The Corner

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Brookings on Immigration


Jason Richwine of AEI writes about a new report from the Brookings-Duke Immigration Policy Roundtable. As he notes, the roundtable came out for getting rid of the “diversity lottery,” abolishing extended-family reunification, and increasing skilled immigration levels. These steps, taken together, would in my view be a vast improvement over current policy. So would some other steps the roundtable urges, such as giving skilled immigrants more freedom to switch employers.

But the question of whether to provide a path to citizenship remains as acrimonious as ever. The report advocates a series of linked steps toward both improved enforcement and legalization. Stephan Thernstrom and Peter Skerry, while praising the report in general, dissented from its recommendation on a path to citizenship. Skerry endorsed an idea I hadn’t heard before: allowing illegal immigrants to attain legal status while forever barring them from citizenship. “Such a program would address the human predicament we face, but also impose the clear and uncomplicated penalty on illegal immigrants that the American public has been demanding,” he writes.