What would you do if you lived in constant fear of being separated from your family in the country you’ve called home for years, even decades? That’s the harsh reality for millions of undocumented workers who live in the shadows in this country when they could be contributing to the U.S. tax system and even more to the economy. Our broken immigration system must be fixed not just because it’s the humanitarian thing to do, but it’s also smart economics.
Congress must get to work passing real comprehensive immigration reform that doesn’t just secure the border, but also provides a pathway to citizenship for those who want to get right with the law. The President deserves praise for not waiting any longer for Congress to act and taking Executive Action to begin to fix the broken immigration system to defer the deportation of 5 million undocumented workers—to prioritize the deportation of felons, not the breaking up of families. It also opens the door for certain undocumented immigrants who pass a criminal background check and pay their fair share of taxes to register to temporarily stay in the U.S.
But it’s up to Congress to take the next step. A majority of Americans agree that Congress should pass an immigration law with a path to citizenship. Unfortunately, the Republican Party continues to pander to the anti-immigrant elements of their base. Since taking both houses of Congress, Republicans have sat on their hands as each passing day means lost benefits to the economy. Comprehensive immigration reform could reduce our deficit by $900 billion over the next two decades, according to a nonpartisan study from the Congressional Budget Office. It would add more than 3.2 million new jobs and strengthen Social Security.
Few Republicans in Congress or running for President condemned the recent remarks of Donald Trump deriding Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and “drug dealers.” Republicans can show Trump doesn’t actually speak for the Party by coming to the table to pass commonsense, comprehensive immigration reform.