AILA Doc No. 02053000 | Dated May 30, 2002
THE ISSUE: The current discussions between the United States and Mexico offer an historic opportunity to achieve needed reforms in our immigration system. Such reforms will contribute to our national security, respond to worker shortages that remain a critical issue because of long-term demographic, economic and education trends, and reunify families.
Needed reforms should be comprehensive and would include opportunities for work authorization and legal status through a regularization program for undocumented people living, working in, and contributing to the U.S., and opportunities to bring in essential workers through a reform of current programs and the development of a new temporary workers program that differs from existing and past models, and allows workers to enter the U.S. safely, legally, and expeditiously. In addition, reforms should reduce backlogs in family-based immigration and delays in business-based immigration.
BACKGROUND: Our current immigration system has failed in many ways and needs to be fixed. Employers in several sectors (health care and construction especially) are unable to get the workers they need, and as the economy pushes ahead other employers will experience worker shortages, families remain separated for years due to bureaucratic processing delays and long backlogs, hard-working tax-paying people who contribute to our economy are undocumented and forced to live an underground existence, people are losing their lives trying to cross the border, and smugglers are profiting from this trade in human lives. The United States needs to reform its immigration system to recognize the contributions that immigrants have made and their continued importance to our national well-being. These factors will only intensify as the U.S. emerges from the current economic slowdown and from the shadows of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The U.S./Mexico discussions have internationalized the issue of immigration and have led to a vast broadening of the policy debate in Washington, D.C.
CURRENT STATUS: Along with its focus on national security, the Bush Administration continues to affirm the importance of the U.S./Mexico bilateral efforts, with the U.S./Mexico working teams officially meeting on a regular basis to continue the discussions that had been disrupted by the September 11 terrorist attacks.
AILA’s POSITION: AILA believes that the U.S./Mexico discussions offer our country the chance to initiate long-needed reforms in our immigration system. The principles noted below are central to successful immigration reform.
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 02053000.