Immigration policy decisions, like all policy considerations, necessarily require normative judgments. Even the strongest evidence about the effects of immigration policy is politically inert without underlying normative principles. Sharing the principles that guide our policy considerations and recommendations allows us to identify unlikely allies and continue to strengthen relationships we have with those guided by similar principles or policy goals. This document discusses Niskanen’s principles of immigration reform:
1 — Effective enforcement of immigration law must address the incentives that drive undocumented immigration.
2 — Federal immigration enforcement should prioritize people charged with serious crimes and those who have recently committed an immigration violation.
3 — Border security and interior enforcement should be efficient and cost-effective, utilize cutting-edge technology and tactics, and be minimally invasive to commerce, legal immigration, and civil liberties.
4 – Under certain conditions, undocumented immigrants should be able to regularize their immigration status.
5 — Some admissions policies should capture productivity-associated economic benefits.
6 — Some admissions policies should capture input-associated economic benefits.
7 — Some admissions policies should provide humanitarian relief.
8 — Some admissions policies should offer opportunities to the global poor.
9 — Our immigration system should be family-friendly.
10 — Immigration policy should be responsive to global trends.
11 — The rights of Americans and migrants turn on reliable due process.
12 — Immigration petitions must be adjudicated expeditiously and predictably.
13 — Some guest workers should regularly be afforded the right to naturalize.
14 — The immigration system should facilitate and encourage integration.
15 — Immigration should be a net fiscal benefit to the United States.
16 — American world leadership turns on robust cooperation with allies and partners to address global challenges and opportunities—like immigration.
17 — The immigration system can and should be a win-win for workers, business, and immigrants alike.