Columbia, SC — It’s time for S.C. Republicans to get behind comprehensive immigration reform. Fixing our broken immigration system is right for America, and for our party.
If Republicans had pushed for comprehensive reform in 2008, we could have attracted a slightly higher percentage of Hispanic voters, and we wouldn’t have had President Obama or Obamacare. If we had gotten behind comprehensive immigration reform in 2011 and 2012, we might not have a second Obama term.
Reform must secure the borders, provide a tough but fair path to citizenship for those immigrants who appreciate the opportunities America offers and include provisions that can attract at least a few Democratic senators. Senate bill 744 includes all three elements.
If Republicans take the lead in passing immigration reform, the onus is then on the Democratic administration to begin securing our borders. No more free passes to illegal immigrants who commit crimes — jail until deportation. No more ignoring those who overstay their visas. If the Democrats fail, Republicans win, because it will be clear which party is delaying the path to citizenship for deserving immigrants. If they succeed, America wins: We will have solved a problem that has been undermining the law, undermining worker security and undermining our social fabric.
Either way, Republicans win. Although illegal immigrants come from all over the world, most are Hispanics, who are a natural fit for the Republican Party: They came here hoping that by working hard, they could improve not just their lives but the lives of their children and grandchildren. Most follow religious faiths that support core Republican moral principles: They are anti-abortion and support traditional family values.
They came here for the same reasons my grandparents did: to build a better future, to escape governments where hard work is not rewarded and to live in a free society. That sounds like a Republican.
Sen. Lindsey Graham and other leading conservatives are working hard to pass a tough but fair plan. I encourage you to contact both of our U.S. senators to assure them you support responsible immigration reform; in addition contact your representative. It’s time for Republicans to become the party of “let’s go” instead of the party of “no.”