For Immediate Release - April 09, 2013

AG Coakley Leads Bipartisan Coalition of 35 State Attorneys General in Urging Congress to Act on Immigration Reform

BOSTON – Attorney General Martha Coakley led a bipartisan group of 35 Attorneys General in sending a letter today to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Attorney General Eric Holder and congressional leaders expressing the need for broad reform of the federal immigration system.  The Attorneys General are urging reform that protects the country’s borders while providing a responsive and effective visa system to meet the demands of the nation’s growing economy.

“Increased border security and comprehensive immigration reform should not be an either/or proposition - we need both,” AG Coakley said. “Addressing these critical issues will make us safer and put our country on a path to a better future for all. This is an economic issue and a public safety issue, and the urgent need for action is reflected in this bi-partisan call for reform from Attorneys General across the country.”

The Attorneys General stated their support for a law enforcement strategy that focuses on public safety, targets serious crime, safeguards witnesses and victims, and considers national security implications for porous borders.  They further urged a reasonable and predictable regulatory environment that considers the interests of, and the unintended consequences to, businesses, workers and consumers. A broader reform effort should eventually include a way to accurately, reliably and affordably determine who is permitted to work, ensuring an adequate labor force for a growing economy.

The Attorneys General recognized that immigration policy is primarily a federal responsibility, and pledged to lend their voice and expertise to federal legislators as they move forward in this process.

Today’s letter was sponsored by Attorneys General for Massachusetts, Colorado, Nevada and Utah. It was signed by 31 additional Attorneys General from: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, the Virgin Islands, Washington and Wyoming.

Forty-one state Attorneys General participate in the U.S.-Mexico State Alliance Partnership, supporting efforts to strengthen Rule of Law in Mexico and Central America, through their associations with the Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG) and the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG).

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