Last week, the seemingly intractable problems in our immigration system finally received significant political attention. A bipartisan group of U.S. senators, unofficially titled the “gang of 8”, announced a framework for immigration reform. A day later, President Obama endorsed the Senators’ efforts and unveiled his administration’s similar framework for immigration reform. The broader framework of both plans reveals the same goals: (1) developing a path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented individuals currently living in the U.S. and contributing to the economy and culture; (2) improving the process to enter the country legally for qualified people seeking work; (3) strengthening the employment verification process and cracking down on employers who hire undocumented workers; and (4) tightening border security.
The details of these proposed immigration reforms need to be ironed out, and any final legislation will undoubtedly not fully appease either side of the immigration debate. However, this starting point for discussion, and an apparent commitment from leaders in both political parties, is a positive first step towards providing stability for the 11 million individuals, and millions more family members directly impacted by the issue—and will also bring us a step closer toward equal opportunity for all. (more…)