It’s Time to Fix Our Immigration System (June 27, 2013)

Several years ago I registered as an Independent and was an early member of the non-partisan organization, “No Labels”, which is dedicated to ending hyper-partisanship in Congress, because I believed both major parties were failing the American people. They have been more focused on partisan political games than solving the serious issues challenging our nation’s future.

Immigration reform is one of those issues. Almost everyone agrees that the system is broken. Talented foreign students who are educated on the crucial subjects of science, technology and math at American universities are forced to leave the U.S. after completing school. It would be better for the United States if they were instead allowed to stay and help American companies create jobs and economic growth.

We have eleven million people who live in fear in the shadows in this country because they are undocumented immigrants who came here seeking a better life for themselves and their children. Meanwhile, the Federal government has flailed away at trying to secure the border and has not effectively addressed this issue.

Now, there is finally a long overdue effort to fix our immigration system. There is comprehensive reform legislation in the U.S. Senate which has been negotiated by the so-called “Gang of Eight”, a bi-partisan group of Senators ranging from Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer of New York to Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.

This proposal provides legal status and ultimately a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants after many years and a number of conditions are met, including a certification that the border has been secured. A recent proposed amendment to the legislation provides a “surge” to the Federal government’s border security efforts, by dramatically expanding the number of immigration agents, fencing and drones along with other high-tech tools along the border.

The latest version of the “Gang of Eight” legislation means there is no longer any excuse to not act on immigration reform. I hope Speaker John Boehner will stand up to some of the more extreme and anti-immigrant members of his caucus and allow a vote on the floor of the U.S. House on what the Senate is expected to pass regarding comprehensive reform. The Speaker should put the nation, and not his own political interests, first. I hope you agree.