A picture of Representative Tony Cárdenas
Tony C.
Democrat CA 29

About Rep. Tony
  • Comprehensive Immigration Reform

    by Representative Tony Cárdenas

    Posted on 2013-09-18

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    CARDENAS. Mr. Speaker, it is a great honor to be here on the floor to speak to America and those around the world who watch and understand all that we try to do in this Congress. It gives me great pleasure and honor to speak tonight about a very important issue that faces America but is just as important to people from all over the world.

    The United States of America is the country where dreams come true. It's not hard to see that citizenship is a cornerstone of that American Dream. We're a Nation of immigrants--and immigration remains one of the great strengths of our great Nation.

    Yesterday, we celebrated Citizenship Day and were reminded of the important contributions immigrants have made to America--immigrants from all over the world.

    As Congress continues to delay the passage of comprehensive immigration reform, we're again reminded that the inclusion of a pathway to citizenship is essential to ensuring that all immigrants are able to fully contribute to our economy, workforce, and to our communities.

    One of the major reasons that we have so many undocumented workers in this great Nation is because our legal immigration system is broken. We should work as hard as possible to ensure that hardworking men and women who simply want to live the American Dream can do so--and that they can do so as American citizens.

    What happens when immigrants are able to become citizens rather than just seeing their immigration status legalized? The answer is simple. We--all of us in America--will have a stronger and more integrated Nation, a stronger [[Page H5642]] economy, and stronger communities. The economic benefits of citizenship are undeniable. Research shows failure to include a path to citizenship would have significant economic costs in terms of lost opportunity for growth, earnings, tax revenues, and jobs for Americans.

    Providing only legal status with no pathway to citizenship would result in $568 billion less in national productivity and $321 billion less in total income, 820,000 fewer total jobs would be created, and Federal and State governments would lose out on $75 billion in additional tax revenue, according to outside estimates.

    {time} 2000 Refusing immigrants the opportunity to become U.S. citizens hurts America. It hurts Americans as well. It hurts our economic interests as a country.

    I want to fix our immigration system and to give those who are willing to work hard for this Nation and sacrifice of themselves an opportunity to do so as Americans. This is why I will continue to work with Democrats, Republicans, and anyone willing to listen to pass an immigration reform bill that is comprehensive and includes a path to citizenship.

    At this time, I would like to take the opportunity to introduce Congressman Steny Hoyer, the minority whip from Maryland. Maryland is one of the earliest States where immigrants landed. Even your State, Congressman Hoyer, has a flag that represents those immigrants and their contributions to Maryland; correct? Mr. HOYER. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

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