I came to the US originally for love. My girlfriend, now my wife, wanted to do graduate study at a top-ranked school, and I wanted to stay with her, so I applied along with her for a student visa. That was in 1999. I had never been to the US before. I arrived in the San Francisco Bay Area at the height of the dotcom boom. America can give an amazing welcome to new immigrants, and we were lucky enough to experience that. It wasn't long before we wanted to stay forever.
It was thirteen years before we achieved citizenship. Every time I changed employer, I had to re-convince each new employer to take on the extra expense and hassle of hiring a legal immigrant, and it was very challenging to prove each time that there was no American citizen available to do my job. At last, my wife was sponsored for a green card through her employer, and I with her, and five years after that, on the first possible day, we applied to become US citizens.
Immigration reform matters to me because the current system is designed to produce millions of workers who cannot speak up or protect their rights. So long as there are millions of easily exploited workers competing with American citizens at the bottom end of the pay scale, pay and conditions for working-class Americans will never improve. Americans need a country where every immigrant, documented or not, skilled or not, has a path to citizenship, the power to change employers, and the power to assert their rights to a safe workplace and to be paid fairly for the work they do.