Congress has proven unable to fix our outdated and ineffective immigration system for decades. As the issue of immigration becomes increasingly divisive in this country, it is paramount that Congress prioritizes its repair.
Fixing the immigration system requires bipartisan coalitions dedicated to innovative policy change. Instead of focusing on some of the largest and most controversial aspects of immigration policy—like building a border wall—focusing on narrow, pragmatic, and incremental immigration reforms that transcend partisan politicking is a good first step to reform.
These reforms are not enough to fix our immigration system alone, but enacting them would improve the way our country manages immigration policy. All lawmakers can find at least one reform to champion.
The 20 reforms outlined in this paper provide a blueprint for a productive start to that process. We explore pragmatic fixes to legal immigration processes, simplifications of our humanitarian immigration system, and improving cost effectiveness across various immigration channels.
Capitol Hill should start a robust legislative debate on immigration policy in the 115th Congress. While the most contentious issues loom large, there remains significant work to be done on the margins to improve U.S. immigration policy for both immigrants and American citizens.
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