"The continued failure to devise and implement a sound and sustainable immigration policy threatens to weaken America's economy, to jeopardize its diplomacy, and to imperil its national security," concludes a new Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Independent Task Force co-chaired by former Florida governor Jeb Bush and former White House chief of staff Thomas "Mack" McLarty.
"The stakes are too high to fail," says the report. "If the United States continues to mishandle its immigration policy, it will damage one of the vital underpinnings of American prosperity and security, and could condemn the country to a long, slow decline in its status in the world." For this reason, the report urges: "The United States needs a fundamental overhaul of its immigration laws."
U.S. Immigration Policy contends that America has reaped tremendous benefits from opening its doors to immigrants, as well as to students, skilled employees and others who may only live in the country for shorter periods of time. But it warns that "the continued inability of the United States to develop and enforce a workable system of immigration laws threatens to undermine these achievements."
Directed by CFR Senior Fellow Edward Alden, the CFR-sponsored Independent Task Force on U.S. Immigration Policy reflects the consensus of a bipartisan group of eminent leaders in the fields of immigration policy, homeland security, education, labor, business, academia and human rights. The group urges Congress and the Obama administration to move ahead with immigration reform legislation that achieves three critical goals:
Reforms the legal immigration system so that it operates more efficiently, responds more accurately to labor market needs, and enhances U.S. competitiveness;
Restores the integrity of immigration laws through an enforcement regime that strongly discourages employers and employees from operating outside that legal system, secures America's borders, and levies significant penalties against those who violate the rules;
Offers a fair, humane, and orderly way to allow many of the roughly twelve million migrants currently living illegally in the United States to earn the right to remain legally.