What Should Comprehensive Immigration Reform Look Like?

As has been clear from the growing chorus of debate surrounding what is widely-expected to be one of the first issues taken up by the newly elected 113th Congress, comprehensive immigration reform is coming and coming soon. However, what such reform will look like is not entirely clear, as a range of different opinions are being voiced as to whom such reform should be aimed at and how far-reaching such reforms should go. Recently, the New York Times ran six opinion pieces on the subject (http://nyti.ms/VxPY3i) from six well-respected voices in the debate. As can be expected, the recommendations as to what CIR should include differed significantly. Different stakeholders in the debate proffered different solutions. However, Leith Anderson, President of the National Association of Evangelicals summarized what should be the focus of the reform perfectly when he stated: "If your car is out of gas and has a dead battery and a flat tire, it won't help to solve one problem. You need a comprehensive approach."

While we won't comment on exactly what should and should not be included in CIR, a solution that pushes hard decisions off for future Congresses to address is not a real solution. Our elected representatives are elected for the purpose of having the courage to make difficult decisions to improve our nation for our children and their children, not to delay tough choices for another day. What is included in CIR should be the subject of a vigorous and intelligent debate, including the number of available visas to those in and out of the country, how to continue to attract the world's best and brightest to our shores and what to do about the estimated 10-15 million individuals already in the country. However, whatever is ultimately implemented should be something that helps the nation both appreicate it immigrant roots, while also keeping an eye on making sure that the United States remains the global standard for prosperity, economic might and freedom. Anything less would be a disappointment.

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