Today, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina meet with President Obama to discuss the immigration bill crafted by these two senators. It can be said that it is none too soon. Mid year elections are coming up, and the President, whose success in the presidential election was substantially assisted by immigrant voters who believed him when he promised to make immigration reform a priority during his first year in office. With this promise of immigration reform, the Latino vote jumped to 10 million, from 7.8 million in 2004, and eight percentage points switched towards the Democrats.
Obama has repeated voiced support for comprehensive immigration reform and aides say he hopes this initial conversation will lead to a positive debate later in the year
Senator Schumer in the past has outlined seven principles that he intends to include in the bill.
1. Illegal immigration is wrong, and a primary goal of comprehensive immigration reform must be to dramatically curtail future illegal immigration.
2. Operational control of our borders--through significant additional increases in infrastructure, technology, and border personnel--must be achieved within a year of enactment of legislation.
3. A biometric-based employer verification system—with tough enforcement and auditing—is necessary to significantly diminish the job magnet that attracts illegal aliens to the United States and to provide certainty and simplicity for employers.
4. All illegal aliens present in the United States on the date of enactment of our bill must quickly register their presence with the United States Government—and submit to a rigorous process of converting to legal status and earning a path to citizenship—or face imminent deportation.
5. Family reunification is a cornerstone value of our immigration system. By dramatically reducing illegal immigration, we can create more room for both family immigration and employment-based immigration.
6. We must encourage the world’s best and brightest individuals to come to the United States and create the new technologies and businesses that will employ countless American workers, but must discourage businesses from using our immigration laws as a means to obtain temporary and less-expensive foreign labor to replace capable American workers; and finally
7. We must create a system that converts the current flow of unskilled illegal immigrants into the United States into a more manageable and controlled flow of legal immigrants who can be absorbed by our economy.
In a recent report, “Raising the Floor for American Workers: The Economic Benefits of Comprehensive Immigration Reform,” by Dr. Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda, finds that comprehensive immigration reform that includes a legalization program for unauthorized immigrants and enables a future flow of legal workers would result in a large economic benefit—a cumulative $1.5 trillion in added U.S. gross domestic product over 10 years. In contrast, a deportation-only policy would result in a loss of $2.6 trillion in GDP over 10 years.
Reviewing the various polls conducted thought the years, it is apparent that a majority of Americans support giving undocumented immigrant a path to citizenship.
AMERICANS SUPPORT GIVING UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS A PATH TO CITIZENSHIP:
These percentages represent those who favor allowing undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States under certain conditions:
- 67% in a Lake Research Partners/Benenson Strategy Group in November 2008
- 58% in an ABC News poll in September 2007
- 51% in a Washington Post/ABC News poll in October/November 2007
- 67% in a Fox News poll in June 2007
- 59% in a Gallup/USA Today poll in March 2007
- 79% in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll in May 2006
- 77% in a CBS News poll in May 2006
- 62% in a Fox News poll in March 2006
AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 09043073. (Posted 04/30/09)
President Obama must take charge of immigration reform by making all Americas understand that fair and compassionate immigration reform is a must for bolstering America’s economy and national security. He must enunciate this belief clearly and take a firm stand. It’s not just a benefit for the Latino voter, but for America itself.