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.

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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Andy Grammer, the pop singer and songwriter behind feel-good tunes like "Keep Your Head Up," "Back Home," and "Don't Give Up on Me," has a new album out—and it is seriously fabulous. Titled simply "Naive," Grammer says it's "all about how seeing the good in todays world can feel like a rebellious act."

"I wrote this album for the light bringers," Grammer shared on Facebook. "The people who choose to see the good even in the overwhelming chaos of the bad. The smilers who fight brick by brick to build an authentic smile everyday, even when it seems like an impossible thing to do. For those who have been marginalized as 'sweet' or 'cute' or 'less powerful' for being overly positive. To me optimism is a war to be fought, possibly the most important one. If I am speaking to you and you are relating to it then know I made this album for you. You are my tribe. I love you and I hope it serves you. Don't let the world turn down your shine, we all so badly need it."

Reading that, it's easy to think maybe he really is naive, but Grammer's positivity isn't due to nothing difficult ever happening in his life. His mom, Kathy, died of breast cancer when Grammer was 25. He and his mother were very close, and her life and death had a huge impact on him.

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Culture
via Stratford Festival / Twitter

Service dogs are invaluable to their owners because they are able to help in so many different ways.

They're trained to retrieve dropped Items, open and close doors, help their owners remove their clothes, transport medications, navigate busy areas such as airports, provide visual assistance, and even give psychological help.

The service dog trainers at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs in Canada want those who require service dogs to live the fullest life possible, so they're training dogs on how to attend a theatrical performance.

The adorable photos of the dogs made their way to social media where they quickly went viral.

On August 15, a dozen dogs from Golden Retrievers to poodles, were treated to a performance of "Billy Elliott" at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada. This was a special "relaxed performance" featuring quieter sound effects and lighting, designed for those with sensory issues.

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"It's important to prepare the dogs for any activity the handler may like to attend," Laura Mackenzie, owner and head trainer at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs, told CBC.

"The theater gives us the opportunity to expose the dogs to different stimuli such as lights, loud noises, and movement of varying degrees," she continued. "The dogs must remain relaxed in tight quarters for an extended period of time."

The dogs got to enjoy the show from their own seats and took a break with everyone else during intermission. They were able to familiarize themselves with the theater experience so they know how to navigate through crowds and fit into tight bathroom stalls.

via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter

"About a dozen dogs came to our relaxed performance, and they were all extremely well-behaved," says Stratford Festival spokesperson Ann Swerdfager. "I was in the lobby when they came in, then they took their seats, then got out of their seats at intermission and went back — all of the things we learn as humans when we start going to the theater."

RELATED: This sneaky guide dog is too pure for this world. A hilarious video proves it.

The dogs' great performance at the trial run means that people who require service animals can have the freedom to enjoy special experiences like going to the theater.

"It's wonderful that going to the theater is considered one of the things that you want to train a service dog for, rather than thinking that theater is out of reach for people who require a service animal, because it isn't," Swerdfager said.

The Stratford Festival runs through Nov. 10 and features productions of "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "The Neverending Story," "Othello," "Billy Elliot," "Little Shop of Horrors," "The Crucible" and more.

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