New Report: Breaking the Immigration Stalemate

It seems like a busy week for immigration reform as everyone is simply coming out with their own set of principles and policy proposals.

After Charles Schumer (D-NY) revealed his seven pillars in June but failed to deliver a bill by Labor Day, Representative Luis Gutierrez went ahead with his own set of principles and he promises a bill by the end of November.

Immigration reform legislation would probably follow the recommendations and findings of the bi-partisan Council on Foreign Relations report.

But a new Brookings Institute report here, from the Brookings-Duke Immigration Policy Roundtable constituting academics and think tanks, aims to go from deep disagreements to constructive proposals. Lets examine these tenets.

  • The United States Should Dramatically Reduce Illegal Immigration by Linking Workplace Verification and Legalization
  • Congress Should Eliminate Diversity Visas, Restrict Eligibility for Family-Sponsored Visas, and Increase Visas for Skilled Immigrants
  • Congress Should Improve Temporary Worker Programs and Bolster Labor Market Protections
  • Congress Should Establish an Independent Standing Commission on Immigration
  • Public and Private Sectors Alike Should Increase Efforts to Assimilate and Integrate New Americans
  • The United States Should Engage Mexico

Still, the report is lacking and contradictory. It proposes a legalization program for people who have lived here for 5 or more years while never addressing those that don’t meet the criteria, leaving an estimated 3.5 million still undocumented. And not allowing ‘family unity’ by restricting family-based visas to just minor children simply encourages more unauthorized immigration as adult children and siblings are left out without a legal pathway to citizenship. Legislation for same-sex bi-national couples is not even mentioned in the report.

These proposals may break the stalemate, but they would do little to fix the broken system of immigration in this country. At this point, we don’t need more reports. What we need is sound legislation that puts human beings above mere politics.

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