04/18/2013 12:38 pm ET Updated Jun 18, 2013

Can Meaningful Immigration Reform Emerge Through The Rhetoric?

Immigration reform is complex. There are no easy solutions, which is why several legislative discussions are under consideration. But there are critical issues that must be addressed: border security, work eligibility and the legal status of those brought to the U.S. as children.

Our current immigration system is broken. The border is not secure. Too many people are living in the shadows. Talented people we need here in the U.S. go elsewhere because of the cumbersome process to be here. The American Dream was never meant solely for Americans. It is a symbol to the world: come to the U.S., work hard and you can achieve success.

As conservatives, we should be embracing and pushing immigration reform. For it is conservatives that hold true to the idea that we give opportunity to all and that success, yes, the American Dream, is at hand through hard work and determination.

First and foremost, beefed up border security is an essential part for any comprehensive immigration reform deal. There's no question that a porous border affects our sovereignty, national security and trade. According to a recently released nationwide poll by YG Network, two in three Americans believe the U.S. government needs to do more to secure our borders. Even a majority of self-identified liberal voters (51. 8 percent) believe that we're not doing enough with border security. Clearly, Americans see a strong border as an integral part of a working immigration system.

Another important issue that we must address is what should we do with the millions of illegal immigrants who currently reside in the U.S. but live in the shadows? Should they be given a path to citizenship, access to work and a green card, something in between or nothing at all?

We have to acknowledge that the status quo is not sustainable. Real reform must address a responsible way to account for illegal immigrants already here. As the YG Network poll shows, more than two in three Americans support some form of legal status- either a guest worker status or a path to citizenship.

A third component of the immigration system that needs to be dealt with is the status of illegal immigrants under the age of 30 who were brought to this country as children. They did not come here on their own accord and do not deserve to be simply ignored. Helping these young people to achieve citizenship is notably popular with the American people according to the YG Network survey.

Three in four Americans, including 67 percent of self-identified conservatives, support a path to citizenship for these individuals provided they do not have a criminal record. Polling also shows Americans would like to see this younger generation get a college education or enlist in the military -- which will put them on track to obtain the American Dream.

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