3 hurdles to clear on the road to U.S. immigration reform
Immigration is one of the most hotly debated issues of our time, often dividing Republicans and Democrats as reform measures are discussed.
Rather than build a wall along the border as President Donald Trump, for economic reasons alone, it’s time to put politics aside and build consensus for immigration reform.
As a conservative, free-market proponent, Mexican American lawyer and Trump supporter, I’m passionate about positive immigration reform because its economic benefits would be extraordinary.
Reforming our immigration system will ensure that businesses have access to those workers and that our economy thrives.
Immigrants comprise about 25 million people in the American workforce, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. A Wall Street Journal article cited an assessment by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that concluded immigrants are integral to the nation’s economic growth.
But with much of the immigration discussion focusing on the 11 million undocumented workers in the U.S., their presence is a good place to start when dissecting the need for reform.
Our immigration system is fundamentally broken. Millions of immigrants live in uncertainty and fear. Businesses are baffled by convoluted hiring practices.
The following are the main obstacles that need to be overcome in order to broker positive immigration reform:
Codify DACA. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals provides a level of amnesty to undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, but no clear path to citizenship. Their continued undocumented status is shameful. The parents of DACA kids did not come in the lawful way, but because of the failure of our immigration system to establish a viable guest worker program, there were no proper channels to enter the country. One solution is to change the law so as to regularize the status of the 11 million illegal immigrants, over half of whom have been in the U.S. 10 or more years.
Improve the vetting process. The common national perception is that undocumented immigrants are associated with crime. An out-of-date vetting process is partly to blame. Our vetting process is terrible. The State Department issued their visas many years ago, but now that they’ve overstayed their visas we don’t know what’s happened to them since those visas were granted. Let’s fingerprint them and find out who they are, do background checks. That will make America safer.
Streamline the worker visa program. Immigrant labor’s importance to U.S. agriculture is well-documented. In 2017, changes to the agricultural worker visa cleared the House subcommittee. Similar expanded visa programs are needed for highly-skilled immigrants, such as in the computer field. Without them, America’s most profitable corporations could cease to function. Meanwhile, we need to push through visa changes that would provide a steady supply of agricultural workers, who are essential to the productivity and security of our food supply.
I believe that the reasons for changing our immigration policy to accommodate the 11 million human beings here – people who have not committed major crimes, who are contributing to our economy and who are assimilating to American culture – are just as compelling as the conditions that motivated Martin Luther King Jr. and others in the fight for the civil rights of African Americans.”
Jacob Monty is an immigration attorney and founder of the law firm Monty & Ramirez LLP (www.montyramirezlaw.com), located in Houston. He is the author of The Sons of Wetbacks. Monty has appeared on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC regarding immigration and has advised the New York Yankees on immigration matters for over a decade.
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