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Immigration reform will make America stronger

Our family came to the U.S. from Uruguay in 2000 to improve our economic situation. Over time we came to admire America's values as a cosmopolitan country that embraced peoples and cultures from all over the world.

We adopted it as our home and we are now very used to life here. Our oldest son was 3 when he came here and he learned the language without any accent in five months. Our second son was born as an American citizen five years later.

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We feel that when immigrants put down roots in a country, they undoubtedly will offer it the best they have. I studied English in my country and my husband learned it from his co-workers; he also received an "employee of the year" from the company where he worked.

If comprehensive immigration reform is enacted, immigrants will invest even more of themselves in this country by acquiring homes, cars and companies. Currently, we cannot access these kinds of assets without valid documentation.

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One of America's greatest assets is its ability to attract people from around the world who come here to innovate. From our railroads to our Fortune 500 companies, we are a nation built by immigrants. Closing our doors to new Americans on the basis of their country of origin is a serious misstep.

Knowledge, talent and information is now more global than ever; the success of nations is determined by where those resources are located. Our current immigration system turns away people who are educated on our soil and turns a blind eye to 11 million people who are currently living in the shadows.

There is no question that it is in our economic interest to pass legislation that gives people a legal pathway to working and living in the United States. It's time for Congress to vote on immigration reform now.

Daniela Laigualda, Baltimore

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