In 1986, there were 2.7 million illegal immigrants inside the United States. They were granted a one-time amnesty. Illegal immigration crisis solved? Hardly. More than twenty years later there were around 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. How does the left want to solve this problem? More amnesty. This would work about as well as it did the last time.
Since the recession began, the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. has actually fallen, thus proving amnesty-or-deportation is a false choice. Illegal immigrants can, and do, choose to go home voluntarily. Now that the left’s latest amnesty attempt, the DREAM Act, has been defeated what should the next Congress do to fix our broken immigration system. Heritage scholar Jena Baker McNeill writes:
Securing the border. While substantial work has been done to secure the southern border, there are still significant actions that need to be taken in terms of ensuring that the technologies and infrastructure on the ground can work to assist Border Patrol agents in doing their jobs. Deployment of additional key technologies as well as robust cooperation between U.S. and Mexican law enforcement are vital for gaining control of the border.
Enforcement of immigration laws. Enforcement of current immigration laws inside the U.S. would discourage illegal immigration and the employment of illegal labor. Recent actions by the Administration, however, have degraded enforcement policies even further—including the Administration’s recent announcement that it would not enforce the law against “non-criminal” illegal aliens. Congress should insist on robust enforcement of immigration laws.
Emphasize legal immigration. The process by which individuals enter the country legally should be fair, orderly, and efficient—welcoming those who abide by immigration laws and denying entry and advantages to those who violate the law. Reforms in visa services are important for achieving this goal. The U.S. should pilot truly temporary worker programs that allow for a market-driven source of legal labor.