We all gain from fixing immigration system

by Robin Carnahan 

These days in Washington it’s hard to find bipartisan agreement on much, with one notable exception: America’s immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed.

How our nation moves toward a comprehensive solution to this complicated issue is the focus of attention in Washington. But a fix will only happen if those of us outside the Beltway who care less about political posturing and more about our shared past and future prosperity join the conversation.

The success of the American experiment, the very foundation of our nation’s economic growth and political strength, has come from welcoming those who share our ideals: a love of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That common passion and uncommon diversity has brought immigrants to our shores for centuries. And it still makes America the first choice for those with a passion to get ahead and build a better life for their families.

Our nation’s immigrant past and future is reflected in the heritage of communities and neighborhoods throughout Missouri from the French, German and Irish of the 19th century to the Vietnamese, Bosnian, Somali, Mexican and dozens of other nationalities of more recent decades.

It’s time we speak up and remind our elected officials of the value we all stand to gain from fixing our immigration system and ask them to support the proposal offered by a bipartisan group of U.S. senators, including progressives, conservatives and centrists, known as the “Gang of Eight.”

Their proposal addresses the most broken parts of our immigration system, including common-sense efforts to strengthen border security; create an earned path to citizenship for those who already entered the country illegally; and make it easier for entrepreneurs and highly skilled workers to stay in the U.S. to innovate, create and grow jobs.

Immigration is complicated, no doubt about it. But America can do better. And it’s up to us to make sure all those who represent us in Washington know we expect no less.

I hope you will join me in encouraging Sens. Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt to pass comprehensive immigration reform now.

Robin Carnahan is former Missouri secretary of state.

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