Our country is a special place because it is one of the few countries on earth where people from all corners of the globe come to find opportunity. Ask just about anyone you know to tell you their family's immigration story -- and you'll discover the bottom line is the same : "They came here for a better life." . . . The contexts may have differed; perhaps some sought religious freedom, some wanted to escape war, and some wanted to find meaningful work -- but all wanted opportunity, all wanted to find a plot of land where their children would have lives "better" than their own. That meant access to eduction, access to health care, access to a good job, and access to the freedoms articulated in our Constitution. - - - SO NOW IS THE TIME TO EXPAND THAT OPPORTUNITY. - - - Now is the time to recognize the reality that there are 11 million people among us living in the shadows because their legal status is undocumented. Clearly, they should not have come the way they did, but just as clearly, they were drawn by the same magnetism that attracted your ancestors and mine. And, the reality is that they are here and they are not going back. . . .They are second and third generation folks who go to work every day, people from all over the world (not just Mexico), and contributors to our communities in every possible way. I know folks in this status (and you do too), and I know it is common sense that we should CREATE A PATH TO CITIZENSHIP for them. - - - If I were writing the law, I would grant citizenship to everyone under 17 and over 71 living here more than a year. ... I would grant immediate citizenship to those willing to sign up for a two-year hitch in the military, and to those willing to invest $250,000 or more to start a new business. ... I would grant immediate citizenship to those in the immediate family of current Americans, including same sex partners. ... I would grant citizenship to anyone willing to live here permanently on the day they earned a master's degree or higher from an American college. ... And I would offer to all others who qualify a citizenship path of service, that is, they would contribute 600 hours of service to governmental or non-profit agencies (roughly 4 hours a week for 3 years) as their way of earning their new American status. - - - Everyone granted citizenship under the "Hoffman Plan" would have to pass an English language test, demonstrate they plan to live permanently in the U.S., register to vote, be current in all tax obligations and clear criminal background checks. - - - To some, this may be a radical approach, and of course it needs to be tied to tougher border enforcement so as not to encourage future undocumented visitors, but it is common sense, it is logical and it is very American. To extend the debate longer only keeps these millions of Americans in the shadows and their full economic and cultural contributions unmade. Because it is not only the politically smart thing to do, but the RIGHT THING TO DO, let's pass immigration reform now!