01 March 2010

Constructive Proposals On Immigration Proposed

The Keenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University has released a report on immigration entitled Breaking the Immigration Stalemate: From Deep Disagreements to Constructive Proposals. The report is the result of a roundtable composed experts in the field. Although they found they had profound and principled disagreements on immigration policy, they were able to find some areas of agreement. From the executive summary of the report:

Yet despite all the shortcomings of current policy—threats to the rule of law, exploitation of vulnerable newcomers, real and perceived competition with Americans for jobs and public resources—reasonable compromise on immigration will be exceedingly difficult. The divide between elite and public opinion on this issue remains deep and wide. It is a critical factor in the lack of trust that pervades today’s political culture.

Reduce Illegal Immigration by Linking Workplace Verification and Legalization
The Roundtable’s approach to illegal immigration emphasizes the enforcement of immigration law at the workplace and a simultaneous effort to move illegal immigrants toward legal status. We propose a legalization program that would allow unauthorized workers who have been in the country for five or more years to start down a path to legalization. But this process would not proceed until a workplace verification system, authorized and funded by Congress, reaches an agreed-upon level of use and effectiveness that would be certified and continuously monitored by the Government Accountability Office.

Reorient Immigrant Admissions Criteria
We must reorient the nation’s immigrant admissions criteria to better serve Americans and our economic goals. ... Therefore, we recommend increasing skilled visas and replacing per-country limits on skilled visas with a single overall limit. At the same time, we recommend holding constant, at least for the present, the overall number of permanent legal residents admitted annually.

Rationalize Temporary Worker Programs
... We recommend increased oversight of temporary worker programs and replacing temporary visas with non-renewable, five-year provisional visas that do not tie workers to a single employer. Provisional visa holders should have the option of achieving permanent status.

Establish an Independent Standing Commission on Immigration
... The Commission would be supported by a permanent professional staff, issue reports and studies on many aspects of immigration policy, and biennially recommend overall visa category ceilings for congressional review and action.

Promote the Assimilation and Integration of New Americans
The Roundtable also recommends creating an Office of New Americans (ONA) within the Executive Office of the President to oversee and coordinate public/private sector efforts to integrate and assimilate immigrants into American society. ONA should encourage effective methods for teaching English, involving parents in their children’s education, and incorporating core civic principles and U.S. history in naturalization preparation.

Engage Mexico
Mexico is the largest contributor to current U.S. immigration. The U.S. shares a lengthy border with Mexico as well as many common concerns. The Roundtable recommends that the United States create or invigorate institutions for regional cooperation and investment, bolster interdiction of illegal arms and drugs, support security and judicial reform in Mexico, and cooperate closely on law enforcement and a range of other border issues, including immigration.

Because the Roundtable’s final report is the output of a diverse group, each member does not necessarily agree with every detail. We never sought and did not reach consensus. Yet each of us does concur that we have struck a reasonable balance between competing considerations, interests, and principles and that our result is a major advance over the status quo.

The full report is available here (and here in Spanish.)

No comments: