For decades Congress has failed to take action with regard to immigration into the United States. As a result, every President since FDR has, by Executive Orders and similar actions, had to make allowances for different groups. American Immigration Council
. The difference, now, of course, is that actions are being taken against
immigrants - even legal ones. An Overview of President Trump’s Executive Actions on Immigration
(a bit outdated). In contrast, Reagan, Nixon, and G.W. Bush all took executive actions specifically to help
such immigrants when Congress failed to act.
There are some Congressmen, even Republicans, who are willing, and attempting, to act: GOP lawmaker introducing legislation to make 'Dreamers' citizens
- CNN; the DREAM Act
It is time to get realistic about immigration in the United States. The United States has the highest level of immigration in the world: "Today, more than 40 million people living in the U.S. were born in another country, accounting for about one-fifth of the world’s migrants in 2015." Pew Research Center
. This has been hugely important for our economy.
Looking forward, immigrants and their descendants are projected to account for 88% of U.S. population growth through 2065, assuming current immigration trends continue. In addition to new arrivals, U.S. births to immigrant parents will be important to future U.S. growth.
In 2014, about 27 million immigrants were working in the U.S., making up some 17% of the total civilian labor force. Lawful immigrants made up the majority of the immigrant workforce at 19.5 million. An additional 8 million immigrant workers are unauthorized immigrants, a number little changed since 2009. They alone account for 5% of the civilian labor force.
Moreover, there is the moral aspect of this crisis. Nearly a million "Dreamers" have never known any other homeland than the United States - and many don't even speak the language of their birth nation. There are millions
of American citizens whose parents were either temporary or even undocumented immigrants. Are we going to, literally, tear these families apart just to make a point? Moreover, they have been contributing to our nation for decades or more, is that worth nothing? What about those, like the Salvadorans, who have counted on our generosity to build lives here? Are our promises worth nothing?
There is a reason why the United States remains a beacon for displaced people the world over. It's the American Dream. Let them achieve their dreams and make them fully American
. Immigrants are the ones that built this nation - literally.