THE BLOG
05/11/2011 09:51 am ET Updated Jul 11, 2011

Immigration Memo to President: Outline Legislative Vision for Congress

Yesterday, President Obama called for the public to rally behind the idea of comprehensive immigration reform. I am very supportive, and I know many of my colleagues are as well. We have been waiting for this moment and stand ready to work with the President on this legislation. The President should help guide Members by laying out a legislative model of what he envisions in the reform process.

Until we achieve comprehensive immigration reform, we will continue to have two Americas. One that has realized the American Dream and one where millions of our friends, neighbors, and coworkers live in the shadows, separated from their families by a broken immigration system. Every day we wait, our economy loses hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenue and consumer spending. Immigration reform would yield $1.5 trillion to the US GDP over a ten year period. This is what I call economic recovery. Immigrants are a critical part of our economy, culture, and our national identity. We need to be one nation, indivisible. That is why we need comprehensive immigration reform now.

President Obama reiterated his commitment to reforming our country's immigration system through compassionate, comprehensive legislation, suggesting that America's immigrants - whether they have arrived by the Mayflower, slave ship, Ellis Island or the Rio Grande - are one people. I couldn't agree more.

For many American families who remain estranged from siblings and parents overseas, that sentiment seems out of reach, which is why I reintroduced the Reuniting Families Act last week to fix this problem by allowing all Americans to be reunited with their families, including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender permanent partners.

We are a nation of immigrants, and our country deserves an immigration system that honors that legacy and supports key family values, like keeping families intact. The Reuniting Families Act represents a giant step forward in that commitment and provides a blueprint that respects families, strengthens our economy and fixes a badly broken system. I urge Congress to take action now. For every day Congress delays, more families face separation.

Rep Michael Honda is chair emeritus of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and co-chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus. Follow Rep Honda on Facebook and Twitter.