America needs meaningful immigration reform
Posted on 09/29/2013
This fall, members of Congress have a rare opportunity to reform and modernize the country’s failing immigration system – action that, if done properly, could change Illinois agriculture, education, business and job growth for the better.
The U.S. immigration system hasn’t undergone major reform since 1986 under President Ronald Reagan. The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act provided a pathway to citizenship for 2.7 million undocumented immigrants. It also demanded more accountability from employers who knowingly hired workers without legal documentation.
Some decried the act as a failure; others considered it a success. An estimated 2.7 million people embarked on a path to citizenship after the law, but it didn’t completely stop illegal immigration.
In the 1970s there were an estimated 1 million undocumented immigrants in the country; today there are an estimated 11 million.
The U.S. Senate earlier this year approved, in a 68-32 vote, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act. It’s now in the hands of the Republican-controlled House, which has only moved pieces of reform out of committees but has not addressed a comprehensive bill, despite pressure to do so by business and labor groups, reform organizations and citizens.