America has and will continue to be a nation of immigrants. Some of the biggest companies in the world today, established in America, were founded by immigrants. A vast number of our businesses in the service sector rely on immigrants to complete their work. The agricultural sector in our nation also almost exclusively depends on immigrants. While we must address the issue of illegal immigrants we also need to tackle and modernize our antiquated legal immigration system. By implementing common sense solutions we can restore reason to our broken immigration system.
America has made significant progress over the last four years in securing the border. The number of agents on the border is the highest we’ve ever had in our history. Hundreds of miles worth of fencing have been erected over the last five years. The Congress must now provide a path to citizenship contingent upon a couple of conditions. These folks broke the law and some steps to try and remedy that fact should be addressed. They must pay a fine for all of the time they were here illegally, they must learn English, they must pay back taxes and they must step to the back of the line behind every legal applicant. This approach is the right one to take in order to fix a problem that has been plaguing us for much too long. The Republican Party has a choice to make. Do they want to be the party that cooperates and fixes our broken immigration system, or do they want to keep entertaining the thought that we haven’t been serious about border enforcement? If the Republican Party keeps posturing on immigration reform instead of tackling the issue, within a couple of decades they will be a permanent minority party. Their base will be regional and they will cease to be a national party; I hope they work with us.
Immigration reform has various pieces to it and we have already made significant strides over the past four years towards a better system. While the southern border in our country is as secure as it has been for decades, we must also ensure that the northern border is secure. In addition, we have deported millions of undocumented criminals and will continue to do so while reform is being implemented. Republicans must join our efforts to make sure we modernize our broken immigration system or face irrelevancy in a not so distant future. We must provide a path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants in our country and update our legal system of immigration to reflect our 21st century needs. It’s precisely what we must do in order to reaffirm our values as a nation of immigrants.
Reprinted from 5th District State Sen. Curt Thompson's (D-Tucker) blog. Thompson represents parts of unincorporated Duluth, Norcross, Tucker, and Lawrenceville. Also, check the senator out on Facebook and Twitter.