and economically.

We need immigration reform that makes sense for our economy and security, and always respects the humanity of everyone involved. DREAMers should be given immediate legal status so they can live and work freely in the United States, their home. There should also be a reliable and affordable pathway to citizenship for adult immigrants, documented and undocumented, who already live in the country. The 11 million undocumented immigrants living here do some of our hardest jobs, contribute to our economy, and are part of the fabric of American life. Undocumented immigrants who want to become citizens should be granted provisional legal status and a pathway to citizenship to allow them to contribute fully in American society. Anyone who makes an asylum claim should be given due process and granted amnesty if the claim has merit.

If we are serious about upholding our commitment to human rights, we need to treat everyone on American soil with dignity and respect. People without documents are still people. We need to end for-profit immigrant detention centers. Any policies or practices that dehumanize or violate, including family separation, are contrary to what the United States should stand for. We can help reduce the number of human rights violations by addressing the militarization of Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Reforming our immigration system is a moral and economic imperative. Our security is important, but security policy should be grounded in evidence, not longer walls.

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