THE BLOG

The Time Is Now

04/10/2014 09:00 am ET | Updated Jun 10, 2014
AP

Our future economic competitiveness is on the line. Immigrants invented some of the technologies that changed our markets and our lives.

Immigrants create new jobs.

Immigrants help fuel of the greatest economic engine the world has ever known.

Members of the New Democrat Coalition are working with Democrats, Republicans, and Independents to advance comprehensive immigration reform. Why? We understand that the United States is missing out on economic opportunities every single day the House of Representatives refuses to act on comprehensive immigration reform. We cannot let the economic growth and job creation that millions of new Americans would bring slip through our fingers. We have seen what immigrant workers can do -- 40 percent of all Fortune 500 companies were started by first- and second-generation Americans -- and we are ready to unlock the innovative potential of a new generation of immigrants.

That's why we need, at long last, to bring comprehensive immigration reform to a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In an effort to bring the years of fighting to an end and finally fix our broken immigration system, we joined our colleagues in introducing a discharge petition that would bring the bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill before the House of Representatives. We have said that we will use every tool possible to bring immigration reform to a vote, and that is just what we are doing. It's time for those who stand for a fix to this broken system to be counted, and for those whose words aren't matched with action to receive public attention for their hypocrisy.

It's time for us to act.

We are hopeful that we can work together as legislators to complete the task of overhauling our nation's immigration system. But our colleagues on the other side of the aisle must take the task of reform seriously. That's the operative phrase. We have given our colleagues on the other side of the aisle ample opportunity to propose their own solutions to address the issue of the 11 million undocumented persons living in the shadows of our country, to advance their own bills and to contribute to the conversation. We've asked them, time and time again, to voice their concerns while debating a comprehensive immigration reform bill, yet they have not allowed a single immigration reform bill to receive an up or down vote.

Nothing has been done to bring comprehensive immigration reform to a vote.

We do know that there are 30 House Republicans who have indicated their support for an overhaul to our immigration system. It makes sense: Reform is good for jobs, good for our long-term fiscal well-being, and good for American innovation. The Bipartisan Policy Center estimates that new immigrant workers would help increase economic growth by 4.8 percent over the next two decades, and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that reform would slash the deficit by $900 billion over the same time period. No matter how you look at the facts, immigration reform is good for our future.

That's why we can't delay a vote.

Every day we delay action, we lose jobs. The business advocacy group Compete America estimates that we lose one new job in America every 63 seconds we don't act. How is that possible? With stringent limits on high-skilled visas, businesses in the United States take a double hit: We lose the jobs that high-skilled workers might fill and the jobs that engineers and researchers might create. As members of the pro-growth New Democrat Coalition, we find it outrageous that, in the face of global competition from countries eager to overtake our leading role in the global economy, we would turn our backs on this growth.

And that's why we need comprehensive reform now.

Whether or not this discharge petition is successful is in the hands of those who have spoken out about the need for fixing our immigration system: Democrats and Republicans. This petition makes it even more abundantly clear who stands on the side of reform. Rest assured that immigration reform is not an issue that will go away, and we will work to persuade our Republican colleagues to sign this petition. The American people demand it.

So our message is this: Give the American people a vote on immigration reform, and you'll open the nation to a brighter economic future. Let's put the politics aside and make it happen.

Reps. Joe Garcia, Jared Polis and Joaquin Castro are the co-chairs of the New Democrat Coalition's Immigration Task Force. Rep. Garcia is the lead sponsor of H.R. 15, House Democrats' immigration reform bill, as well as the leader of the discharge petition effort.