Congress can and should pass comprehensive immigration reform in 2010. Any legislation worthy of the name would:
1) offer legalization to undocumented workers who have been here for several years, pass a security check, and pay a reasonable fine and back taxes;
2) create a temporary-visa program sufficient to meet future labor needs of a growing economy; and
3) enforce the law against those who still insist on working outside the system, but in a way that does not restrict the freedom of American citizens.
Reform would reduce illegal immigration by offering a legal alternative. It would tighten border security by allowing U.S. agents to focus on intercepting real criminals and terrorists, not dishwashers and gardeners. And it would expand output, investment, and job opportunities for middle-class Americans. Polls show a majority of Americans will accept the three-fold approach to reform. Recent elections confirm that support for reform is a modest plus with swing voters, and a huge plus with Hispanics.
This is an issue where both major parties can work together to fix our immigration system in a way that boosts the economy, enhances security, and expands liberty.
For more, see Cato’s research on immigration.