On Sunday’s “Meet the Press”, former Secretary of State Colin Powell said, “illegal immigrants do essential work in the U.S. and that he has firsthand knowledge of that—because they fix his house.” Today, Colin Powell clarified his remarks by saying “I don’t hire illegal immigrants. On ‘Meet the Press’ yesterday, I referred to illegal immigrants working around my house. I was referring to the many service contractors who work in my neighborhood, using mostly immigrant workers, who do good work. Some may well be ‘illegal.’ There are 11 million illegal immigrants in this country and most are working somewhere in our economy.”
Colin Powell’s stance on immigration was further clarified in the interview when he stated, “We can’t be anti-immigration. Immigrants are fueling this country. Without immigrants, America would be like Europe or Japan with an aging population and no young people coming in to take care of it. We have to educate our immigrants. The DREAM Act is one way to do that.”
Powell also said Republicans should back immigration reform that would create a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, as Bush urged during his presidency.
Powell reminded Americans that immigrants are hard workers: “They’re all over my house, doing things whenever I call for repairs, and I’m sure you’ve seen them at your house,” he said. “We’ve got to find a way to bring these people out of the darkness and give them some kind of status. ”
Colin Powell’s stance on immigration demonstrates how some moderate Republicans are seeking a way to change our immigration in a way that will have a positive impact on the U.S. As Gen. Powell noted above, the DREAM Act is one way that the American government can help alleviate the problems faced with illegal immigrants in America.
By embracing those who were brought here without even knowing they were here illegally, America is fulfilling its historical heritage by allowing them to become educated citizens and to contribute to our society through getting an education or joining the military. By nothing the differences between us and Europe or Japan, Gen. Powell emphasizes the importance it is to embrace our immigrants, be they legal or illegal, if they are here to help contribute to American society.
This is especially important right now, when the U.S. has been hit with a recession and is in need of an economic boost from the working population. Let us hope that there are more politicians like Colin Powell that will help move immigration reform forward.