The US Immigration Reform Initiative, a series of essays and papers, seeks to look beyond recent and current US immigration debates to outline a flexible, secure, and evidence-based immigration system that would serve the nation’s interests, reflect its liberal democratic ideals, and benefit from the contributions of talented, hardworking immigrants from throughout the world.
Together, the publications in the collection make the case that: The Center for Migration Studies (CMS) announces the release of The US Immigration System: Principles, Interests, and Policy Proposals to Guide Long-Term Reform, a special collection of the Journal on Migration and Human Security (JMHS).
In order to defend a new immigration policy, it is essential to understand the system as it stands.
Much of current immigration policy stems from the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which sets a limit of 675,000 permanent immigrants per year, with certain exceptions.
Basic economics indicates that an increase in the labor supply (more immigrants = more workers) should drive down wages, all else being equal.
Still, some researchers find little evidence of depressed wages in response to increased immigration.However, since many immigrants earn lower incomes, on average, than the native-born population, they may be more likely to use certain services, thereby placing extra burden on government programs.The unique social impact of undocumented immigrants is also important to note: nearly half of undocumented immigrants pay taxes toward benefits—namely social security and Medicaid—that they are ineligible to receive.Regardless of what you choose, be clear about the goals of your immigration policy and make a strong case for why your proposal meets them.Your policy may have political, cultural and ethical motives but should be supported by economic reasoning.The evidence suggests that deterrence through enforcement, despite its successes in reducing illegal entry across the border, is producing diminishing returns due to three reasons.First, arrivals at the border are increasingly made up of asylum seekers from Central America, which is a population that is harder to deter because of the dangers they face at home, and in many cases not appropriate to deter because the United States has legal obligations to consider requests for asylum.Immigration is one of the most contentious issues in American society, and understandably so.Approximately 44 million immigrants reside in the United States, constituting more than 14 percent of the population, and we welcome more than one million more new legal immigrants annually.It may be that native-born workers and immigrants are more often complements than substitutes; that is, immigrants fill jobs that native-born workers do not want or for which they are not qualified.Immigration can also energize the economy by bringing entrepreneurs, innovators, and consumers into the economy.