Recently the voices in our communities calling for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform have developed from a shout into a roar.
Between protests and prayer vigils, our message has been clear: Delay is unacceptable. Now is the moment to renew the promise of America, correcting our fragmented immigration system, ensuring a pathway to citizenship for millions of people.
Our message on immigration reform is resonating for two important reasons: First, comprehensive immigration reform will help rectify many of our most pressing policy challenges. Second, and perhaps more important, is the deep belief inherent in the American story that our country is a land of opportunity, renewed by new ideas and innovation.
Common-sense immigration reform would help preserve vital programs like Social Security and Medicare, as well as strengthen our national security and help businesses create the next wave of solid employment opportunities. Smart immigration reform presents a solution that helps families by lowering the national debt, strengthening local industries and increasing overall workplace productivity.
As we consider these contingencies, Americans are truly hungry for leaders who will correct our faulty immigration system because we know the story of immigration in our country is the story of American values: hard work, freedom from oppression and a fair chance at opportunity for all. We have a special obligation to disregard partisan politics that seek to derail comprehensive immigration reform and continue to push forward. We must do this because we know firsthand, from our own personal stories, that fixing our immigration system holds the key to economic growth and opportunity for all across this great nation.
Today it is ever so important to recall the history of America and the great role immigrants have played in crafting our nation’s prodigious landscape. We must remember the values that define our status as Americans — opportunity, freedom from persecution and equality, using those values to craft the future of our immigration policies. These are the values that bind us as Americans; it is the message we believe in.
As we continue on this journey, I look forward to working alongside you as we push forward to ensure those in Washington do not ignore our message this fall.
Joe Garcia, congressman, Miami