Throughout 2013, immigration reform has captured public attention. Millions of people followed S. 744 as it worked its way through committee and watched as the Senate voted 68 to 32 to pass a comprehensive immigration reform plan. In the next few months, immigration reform will be high on the list of priorities in the House of Representatives. Despite significant public support for immigration reform among members of the public in both parties, many of the most basic facts about immigrants and immigration remain misunderstood. Debunking the myths about immigration and providing short, concise answers to the often complex issues raised by the immigration debate is a challenge. Smart, thoughtful answers often take longer than the sound bites and quick retorts that the media demands today. The staff of the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) has prepared this Q&A Guide to help you get to the heart of the toughest questions on immigration. While we’ve included succinct answers to many immigration questions, more in-depth analysis, fact sheets, and data can be found on our website, www.immigrationpolicy.org.
I. The Importance of Immigration Reform
Q: Why do we need Immigration Reform?
A: Immigration reform is part of the solution for creating a stronger, more successful, and unified nation. America is a nation of immigrants, and welcoming immigrants reflects the key values on which this country is based: hard work, perseverance, taking on challenges, demonstrating individuality, and showing compassion. In addition, immigration reform is a bipartisan issue where everyone can agree that a working immigration system contributes to a stronger country—economically, socially, and culturally. Anti-immigrant pundits often downplay the importance of immigration to America’s future, treating immigrants and immigration as a threat. While there are plenty of legitimate issues to question and debate in immigration policy, choosing to use the topic as a wedge issue, stirring up fear and uncertainty, hoping to pit people against each other, is not only unproductive, but damaging to our civic life.
The facts make it clear that reform of our immigration system can benefit everyone. We must ensure that we have a legal immigration system that works, which will make it far easier to enforce our laws, protect our borders, and provide the people and ideas we need to thrive in the 21st century.
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