America is in a different place today. America is ready to create an immigration process that will protect our borders, keep our families safe and together, give our businesses the tools they need to compete in the global economy, and provide a road-map to citizenship for the 11 million aspiring citizens currently living in the shadows. And why are things different? Here’s what’s changed since 2007, the last time an immigration bill was presented to Congress: 1. The Latino Vote The 2012 presidential election showed us the power of the Latino vote. As Americans, Latinos are concerned about issues other than immigration. But for them, the broken immigration system is personal. Many Latino voters have a family member or close friend entangled in the chaos that is our immigration system. Someone in their life a parent, a brother, a cousin, a friend is threatened with deportation. Last year, after deporting record number of people, President Obama promised that if re-elected he would make immigration reform a priority. While Governor Romney, railed against “amnesty” and promised “self-deportation.” Latinos can’t be ignored. The election made that clear. 2. The DREAMers have grown up The DREAM Act was first introduced in 2001, since then the DREAMERs grew up. They grew up as I did, in our schools, celebrating the 4th of July, going to homecoming dances, and dreaming of achieving the American Dream. They are not helpless children brought to the U.S. by their parents. Today they are Americans, just not legally. The DREAMERs have become a key voice in the struggle for immigration reform. They, more than any other group, have pushed the Administration to grant Prosecutorial Discretion and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals last year. They will continue to do so. They are not giving up. 3. Deportations are in Record Numbers Unlike in 2007, today the border is secure. A recent report published by the American Immigration Lawyers Association found that the border security benchmarks of the past immigration reform bills have been met or exceeded. These include improvements in border infrastructure and technology, detention facilities, and increased border personnel. In fact illegal crossings are down to their lowest levels in 40 years. 4. Business and Labor Agree on a Guest Worker Program The fact that business and labor could come to an agreement on a guest worker program — perhaps one of the most contentious issues in the immigration reform debate — means the energy is there, the desire is there, and the need is there for immigration reform this year. And if the AFL-CIO and U.S. Chamber of Commerce can find common ground, then Democrats and Republicans in Washington can too. 5. The American Public Supports Immigration Reform According to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll 76% of Americans support creating an immigration process that includes a roadmap to citizenship for the 11 million new American immigrants if they pay a fine, back taxes and complete a background check. Most Americans, 54% according to the poll, believe immigration strengthens America—that’s up from 47% a year ago. The time for immigration reform is now.