As the Baby Boomer generation retires, there will be a substantial amount of job openings left in their wake. According to a recent report by Center for American Progress (CAP), there will be approximately 58.6 million job openings as a result of these retirees from 2010-2030. However, the country only projects to have 51.3 million people to fill these open positions in the future. While Congress continues to debate immigration reform, it is important to remember the important role that immigrants and their children will have in our future workforce. Immigrants and their children will not only play a vital part in filling the evident employment gap, but they will also play a crucial role in the growth of the workforce. While immigrants and their children represent only 38 percent of the new entrants to the workplace in the next two decades, they make up an astounding 84 percent of the net workforce growth in the same period.

Immigrants and their children will not simply be gap-fillers and supplemental employment though. As CAP recognizes in their report, immigrants and their children represent a vital piece of future economic growth, where they will be called upon to fill positions of all skills and capacities. Thus, investing in the health and education of all children, including children of immigrants, is critical to ensure that they are able to contribute to our future economy.

The CAP report bases these estimates off of immigration policies that are not overly restrictive. In fact, their report finds that if specific immigration policies were to significantly limit the numbers of new immigrants to the country, then the anticipated workforce growth and subsequent economic progress could be reduced considerably.

What CAP concludes is that, yes, there is a clear need for a more efficient flow of immigrants to the country. However, this efficiency should not stem from restrictive immigration policies but rather reforms which react to the ebb and flow of the workforce and the economy. Thus, the need to pass immigration reform is not just the right thing to do for kids and families, but the success of our country is also at stake.