Thursday, March 31, 2011

Immigration Enforcement, Border Security, and Reform

Parking lot at Reeves County Detention Center
in Pecos, Texas operated by GEO/Tom Barry

1. (One of the recommendations from a draft CIP policy report on border security.)

President Obama and congressional leaders should set forth a new vision of immigration reform.
As an administrative reform, the Obama administration could – and should -- end enforcement that targets immigrants who have integrated into U.S. society and workforce. The administration should make a commitment to regularize their immigration status and work with Congress to ensure immigration reform.

The new framework for immigration must also include a transparent process for issuing visas for new immigrants -- based primarily on the verified demand for their skilled and unskilled labor. This review process should be safeguarded from the lobbying pressure of business interests and should ensure that new immigration will result in job losses for current residents. ICE should focus its attention on enforcing visa expiration dates and on apprehending human smugglers and traffickers.

Also essential is the enforcement of workplace safety and wage regulations, thereby precluding the now-routine exploitation of an immigrant workforce and thereby mitigating the downward pressure on national working conditions and wages.

To boost their credibility and effectiveness, liberal immigration reformers must come to the bargaining table – once the crackdown has been halted – ready to accept widespread employment verification (to dissuade new illegal immigrant flows), stricter limits on family reunification (especially for illegal immigrants who are granted a change of immigration status), and the feasibility of temporary worker programs. 

Political refugees facing grave human rights abuses should be granted priority status in any assessment of the number of immigrants the nation can successfully absorb into society and economy. 

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