President Obama said “We pushed back on the undue influence of special interests.” “We didn’t give in to mistrust or to cynicism or to fear. Instead, we proved that we are still a people capable of doing big things.”
The President was talking about the historic health-care overhaul that passed the House 219-212 last night and is now headed to his desk for signature. Let’s hope his statement foreshadows what he will say about immigration reform in the months to come. The health-care battle demonstrated the fight for immigration reform will be tough. But we knew that. Now, at least, we know that an immigration overhaul is possible.
It was symbolic that Sunday’s immigration reform rally in Washington, which according to reports was tens of thousands strong, was overshadowed by the drama that played out in the Congress over the health-care bill. Since the Administration took office in 2009, immigration reform has played second fiddle to the overhaul of the health-care system. But now that health-care reform has become a reality, it is time for the Administration and Congress to get to the hard work of overhauling our badly broken immigration system.
The dysfunctional immigration system is a cancer that whittles away at the very fabric of our cherished democratic values every day it continues to fester. Each time an outstanding scientist, innovative business investor, or creative professional is turned away from our country because of inadequate visa numbers or restrictionist agency enforcement America’s competitive edge is further weakened. Our nation’s ability to compete in a global economy demands transnational employment. Each immigrant that is locked up due to draconian mandatory detention laws, without so much as the right to see a judge, demonstrates that the rights of all Americans are threatened by bad immigration laws. Each undocumented child who is denied a higher education or a chance to serve our country is evidence that the broken immigration system has transformed the American Dream into a nightmare for some of America’s most promising children.
Senators Graham and Schumer began to put pen to paper last week by laying out a four pillared framework for immigration reform: ending illegal employment through biometric Social Security cards, enhancing border and interior enforcement, managing the flow of future immigration to correspond to economic realities, and creating a tough but fair path toward legalization for the 11 million people currently in the U.S. without authorization.
Let’s firm to stand on the right side for the social cause of Immigration.