As the child of immigrants who came to Hawaii nearly 60 years ago, I’ve always believed that immigration reform must be guided by three key principles: we must establish clearer pathways to citizenship for immigrants and their children, we must keep America’s economic and security interests in mind, and we must provide greater opportunities for the immigrants serving in the U.S. military to earn citizenship for themselves and their families.
President Obama’s announcement today brings us closer to that goal by allowing young immigrants —who were brought here by their parents — the chance to succeed in our country. Those who are in school, have earned a high school diploma, or served in the military, and also have no criminal record, will have the opportunity to earn work permits so they can legally apply for jobs. This small step will help to strengthen our economy, increase our national security, and give these young people a chance at achieving their own American Dream. I will always be eternally grateful that my parents and older siblings were welcomed to Hawaii with open arms — it was their move that eventually led to Hawaii being the land of my birth.