THE BLOG

America's Future in 844 Pages

04/17/2013 02:38 pm ET | Updated Jun 17, 2013
  • David Leopold Immigration attorney, past president, American Immigration Lawyers Association

The time for talk is over.

Early this morning the bipartisan bill put together by the Senate "Gang of Eight" through painstaking negotiation and old-fashioned hard work was released. Whatever position you take on immigration reform the senators' bill, or the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act," represents a critical break in the partisan bickering that has paralyzed Washington for far too long. The issue is not whether we can all agree on every provision of the Senate bill -- of course we won't. But Senators Rubio (R-FL), Schumer (D-NY), McCain (R-AZ), Menendez (D-NJ), Graham (R-SC), Durbin (D-IL), Bennet (D-CO), and Flake (R-AZ) have shown the country that "politics as usual" can still be courageously cast aside for the good of the country.

It's now time for the rest of us to roll up our sleeves and get to the hard, unglamorous work of rebuilding a broken immigration system into one that puts America first. We have a bill before the Senate, a legislative proposal to review and digest, and a patriotic duty to pass immigration reform now.

Make no mistake. There is a long road ahead before America creates an immigration process that will keep our borders secure, keep American families safe and together, give American business the tools it needs to compete in a global economy, provide a roadmap to citizenship for the 11 million aspiring citizens now living in the shadows, and restore due process to the immigration courts.

There will be much to praise, criticize and pick apart in the days and weeks to come. But for those who love this country, for those who cherish everything that has made America that "shining city on the hill" that President Reagan so beautifully envisioned, there is no choice now. America needs immigration reform.

We need to find a humane, reasonable solution for the 11 million undocumented immigrants and the bill does that; we need to ensure the border is secure and provides for the safe movement of people, and the bill does that; we need to welcome the best and the brightest to our shores -- the innovators, job creators, researchers, STEM professionals -- and the bill does that; we need a well-designed temporary worker program that protects the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers and includes a path to citizenship, and the bill does that.

This group of senators has proven that it can break through the political gridlock and put the country first by producing a good and fair bill. Now everyone -- from legislators to advocates -- has to stand up and do everything in our power to make sure this effort comes to fruition. We cannot rest until it is enacted, because the work isn't done until then. We must continue to put forth a great effort because these opportunities only come along once in a generation. Shame on all of us if it fails.

Let's not make the perfect the enemy of the amazing. We must pass immigration reform now. America deserves nothing less.