The politics of immigration are certainly warming, but that does not mean that passing comprehensive reform will be easy.
Polling shows that a solid majority of voters support a path to citizenship for most of those who are here illegally now—just as polls in 2006 showed big margins in favor of citizenship. But a closer look at the middle shows that behind their support is a cloudy layer of doubt and concerns.
This memo outlines the best way to reach the conflicted middle—using the key words tough, fair, and practical.
Why Immigration Reform?
Many people from all over the world come to the U.S. each year to pursue an advanced degree. When they complete their studies, caps on the number of visas we grant for high-skilled workers send these talented individuals elsewhere in search of work. Our outdated immigration system needs to be reformed so that America can benefit from their education as well.
Read more in our report: Becoming a Magnet for Global Talent.
Can we finally fix our broken immigration system? With the current bipartisan Senate proposal, the answer is YES. It clears two crucial tests: it could pass, and it could work.
- It deals justly with the 11 million already here.
- It gets tough on future lawbreakers.
- It helps the economy.
- It appeals to the vast middle.
If an undocumented immigrant registers with the U.S. government, goes through a criminal background check, and pays a fine, they will be forever allowed to work, travel, and conduct their affairs in America without fear of deportation. For their children, even better—they will be given a fast-track path to citizenship. And down the line, once more is done to secure the border, they can have an eventual chance to become citizens as well.
That’s reasonable for the left and the right.
Read: “Getting Immigration Done in 2013”
By Jim Kessler and Lanae Erickson Hatalsky
The phone rings in the house of an undocumented immigrant who has lived here for decades. The person on the line offers her a deal. If she registers with the US government, goes through a criminal background check, and pays a fine, she will be forever allowed to work, travel, and conduct her affairs in America without fear of deportation. For her children, even better — they will be given a fast-track path to citizenship. And down the line, once more is done to secure the border, she can get in the back of the line and eventually earn her citizenship as well.
Is there any chance she would say no?
On Monday, a bipartisan group of 8 Senators released an immigration reform proposal that would offer exactly that scenario to undocumented immigrants. Yet many reform advocates reacted warily to the plan, and even the Administration offered a few pointed criticisms in its otherwise favorable statement. In particular, they argued that using a “trigger” of border security to determine when some immigrants can move from a provisional legal status to a permanent one with a path to citizenship is unacceptable.
It’s time for a dose of reality.
by Jim Kessler and Lanae Erickson Hatalsky
Third Way has and always will support an earned pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants now residing in the United States. But we have come to the conclusion that a blanket path to citizenship is politically impossible—for now and for the foreseeable future. The debate around what to do with this population is often characterized as a choice between deportation and citizenship. But this memo offers a third option that we think reflects moderate values and has the potential to un-stick the debate: holding children blameless by giving them legal status and a path to citizenship, but making adults accountable by offering them a path to legalization but not citizenship.
read more of Holding Children Blameless, but not Adults— A Politically Feasible Path for Illegal Immigrants.
President Obama, speaking about his administration’s immigration policy change in a Rose Garden address Friday afternoon.
“Under the new policy, people younger than 30 who came to the United States before the age of 16, pose no criminal or security threat, and were successful students or served in the military can get a two-year deferral from deportation, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said.”- CNN
The Startup Act would help the U.S. stop the “brain drain,” by giving students the opportunity to fully use their education, skills, and work experience for their benefit while also contributing to America’s collective prosperity. Read our related report: “Becoming a Magnet for Global Talent”
J.D. Harrison, Washington Post - A bipartisan group of senators has introduced legislation to help American companies hire immigrant workers, particularly those with hard-to-find math and science expertise — but the bill faces a tough battle on the Hill.
Startup Act 2.0 would essentially create…