The Center For American Progress just released new guidelines today, which would present a strong foundation for a real immigration overhaul.
Before laying out their core principles for Immigration Reform (view pdf), however, authors Marshall Fitz and Angela Kelley outline why this kind of reform is so urgent:
Our broken immigration system undermines core national interests and must be reformed. The public demands it. Our security requires it. Global competitiveness and economic reality compel it. Our identity as a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws depends on it.
[...] The failures of our immigration system stand in sharp contrast to the powerful contributions that immigrants have made to our country. Immigrants have become part of the American mainstream, and they are essential to our economic growth. They are the entrepreneurs on Main Street, U.S.A., and they have risen to the top of every segment of society along with their children, including the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. presidency.
They continue with a broad blueprint for reform that is both tough and practical:
We must develop a system that recognizes those contributions and treats immigration as a national resource to be managed and embraced. This requires that we develop strong enforcement mechanisms at the border and worksite that will expose future illegal border crossers and employers who seek to hire undocumented workers. It requires that we deal realistically with the fact that more than 5 percent of our national workforce is undocumented. It requires that we allow families that have been separated for years or decades to be united quickly. It requires that we create flexible immigration channels to enable foreign workers to enter the country without disadvantaging U.S. workers. And it requires that we provide immigrants with the tools they need to integrate into our communities.
Opponents of reform will continue to foment fear and cling to the status quo. But public opinion polling shows that voters expect their elected officials to solve tough problems with pragmatic policies while standing on principle. As the president and Congress begin work on this issue, the Center for American Progress offers the following framework of principles and solutions for comprehensive immigration reform.