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College Republicans supports immigration reform. Unlike what some GOP candidates have recently discussed, the immigration reform that we support does not feature a 55-foot wall or mass deportation as its focal point. However, we also oppose President Obama’s recent executive orders regarding illegal immigration. This is an issue that deserves to be addressed in a democratic manner through Congress, rather than by decree.

Our current immigration mess is twofold: There are 11 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally who have jobs and children, but no path to legal status. At the same time, millions of talented would-be immigrants spread across the globe who are eager for a better life and have applied to legally immigrate will likely never come to live in the United States due to hopeless layers of bureaucratic complexity and red tape. In short, it is still far easier to immigrate illegally than to come through legal channels.

There are problems with our efforts to prevent illegal immigration on all levels. Nearly 15 years after Congress mandated the creation of a visa overstay tracking system, the United States still has no idea how many visitors overstay their visas. Although our border security is likely as effective as it has ever been, the Department of Homeland Security has been far too slow to adopt technology — such as drones — that could make policing the border easier and cheaper. Security of the border and visa entry system is a vital first step towards offering a pathway to legal status and ensuring that our legal immigration system functions appropriately.

The illegal immigrants currently in the United States are not an imminent threat to the survival of the union, despite what Donald Trump might say. The illegal immigrants in our country already create great economic value according to nearly all economic analyses conducted on the issue. If granted legal status, these immigrants would not only pay more in taxes, but also be free to take advantage of all that is possible in the United States — such as education, jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities — thus further increasing economic benefit for all.

More importantly, when we discuss illegal immigration, we are discussing the fates of over 11 million people. Approximately 30 percent of adult illegal immigrants are the parents of U.S. citizens under the age of 18. Breaking up these families would be reprehensible, regardless of the wrongs committed when the parents immigrated illegally. With these issues in mind, College Republicans support a path to legalization for most undocumented immigrants currently in the United States. There is the obvious exception of those who commit crimes while in the United States illegally, which should be an immediate disqualification for attaining legal status.

We support reforms to make legal immigration quicker and easier. The best place to start is to increase the number of H1-B visas issued to highly-skilled workers, along with ensuring that international students graduating from U.S. colleges can stay in the United States if they wish to do so. These measures can help ensure that the United States remains fertile ground for technological innovation and entrepreneurship.

Additionally, we support granting more visas for lower-skilled workers and entrepreneurs, as they too are vital for economic development. Country quotas should be eliminated, as they keep the United States from getting the best possible immigrants and only marginally increase diversity. For those who want to become citizens, it should take a few years — not a few decades — to earn a green card.

Immigration is a complex issue, and members of both parties too often propose simplistic solutions. Mass deportations, walls and similar draconian measures are unworkable in practice and, more importantly, go against the values that America has upheld for the past 240 years, while the president’s executive orders are anathema to the democratic process. Both parties need to work together to find common ground on immigration reform. We hope that members of both parties recognize the gravity of the situation and finally put aside the political posturing that has characterized past debate.

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