Almost three years ago, the U.S. Senate passed immigration reform legislation that would have enhanced border security and created a legal path to citizenship for some of the nation’s estimated 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally.
But the House hasn’t taken up the bill, while GOP presidential candidates are talking about building a wall along the Mexican border and deporting millions of people.
Given that political climate, it’s “unlikely” there will be any movement on comprehensive immigration reform this year, Clarisol Duque, chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin’s Chicago office, said during a recent panel discussion at Aurora University.
The event was the latest in the school’s Town Square Series and included the immigration views of public policy, health care and business leaders.
“The issue of immigration impacts things on a global basis, as we’re finding day in and day out,” said former state Rep. Tom Cross, who works at the university in a job promoting a program in science, technology and math. “It affects this country. It also affects the state and the Fox Valley region.”
Cross said the issue also affects Aurora University, which has a number of students with Latino, Arab and Asian backgrounds.
Rebecca Shi, executive director of the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition, said immigration reform is an issue everyone should want addressed because it would strengthen the workforce and boost the economy.
“This is not just a border issue,” she said. “It’s actually a market issue.”
Shi said there are about 526,000 immigrants living illegally in Illinois, and they contribute $560 million in state and local taxes each year.
By Robert Sanchez for Daily Herarld
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