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Immigrants make America great, and one organization has the data to prove it.

It's time to change the conversation about immigration from walls to bridges.

Immigrants make America great, and one organization has the data to prove it.

President Donald Trump has been busy making changes to our immigration system — for better or for worse.

Between the border wall, "deportation force," and travel ban, Trump is taking bold action to address our country's broken immigration system. His focus on removing undocumented immigrants and making it more difficult to enter the country legally, however, may actually make things a lot worse.

Donald Trump signs an executive order to start the Mexico border wall project. Photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images.


Immigrants are essential to the U.S. economy, and deporting millions of them will only weaken us as a nation.

Trump's assumption is that immigrants are a drain on the country and its resources, but the data just doesn't back him up. A new resource from New American Economy, a group of more than 500 mayors and business leaders across the political spectrum, makes a strong case for immigration reform by highlighting just how much immigrants do contribute to the economy.

Protestors speak out against Trump's immigration policies at the Milwaukee County courthouse in Wisconsin on Feb. 13, 2017. Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images.

In 2014, immigrants in the U.S. earned $1.3 trillion and paid more than $329 billion in taxes. Immigrants play a vital role in making America function. In other words: Without immigrants, we're sunk.

Image via New American Economy.

As members of Congress are heading to town halls, NAE rolled out a new Map the Impact website to help measure immigrant contributions, broken down by congressional district.  

Simply type in your address, and the interactive feature will show you some fascinating local immigration information, as well as how immigrants affect state and local economies.

Here's a look at my congressional district, Illinois' 9th. Screenshot from New American Economy.

Immigration reform is long past due. The proof is in the fact that the "right way" to immigrate is often inaccessible to many.

Lots of factors play into this, such as whether a person is able to get a visa (which, at times, may be backlogged by years if not decades) or whether they have an American relative sponsor who can sponsor them for a green card. But it's not as though there's some sort of "line" people can get in to wait their turn.

A newly sworn-in U.S. citizen leaves a naturalization ceremony at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Feb. 15, 2017. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

While undocumented immigration is an issue that needs to be addressed, the solution is not as simple as kicking people out and telling them to come back in "the right way." Undocumented immigrants have a strong net benefit on our economy, contributing to systems they'll never benefit from, such as Medicare and Social Security, and paying more than $20 billion in taxes each year.

A woman holds a sign as she protests President Donald Trump's plan to build a border wall along the United States and Mexico border on January 26, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Joshua Lott/AFP/Getty Images.

It's time to shift discussion away from deportation forces and travel bans and toward finding humane common-sense solutions — and that's where you come in.

When your member of Congress comes home for a town hall, let them know that immigration reform matters to you. NAE has a great social media toolkit with shareable graphics, and they encourage supporters to make videos sharing their #ReasonForReform.

Let's get away from some of the harmful myths that dominate discussion around immigration and get to work creating a country where we can all thrive.

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In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

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Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

Biases, stereotypes, prejudices—these byproducts of the human brain's natural tendency to generalize and categorize have been a root cause of most of humanity's problems for, well, pretty much ever. None of us is immune to those tendencies, and since they can easily slip in unnoticed, we all have to be aware of where, when, and how they impact our own beliefs and actions.

It also helps when someone upends a stereotype by saying or doing something unexpected.

Fair or not, certain parts of the U.S. are associated with certain cultural assumptions, perhaps none more pinholed than the rural south. When we hear Appalachia, a certain stereotype probably pops up in our minds—probably white, probably not well educated, probably racist. Even if there is some basis to a stereotype, we must always remember that human beings can never be painted with such broad strokes.

Enter Tyler Childers, a rising country music star whose old-school country fiddling has endeared him to a broad audience, but his new album may have a different kind of reach. "Long Violent History" was released Friday, along with a video message to his white rural fans explaining the culminating track by the same name. Watch it here:

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Back Market

Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

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The legality of abortion is one of the most polarized debates in America—but it doesn’t have to be.

People have big feelings about abortion, which is understandable. On one hand, you have people who feel that abortion is a fundamental women’s rights issue, that our bodily autonomy is not something you can legislate, and that those who oppose abortion rights are trying to control women through oppressive legislation. On the other, you have folks who believe that a fetus is a human individual first and foremost, that no one has the right to terminate a human life, and that those who support abortion rights are heartless murderers.

Then there are those of us in the messy middle. Those who believe that life begins at conception, that abortion isn’t something we’d choose—and we’d hope others wouldn’t choose—under most circumstances, yet who choose to vote to keep abortion legal.

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@frajds / Twitter

Father Alek Schrenk is known as one of the "9 Priests You Need to Follow on Twitter." He proved his social media skills Sunday night after finding a creepy note on a parked car and weaving a lurid Twitter tale that kept his followers on the edge of their pews.

Father Schrenk was making his nightly walk of the church grounds to make sure everything was fine before retiring to the rectory, when he found a car parked by itself in front of the school.

Curious, he looked inside the car and saw a note that made his "blood run cold" attached to the steering wheel. "Look in trunk!" the note read. What made it extra creepy was that the two Os in "look" had smiley faces.

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