National Interests and Common Ground in the US Immigration Debate: How to Legalize the US Immigration System and Permanently Reduce Its Undocumented Population

Report Author: 
Donald Kerwin & Robert Warren
Original Date of Publication: 
2017 Apr

The authors of this paper sketch out a path to reducing the undocumented population in the U.S. through fundamental reform of our immigration system. In their plan, they seem less concerned with "amnesty" programs and more with reforms that will ensure that the undocumented population does not grow again in the future. The paper begins with an analysis of presidential signing statements for immigration-related legislation going back to 1924. "These statements," according to the authors, "reveal broad consensus on the interests and values that the U.S. seeks to advance through its immigration and refugee policies." The authors also argue that "flexibility" should be an important feature of a reformed system, so that admission levels can go up in times of economic need and down in periods of economic sluggishness. Another important principle is "coherence," i.e. an immigration system that advances multiple agendas and avoids contradictions in policy, such as a visa policy that has granted 4.26 million immigrant visas but that has trapped these visa holders in multi-year backlogs, thereby creating the temptation to enter the U.S. illegally to reunite with loved ones and drive up the size of the undocumented population. Among other reforms recommended by the authors are: advancing the registry date at regular intervals and eliminating the three- and 10-year bars. In addition, they argue for a broad legalization program "based on the high (and growing) percentage of undocumented. (American Immigrant Policy Portal)

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 how to legalize the US immigration System and Permanently reduce its undocumented population

Citation: 

Kerwin, D., & Warren, R. (2017). National Interests and Common Ground in the US Immigration Debate: How to Legalize the US Immigration System and Permanently Reduce Its Undocumented Population. Journal on Migration and Human Security, 5(2), 297–330. https://doi.org/10.14240/jmhs.v5i2.86

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