Immigration reform is not just an economic issue -- although it plays a big role in attracting and retaining talented people who will contribute to our economy. Commonsense immigration reform -- as Boston's Cardinal Sean O'Malley affirmed -- is part of a consistent ethic in which all of life is treated as sacred.
Today I had the great honor of saying an opening prayer at the National Cathedral's memorial service for Nelson Mandela, the most important political leader of the 20th century. This was an honor, not only because of Mandela's stature on the world's stage, but because he was someone I admired very deeply and personally.
The debate about immigration reform has been very productive in America over these past several years. And that debate has been won -- by those who favor a common sense agenda for reform. There are really few policy debates left on this issue, except about details. There is no real substance behind the opposition to reforming what mostly everyone agrees is a broken and brutal system. Rather it is politics: angry politics, fearful politics, and, sadly, racially-based politics, with institutional political practices and rules that can avoid democratic accountability. That is just wrong. Democracy is being vetoed by corrupt and racial politics. It's not just our immigration system that is broken -- our politics are too.