In the latest immigration reform news, Republicans announced their willingness to engage the discussion about immigration reform and provide a path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented aliens in the U.S. This represented a significant breakthrough in immigration reform, and President Obama quickly expressed his willingness to further the process.

This new position on immigration reform from the GOP comes with a number of conditions, but with the Republican Party’s poor showing with minorities in the last election, it’s clear that they must demonstrate action and commitment if they hope to win a larger portion of the fastest growing voter blocks in the U.S. Included in this are millions of teenagers and young adults who will become voters once the legislation is enacted.

A perennial concern of many politicians, educators, employers, social scientists, and youth advocates is how prepared those millions of young people will be to successfully function in our society. The number of dreamers in the late teen and early adult age groups is estimated at almost 3 million, and a significant portion of them are without a high school diploma or GED. This limits their ability to compete for jobs, obtain financial aid for higher education, and pursue other opportunities, and therefore increases the chances they will remain unemployed and eventually become crime statistics. This recent immigration reform news holds great hope for many, but it also comes with risks and responsibilities.

Let’s be sure they are prepared to succeed in the real world, that they understand essential life skills, the fundamentals of independent life, the costs of living, and the basics of money management. In many cases, they don’t have consistent role models because parents and family members are transient, or nonexistent, and they haven’t witnessed adults working, living, and managing successfully in the world.  The promise of immigration reform will fall short if we don’t follow through on this.

Let’s be sure they are taught key job-readiness skills, so they can prepare and manage their documentation, locate job opportunities, conduct an effective interview, and succeed once they are in the workplace.  We don’t want future immigrate reform news to report on increasing unemployment rates for these new citizens.

For high-functioning and higher-aspiring dreamers, let’s help them develop a sense of purpose and direction, give them the tools and resources to craft long-range development plans, and learn how to build toward their dreams.

For those young people without the experience of a lifetime in our society, schools, and neighborhoods, let’s help them develop interpersonal skills, learn how to communicate effectively, resolve conflict, and avoid the peer pressure that can drive them to poor choice.

And if they are dealing with consequences of their actions, let’s help them confront those outcomes and find the support they need to get their lives and their choices back on track.

All these young people will soon be documented, welcome members of our communities, as we remove the legal barriers to their future through the pending immigration reform at  federal and state levels. They can all become capable, competent, motivated assets to themselves and their families. But this won’t come easy, it will require effective programs and the organizations and individuals to facilitate their life-success learning and development.  We all look forward to the next round of immigrate reform news on more progress for these young people.