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November 18th, 2009 8:35 pm
Obama’s Coming Immigration “Reform” Borders on Insanity

And now a word from Big Sister. With comprehensive climate change legislation tabled until next year and comprehensive health care reform on life support in the Senate, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says the current immigration system is “unacceptable.” Translation? It’s time to pursue comprehensive immigration reform. (By the way, is there any issue area that doesn’t require a “comprehensive” solution? Whatever happened to incrementalism?)

Characteristically, the Obama Administration will not be advocating a fix that speaks to the fundamental issue in the debate. The primary criticism of the current system is that it attracts and rewards low-skilled workers living at the margins of mainstream American society. Compounding matters is the current system’s focus on “re-uniting” families; which over time has been expanded to mean any tangentially related family member overseas gets bumped to the front of the visa line.

Steven Malanga of the Manhattan Institute thinks this is a problem.

The more people who came and established residence here, the longer the so-called ‘family re-unification’ list of visa applicants grew as newcomers placed their own relatives on it. That put pressure on Congress to continually expand the family-visa category until it came to dominate our immigration system. It also sparked more illegal immigration because Congress could never enlarge the number of immigration slots fast enough to reduce wait lists for family members, which meant many people just came without permanent visas to join relatives and then hoped for the best.”

As Malanga advocates, a more far more sensible solution would be to follow the lead of countries like Australia, Ireland, and Canada who “tilted their policies towards focusing on those with skills and talents most likely to succeed in and contribute to a late 20th century developed economy.”

Instead, all indications are that Secretary Napolitano will claim that a year’s worth of border enforcement is not enough. She’ll then declare a need to “comprehensively” reform the system and the people who brought you nearly $2 trillion of stimulus and health reform will conjure up ways to sell amnesty as the only moral decision possible. Get ready for a spirited Spring congressional session!

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