Why We Rode

Immigration is a human story. The We The People Ride is a story-telling effort. We met the people who live on the border, serve one another on the border, those who work along the border, and those who have the best way forward for our immigration and border practices. And, we are thrilled to share their stories.

We will share the stories of people all across the United States who have come as refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants. These stories will inspire and shape our understanding of who we are as a nation and who we can be. Help us share these stories through the We The People Ride Documentary and the Common Good Immigration initiative .

We Means All of Us

We the People is essential and foundational to understanding the United States. We are a country made up of its people. We come from many places. Some of us can trace our roots to the indigenous communities of this land. Some of our ancestors were brought here for the slave trade. Some of our ancestors came here willingly to pursue freedom, or success, or a new chance at life. Some of us were born here, and others of us were born in other lands. Some of us speak English while others do not.

All of these different backgrounds, experiences, languages, and cultures make us who we are as a Nation. We The People are a multitude. And we must be committed to staying that way. Immigration is a foundation of America. No other nation has as large an immigrant population as does the United States—and this remains our greatest strength.

While immigration is foundational, it remains one of the most fraught social and political issues in our country. Who can enter this country, who can work here, who can create a family here, and who can become Americans are questions that continue to roil our politics.

And yet, most Americans would agree that immigration is good and necessary for the continuing vibrancy and growth of America’s economy and society. We need a Common Good approach to immigration and border management. Common Good practices must include all of us, from all the places from which we come. It means including all the cultures that make us the United States.

The Bike-Border Ride, along with our Community Rides, and Virtual Rides are designed to encourage people to call for a Common Good approach to our nation’s immigration and border practices. The Common Good means setting the right policies leading to the inclusion of immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers through a clear, fair, accessible path to migrate into the United States. It also means advocating for the best practices on the border and in all of our communities to make possible a better and more beautiful expression of We The People.

The Common Good means recognizing and repeating that this country does not “belong to some of us” who allow others to participate. We are a country of all of us. Our current immigration and border system is not facilitating the inclusion of people in a way that creates this “more perfect union.”

Our Faith

Faith communities have long been among the strongest advocates for our nation caring for the outsider, the stranger, the foreigner, the refugee.

Our faiths call us to generous compassion for those in need – to care for our neighbors as we care for ourselves.

While we do not expect our country to do all the work our faith calls us to, we also do not want our country to violate the innate human qualities our faiths call us to uphold.

So, We The People specifically invites people of faith, and faith communities to put their faith into action by calling for common good immigration and border practices.

We invite faith communities to host Community Bike Rides. We invite faith leaders to join us on the part or all of the Bike-Border Ride.

We invite faith leaders to teach and preach on the moral imperative for human treatment of all people including in our national priorities and practices.

Five Spokes of our Wheel of Commitment

We are committed to:

  1. Proximity – Following the lead of those living on the border-land for the answers, opportunities and changes to border and immigration policy. 
  2. Pro-Immigration approach. As a nation of immigrants and indigenous people we must engage with the lived-stories of  those who are seeking immigration, refugee, and asylum status and those who live along the border. recognizing that migration is natural and beneficial to the United States. And, that this being a country of Immigrants and Indigenous peoples is among our greatest strengths.
  3. Being Possibility and Solutions Oriented – addressing both Immigration and Border-land Issues. Treat all people as humanly regardless of legal status or nationality. Create border and immigration approaches that are orderly, welcoming, understandable, equitable, and accessible.
  4. Centering the Stories of people most impacted. An up-close and personal journey of connection, learning, and hope with the communities who live along the United States Southern border to deepen our nation’s understanding and ability to call for just-action at our border and for fair immigration policy in our country. 
  5. National Engagement of all people in our immigration and border management solutions. Inviting Americans across the country to engage with the stories of migration on our Southern border and in all the towns and cities of the United States.  

Common Good Approach to Immigration and Border Management

Our Common Good call for change in our immigration system and border management approach:

1. Demand a system of Migration and Border Management that allows freedom and safety for all involved
2. Border updates

Homeland security updates

Allow the specialists to do their work – data processors, child-welfare workers

De-militarize the border

Don’t treat every person as a national security threat.

Utilize Federal Health and Human Services the agency as the primary point of contact for refugees and asylum seekers and reserve Homeland Security for those seeking to cross illegally.

Reimagine the infrastructure where families and children are processed.

3. Whole of government approach to address each of the “triangle countries” - Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras

Recognize push and pull factors including US policy in Central America, weather and climate.

Shared security plan to combat crime and persecution that includes cracking down on gangs and other criminal organizations and creates accountability for politicians and officials who turn a blind eye to criminals.

Address the push and pull dynamic – engage northern triangle countries to solve the issue.

4. Distinguish types of migrants and process differently - visa, permanent resident, asylum, refugee, families seeking to reunite

Asylum Seekers
Increase support to process asylum applications.

Update qualifications for granting asylum.

Restore the Central American Minors program (which allows children to apply for refugee status in their home countries).

Increase refugee cap.

Temporary Worker Status

A system designed to be data-driven and flexible, with caps in visa programs tied to changing economic conditions.

Ensure that migrant workers are paid fairly through prevailing wage rules.
– Requiring that all workers with temporary visas are paid no less than the local average or median wage for their job;

Update, simplify, and standardize temporary work visa programs.
– Reform the recruitment process for transparency and accountability for migrants who are abroad.
– Uncoupling visas for temporary migrant workers from their employers.
– Providing a path from temporary status to permanent residence that is not controlled by employers.
– Appropriating more funding to labor standards agencies for enforcement and oversight of a reformed system.
– Regulating foreign labor recruiters.
– Protect workers from the threat of employer retaliation and deportation.

Permanent Residents

Reform family-based immigration system. To reunite families who have family members working in US.

Eliminating per-country caps

Changes to employment-based immigration system

Roadmap to citizenship for current immigrants
– three-year and eight-year plan
– improving access to green cards for workers in lower-wage industries,
– giving dependents of H-1B holders work authorization, and preventing children of H-1B holders from aging out of the system.