A Proposal for Immigration Reform
Brito, Dagobert L.
It is not possible to deport the 10 million to 20 million undocumented workers currently in the United States without incurring unacceptable political and economic costs. However, there is not a consensus in the United States in favor of granting permanent resident status to such undocumented immigrants. This paper presents a possible solution to this impasse. The first element of the proposal is to register undocumented workers who are in the United States and grant them temporary work permits with repatriation dates spaced over a period of years. Such a proposal would allow employers to hire workers without penalty. The allocation of repatriation dates could be done by a lottery. Spacing repatriation of undocumented workers over a period of years would avoid a disruption in the labor market and permit a humane and rational schedule of repatriation. The undocumented workers that do not register and are identified can be deported without disruption of the economy. The second element of this proposal is that, in the case of undocumented immigrants from Mexico, the registering of undocumented Mexicans be done jointly with Mexico. Mexico has a very extensive network of consular offices in the United States. The task of registering undocumented workers would be much easier if Mexico registered its own nationals. Further, such an agreement could serve as a framework that would allow Mexican workers controlled access to the U.S. labor market. The number of non-Mexican undocumented workers is smaller, and thus the problem of registering non-Mexican workers is more manageable. There will be cases where implementation of this policy will result in hardship. These issues can be addressed separately once the current crisis is resolved. American immigration policy for the 21st century is an issue that will have to be further addressed soon in the political agenda of the United States. It is, however, an issue that is better addressed without the shadow of 10 million to 20 million undocumented immigrants hanging over the debate. Mexico and the United States can enter into talks immediately to start crafting an agreement. A well-crafted treaty can be presented to the U.S. Senate next year. Immigration reform could still be one of the accomplishments of the Bush administration.
Citable link to this pagehttp://hdl.handle.net/1911/92506
Link to Baker Institute Research Libraryhttp://www.bakerinstitute.org/research/a-proposal-for-immigration-reform/
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