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Rules-Based Immigration Needed

Posted By Conn Carroll On April 14, 2008 @ 2:05 pm In Security | Comments Disabled

Heritage Senior Research Fellow James Carafano wrote a piece for the Washington Post’s Think Tank Town [1] feature today. Highlights include:

“I’m in favor of immigration,” Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) once said. “But we also need rules.” Most Americans probably agree. So why are sensible rules so hard to come by? …

An amnesty-first strategy formed the basis of the 1986 Simpson-Mazzoli legislation, Washington’s last major attempt at an overhaul. Then, an estimated 3 million were “unlawfully present.” Now it’s easily five times that number. Rampant fraud and a tsunami of applications overwhelmed the system. The number of visas for legal workers was far too small to meet the needs of a growing economy. Border security and workplace enforcement couldn’t keep up with the demand for undocumented workers. Americans learned their lesson. That’s why they soundly rejected this approach a second time. …

America wants border security and workplace enforcement, along with a legal workforce adequate to its needs, now — not when it’s convenient for the Congress. … One measure should be to provide incentives for temporary worker visas to participate in a voluntary land-border exit checkout system. Workers that check out should automatically be eligible to qualify for future temporary worker programs. Those that don’t should be barred from participating in future programs. Employers should post bonds that are redeemed when their workers check out. Countries whose workers exceed a 2 percent over-stay rate for a visa category should have their citizens barred from participating in that category of temporary work program.

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URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2008/04/14/rules-based-immigration-needed/

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[1] Think Tank Town: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/11/AR2008041103173.html

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