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What About Legal Immigration Reform?


I have a piece on the homepage today. In it, I argue that the immigration bill, which is correctly termed “comprehensive,” is being debated only in part. As well as addressing the issue of illegal immigration, S.744 makes sweeping changes to legal immigration, which means that over the next 20 years or so tens of millions of people will enter the country under new rules. As I ask, “Which of our national issues could be more deserving of widespread public input than that of who is to join the country’s ranks? Why is it missing?”

Our language, always critical to healthy political culture, is all over the place. “Immigrant” has been co-opted and turned into a proxy word for “Hispanic”; “immigration reform” has effectively come to mean “dealing with the southern border and legalizing illegal immigrants”; and, while the word “comprehensive” has been used openly, most of the bill has been ignored. Those familiar with S.744 will know that its thousand pages touch pretty much everything: employment-based immigration, family-based immigration, asylum seekers and refugees, per-country quotas, STEM, employment law — the lot. Yet all anyone seems to want to talk about is Mexico.

Besides the few journalists and advocates who have closely followed the deliberations, there has been almost no review of what is a serious reinvention of the legal immigration regime.

The rest here.


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