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Feb 09,2006
U.S. Needs Comprehensive Immigration Reform
by Deborah Notkin

The immigration debate is once again dominating the news as members of Congress focus on the long-

neglected problem of fixing our country's failed immigration laws.

American lawmakers are now at a critical point. Enforcement-only legislation won't work and hasn't worked. Previous efforts to solve this problem by focusing exclusively on border security have failed miserably.

In fact, during the past decade, the U.S. tripled the number of agents on the border, quintupled the budget, toughened our enforcement strategies and heavily fortified urban entry points.

Yet during the same time period, America saw record levels of illegal immigration, porous borders, a cottage industry created for smugglers and document forgers and tragic deaths in our deserts.

We must learn from our mistakes, not repeat them. What we need is comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform that deals smartly with the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living and working in the U.S.

Most are relatives of U.S. citizens and lawful residents or workers holding jobs that Americans do not want. People already here who are not a threat to our security, but who work hard, pay taxes and are learning English, should be allowed to earn permanent residence.

The Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act, introduced by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and others, includes the necessary components of reform and provides the basis for fixing our system. It combines toughness with fairness, creating a new temporary visa program that provides a legal flow of workers.

This "break-the-mold" worker program would significantly diminish illegal immigration by creating a legal avenue for people to enter the U.S., something that barely exists today. Current immigration laws supply just 5,000 annual permanent visas and 66,000 temporary visas for essential lesser-skilled workers, in no way meeting the annual demand for 500,000 such workers.

In addition, reducing the decade-long backlog in family-based immigration would reunite families faster and make it unlikely that people would cross the border illegally in order to be with their loved ones.

Congress and the administration must act wisely as they weigh their choices. We've had enough "quick fixes" that have made an already unworkable system worse. We cannot control our borders -; or enhance our national security -; until we enact comprehensive immigration reform.

Deborah Notkin is president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

1814 times read

Related news
U.S. Economy Needs Skilled Foreign Workers by Deborah Notkin posted on May 19,2006

Work site raids necessary by The San Diego Union-Tribune posted on Mar 04,2009

Time ripe for reform by The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel posted on Apr 06,2007

Expand visas for seasonal, skilled workers by The Detroit News posted on Apr 04,2008

President pushes for immigration reform in visit to Arizona by John Marelius posted on Apr 10,2007

Did you enjoy this article? Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00 (total 5 votes)

  • Actually Deborah what you are suggesting is exactly what put us in the mess we are in, concerning Illegal Immigration. Your ''comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform '' is the same old amnesty pig of 1986 dressed up to look like a silk purse, however a poor job of dressing. It's folks such as yourself who probably wouldn't know an Illegal Alien if one bit you in the butt, but yet feel that ''you know best'' about the problem and the solution, when in fact you don't know a damn thing about. When you spout that tired old lie that they ''only take the jobs Americans don't want'' you truly show just how ignorant you of the issue. Put on top of that your claim that ''most'' are family of the 11 million already here and your ignorance really shines! How dare you and the others like you sell our Country out like this, how dare! I do however agree with your assessment that the large build up of the Border Patrol and the building of fences on this South West border has been a waste of time and much money, as a means to address Illegal Immigration. Uniformed force and barriers will never succeed, unless of course the order to fire at will...or Jose in this case, is given. The likes of Ted, John and yourself with your ignorant plan of ''comprehensive reform'' and the one's on the other side of the coin with their grand plans of fortifying this border, are the true problem, not the Illegal Aliens! You can't see this can you? That dear, is because you are ignorant to the issue. John
  • (Posted on January 11, 2007, 8:47 pm John)

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