Washington D.C. - March 18, 2010 Today, in the Washington Post ,Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC) laid out their blueprint for immigration reform legislation, noting that the American people want Congress to reform the badly broken immigration system. Their framework, welcomed by the President in a statement also released today, rests on four pillars: ending illegal employment through biometric Social Security cards, enhancing border and interior enforcement, managing the flow of future immigration to correspond to economic realities, and creating a tough but fair path toward legalization for the 11 million people currently in the U.S. without authorization. While there will undoubtedly be intense debate over the specifics of each component, the framework marks an important bipartisan step forward on an issue that has been mired in political controversy and held up by both parties for too long.
Of critical importance is the recognition that immigration reform can't be accomplished if we focus on just one aspect of the problem. While many think that immigration reform is only about the millions of unauthorized immigrants currently living in the United States, the scope and necessity of reform is much greater, and will have a significant positive impact on U.S. citizens and businesses. For example, there are insufficient numbers of visas for either high-skilled or less-skilled workers to meet the changing needs of the U.S. economy and labor market, which hurts U.S. business and fuels unauthorized immigration when economic times are good. Outdated and arbitrary visa caps have created long backlogs of family members who wait up to 20 years to be reunited with family living in the United States. Wage and workplace violations by unscrupulous employers who exploit immigrant workers are undercutting honest businesses and harming all U.S. workers. Inadequate government infrastructure is delaying the integration of immigrants who want to become U.S. citizens and fully participate in our civic life.