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Comprehensive Immigration Reform Now

Edwin Enciso Edwin Enciso | August 09, 2021

(5 min read) - Undocumented workers make up 3.4% of the population. A 2016 study by economists Ryan Edwards and Francesc Ortega estimated that the removal of undocumented workers would result in an annual loss of $434 billion to our economy. The profits made by the productivity of undocumented workers far outweigh the associated costs like health care and education. The problem is not the productivity of migrant workers, who are especially needed when there is a great need for workers. Instead the trouble is similar to the exploitation of other workers that are paid far too little. Corporations and the wealthy leave it to the rest of the population to cover expenses these workers cannot afford. Anti-immigrant politics shift blame to the undocumented to distract us from corporate and wealth interests that profit from these workers.

Misrepresenting the outsider and fomenting anger with lies to win elections is an old political ploy. The existing immigration laws were written by anti-immigrant politicians and enable those that profit, to get away with it. The gross imbalance of enforcement, spending, prosecution, penalties, media reports, and political focus against migrants instead of those that profit exposes the racism of driven by anti-immigrant politics. Some businesses are even profiting from the imprisonment of the undocumented after they lobbied congress to increase deportations. Ultimately, all Americans benefit from lower prices from the productivity of undocumented workers. As a society we allow the blame to fall on migrants for costs like education and health care, without taking responsibility for how profiteering and the need for workers drive migration.


Polling favors a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers already here. So why has immigration reform failed to pass? The historic undocumented border migration we see now polls negatively. So long as we allow the blame to fall on migrants, so long as we let anti-immigrant politics distract us from following the money, we risk loss of Congress to Trump politics.

In the non-profit sector there is insufficient institutional and strategic focus on winning a congressional majority for immigration reform. Following the money can hurt anti-immigrant politics that is often funded by the wealth interests that benefit from making migrants scapegoats for lower wages and lower quality of life from failed regressive economics. Some non-profit groups are effective at holding regressive politicians accountable. For example, Black community organizing produces a 90%+ vote against anti-immigrant politicians. What is needed is for more groups to have this primary focus to the point where their constituency is also voting 90+% against vulnerable anti-immigrant candidates.

To pass immigration reform, we need to organize The People's agreement via their representatives in Congress. If that fails, then we need to go out to the states and ensure the election of a super-majority to Congress in support of reform. Our personal experience with groups making large decisions is helpful. If you are pushing for a group to make a big purchase, but you only have a bare majority agreement among decision-makers, your proposal will likely fail. A simple majority is also not enough in Congress.

In the US Senate getting to a vote on major reform requires 60 votes. We need a movement of organizers dedicated to electing a congressional super-majority to pass comprehensive immigration reform. We also need allies to mobilize a large majority of voters to support us, so we need to support our friends in their needs as we want their support for immigration reform. In 2020 a coalition of 81 million voters removed an anti-immigrant president and agreed on what we call a Platform for Progress which includes comprehensive immigration reform. Our campaign is dedicated to not only our cause but to supporting others in this 81 million voter coalition as we want to be supported. Even when an election is won, some members of Congress will oppose reform. We must organize accountability within their districts until vulnerable obstructionists are polling to lose the next election or the lack of consequences incentivizes delay. CIR Now is a grassroots campaign dedicated to building an agreement to this strategy and supporting the needed community organizing. Please join us.


Polling - Immigration Reform

  • 69% - supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already in the country (NewsNation, 2022.02)
  • 73% - “their own United States Senator should vote for these citizenship proposals” 
    (Global Strategy Group, Hart Research, and BSP Research, 2021.06)

Polling - Border Control

  • 67% - “support turning illegal immigrants back to Mexico.”
  • 64% - “Support Stricter Border Policies”
  • 52% - Approve. “Biden on Immigration”
    Source: Harvard/Harris June 15-17
  • When we introduce the following proposal to voters, President Biden’s approval rating on the border moves dramatically from the negative ratings mentioned earlier (35% approve/54% disapprove) into a positive position (52% approve/42% disapprove).                        
    “President Biden says that what is happening at the border is a serious problem that is a direct result of a broken immigration system that has been ignored for too long. That's why Biden is acting decisively to put solutions in place to address the problem. Biden is working to safely and securely manage the southern border with new investments in technology and infrastructure, while also addressing the root causes of migration and building capacity to process migrants and children in a humane way that reflects American values. President Biden is focused on solutions and moving forward quickly with policies that can ensure both order and justice at our border.”
    (Global Strategy Group, Hart Research, and BSP Research, 2021.06)


Comprehensive Immigration Reform Now