UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

January 27, 2009

IMMIGRATION REFORM

Ali Noorani, New America Media - The Obama administration has the opportunity to provide the leadership to mend our broken immigration system, legalize undocumented immigrants, unite families, protect workers, and restore the rule of law.

If we want to fix the immigration system in any meaningful way, we need a change from the last two decades of enforcement-only approaches to immigration policy. . .

With the stroke of a pen, President Obama can dial back the greatest excesses and wasteful spending of Bush administration enforcement practices and focus on sensible enforcement measures targeting persons who might be a threat to America, not those who are integral to our economy. . .

Real reform will establish a system that rational immigrants and employers will choose to use, rather than circumvent. It will include a remedy for the hundreds of thousands of close family members seeking legal admission, but who are caught in immigration backlogs. Real reform will mean taking the pressure off of the border so that scarce resources can be deployed to identify and counteract legitimate threats with less time wasted on interdicting economic migrants who will become productive workers and taxpayers, particularly if they are allowed to come with vetting and a visa rather than in the dead of night with a smuggler.

Real reform will recognize that millions of immigrants are here illegally, working, paying taxes, and raising families. A large population of workers and families existing outside the system is unacceptable. We need to get these undocumented individuals into the system so that we ensure they pay their fair share and have the same rights and responsibilities as everyone else. Only through a controlled legalization of those who meet certain criteria can we hope to isolate those few immigrants hiding under the radar that may wish to do us harm or take unfair advantage of our generosity.

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