Miami-Dade Young Democrats

Immigration and the DREAM Act

May 11, 2011

Fixing Our Broken Immigration System

Immigration Rally in Miami

We are a nation of immigrants.  Great American companies – from U.S. Steel and Intel to Google and Yahoo – were founded by immigrants.  We are also a nation of laws – and we’ve long wrestled with the politics of who is and who isn’t allowed to enter this country.  We’ve seen good faith efforts – from leaders of both parties – fall prey to the usual political Washington games.   At the same time, we’ve seen the mounting consequences from decades of inaction.  Our broken immigration system hurts our economic competitiveness and undermines our values.

 Immigration reform is an economic imperative.  That’s why businesses from all across the country are demanding that Washington finally meet its responsibility to solve the immigration problem.

A massive underground economy exploits a cheap source of labor, which undermines wages for all American workers, especially the Middle Class.   Reform will also help make America more competitive in the global economy.  Instead of training America’s next entrepreneurs, we train our competition.  Today, we provide visas to students from around the world to get engineering and computer science degrees at our top universities, but then export that talent to other countries.  That just doesn’t make sense.

We must come together around reform that reflects our values as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants, and that demands everyone take responsibility.

Businesses have to be held accountable if they exploit undocumented workers and undermine American workers.  Those who are here illegally have a responsibility as well.  They have to admit that they broke the law, pay their taxes, pay a fine, and learn English.  And they have to undergo background checks and a lengthy process before they can get in line for legalization. 

We also have to secure our borders.  Over the last two years, the President has dedicated unprecedented resources to secure our borders and implement smarter, more strategic enforcement policies. The number of border patrol agents today is more than double what it was in 2004, and unmanned aerial vehicles now patrol the border from Texas to California.  The fence that was demanded a few years ago is now basically complete. 

Stopping illegal immigration also depends on reforming our outdated system of legal immigration.  In May of 2011, the President outlined the additional steps we need to take to create an immigration system that meets the economic and security needs of the 21st century: 

  • We should reform our visa system to make it easier for the best and the brightest to not only study here, but also to start businesses and create jobs here. 
  • We need to provide farms a legal way to hire the workers they rely on, and a path for those workers to earn legal status. 
  • Our laws should respect families following the rules – reuniting them more quickly instead of splitting them apart. 
  • We need to pass the Dream Act.  We should stop punishing innocent young people for the actions of their parents by denying them the chance to earn an education or serve in the military.  These are kids who grew up in this country, love this country, and know no other place as home.

President Obama will continue to lead a constructive and civil debate on this issue, and leaders all across the country will continue to move the debate forward.   But we need Washington to know that there is a movement for reform gathering strength from coast to coast.  We must work to ensure that we are welcoming the talents of all who can contribute to this country, and that we live up to that basic American idea: you can make it if you try.

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