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Now is the Time for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

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Now is the Time for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

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Contributed by Melanie Corrin

One of the main lessons that came out of the Presidential elections last year was that Immigration Reform is a far more important subject to the public than many considered.  Exit polls show huge majorities of Latino and other immigrant citizens voting for President Obama, in hopes of a continued promise of reform; a majority that very easily could have tipped the election in another direction.

With that in mind, leaders across the country have been working together to find an approach that will not only continue to strengthen our borders, but also repair a broken system that is simply not workable in today’s global economy.  The main issues with bills of the past is that while there was some immediate relief available to those that were present and undocumented, not enough attention was paid to the realities of immigration and therefore bills were passed with unreasonable restrictions on the ability of people to legally immigrate to the United States.

The current administration has shown its commitment to enforcement over the last four years, with more individuals being deported from the United States than any other presidency; more than 400,000 in 2012 alone.  http://www.ice.gov/removal-statistics/.  With this in mind, the administration has also placed its enforcement priorities where they count, with criminal aliens and those with previous immigration violations and deportations at the head of the pack.

What no one has substantively addresses, until now, was how to fix our laws so that we do not continue with draconic provisions that do nothing but hurt our economy and hinder family unity.  The “Gang of 8” proposes to change that.  Senators Schumer, McCain, Durbin, Graham, Menendez, Rubio, Bennet, and Flake have announced a Bipartisan Framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, which they hope to address the broken immigration system, as well as the estimated 11 million undocumented individuals currently present in the United States.

Thus far, the group has outlined four basic Legislative pillars;

  • Create a tough but fair path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants currently living in the United States that is contingent upon securing our borders and tracking whether legal immigrants have left the country when required;
  • Reform our legal immigration system to better recognize the importance of characteristics that will help build the American economy and strengthen American families;
  • Create an effective employment verification system that will prevent identity theft and end the hiring of future unauthorized workers; and,
  • Establish an improved process for admitting future workers to serve our nation’s workforce needs, while simultaneously protecting all workers.

As the days and weeks progress, our hope is that legislation is drafted that can address these concerns and pass this year.  Now is the time to take stock of the problems that are truly present, face the difficult questions, address the deficiencies in current law and develop an actual system that works for the United States and does not continue to create a shadow population.  Now is the time for comprehensive immigration reform!

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