America's immigration system is broken. Too many employers game the system by hiring undocumented workers, and there are 11 million people living in the shadows. Neither is good for the economy or the country.
It is time to act to fix the broken immigration system in a way that requires responsibility from everyone, both from the people here illegally and those who hire them, and guarantees that everyone is playing by the same rules.
The President made it clear in his first term that immigration reform is a priority, he campaigned on it, has called for action, and his leadership has created the space for this important debate to move forward. That you now have Republicans joining Democrats on a bipartisan approach that is largely consistent with the President's blueprint shows progress is possible.
President Obama's recent commonsense immigration reform proposal has four parts. First, continue to strengthen our borders. Second, crack down on companies that hire undocumented workers. Third, hold undocumented immigrants accountable in order to earn their citizenship; this means requiring undocumented workers to pay their taxes and a penalty, move to the back of the line, learn English, and pass background checks. Fourth, update the legal immigration system for families, workers, and employers.
We cannot allow immigration reform to get bogged down in an endless debate. Together we can build a fair, effective and commonsense immigration system that lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.