Leading from the middle on immigration

Immigration has become a popular topic of political conversation over the last several months with failed border security policies, controversial deportation and detention actions by the current Administration, and a lack of action to protect Dreamers, or DACA immigrants. Our immigration system is broken and our country's politicians are not leading us toward solutions.

Immigrants contribute significantly to our nation and its economy. Almost half of Fortune 500 businesses were founded by immigrants or children of immigrants. According to the New York Times, "Immigration to the United States from 1990 to 2010, both legal and illegal, produced net benefits worth $50 billion a year to the native population."

Immigrants enrich our culture, bolster our economy, and diversify our population. They start businesses, create jobs, fill our high-tech jobs, harvest our crops, care for our elderly, and perform many other needed functions. We are a country founded by immigrants and built on the backs of immigrants. We are the largest and strongest economy in the world because of our immigrant roots. It is time that our country's policies and laws reflect that.

No, we cannot accept every immigrant who wants to come to America. Yes, we must reasonably control our borders. We need a system for deciding the appropriate level of immigration, and for identifying who we will welcome into our country. And we need a resolution on how we handle immigrants who are already here, without resorting to mass deportations.

We need Independent leaders who will take a bipartisan approach on these difficult issues; Independent leadership that is not controlled by party bosses; Independent leadership that is looking for solutions, not political advantage. Craig O’Dear is that type of leader.

Craig O'Dear for U.S. Senate