In today's strict black and white split between the major political parties, immigration reform and bipartisanship have become unlikely associations. But the senate's "Gang of Eight" has been working for months toward a bipartisan bill on immigration reform.
President Barack Obama praised the group in January, saying, "A bipartisan group of senators announced their principles for comprehensive immigration reform, which are very much in line with the principles I've proposed and campaigned on for the last few years."
With the deadline looming for the senate's immigration reform bill to be introduced tomorrow, the Senate Judiciary Committee has postponed its hearing from Wednesday to Friday amidst the chaotic rush to finalize text, according to NBC News.
Though the senate's bill is far from perfect, as a nation with 11 million illegal immigrants and no clear framework for a path to citizenship, it must be passed. Immigration reform is not only necessary but urgent.
The bill successfully accomplishes outlining clear goals toward comprehensive reform of border security, visa processing, worker verification, and gaining citizenship. One way the bill is successful is that it is self-adjusting. By setting timeframes, the bill allows for change and back-up plans if the initial proposal fails. According to CBS News, the proposal will allow the Department of Homeland Security to "set metrics to measure how secure the border is," in order to achieve 100% awareness of border crossings in five years. If this goal is not achieved, however, a funded local border commission will assume responsibility of their respective border.
Additionally, and arguably most importantly, the proposal allows for a path for undocumented immigrants to gain citizenship. Rather than leaving the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the shadows, the bill acknowledges and allows those who can pass a complex process, including learning English and passing a background check, a path citizenship. According to a poll cited in Politico, 87% of illegal immigrants would undergo the process of gaining citizenship.
Though the work of the "Gang of Eight" is a product of trailblazing bipartisanship, it will undoubtedly face heat from unhappy conservatives. Not only are GOP representatives calling the bill unconstitutional and unfair, but they also cite the heavy cost of reform associated with the border security budget.
As broad, idealistic, and even expensive the proposal might be, if politicians hope to work toward successful, comprehensive immigration reform, it must be passed. The benefits undoubtedly outweigh the costs: Not only will the bill spur economic growth by creating jobs for skilled immigrants, but it will also represent the direction we as a nation must take in order to modernize outdated, prejudiced views on undocumented immigrants.