By Pete Gallego, US Congressman, 23rd District —
Those of us who live close to the border know more than anyone that
our immigration system is broken and in need of major repair. It's been
thirty years since Congress and a Republican President â€“ Ronald Reagan –
modernized the immigration system to keep pace with the changing times.
The good news is that the landscape for immigration reform has never been more promising.
For the first time, the U.S. Chambers of Commerce, the Texas Farm
Bureau, advocates and families are singing from the same tune in support
of immigration reform. As Congress moves forward to resolve this issue,
I believe the architecture of our immigration system must be one that
meets the needs of our rural and urban communities.
The U.S. Senate has passed a bipartisan comprehensive immigration
reform bill. It's the House's turn to act. Members of Congress from both
parties must work together to pass commonsense legislation that will
secure our borders, protect American workers, require employers to
comply with common sense laws, keep families together and allow folks to
earn a pathway to become taxpaying American citizens.
We all agree we must secure the border. It's imperative that we
build a smarter, more accountable and efficient way to secure and
enforce the border. Any proposals to enhance border security must be
designed to be adaptable to real-time intelligence, on-the-ground needs,
changing technologies, and strong transparency.
And if our top priority in Congress is to help grow the economy,
immigration reform is a smart economic solution. According to
non-partisan estimates, immigration reform would significantly shrink
the federal deficit, boost GDP and strengthen Social Security. Fixing
our broken immigration system will also help small businesses expand,
foster innovation and encourage more job creation. In the 23rd
congressional district, reform would create 15,633 jobs in the first ten
years and 221,629 jobs in the long term.
We are a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. Immigrants come
to our country with hope, determination and optimism â€“ reinvigorating
America and making America more American. We must uphold that tradition
by finally enacting comprehensive immigration reform that reaffirms our
values, advances our ideals, and honors our history as a nation of
Most of us have parents, grandparents or great-grandparents who
immigrated to this country, and we know the hardships they faced on
their journey to become American citizens. And the pathway to
citizenship shouldn't be any easier today than it was for them. For all
immigrants who aspire to be American citizens, they must obey our laws,
learn our language and pay our taxes.
The promise and potential of comprehensive immigration reform are
too great, and economic costs of inaction are too high. We owe it to our
families, we owe it to our economy, and we owe it to the ideal that
America is a land of liberty, opportunity, and justice.