With Widespread Support, Immigration Reform is not an ‘IF,’ Instead it’s Just a Matter of Time

New York, NY- For the many illegal immigrants and civil rights groups the time is ripe for immigration reform. And President Obama, in his inaugural address, once again emphasized the need for reform.

“Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity,” President Obama said.

Groups that have traditionally been opposed to comprehensive immigration reform that provides a pathway to citizenship such as Republicans and Labor Unions are now coming around and the majority of Americans are also ready for a solution for the millions of undocumented immigrants who call this country home.

One if the biggest hurdles in coming up with comprehensive immigration reform is both a moral and ethical dilemma. In a nation that hails the virtues of family, the fact that as a nation we are willing to tear apart families because one member overstayed their visa or a young person was brought here illegally by their parents is in direct contradiction to the values we hold in high esteem. Yes, some immigrants entered the country illegally or overstayed their visas, but the current system places such high hurdles in their way that living in the shadows appeared to be the only option they had to stay with their families or create a better life for themselves.

In a recent CNN/ ORC poll, the majority of Americans 53 percent of those asked said they approved of a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. In another Associated Press/ GfK poll, 62 percent favored a pathway to citizenship. So the national sentiment towards undocumented immigrants is shifting. What is interesting about the Associated Press poll is that so-called amnesty got widespread approval among Republican respondents who have traditionally opposed an easier pathway.

President Obama in two executive orders, one that allowed young immigrants the chance to legally obtain a visa, and the second which allows immigrants with American family members to obtain legal residence, are just two measures aimed at cutting down on illegal immigration. Much more needs to be done.

These two executive orders, which enjoy support with the majority of Americans, were highly criticized by many right-leaning lawmakers. But after the overwhelming turnout of Latino voters in the last election, Republican lawmakers and Labor Unions are now lending their support to immigration reform which also paves an easier pathway to citizenship for millions illegal immigrants.

Most recently, Sen. Marco Rubio, a Cuban immigrant and Republican rising star introduced his proposals which didn’t include the word amnesty, but instead proposed a plan that would make it easier for non-criminal offenders to obtain citizenship.

Sen. Rubio’s proposal closely mirrored President Obama’s calling for tighter border control—which is now the reality– the chance to obtain legal residency, the first step to naturalization. Rubio, like the President, approves of giving visas to highly-educated and skilled immigrants.

Both politicians and American citizens approve of comprehensive reform and their wants are closely aligned. Now it is just a matter of time and no doubt there will many disagreements on the details of how we arrive at that goal, but it is inevitable.