House Speaker John Boehner has done well to speak out hismind on an important issue that has beenhanging fire for many years now. It is givingstatus to more than 11 million undocumentedimmigrants. It is a question of accepting a work forcethat has contributed to the growth of America.
It is aquestion of giving due dignity to people who havesweated it out to support their families back home andhave given ungrudgingly to America their unflinchingloyalty. I appreciate the Speaker who has, in the teeth of opposition from some of his Republican colleagues, said he would like to see the immigration legislation through this year itself. I have had “every brick and bat and arrow shot at me” over the Immigration legislation issue, said House Speaker Boehner of his Republican colleagues.
But he is resolved that the immigration legislation is a priority for the nation and that it should not be delayed any further. Earlier, last year, Mayor of Los Angeles, Villaraigosa, had championed the cause of the undocumented immigrants. I am tempted to quote here a few excerpts from his statement who had said, “A temporary status, second-classcitizenship, cannot and will not be a comprehensiveimmigration policy. It’s not amnesty, it’s earned. Youhave to prove you’ve been here for a period of time. Youhave to pay your back taxes. You have to get at the end ofthe line. You have to learn English and have someknowledge of the country if you want to be a citizen.
What’s the alternative? The [mass] deportation of 11million people? No country in the world has everdeported 11 million people, and this great countrycertainly won’t be the first.” Speaking about the economic incentives for theimmigration reform, Villaraigosa had said, “There’s a$1.5 trillion economic impact, according to the Centerfor American Progress. The Dreamers alone, it’sestimated, will have a $329 billion impact over a 10- yearperiod. And the reason is this: You’re bringing thesepeople from out of the dark and into the light.
Whathappens when you do that? You encourage them to getan education; you encourage them to improve their jobskills. They’re encouraged to seek better jobs. Theycontribute more to our Social Security system.President Obama has said that we should attach a greencard to the diploma of people who come here gettingbachelor’s degrees, particularly in science and math.[Also, H-1B] visas need to be expanded, and we need tomake sure that we have a program that makes sense inthe agricultural sector.” Speaker Boehner deserves appreciation for his bold, principled stand on the issue. We hope he will stand his ground and ensure the immigration legislation passes this year.