"Most importantly, they became Americans."
The demonization of immigrants has led to a moral crisis in this country. It must stop now.
Of the 323.1 million people in the United States, 43.3 million were born in other countries. Although this number is expected to grow to 78 million by 2065, we still have not reached the historic peak number of foreign-born residents of 14.8% in 1890. Here are some facts about U.S. immigration:
Immigrants add $2 trillion to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Providing a path to citizenship for our 11 million undocumented immigrants would increase the GDP by $1.2 trillion over 10 years, and decrease the deficit by $135 billion in the first decade.
More Mexican immigrants are returning to Mexico than remaining in the U.S., and building a wall would cost more than $67 billion.
In 2014, two-thirds of undocumented immigrants entered the country legally, with a visa, and overstayed.
Immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than U.S. born citizens.
Undocumented immigrants pay tens of billions of dollars into Social Security, Medicare, and state and local taxes.
Our economy, our growth, and our success depends on a progressive immigration policy that recognizes the importance of all people and supports inclusivity.
We must enact comprehensive immigration reform, including a path towards citizenship.
We must end the criminalization of immigration by closing costly deportation centers.
We must provide a defined and accessible path to citizenship for people wishing to make the United States their permanent home, and stop pouring money into a system that destroys families and allows us to turn our backs on people who believe in the American Dream.
We must end the inhumane practice of family separation and detention of children in cages.
We must expand DACA and DAPA, including providing immediate legal status for young people eligible for the DACA program and developing a humane policy for those seeking asylum.
As American Baby Boomers retire from the workforce and collect their earned benefits in greater numbers, we are dependent on immigrants for a renewed workforce and contribution to a strong U.S. economy.
Historically, immigrants improve their lives as they integrate into American society. They, and their families, are likely to own homes, go to college, and start businesses. For centuries, people from all over the world have chosen to live in a country that celebrates freedom and opportunity.
My own family members traveled from Scotland, Italy, Lithuania, and Switzerland to become farmers, engineers, and public servants. Most importantly, they became Americans. Let us work together to strengthen the American Dream and make the United States a beacon of freedom and opportunity.
Providing a path to citizenship for our 11 million undocumented immigrants would increase the GDP by $1.2 trillion over 10 years.