What do we need in the way of a sane immigration policy? Let’s stick to basics:

  1. Recognition that the illegal immigrant problem is largely the making of bad policy enacted by Congress during previous decades: namely, failure to recognize that important sectors of the U.S. economy need lots of guest workers from south of the border, some seasonal, some year round. In agriculture, landscaping, and some service industries, as a starter. Bad policy that is impossible to enforce leads to otherwise avoidable illegal activity (bootleggers during prohibition, illegal immigration in recent decades, drug smuggling and gangs today). Ergo, a path to legality and then citizenship for illegal immigrants is a reality that Republicans in the House are going to have to face up to. The required process should be demanding but not petty or capricious.
  2. Recognition that throwing twenty or forty billion dollars at a border fence and thousands of agents on the Mexican border is a waste of money, an increase of federal government bloat, and a stupidity if erected between members of a common market established by treaty.
  3. Recognition that all foreign students graduating from U.S. universities with masters and doctorates in the sciences should have green cards stapled to their diplomas.
  4. Recognition by the Democrats that guest worker and skilled worker green card programs must not be limited by the party’s protectionist trade union constituencies.

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