Al Cardenas

And while we rightfully discern which policies are in our best interests, we must keep in mind at all times that we are debating the fate of human beings -- not chattel. Appropriate respect, empathy and transparency must be assured to all who will be impacted by this process.

America needs to grow its population and do so in a thoughtful manner. We currently have a declining population of white, and frankly, of all, Americans. Left to our current trajectory, sans immigration, we could be facing the fate of Japan and most European countries: an aging and shrinking population resulting in lower GDP projections, higher per capita social costs, lower productivity, and a permanently sluggish economy.

Politics has kept Congress and the President from getting the job done on immigration reform. Most Americans, as evidenced consistently by polling data, want to see reform pass and a solution to the 12 million undocumented aliens in our country.

But consensus for passage will be more difficult for Democrats than for Republicans in spite of pundits' opinions to the contrary. Far too many Democrat campaign strategists want to continue to hammer Republicans on the subject and convince Latinos that the GOP is hostile to them and their concerns. They need to please organized labor which opposes most immigration reform proposals. And they want to avoid at all costs the optics of dissention and disagreement in their ranks by Latinos, African Americans, labor union bosses and environmental radicals.

After all, the only party which benefits from the current broken down system are the Democrats.

Prove me wrong. Where is the President in all of this? Where is his proposal? Why hasn’t the White House proposed legislation to Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid? It’s been five years and counting since the President made his first promise; and he had two full years of a Democrat House and Senate.

Therefore, it is up to conservatives in Congress to expose the real problem and to help come up with a solution. It’s the only chance we have at meaningful immigration reform in 2013.

Al Cardenas

Al Cardenas is Chairman of the American Conservative Union.