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An Alternative Approach to Immigration Reform

November 01, 2023 (1 min read)

Stuart Anderson, Forbes, Nov. 1, 2023

"The current immigration flow to the U.S. border represents an unprecedented refugee crisis in the Western Hemisphere caused by political and economic crises in Venezuela and elsewhere in the region. Traditional border approaches designed to deter individual Mexican workers are unlikely to be effective.  A National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) analysis of Border Patrol apprehensions over the past 100 years found “periods of reduced illegal entry occurred not because of enforcement but due to economic and demographic changes and the U.S. government opening legal pathways.” Providing legal work visas and moving more processing outside the United States for individuals, including refugee processing, is more likely to reduce illegal entry than treating people harshly.  A new immigration reform proposal takes this approach. Stephen Yale-Loehr, Randel Keith Johnson, Theresa Cardinal Brown, and Charles Kamasaki authored the proposal as part of a recent Cornell Law School conference. Yale-Loehr is an attorney, law school professor and NFAP advisor, and Johnson, Cardinal Brown, and Kamasaki are distinguished visiting immigration scholars at Cornell Law School.  The proposal advocates creating “alternatives to engaging smugglers and illegally entering the United States for those seeking protection and allow for decisions long before anyone comes to the border.” They recommend work visas, refugee processing centers, expanding humanitarian parole programs and other ways to increase legal pathways. This would be the opposite approach from the Secure the Border Act.  The proposal concludes, “Reform the asylum system for border arrivals to return it to its rightful place as the last resort for those that need protection, not the first option for those seeking to immigrate.” The authors also recommend state-based visa programs and protections for Dreamers."