By most estimates, there are over 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.  Some have crossed the U.S borders without authorization while many have come here legally and subsequently fell out of their valid immigration status.  It is not a coincidence that since the enactment of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRAIRA) of 1996 the number of undocumented immigrants in this country has skyrocketed.  The United States currently has a patchwork of mismatched immigration laws and policies.  It is a system that rarely offers a clear roadmap for immigrants who want to come to this country, become a part of our communities, and contribute to the American economy. We must demand our elected representatives pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR).

The following are just some of the arguments in support of CIR:

  • Navigating through the immigration system should not be the often insurmountable challenge it is today.  As a nation of immigrants, we should be the world leader in coming up with creative yet realistic means to attract and resettle new immigrants within our communities.  Not only is this the right thing to do now – it is what we’ve done since the founding of the Republic.  We have more experience in this than any country in the world – EVER!
  • The vast majority of the undocumented immigrants in this country have developed deep ties to America.  In every way but one they are Americans. They have families, commitments and jobs.  It is impossible to uproot these individuals without inflicting irreparable harm to our nation.
  • It costs just under $30,000 to deport one undocumented person.  If the United States government attempted to deport every single undocumented immigrant the cumulative fiscal impact on our economy would be devastating.  Do the math.  Should the U.S. spend billions of dollars to create havoc and break up families?  No.  Instead, we must allocate our resources wisely and use our courts to only remove dangerous criminal aliens.
  • It is dishonest to imply that our societal ills come as a result of human migration. Immigration for the United States is a net positive through addition of labor, talent, tax revenue, business activity, diversity, and culture.
  • Politicians should stop using border security as an excuse to delay CIR.  No one is arguing for border insecurity.  CIR and border security are not mutually exclusive.
  • Immigration is a national security issue of the highest order.  We need to know who lives among us and what better way to ensure our nation is safe than to implement real immigration reform?
  • Immigration should not be a partisan issue.    We have much bigger challenges in this country than to constantly bang the drums of so called “illegal immigration.”  With enactment of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, we would immediately have much needed political space in Washington to get the nation’s other business done.
  • CIR would serve our democracy.  It is inefficient to have so many millions in this country unable to participate in the democratic process.  Bringing them officially into our fold will only strengthen this nation.

Written by: Ally Bolour, AILA Media-Advocacy Committee