(GRAND RAPIDS, MI) – The LIBRE Initiative-Michigan’s Community Engagement Director, Marge Bermann, penned an op-ed for the Holland Sentinel calling on Congress and the president to modernize our outdated immigration system. Read the full op-ed here.
Below are experts from the op-ed:
The last time Congress and the president enacted a significant reform of the legal immigration system was a generation ago — in 1990. The last major update to enforcement laws was even before that, in 1986. Since then there have been a number of efforts to update the system to reflect the pressures and demands of a new millennium, but all have failed. When faced with challenges, presidents have resorted to unilateral executive action to try to achieve their priorities.
Everything changes, but our immigration laws seem suspended in amber. That hurts our state badly, given how much we benefit from immigration.
Michigan is home to nearly 700,000 immigrants, who paid more than $7 billion in taxes in 2018. Forty-three percent hold a college degree — a significantly higher number than among Americans born here (28 percent). And immigrant entrepreneurs in the state generated more than $731 million in business income. They are workers, business owners, and family members. And they are critical contributors to our families and communities.
Addressing the status of the Dreamers would be an important first step. But eventually Congress and the president must also come together to fix our laws on legal immigration, worker visas, enforcement, and border security. If Republicans and Democrats can set aside partisan differences on one part of the problem and build support for common-sense, bipartisan solutions, it can set the stage for durable reform.
For many, America’s immigrant heritage is a source of pride. But it’s more than that. It is an ongoing contributor to prosperity and vitality — an important competitive advantage in the world of today. To ensure it remains so, we must continue to update and improve our immigration laws. We encourage Michigan’s members of Congress and the president to seize the chance to do so today.