What’s One Thing We Can Do To Fix Our Nation's Immigration System?
We asked four members of the Humphrey School community to weigh in on a big question.
Ryan Allen, Associate Professor, Humphrey School
Align the issuance of permanent and temporary immigrant visas with labor demand in our economy. Many states are currently experiencing labor shortages in key industries, and these shortages are poised to spread to other industries and become more acute in the near future as baby boomers retire in greater numbers. Allowing immigrants to fill this unmet labor demand through lawful channels will help keep our economy strong and reduce abusive labor practices that exist in some areas of the economy.
Dave Durenberger, Humphrey School Advisory Council Member, Author of When Republicans Were Progressive
Return to bipartisan practices. During my three terms in the U.S. Senate, legislative policy priorities were usually set by the president. While he made recommendations, the standing committees of the Senate and counterpart committees in the House actually shaped the product before it went to the floor and conference committees. Each of us brought the experiences and the values of our state's unique constituencies to the committee hearing process and the final product. These practices have been lost as partisan political priorities have dominated Congress in the last three decades.
Kim Hunter (2003-04 Policy Fellow), Managing Partner, Kim Hunter Law
Reverse the draconian provisions of IIRIRA (the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act) signed into law by President Clinton in 1996. Specifically, the heightened criminalization of civil immigration violations and mandatory detention provisions of the Act result in the neeedless—and frequently indefinite—incarceration of hundreds of thousands of non-citizens each year. Immigration detention should not be "the future" of the private prison industry; but it has basically become so.
MayKao Hang (MA '96), President and CEO, Amherst H. Wilder Foundation
Restructure immigration policies based on humanitarian values and strengthen our economy. Policy that tries to rid America of its humanity for those seeking refuge, help, and a better life will not make us safer or stronger. We are a nation of displaced people (pick your generation) from humble origins. We can't allow fear to override the evidence: that if we accept immigrants and treat them well, it makes us stronger, not weaker.