As 2015 comes to a close, presidential contenders are already talking about what will likely be the biggest issue of 2016 - immigration. Election seasons are typically the times when our country grapples with its toughest questions, and there will be none bigger next year than the issue of immigration.
If America seeks to grow its economy and stimulate job growth, then the most pressing issue we must tackle is reforming our antiquated immigration system. Closing our doors to the world's entrepreneurs or instituting large-scale deportations will not solve the problem. It will make matters worse.
The U.S. has long been the destination for the world’s hardest working, entrepreneurial, and talented immigrants. Unfortunately, our nation's immigration laws have remained virtually unchanged since the 1960s and do not take into consideration our current economy and our need to retain the best and brightest immigrants from around the world. Meanwhile, countries like China, Chile, Singapore, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and the United Kingdom have adapted their immigration policies to attract top global talent to their countries.
While it is true that immigration law and enforcement are complex issues, it is up to us as U.S. citizens to find a new course of action and push our elected officials to institute a new system that allows us to act more quickly, uniformly, intelligently, and humanely on immigration matters. Continuing to let our government do nothing on this issue will only set us back.
I have been privileged this year to have had the opportunity to vocally advocate for immigration reform. I have volunteered my services with Fwd.us to speak to politicians on the economic impact of high-skilled immigration, openly challenged members of the House of Representatives on deportation issues, and worked with the LGBT community on immigration rights for same-sex spouses. I look forward in the year ahead to working alongside Mark Zuckerberg and others to laying the groundwork in 2016 to overhaul our nations immigration laws.
While I expect the national debate on immigration to heat up over the next 12 months, mark my words, this is just the beginning, but hopefully a beginning for meaningful change toward the advancement of our country.