Comprehensive Immigration Reform Can’t Wait

Regressive immigration policies like the ones proposed by Donald Trump, and the failure of this Congress to protect Dreamers make it difficult for Miami to live up to its full potential. We can’t build a 21st century economy that gives everyone a fair shot at success if we’re implementing immigration policies from the 1920’s.

Now is the time we must decide who we are as a country: do we welcome immigrants with open arms, or turn away the families that contribute so greatly to America? Yes, we need to have clear rules. But I believe that we are a nation that welcomes immigrants.

I believe we are a stronger country when we embrace the diversity that made America great in the first place. It’s time we live up to our values and pass comprehensive immigration reform immediately. ­

It is long overdue that our government offer the millions of families living in the shadows a fair pathway to full citizenship—anything less flies in the face of common sense and human decency. Passing real, comprehensive immigration reform will allow millions of hardworking families to come out from under the shadows and contribute to our economy without fear of deportation.

This will mean safer communities here at home and will serve as a significant boost to our national economy. Consider that between 2014 and 2016, communities like Miami with a higher rate of immigrants accounted for two-thirds of the new jobs created across the U.S.

No more broken families: any comprehensive immigration reform must keep families together. That means offering parents of Dreamers and those in similar situations, a fair path to citizenship. Furthermore, immigration enforcement should focus its resources on detaining and deporting only those who pose a violent threat to our communities. Family detentions must be brought to an end and all private detention centers must be shut down.

America has always been a beacon of hope for millions around the world—an opportunity to work hard and offer your children a brighter future. We need comprehensive immigration reform that will recognize the value immigrants offer our country and protect the hardworking families who comply with our laws and contribute so greatly to the fabric of our communities.

Let’s reject the politics of fear and extend the American dream to more—not fewer—families.