Earned immigration reform for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants is a reasonable solution. There is, however, a substantial lack of understanding about who those 11 million people are and about their impact on the United States. Nearly every credible economic study on the impact of immigration reform, from conservative and centrist to liberal think tanks, has come to the same conclusion: that a reform that brings 11 million undocumented immigrants "into the fold" will boost Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by billions of dollars over the next decade. It would also increase our tax revenues (without raising taxes) AND, more importantly, put hundreds of thousands of Americans back to work.
This is not a liberal versus conservative ideological battle. GOP President George W. Bush understood the benefits of legal immigration and he attempted immigration reform in 2007. The last major such legislation we have suffered through was passed in 1996 but was primarily punitive. That legislation did not attempt to "fix" our non-functioning system of legal immigration. America needs a system of legal immigration that will serve our country, serve our employers, serve our families, and serve our future. The "high priest" of conservatism, President Ronald Reagan understood that America's economic strength depends largely on an outward looking immigration policy opens out gates to the independent and hardworking immigrations that made this nation the greatest on earth. President Reagan presided over a legalization program that resulted in about 3 million undocumented immigrants becoming legal. That was to be a "balanced" program with employer sanctions enforcement efforts to "offset" the legalization program. That enforcement effort did not happen.
The result is that many conservatives and some liberals see any program that provides a pathway or roadmap for undocumented immigrations to become documented as something bad. The reality is that, since the 1986 legalization program, there have been numerous other serious and effective enforcement programs that now make a pathway from undocumented to documented immigration a reasonable solution.
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