Immigration is not an "us" and "them" situation, despite what some paranoid xenophobic nativists may think. It's just us; intertwined, beautiful, Earth-sharing people. In fact, a full 85% of Latinos without documentation in the United States have family members here, according to a poll conducted by Latino Decisions on behalf of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund and America's Voice Education Fund.
As all things go in cycles and waves, much as Fibonacci described, so go migration patterns, family growth, roots, and populations. The poll found that, of the 85% who had family members in the United States, 62% had U.S. born citizen children and 13% had a U.S. citizen spouse.
Even more important is the fact that a full 87% of those polled expressed interest in becoming a citizen if immigration reform passed and they were given the opportunity to do so. That is, people that already live here, already have family here, and already work here, want to come out of the shadows, wave an American flag, pay full taxes, serve in our military, achieve in our schools, work in our industries, advance our science, and be fully and passionately American.
Latino Decisions points out that this poll paints "a portrait of a community that is very integrated into the American fabric, and hopeful of a chance to gain legal status and ultimately citizenship." Why would they want to be citizens? It's pretty clear. The U.S is still the land of opportunity, especially for those living in the Americas.
39% of respondents cited better jobs and opportunity as their reason for coming to the U.S. The U.S. should be excited to have millions of passionate, energetic young folks coming here to work and propel our economy. A close second reason for immigration is seen in the 38% who indicate that they came for a better life for their children. I know we're not the kind of nation that denies people who want to work hard and see their kids shine. Isn't that what we all want out of life?
Even our right-wing legislators are getting on board. Tea Party favorite and freshman Senator Rand Paul is on board with immigration reform, along with the Republican members of the Gang of 8. As the recent documentary, The Dream Is Now, points out, even the GOP can see that "there is more political risk with opposing immigration reform than with supporting it." For Paul's part, he acknowledges the economic benefit of 11 million taxpayers who are already here coming out of the shadows, though many of his stances on immigration reform are ambiguous at best.
In spite of recent clashes over whether immigration reform should move forward, with legislators on both sides of the aisle citing the Boston bombing as reason, immigration reform needs to move forward. The overwhelming, vast majority of immigrants are simply here to live life the best way they can. Even Paul Ryan recognizes the system needs an overhaul, despite his past obstinance to such reform.
It's time. Let's be the America we should be. Let's let family be family and let these American's in waiting join us in the sunshine as we welcome them out of the shadows.
The poll interviewed 400 "Latino adult immigrants self-identifying as non-citizens and not 'Legal Permanent Residents' or not having any other type of visa or documentation," and has a margin of error of +/- 4.9%.
*Author's note: Fibonacci didn't discover the pattern that is credited with his name, but did introduce it to the West; it was Indian mathematicians in the 6th century who found it. I guess you could say the pattern immigrated to the West.