Time is now for immigration reform

As our members of Congress head home to enjoy the holiday recess and start of the New Year, I look back at all the progress we’ve made on immigration in 2013 — building a nationwide coalition of leaders who carry a bible, wear a badge or own a business — and I look forward to what 2014 holds in store for reform.

Wide acknowledgement from Republican House leadership — and support among Republican constituents — shows that immigration reform is definitely not a “dead” issue, but one with great opportunity in 2014.

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Every member of the House leadership team has expressed commitment to move reform forward in 2014, and each week the number of rank and file Republicans in favor of reform grows.

In 2013 we made great strides toward a successful 2014 for immigration. Considering that just over a year ago this issue was on the sidelines, the fact that the home stretch is in sight is no small accomplishment.

2014 stands to be that blockbuster year that finally takes reform across the finish line.

Our members of Congress have the opportunity to work together on an issue with truly broad, bipartisan support. And my congressman, Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), is set to play a crucial role in those efforts.

Diaz-Balart has already shown his steadfast commitment to broad reform to our broken immigration system. From his efforts in the House Gang of Eight and his work on legalization legislation to his encouragement of Speaker Boehner’s (R-Ohio) hiring of immigration policy assistant Rebecca Tallent, the congressman has shown his resolute dedication to getting reform done this Congress.

Even with difficulties presented by the congressional calendar, there is more than enough time and political will to get reform done in the 113th Congress. The question is not if, but when.

Immigration is no longer a partisan issue. Support for reform crosses the aisle and the country. And the longer we delay on this critical issue, the higher the costs to our economy, our security and our families.

As a businessman, I recognize the vital role immigrants play in our local and national economies. For businesses big and small, immigrants are producers and consumers, workers and entrepreneurs.

Across industry and skill level, the bottom line remains the same: Our economy requires an immigration system that allows for a future flow of workers and new citizens that reflects our nation’s economic and labor needs.

These immigrants have become part of our communities, our businesses, our families. But our current immigration system tears families apart and forces our hardworking neighbors to live in the shadows.

Every day that passes is another day without a new immigration process that will be good for all Americans.

While support from within the halls of Congress continues to grow, poll after poll shows that constituents overwhelmingly want their members of Congress to act. Our lawmakers shouldn’t be backing away from the issue, but stepping up.

At a juncture where Americans are eager to see their politicians transcend politics, immigration reform has true bipartisan support.

Now Republicans and Democrats in the House must work together to get it done.

Bush is the chief operating officer at Jeb Bush & Associates and board member of the National Immigration Forum. He is also the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), the nephew of President George W. Bush and the grandson of President George H.W. Bush.