For more than a year, members of Congress have debated significant updates to the American immigration system. With the 113th Congress back in session, the timing appears better than ever for reform. Our leaders must work together to find a bipartisan solution to fixing our immigration system in favor of creating pathways to citizenship, expanding our foreign worker programs and strengthen our nation’s borders.
While it may seem to be a predominantly national issue, immigration impacts Minnesota directly. Nearly 10 percent of our labor force is foreign-born, and 5 percent of these individuals are business owners. Together, they generate hundreds of millions in revenue annually while providing for their families.
At a national scale, there are nearly 12 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. These hard- working men and women are vulnerable to employers who exploit their statuses in favor of offering little pay and poor working conditions. A pathway to citizenship can resolve this dilemma in a format that is sensitive to immigrant families and allow undocumented folks to continue working and contributing to our nation’s growth.
Immigration reform is good for Minnesota, but state policymakers must do their part to ensure the issue makes it to the House floor for debate. Our future economic growth and security depends on common-sense updates to policies long in need of revision.