Successful Immigration Reform Must Confront Issues


Not Included in Bi-Partisan Senators’ Proposal


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Read Bruce Thatcher's comments on the Dream Act


Bruce Thatcher is a world renowned historian and author of the breakthrough book, Immigration: How to Avoid Its Perils and Make It Work, and founder of History Speaks Today,


Thatcher says; "Immigration’s role in America should be to enhance the vitality and growth of the U.S. economy while not detracting from national solidarity and the securityof the American people. Such a comprehensive immigration policy includes at least nine key points."


In an announcement on January 28, a bipartisan group of eight senators announced a Framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform based on “Four Basic Legislative Pillars”.

  • Create a tough but fair path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants currently living in the United States that is contingent upon securing our borders and tracking whether legal immigrants have left the country when required;

  • Reform our legal immigration system to better recognize the importance of characteristics that will help build the American economy and strengthen American families;

  • Create an effective employment verification system that will prevent identity theft and end the hiring of future unauthorized workers;

  • Establish an improved process for admitting future workers to serve our nation’s workforce needs, while simultaneously protecting all workers.

“It's a good beginning,” says Thatcher, but 'successful permanent reform’ of our immigration system requires dealing with basic problems not mentioned by the senators.” 


“For instance, before we resolve the status of undocumented aliens living in this country, we’d better understand the ramifications.  And I’m not talking about respect for the law or fairness to those who are following the rules, though that’s important,” he goes on.  “I’m talking about 10-20 million or more additional future immigrants that amnesty and citizenship will authorize to come to this country unless basic changes not mentioned in the senators’ announcement are made to elements of our current immigration law.”  


Thatcher points out that current immigration law gives overwhelming preference to family of citizens; from 2001-2010 about 2/3 of all legal immigrants were relatives of people already here.  The annual ‘family’ limit of 226,000 does NOT include numerically-unrestricted ‘close relatives’ (spouses, parents, unmarried children under 21), which made up about 480,000 immigrants/year from 2001-2010.  And ‘family’ immigrants are not required to meet any educational, lingual or work-experience criteria, meaning they are more likely to become burdens on welfare and support systems.


“While the senators’ proposals would require illegals to “pass an additional background check, pay taxes. learn English and civics, demonstrate a history of work …” there’s no mention of applying such criteria to other ‘family’ immigrants, or of imposing significant control over the total number of immigrants to be taken in.”

Thatcher’s examination of immigration in seven nations shows that every successful immigration policy has adhered to three principles – Design immigration to serve unambiguous national interests; Institute and enforce clear laws, regulations and practices that implement and control immigration; and Assimilate immigrants into society as rapidly as possible.       

Thatcher urges that we first establish which key long-term national interest shall guide a new immigration policy – population growth, economic health, demography, national identity, security, educational attainment, family reunification, brotherhood, etc.  Once we agree on that, the particulars can be made to consistently address that interest. 


The senators’ announcement seems to be favoring an economic national interest to guide immigration policy, but Thatcher insists that “to avoid crippling ambiguity that needs to be made clear.” 


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