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Our country’s immigration system is broken; unfortunately, many in Congress voted to preserve that broken system last night.
Many Senators and countless advocates have worked tirelessly to advance sensible and workable reform that would enhance our physical and economic security, respect our tradition of being a country of immigrants, and restore the rule of law. Sadly, their efforts have been thwarted, at least for the time being, by restrictionists who embraced the untenable status quo when it comes to our antiquated immigration system.
Restrictionists have no realistic plan to deal with the immigration challenges facing our country. We cannot simply enforce our way to a solution. That has been tried and it has failed. Mass deportation is not an option, neither is resort to a policy of making the lives of immigrants so miserable that they will choose to return to the despair from which they fled when they came to our country.
For more than six years, President Bush has trumpeted the need for comprehensive immigration reform. Last night, his conservative allies in Congress did their best to ensure that any such efforts fail. We are heartened by promises that the Senate and House will continue seeking a way forward on comprehensive immigration reform and to improve the proposal as it advances; we hope President Bush can do more than talk about the need for reform and start delivering the much needed support of his compatriots. Otherwise, restrictionists will prevail in preserving the unworkable status quo.
Dan Restrepo is Director of The Americas Project at the Center for American Progress.