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Article posted: 5/30/2013 5:00 AM

Back worker-centered immigration reform

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When worker-centered comprehensive immigration reform becomes a reality, three things will happen for millions of aspiring Americans seeking to work here legally and earn citizenship rights: 1) They will earn more money 2) they'll spend more money and 3) they'll contribute more in taxes.

This is great news for an American economy that needs a boost. It's also a great way to help bolster vital public investments like education and reduce our deficit.

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I've heard the argument that immigrants are going to go on welfare when they get the chance. This is silly. The immigration bills I've seen proposed do not allow people to receive public benefits like welfare while they are on the road to citizenship, which will take most of these workers 13 years.

I doubt anyone that traveled hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of miles to America has the luxury of waiting 13 years for their welfare check. Today's American immigrants, just like generations of immigrants before them, are hardworking and have a lot to offer. They will continue to work hard and contribute to our communities.

Let's allow these new American immigrants the opportunity to help build a stronger America. Please join me in urging Sen. Mark Kirk and other leaders in Washington to pass worker-centered, comprehensive immigration reform.

Carol M. Bickham

Waukegan

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