It’s About Time for Immigration Reform

Apr 29, 2013

Immigration reform is one of the compelling challenges of our time. If we rise to that challenge, we can ensure that our great country can compete and win in the global race for talent. We can secure the lives and livelihoods of all Americans. And we can reaffirm our proud and honorable legacy as an open and welcoming society.

The time to act is now. Our current system isn’t serving the interests of our economy, businesses, workers, or security. America cannot compete and win in a global economy without the world’s best talent, hardest workers, or biggest dreamers. Gaps and shortages in our workforce put American jobs at risk—because if companies can’t find all the workers they need here, they will be forced to move the work somewhere else.

Today, we have our best shot yet at fixing our system. A bipartisan group of senators has shown true leadership and courage in forging a bill that has the support and input of business, labor, faith-based organizations, civil rights and ethnic groups, and law enforcement.

These leaders have proposed tough, practical measures to secure our borders, while still allowing people and commerce to flow efficiently and lawfully in and out of our country. Their bill includes a thoughtfully designed temporary worker program to allow employers to use immigrant labor when U.S. workers are not readily available. It better ties visas to market demands. It helps ensure that we don’t educate the best foreign talent in the world and then send them home to compete against us. It makes E-Verify a national employee verification system. And it provides a path out of the shadows for the 11 million undocumented immigrants who live in the United States today, provided that they meet some strict conditions.

The Senate bill is only the beginning of what must be an open and transparent debate. We must respect all viewpoints in this important debate, even those that differ from our own. But we should have little patience for those who decide to prey on fear and misunderstanding—or those who place their own short-term political interests above the national interest.

This is a moment that cries out for principled, courageous leadership that puts it all on the line to build a brighter and more hopeful future for our children and grandchildren. We need this leadership on many serious issues—deficits, debt, entitlement reform, education, national security, and others. Let’s start with immigration reform.

Let’s show the world that America still has the ability to do great things. It’s about time.

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