Immigration reform has been a key issue of debate throughout the country and in Washington ever since voters made their voices heard in last year’s presidential election.
With President Barack Obama getting re-elected with more than 70% of the Hispanic and Asian votes, it became clear that America’s two fastest-growing immigrant demographics were concerned about an issue that is dear to both groups – immigration.
In this article, the first of a multi-part series, we will be focusing on the importance of immigration reform.
America has always been a nation of immigrants, whether it was the very first American Indians crossing over the Bering Land Bridge, to the pilgrims and today’s Hispanic- and Asian-Americans, this is a land that welcomes immigrants with open arms.
While our immigration system has changed over the years, right now it is without a doubt broken. Our immigration system is outdated and flawed. Our nation puts such a high value on the family core, yet we are tearing more than a thousand families apart every day through senseless deportations.
Not only that, but our current system has left us with 11 million aspiring Americans living in the shadows, where they are taken advantage of by employers and where they are afraid to report crimes to the police, which leaves us all less safe.
The immigration reform bill that passed the Senate is comprehensive. It fixes our legal immigration system, which will make it far easier to enforce our laws, protect our borders, and provide the people and ideas we need to thrive in the 21st century.
The House of Representatives wants to forgo comprehensive reform in favor of smaller, piecemeal bills. This is concerning.
It is essential that immigration reform includes a path to citizenship for our nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants. As the Immigration Policy Center wrote:
The integration of the 11 million unauthorized immigrants now living in the United States into full citizenship is not only good for those individuals, but the country as a whole. Citizenship, and the quest for citizenship, facilitates integration in myriad ways that legal status alone does not. From learning English and U.S. civics to earning higher incomes, serving jury duty, and voting in elections, citizens and would-be citizens benefit from a deeper form of incorporation into U.S. society than do legal immigrants who have no hope of ever applying for naturalization.
The polls show that Americans and Long Islanders alike support a path to citizenship. We cannot create a permanent second-class.
Comprehensive immigration reform needs to be comprehensive. Let’s reach out to our representatives to let them know we want comprehensive immigration reform that works for everyone.
Tomorrow, we’ll be taking a look at how we got to this point where we have 11 million aspiring Americans living in the shadows.