The readers’ forum

Immigration reform is beneficial to Floridians

 

Immigration reform is probably the hottest topic in Washington, and we are lucky to have two of the top leaders on the issue from our state: Sen. Marco Rubio, a member of the Senate’s Gang of Eight, and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart. Bipartisan groups in each chamber are working on separate immigration-reform proposals.

Diaz-Balart has taken on the challenge of writing a bill that will be able to pass through the House, which is expected to be the more difficult chamber in the process.

Immigration reform is important to the members of the Latin Builders Association, and I am grateful that he has taken on this task.

A new study conducted by Americas Society/Council of the Americas and the Partnership for a New American Economy underscores the importance of immigration reform and why it is critical to our members. The study found that immigrants have added $3.7 trillion to housing wealth in the United States. Immigrants do this not only through satisfying their own housing needs, but also by reenergizing old neighborhoods.

Our members also support immigration reform because many of them are immigrants themselves or the children of immigrants, like Diaz-Balart. Having the immigrant community represented in this discussion by someone like him is beneficial to the effort.

The people of Florida are strong supporters of bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform. Recently the Partnership for a New American Economy released polling results that showed a remarkable 72 percent of Floridians support the legislation. Even more impressive is that the poll found that 86 percent of likely voters in the state believe it is important for legislation to be passed this year.

Comprehensive reform needs to include many things, because the current system has many flaws. We need more highly skilled workers to be able to enter the country or to remain here after graduating from one of our colleges.

The demand for these people in the science and technology fields is growing, and our economy will benefit from having their expertise working at American companies.

Recently the Congressional Budget Office released its report about the financial impact of the legislation. Unsurprising to people like me in the business community, the report found that the economic impact of the legislation more than makes up for the cost associated with the bill. In fact, the CBO estimates that in the first 10 years after reform is passed, the federal deficit will be reduced by $175 billion. If you were still looking for a reason to support this effort, reducing our debt is a noble one.

Bernie Navarro, President of the Latin Builders Association

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Ceci Sanchez, as a toddler, with her father, Jose Ignacio Maciá, and mother, Cecile, in Cuba.

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