LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Congress needs to stop hitting snooze on the topic of immigration reform

An analysis of the benefits of immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship

Joshua Blinkoff is an honors student at ASU studying business (law) and management. He is passionate about politics and social reform.

For decades, our leadership has avoided what is arguably one of the U.S.’ most significant problems: immigration reform. According to the Pew Research Center, there are currently over 11 million undocumented U.S. immigrants. President Donald Trump has openly proposed deporting these immigrants while Congress has repeatedly found itself unable to approve any legislation of note regarding immigration reform. 

The legislative branch must realize that the problem of immigration cannot be solved through gridlock and partisan hatred, but through compromise, cooperation and a very important phrase: pathway to citizenship.

First and foremost, Congress and the Trump Administration must analyze how immigration impacts the economy. A group of Americans — including Trump — wrongfully claims that providing a pathway to citizenship would harm our economy. 

However, Robert Lynch and Patrick Oakford of The Center For American Progress recently released a report detailing the economic benefits of a pathway to citizenship.

The report found that those working in the U.S. without authorization are “earning far less than their potential, paying much less in taxes, and contributing significantly less to the U.S. economy than they potentially could” if they were given the opportunity to gain legal status. 

The report asserts that earned citizenship for these workers would, over the next decade, boost U.S. GDP by $1.4 trillion, increase total income for all Americans by $791 billion, and generate $184 billion in additional state and federal tax revenue from currently undocumented immigrants. This research clearly shows that legalizing undocumented immigrants would be vital for our economy.

Not only does reform benefit our citizens economically, but we as a society have also benefited from immigrants’ work and even formed strong affiliations with them through being students, neighbors and coworkers. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, over two-thirds of undocumented immigrants have lived in the U.S. for more than a decade. 

It is simply not feasible to deport 11 million people. As stated by the American Action Forum, “removing all undocumented immigrants … will cost taxpayers up to $300 billion.” The New York Times said Julie Myers Wood, a director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement under President George W. Bush, said deportations would also “add chaos to a dysfunctional immigration system.” Thus, exiling the millions of immigrants would be extremely costly and unorganized.

A pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants is necessary for the U.S. Therefore, I propose that a timeline be established for immigrants to register to become U.S. citizens. Those with significant criminal history and those who do not register should be deported. 

Our Congress must realize that without reform, we will continue to lose possible boosts in GDP and tax revenue in the future. We need to welcome the millions of people who are undocumented in this nation. It’s time for Congress to say goodbye to gridlock. It’s time for representatives to take action. It’s time to assist the 11 million people who live and work among us.


Reach Joshua Blinkoff at Joshua.Blinkoff@asu.edu.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this letter to the editor are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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