Letter to the Editor: Tillis has a good plan to deal with immigration


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

As a small business owner and adviser for more than 40 years, I believe immigration reform is of the utmost importance to the business community. Immigration is one of the most complex matters facing our country today. Congress has let this issue fester for too long, and our system has long been broken.

Since his time in the state legislature, U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis has been a solutions-minded leader unafraid to address problems like this one. Now the senator is one of the few federal lawmakers courageous enough to come forward with a bill that meaningfully addresses an urgent issue.

Senator Tillis’ SUCCEED Act is an important first step in fixing our immigration system because it solves the most urgent need – the current uncertainty faced by hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who were brought into this country as minors. These young people – commonly known as Dreamers – were given a temporary reprieve from deportation with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. President Trump ended that program last month because of the threat of lawsuit from 10 state attorneys general. Without a legislative solution, DACA will end in March, stripping these innocent people of any protections from immediate deportation.

The SUCCEED Act is a compassionate but rigorous solution to this problem. To remain in the United States on a conditional basis, Dreamers must maintain employment, attend postsecondary or vocational school, or serve in the military. They must also pass an extensive criminal background check with both US and international law enforcement agencies. Any individual who is convicted of a felony or significant misdemeanor would have their conditional status revoked.

Perhaps most importantly, this bill is fair – it will not allow these young people to help members of their family skip the legal immigration system, and does not allow them to skip anyone already in the naturalization process.

Dreamers are our neighbors, colleagues, and fellow church parishioners. Most of them were so young when they were brought to the United States that they do not remember the countries where they were born. It would be cruel to send them back.

I applaud Senator Tillis for standing up for what is right and offering a meaningful path forward to keeping Dreamers in the United States. Congress should give this bill serious consideration.

True to his reputation, Senator Tillis has come up with a real solution to begin the improvement of our broken immigration system.


Elm City