Many reasons US must clear a pathway to citizenship

I have spent my entire life in Clinton County. As the oldest of four in a family with deep roots in the region, I grew up experiencing all the opportunities that the Wilmington area has to offer, like Quaker Knoll Camp, live theater, and outdoor facilities. I was educated in Wilmington City Schools from kindergarten through high school, and now, I attend Wilmington College as a junior studying Business Administration.

Ohio is my home. And I know for a fact that it would not be the same without immigrants.

As neighbors, friends, and family members, immigrants make an immense contribution to this state every single day. Yet, tens of thousands of undocumented individuals in Ohio live in a constant state of uncertainty as presidential administrations, Congress, and the courts debate their fate.

Clinton County, Ohio, and the United States as a whole simply cannot thrive without the security of undocumented immigrants. That’s why, along with more than 400 other young adults from across the country, I spent four days in Washington, D.C. this past month advocating for our lawmakers to pass a pathway to citizenship.

We held more than 90 lobby visits with members of Congress. My delegation, which included 22 Wilmington College students, met with staffers from the offices of Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, and with Rep. Mike Carey, who represents our district.

Our message was: Enacting a pathway to citizenship through federal legislation would be a morally and economically wise decision. More than 5 million undocumented essential workers stepped up to keep our nation moving. Further, it’s estimated that citizenship for undocumented immigrants would benefit the United States GDP by at least $1.7 trillion, create more than 400,000 jobs, and overall boost our economic growth immensely.

Enacting a pathway to citizenship isthe right thing to do. My faith is rooted in the idea that there is that of God in everyone. Friends are deeply committed to ensuring dignity and rights for all, regardless of migration status or perceived notions of “deservedness or merit.”

We can and must do better — and Sens. Brown and Portman and Rep. Carey can help.

Provisions of pathway to citizenship legislation have support from the majority of federal legislators, the White House, 1,200 faith leaders, 140 of the nation’s top businesses, and 70% of voters across party lines.

There is real bipartisan momentum to get this done.

Jordan Snarr