Immigrants are People Who Move

Written by Mary Olivella

For my grandmother, Obdulia Olivella, moving was a part of life.

She was born in El Salvador and moved to Panama as a young woman to help her U.S.-born husband start a business. Over the next couple of decades, they would move with four children in tow to the United States, back to Panama, then to Venezuela and ultimately settling permanently in the United States.

Families move.  Immigrants are people who move.  Thankfully, for my grandmother, due to her personal circumstances, it was not difficult to obtain U.S. citizenship.  But this is not the case for the 11 million people currently living in the United States without documentation. These families and their contributions are woven into the fabric of our communities.

Yet, ask pretty much anyone, and they’ll agree: Our nation’s current immigration system is broken.

Most of us can relate to the hardships associated with moving, especially with children in tow.  Moving is a shared experience for most people; a recent survey found that 70% of people in our nation have moved from the local county in which they were born.

People understand moving, and understand that we need to fix our outdated and broken immigration policies. In fact, the vast majority of Americans back a plan for comprehensive immigration policy reform. And, according to the latest Associated Press poll, the majority of Americans favor providing a process for undocumented immigrants already in the United States to become U.S. citizens.

However, even though the President is making immigration reform a top priority for his administration, and even though a bi-partisan committee of Senators has just released their principles for comprehensive immigration reform, there is no guarantee that Congress will stop their posturing and agree on policies that are good for all of our families and ensure a thriving economy.

Immigrant families are indeed key contributors to our nation’s economy and we must move quickly. Over the last 15 years, immigrants have increased the rate by which they start businesses by more than 50 percent, and undocumented immigrants contributed more than $11 billion to our economy in 2010 alone.

The clock is ticking for families and for our economy.  All parents in our country should be able to work hard and be able to provide for the well-being of their families.

Let’s face it, most of our families came to the United States from another country at some point in time. We are a strong, innovative nation because of our diverse backgrounds. The time is now to fix our outdated, broken immigration system.

This post was originally published by MomsRising.


Related Stories:

Everything You Need to Know About the Bipartisan Immigration Reform Framework

Top 5 Reasons Why Citizenship Matters

Infographic: Why We’re Ready for Immigration Reform


Photo: jonathan mcintosh/flickr


Alisha F.
Alisha F.4 years ago

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Scott haakon
Scott haakon4 years ago

We have too many people for the jobs that exist. No the illegals need to go back either by moving back or by deportation. No exceptions! Once the word gets out then we will have a better chance of making progress with international employment treaties.

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson4 years ago

a very complicated issue with a lot of myths hurting reform. reform is a must

Robert O.
Robert O5 years ago

Great article. Immigration reform can't wait.

Christopher M.
Christopher M.5 years ago

We have how many people, three some, people for each job and we want to add more people? Maybe angry Democrats, though I am one. It should also be alarming we don't have the guts to enforce this law or other Federal laws, draft registration. We even seriously discuss legalizing drugs.

Ernest Roth
Ernest R5 years ago

@ Dons T. “workers is here to make a better life. However the majority is”. I believe that the majority of American citizens is here to make a better life as well as the drug dealers, pimps and scam artists. I feel no need to provide a better life for people that can’t realize that when children are too many to support, they say “That’s the way we Mexicans are, senor”.

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra5 years ago

Thank you MomsRising, for Sharing this!

Ernest Roth
Ernest R5 years ago

@ Wanda B.” I think the cause of the socialist failure should look inward not blame some one else period!” Which socialists failed ? Norway ? Swed en ? Denmark ? Capitalist [pot calling the kettle black] US is deeper in debt than all the EU countries combined, and has had to seek bailouts from Communist China to avoid declaring bankruptcy!!! Little Cuba has kept itself functional despite embargoes by the US and whoever the US can bully into doing the same. Don’t forget the words “The problem with Capitalism is that eventually they run out of other people’s money”. Eventually is here now.

a             y m.
g d c5 years ago


Connie T.
Past Member 5 years ago

This article seems to concentrate on the situation in the US (as is frequently the case) - but immigration problems are rife in many other countries where 'doing it through the proper channels" seems to ignored in favour of people arriving on leaky boats...............