The time is now to reform our national immigration policies. It is time to welcome and appreciate the contributions of the 11 million undocumented people currently living in the U.S. Lack of documentation creates an underclass of people who live in constant fear of deportation and separation from their families. This creates divisions and undermines the social fabric of our communities.
Immigrants from all countries strengthen our economy through business development, innovation and labor. They create diversity of language, culture and traditions that make us all richer.
I was one of 50 Oregonians who embarked last week on a five-day “March for One Oregon” bus tour to help unite rural communities for immigration reform, restoration of driver’s licenses and fair treatment of all immigrants. It was heartwarming and encouraging to be welcomed and cheered by hundreds of people along the way as we built strong relationships of solidarity that transcend race and geography!
I believe that the folks on the bus tour represent most of the good people in our communities. We are people who uphold the dignity of immigrants because it is one of our core values as a country. We also value equality, hard work, fairness and respect for one another.
The time is now for Congress to act in a bipartisan way to quickly pass fair and commonsense immigration reform that is worthy of our values and our aspirations.