Doris Meissner, Director of U.S. immigration policy at the Migration Policy Institute and former commissioner of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, said:
“Because we are an aging society and will need more younger workers in the years ahead to fuel economic growth and competitiveness, a bill must provide sufficient visas for employment-based immigration at all skill levels. The failure to anticipate such needs is the primary reason why the 1986 legislation to end illegal immigration did not succeed.
The problem is that no one can reliably say how many and what kinds of workers might be needed two, five or 10 years from now. The current recession proves how dramatically those needs can change from one year to the next. So the byword for effective legislation must be flexibility and annual adjustments of employment-based immigration levels by Congress based on evidence and recommendations from a new independent, non-partisan commission that would be staffed by experts in labor markets, the economy and immigration policy. Such a body, a Standing Commission on Labor Markets, Economic Competitiveness, and Immigration was proposed in 2006 by a distinguished panel of leaders and experts convened by the Migration Policy Institute and co-chaired by former Sen. Spencer Abraham (R-MI) and former Congressman Lee Hamilton (D-IN). Congress and the country will need such advice in order to harness the advantages of immigration for America's future.
Peter Navarro, professor of economics and public policy at U.C. Irvine, said:
If we want to save Social Security and Medicare, the best immigration policy is to tighten up the border and focus on attracting well-educated young immigrants that will offset our demographic decline. Any immigration policy that restricts immigration must ensure border control.
Michelle D. Bernard, president & CEO of the Independent Women's Forum, said:Last week, the Independent Women's Forum and the Supreme Court Institute of the Georgetown University Law Center co-hosted a discussion about Arizona's new immigration law, it's constitutionality, and the impact it may have on the nation. (http://iwf.org/events/show/65.html).
Based upon comments attributed to one of our panelists, Tamar Jacoby, president and CEO of ImmigrationWorks, USA, at the conclusion of each panel discussion, we asked our panelists whether the passage of Arizona's new immigration law is the Obama Administration's and Congress's Birmingham? In asking this question, our intent was to remind our panelists and the audience that Bull Connor's Birmingham was a tipping point that forced the federal government to do something about protecting the civil rights of millions of Americans. Thus, while not a perfect analogy, in drawing upon Bull Connor's bigotry, we wanted to know whether our panelists believed that Arizona's new immigration law would force our nation's policy makers to finally come up with a solution to our nation's immigration problem. (http://wwwcspan.org/Watch/Media/2010/05/20/HP/A/33300/Independent+Womens+Forum+Panel+on+Arizonas+Immigration+Law.aspx.
The consensus among our speakers was that there is a real need for immigration reform on many levels, but that coming to an agreement as to what to do and how to do it will not be easy. Yet, this is not an excuse for the Administration or Congress not to act.
The President and Congress must come together to pass a border security bill that will reassure Americans "including those in border states like Arizona" that the federal government is in control of the border and is willing and able to enforce all laws that meet constitutional muster. As long as the federal government fails to enforce existing federal immigration laws and pass a border security bill, other states will take matters into their own hands and pass similar laws to what we see in Arizona.
While the Arizona law is presumed constitutional, there could be problems in its application by law enforcement officials, subjecting many innocent people to racial profiling. While people who will never have to fear being asked to prove their citizenship may never understand the fear of racial profiling, it is as real and legitimate a concern as the many problems that the legal residents of Arizona, especially those living close to the border, are dealing with. Our federal government has wholly failed to enforce our federal immigration laws and the result has been catastrophic.
Finally, policy makers should look for a free market solution to illegal immigration and border security issues like the "Red Card" solution proposed by Helen Krieble and many Hispanic entrepreneurs. (http://redcardsolution.com.) The Red Card solution is a border control and non-immigrant work program that doesn't call for amnesty and doesn't require citizenship. The proposed program would allow non-immigrant workers to enter the United States in one of two ways: (1) as non-immigrant workers; or (2) as immigrants applying for citizenship. This solution "introduces private management of a non-immigrant worker program, powerful incentive for [illegals] already in the U.S. to go outside our borders, apply for legal admission, and eliminate the open border problem." A solution like this, coupled with true border security and enforcement of existing federal immigration laws may well eliminate the numbers of illegals entering the country as well as the very real possibility of racial profiling in the application of laws like Arizona's.
All of the above could give Americans the confidence that our government actually works. The real question is whether policy makers have the courage to act now rather than waiting until after the 2010 mid-term elections.
Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, said:
The basics of immigration reform are very simple. We create a legalization process for the 12 million people already here. If this involves some fine, then we can do that. If we really feel the need to punish the people who have broken the law then we can lock up the tens of millions of yuppies who knowingly hired undocumented workers to be their nannies, housekeepers, and gardeners. In addition to satisfying the desire for vengeance, putting so many yuppies behind bars should also open up millions of good paying jobs.
We also need a serious system of worker identification and have serious sanctions (i.e. jail time) for employers who violate it. This would go along with a set of rules that would target some amount of ongoing immigration consistent with family reunifications and the country's economic needs.
It's all very simple. We just need to get through the cheap demagoguery.
Bernie Quigley, Pundits Blog contributor, said:
Starting from scratch: It should recognize that America is a sovereign nation, not in partnership with anyone and anyone lucky enough to be here should consider it an opportunity which hits a family’s legacy in a thousand years. New arrivals should take an oath as my grandparents did, rejecting allegiance to Victoria. The new arrivals should be given temporary citizenship and if they prove to be poor additions as individuals, they should be sent home to mother. If they are agents of drugs or political nihilism they should be sent home to mother. If they don’t like being here they should be sent home with a note pinned to their shirt. Leadership should come from the regions where the people are apparently needed and regions with rising economic opportunity. Like Louisiana near where the Panama Canal is about to widen. Louisiana’s Governor Bobby Jindal and Texas Governor Rick Perry, two of the best governors in the country, should be brought in on merit and obviously because they are in places where new immigrants are coming to form a commission. The object should be to help America and everyone in it and we should bring in new people most likely to succeed. The editor of an Indian magazine wisely said if America brought in a few million Indians, Chinese, South East Asians and Koreans, America’s economic crisis would be over. Policy might look at how Boston profited by immigration in the 1820s: bringing in families in groups brings generations of economic benefits as groups assimilate. It is important also to let go the motherland. The going back and forth between Mexico and the southern border does not give that opportunity to be reborn as Americans as Indians experience it today and as Irish experienced it 100 years ago.
Justin Raimondo, editorial director of Antiwar.com, said:
Okay, let's get personal.
My longtime companion -- that's a euphemism for "boyfriend" -- of some fifteen years is from Japan, and, being Japanese, he has obeyed U.S. immigration laws to the letter, assiduously applying for each and every sort of visa, visa extension, and whatnot over the years. We -- or, more accurately, *I* -- I have paid out over $30,000 in lawyers' fees, government fees, and other expenses, just so he can stay "legal."
In the meantime, we've had several -- what, two or three? -- "amnesties." I remember telling him about a decade or so ago that his "legal" status didn't matter, that no one was or is enforcing the immigration laws, and that he should just go illegal because there would be an amnesty soon. And sure enough there WAS an amnesty. But that didn't matter to my law-abiding Japanese friend. He just kept following the law, and doing what he thought was right.
To make a long story short: after over 15 years of being "on the path" to having a green card, he STILL doesn't have one. Our lawyer tells us it is because the State Department -- are you reading this, Hillary? -- doesn't have the money to process all the visas, and the green card process is years behind. He's still waiting in line.
All this while brazenly illegal immigrants march in the streets, demanding their "rights." There's something very wrong with this picture. I wonder if my readers can tell me what it is .....
John F. McManus, president of The John Birch Society, said:
There's actually very little Congress need address other than first of all demanding that the federal government carry out its designated responsibility (See Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution) to protect the states "against invasion. Our nation has been invaded by 11-20 million. Most other nations protect their borders, even Mexico that has very strong laws that it enforces. Why hasn't the U.S. done this???
There is already a law passed by Congress that criminalizes the hiring of illegal immigrants. Congress should simply demand that it be enforced.
It has become obvious that the border crossers are not all Mexicans. Individuals from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere are coming across our southern border. It is more than a little bit likely that they have goals in mind other than cutting grass and harvesting crops.
It's time to seal the border, not talk, talk, talk and do nothing.