We are so caught up in the partisan games being played over immigration reform that we have lost sight of the long lasting, nonpolitical effects that failing to pass reform will have on the lives of immigrants and many families, which are split with some members who have lawful status and others who are deportable. The well-being of our economy and social fabric of society are also at stake. The fact that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's primary loss on June 10th could potentially imperil immigration reform is a disgrace to the "democratic ideals" that this nation stands for. What many people don't realize -- especially those on the far right of the political spectrum -- is that our inability to muster up a congressional vote on immigration reform shows that our nation remains caught in the struggle for civil rights.
If the House does not pass reform in the coming months, thousands of high-skilled workers and students who have spent an immense amount of money, time and energy to come to the United States will remain at the mercy of random lottery selection. The approximately 11.7 million undocumented living in the United States will be hindered from proceeding through channels of self-advancement that have made America a hopeful destination for the disadvantaged.
"The challenge for immigrants is that our immigration laws are wedded to the past and make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for most persons to come to the U.S. in a work-authorized status," said Ted Ruthizer, an immigration attorney based in New York and one of the founders of Immigrants' List (IL) -- a bipartisan organization dedicated to promoting the reform of our broken immigration laws. "Artificially low quotas, limited visa options for many persons, and the unforgiving nature of our current law make for a defective system. Immigrants' List is working to change our laws to provide more opportunities and greater fairness for today and tomorrow's immigrants."
I had the opportunity to meet with Luis Aguilar, a DREAMer, not too long ago. He expressed sheer discontent at the thought of a future where the status quo may potentially remain unchanged.
I'm afraid that if it [immigration reform] fails to pass, we DREAMers and our families will be faced with so many more obstacles and hardships. Our futures will be jeopardized, given that DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) is only temporary. There will be so much uncertainty. Will our families be taken away from us? Will they be held in ICE custody? Could we still attend school?
At only 25, Aguilar was named one of three winners of Mark Zuckerberg's Hackathon held last year in November. Aguilar and fellow team members developed the Push 4 Reform app, allowing users to look up pertinent information about their respective congresspersons and learn where they stand on the reform movement.
We are at great risk of disposing the talents of many young immigrants like Aguilar, who have the potential to make this nation thrive.
It is a shame that we are unable to reach a consensus on something that should be a moral imperative. Shouldn't everyone be given the opportunity to succeed like Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, esteemed author as well as one of the most politically influential immigrants of the 21st century? This month, IL honored Arianna Huffington for her commitment to reform and for being a role model for immigrants in the entire country.
The political games must end. They are suffocating an entire group of individuals -- DREAMers, future entrepreneurs, educators, physicians, and more importantly, fellow human beings.