Immigration Reform in the Lame Duck Session

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on November 17, 2010

I am actually sympathetic to President Obama’s desire to get some form of immigration reform passed in the upcoming Congressional lame duck session. Unfortunately, that is not likely to happen; immigration reform is going to need a significant amount of negotiation and work to get it through, and I just don’t think that there is enough time to go through the entire process during the course of a lame duck session of Congress.

That’s a shame. There are a great many people whose immigration status is questionable, whose lives are in turmoil as a process, and who desperately need some kind of comprehensive resolution regarding their status so that they will be able to take action, settle their problems, and get on with their lives. And certainly, the country as a whole needs immigration reform to resolve the status of illegal immigrants, while at the same time making sure that the country has the kind of border security one would expect a sovereign nation to have.

I would hope that in the next Congress, immigration reform will finally become a serious priority. We’re not going to be able to tell 12 million plus people that they need to leave the country, so some form of amnesty–yes, I wrote “amnesty”–is going to be needed. At the same time, we certainly want to cut down on illegal immigration, so reform needs to bring about security, in addition to dealing compassionately with people who risked, and continue to risk much to live in a country where they, and most importantly, their children, can have a better life.

  • John

    Nope, no form of amnesty is necessary, and we don’t have to tell millions of people to leave either. We need only foster a set of circumstances whereby those here illegally (or at least a large portion of them, as not all will get the hint) find it more attractive to leave than to stay.

  • GW

    And how do you propose to decrease future illegal immigration after giving those here illegally now amnesty? As long as the reward for breaking our laws is eventual amnesty, they will keep coming, no matter how secure we promise to make the border (and then presidents like Obama ignore the security laws). 1986 taught us that.

    • Pejman Yousefzadeh

      I don’t believe that we are going to be able to jail, or deport 12 million people. That means that some form of amnesty will have to be an option. As for decreasing future illegal immigration, that will come through enhanced border security, as well as an expansion of free trade that makes other countries within the hemisphere richer, thus perhaps making them less desperate to come here. Of course, if the United States remains the world’s greatest economic power, I imagine that there will still be a number of people willing to risk all to come to this country.

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