Numbers Add Up


Numbers can be, well, mindnumbing.  But they are something that all of us use every single day.  Price of gas? A number.  Mortgage or rent payment due?  A number.  Groceries, utilities, daycare, you name it and it can be numbered.

I want to share some numbers with you—powerful numbers on immigration reform that have been stacking up over the last few months.

Today, Gallup released a poll, that showed 72% of Americans said immigration was a “good thing” for the country and a quarter who said it was bad.  That is a huge step forward as we try and convince the House that tackling real immigration reform is necessary.

People across the country are recognizing that our current system is broken, it’s not fair to families, businesses, and offers no chance of a life free from fear for those undocumented.  This isn’t red state versus blue state we’re talking about here. Polls done in 29 states, ranging from Texas to Maine and Arkansas to Illinois had over 87% off respondents (Democrats, Republicans and Independents) saying that “it was very or somewhat important that the U.S. fix it’s immigration system this year.”  It’s been a good long while since I saw over 87% of Americans agree on anything.

And despite a lot of the rhetoric out there, a majority of us (72%) are in favor of a tough but fair path to citizenship for those here without documents, including 59% of Republicans surveyed, 68% of Independents and 90% of Democrats.

Let’s not forget some of the most important numbers of all: those from the recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) updated scoring of the Senate bill as passed.  My favorite number from that was the more than $800 billion over twenty years that would be removed from the federal deficit if we actually implement S. 744’s set of comprehensive reform provisions.

Now these are mostly national numbers, and those can be compelling but most of our Congressional leaders are going to be focused in on their constituencies and the impact of immigration on their district or state, because that’s in their interest as they gear up for the 2014 elections.  There are plenty more numbers for that each of us can use, available at AIC’s state-by-state interactive page.  And yesterday, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy released estimates of what the undocumented pay in state and local taxes, including what additional revenues may come in after immigration reform.

So pick a number, any number, and get out there.  Work with other stakeholders, coalition partners, and your community.  Use the numbers, add in your client stories, and our voices will be multiplied.

by Leslie Holman