Obama is working with Congress to push for immigration reform sometime this April. The truth of the matter is that reform will help not only American workers, but also immigrants who came to this country for opportunity. The only real concern may be that all undocumented immigrants are not left in the dust, with no guarantee of citizenship. However, there are still more who are in support of immigration reform making it seem likely to be passed.
Here are five reasons why the decision should be supported:
1. It will help unions:
Foreign workers would receive wages which are high or almost as high as the average American worker, or as high as prospective employers who pay American workers with similar experience. In essence, the unions are hopeful that these measures will prevent American workers from losing ground to foreign guest workers. This point was made by UC Berkeley professor Robert Reich, who wrote that "some 11 million undocumented workers are already here, doing much of this work. The only way these undocumented workers can ever be organized ... is if the undocumented workers become legal."
This is also one of the reasons why the AFL-CIO agreed to grant new visas. Reich notes that a good way to end the trend of low-paying overseas jobs is to "enable these workers to join together in unions and demand better pay and working conditions." The best way to accomplish this is for the unions to embrace immigration reform.
2. The GOP is (mostly) supporting the idea of immigration reform:
While there still may be some who are opposed to the idea for complications with wages and unions, most understand that this could be the key factor to bringing their party back. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is expected to make a decision on whether to fully support the deal. Last Saturday, Rubio stated that haste was not necessary, but rather that a healthy public debate could lead to more amendments. This slow-approach is leading to a possible end to immigration reform in this year. For the most part, Rubio is letting his party know that reform is possible but so is discussion. Senators from Arizona John McCain and Jeff Flake are some of the politicians on the GOP side who understand that the immigration system in this country definitely needs to change.
3. The majority of Americans believe immigrants should be allowed to stay:
A recent Pew Survey found that 7 in 10 Americans say there should be a way for people living illegally to remain in this country if they meet certain requirements. There are still 27% of Americans who believe that undocumented immigrants should not be allowed to stay legally. Despite a still-struggling economy, this shows that there are somewhat positive sentiments towards illegally residing immigrants in this country. Americans should try to understand that immigrants only help to enrich the country, as well as aid the economy and workforce. The survey found that 49% of Americans generally think immigrants strengthen the country because of their hard work and talents.
4. They want to be legal:
Undocumented immigrants themselves have been fighting for years on this issue. Many have lived here since they were young, yet are still not considered American citizens. However, it is not simply about illegals wanting a place in America, it is also about Americans learning to work together with them.
5. The number of people rushing to the border has decreased:
Reports from 2011 show that the number of undocumented immigrants arrested at U.S. borders has decreased by 53%. This is not to say that it has stopped completely, but that the borders are tighter. A recent Pew Reasearch poll found that undocumented immigrants have lived in America for more than a decade. Not all may support this, especially those working along the borders; however those already here understand that the status of being an illegal immigrant can only last so long before change must be demanded.
Obama has been working to change the status of illegal immigrants since he took office, but in his last State of the Union he made clear that in his second term he would take more focus on this issue. Some concerns may remain in regards to who will receive citizenship, though it is hopeful that many who have been waiting will finally get their chance to a part of the country they love.