Recently, the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives finally addressed the matter of immigration reform, admitting "our nation's immigration system is broken" and provided a statement of principles on the matter. It contained a number of steps and issues that must be addressed including border security and enforcement, an employment verification system, reforms to the legal immigration system, and most importantly, an opportunity for those currently undocumented to come forward, get right with the law, and live legally without fear in the U.S.
This is a welcome step for immigration reform and is consistent with the comprehensive bill passed by the Senate. What it does not do is provide an opportunity to become a U.S. citizen sometime in the future. However, the Lowcountry Immigration Coalition believes it is a good starting point for negotiations. It remains to be seen whether these principles will result in meaningful legislation within coming months, especially concerning the proposed enforcement triggers. What this means, at what costs, and within what timeframe, is yet to be stated.
Immigration reform is good for our economy, good for our state and right for our nation. We urge our S.C. representatives to consider the core principles of liberty and justice and to have the moral courage to move positively on these proposals, including eventual citizenship.
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Hilton Head Island
Editor's Note: Esquivel is co-chairman of the Lowcountry Immigration Coalition.