“It is both a right and a responsibility of a democratic society to manage immigration so that it serves the national interest.” With this simple, common-sense perspective, civil rights icon Barbara Jordan challenged our Nation’s leaders to maximize opportunities for all Americans by adopting an immigration policy that puts American citizens first.
Barbara Jordan epitomized the American Dream she worked so tirelessly to protect. In 1966, she was elected to the Texas Senate, the first African-American woman in our Nation’s history to serve in that body. And in 1973, Jordan became the first woman to serve Texas in the United States House of Representatives.
Throughout her career, she recognized that an immigration policy that puts Americans first is an important civil rights issue. As Chairman of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform—now called the Jordan Commission in her honor—she stood up to special interests determined to profit politically and financially from our broken immigration system. She remained steadfast in promoting common-sense reforms that would better protect the rights and needs of Americans. Jordan called for an end to chain migration, which has allowed millions upon millions of low-skilled foreign nationals to compete for opportunities and resources against our most vulnerable American citizens—many of whom come from African-American and Hispanic-American communities. She also called for the mandatory use of an electronic employment verification system, now known as E-Verify, to finally turn off the jobs-magnet that lures so many illegal immigrants to our country.
Though Barbara Jordan passed away on January 17, 1996, her noble fight to secure prosperity, fairness, and equal opportunity for America’s workers lives on. In the spirit of Jordan’s vision, my Administration has taken an America First approach to immigration. As a result, illegal immigration is down and reports from around the country are showing companies increasing wages and hiring Americans pushed out of the labor market during past administrations.
My Administration is optimistic that Republicans and Democrats in Congress will come together, for the good of our country, to pass legislation that secures our southern border with a wall, stops chain migration, and ends the visa lottery program once and for all. By doing so, we will serve American interests, secure the promise of our economy for every American citizen, and strengthen the American Dream for future generations.