The Common Good

Senate Passes Immigration Overhaul; Top 10 Reasons It Matters

By a 68-32 vote, the Senate just passed S.744, a bipartisan immigration reform bill that people of faith have held up as part of a solution to the United States’ broken immigration system. While it still has to make its way through the House of Representatives, here are the top 10 things that would happen if S. 744 became law:

1.  It would create a roadmap to citizenship for aspiring Americans. 

Current immigration law has no way forward for immigrants who don’t have the right documents. The Senate bill would open doors for them to become full members of society.

2.  It would bring hope to lots of people. 

Around 8 million of the 11.4 million aspiring Americans living in the shadows would be able to gain legal status, giving them hope and opportunity. That’s as many people as live in the entire state of New York – a huge impact.

3.  It would beef up the border. 

Border patrol would surge by 20,000 officers under an amendment passed this week. There would be one officer every 1,000 feet.

4.  ... and spend a lot of money doing it. 

New provisions also include a 700-mile fence, which would be completed across the Southern border. New border patrol activities will cost roughly $46.3 billion

5.   It would boost GDP. 

The economy would get a stimulus of 3.3 percent over the next decade, and 5.3 percent by 2033

6.   It would trim our deficits over the next decade

The deficit would shrink by $197 billion in the next 10  years.

7.   It would really trim our deficits over the next 20 years … by nearly $1 trillion by 2033! This flies in the face of conservatives who feared that immigration reform would add to the federal deficit.

8.  Workers would benefit.

Average wages would rise by an extra 0.5 percent by 2033 – a boost for workers across the country at all pay levels.

9.  Politics as we know it would change. 

Political dynamics would shift in ways that nobody can predict with a sea of new voters and issue concerns.

10. Families would be reunited.

Some of the mothers and fathers who were separated from their children through deportation would have an opportunity to be reunited with their families.  It is estimated that in a span of 2 years, 205,000 parents were removed from their children.

No bill is perfect, of course, and this will not be the end of our work to make sure our immigrant brothers and sisters are welcome in this country. The House of Representatives is unlikely to pass a comprehensive bill like the one proposed in the Senate, and the fight in the House will be a tough one.

Still, the successful witness of people of faith on the issue of immigration shows that change is possible, and that legislators are listening to the moral arguments made in favor of welcome for our immigrant sisters and brothers.  

Janelle Tupper is Campaigns Assistant for Sojourners. 

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