Families in the shadows

An immigration bill would help undocumented Americans living in fear.

My husband has worked in this country as an undocumented immigrant for 10 years, paying his taxes and never using a dime of our government’s money. I say we need comprehensive immigration reform, like the 2013 Senate Immigration Bill S.744, a bipartisan bill written by four Republicans and four Democrats. It has yet to make the House floor.

It would provide a road to citizenship that is so dearly needed, and it’s a difficult path indeed that can take well over a decade.

It contains an enormous border security boost, including the deployment of nearly 40,000 new border patrol agents. It requires all employers to use E-Verify so they can be held accountable for hiring undocumented immigrants, and it contains programs for temporary workers to be documented even if they never choose to become citizens. It would provide help getting citizenship for those who came here as children or who hold doctorates in scientific fields, and it would give opportunities for investors to put their money in our economy. Another important part is that the bill would make it almost impossible for someone to become a citizen if they’ve ever committed a dangerous crime. Finally, the people in detention centers would have access to legal counsel, while their judges would have more discretion in deciding their cases.

The man I love came to this country more than a decade ago because his brother suffers from cerebral palsy and his family struggles to earn the money to care for him. For those 10 years, my husband worked 12-hour days, six days a week in a very dangerous occupation purely out of love and duty. I am incredibly lucky to have married a man so strong and honorable. I can only aspire to be so brave.

However, thanks to our broken immigration system, he spent those 10 long years living in fear, never seeing those people he worked so hard to save. He has missed saying good-bye to so many loved ones, especially his grandfather, because we don’t have a reasonable path to citizenship or even a guest worker program.

We can never take away the pain we’ve allowed so many immigrants to bear, but we have the opportunity to make things right for the future.

We have the chance to be the America we are all so proud of. Please contact your legislators and let them know we need comprehensive reform now.