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Enact Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Any new immigration law also must include a tough, fair, and practical program to resolve the status of the almost 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.

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Putting aside all other questions that make the topic an emotional hot-button issue, an immigration reform law would improve border security in general and the Border Patrol in particular. As scholars Christopher Bronk and Tony Payan point out in a recent report for Rice University’s James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, such reform would help secure the border “because the security task will be simplified if the large number of relatively benign job seekers [from Mexico] are removed from play in the border security mission.”

If some form of worker programs were implemented, it could take care of more than 90 percent of undocumented visitors, the two scholars estimate, thus freeing up resources to enhance overall border infrastructure and make legal crossings easier. Former Immigration and Naturalization Service Commissioner Doris Meissner, now a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, agrees that such legislation “would help in that it would reduce the pressure coming over the border.”

CAP’s principles for comprehensive immigration include establishment of smart enforcement policies aimed at disrupting drug and human trafficking. Immigration reforms also would install stiffer penalties against employers who violate labor laws, and an employment verification system that meets accuracy and privacy benchmarks to protect workers.

The enforcement strategy would be combined with new flexible visa channels to meet economic  and family needs to replace the current limited system that encourages undocumented entries and visa overstays. Any new immigration law also must include a tough, fair, and practical program to resolve the status of the almost 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.

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