Immigration Reform: Future Flow Must Meet Economic Need

For me and my colleagues in the Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform coalition, we want to see a fair, pragmatic, and just immigration reform that respects the rule of law; secures our borders, our businesses, and our visa process; ensures fairness to taxpayers; protects the unity of the immediate family; and especially respects the God-­given dignity of every person. Furthermore, we strongly feel that our nation has a moral imperative to assure that any immigration reform establishes a path toward earned legalization and eventual citizenship for those that are currently undocumented, and can qualify for this program. However, at the end of the day, we also want to see a reform of our legal immigration system that will actually work to solve the problems inherent in the broken immigration system that have led us to the dysfunctional situation that America is mired in today.

Therefore, it is with some measure of frustration that we find ourselves at a stalemate on the very important issue of “future flow.” Make no mistake, one of the main reasons why we now have 11,000,000 undocumented individuals in this country today, is because the legal immigration system that we currently have, did not sufficiently address the issue of future flow when it was enacted in 1986. Other than the issues of a legalization of the undocumented, and the various security and enforcement issues mentioned above, nothing will ensure a successful immigration overhaul more than getting this aspect of an immigration solution correct. Without a sufficient supply of future immigrant workers, we will not be able to achieve the economic expansion that will be mandatory to balance our future budgets, or to save our future entitlement programs. Those are hard facts, but they represent an accurate assessment of the reality of our fiscal requirements in the 21st century.

While we are sympathetic to the demands by our labor unions that future immigration programs must not undercut our current American workforce, they must understand that any future immigration program must not be unwieldy or prove to be more expensive than our current American workforce either. We need to have as much legal immigration as we need to have, no more, but especially no less. If immigration is to work for America, it must be based primarily on the full and complete needs of the free market. We are, after all, a society that is based on the free market. It is the backbone and fundamental tenet of our entire economic system,­ a system which has proven to be the best ever invented by man.

To quote a recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal, “Ideally, a guest­worker program would have no cap so labor flows would adjust with supply and demand. The next best approach is to adopt a relatively high cap — say, a half ­million temporary visas — that would let employers fill their job needs with relative ease. In 2007, the Senate reform bill began with 400,000 guest visas….But a shrunken, bureaucratic guest­worker program that lets unions define job openings and determine wages is worse than the status quo. It won’t help the economy but it will guarantee that illegal immigrants keep coming.”

It labor is successful in undermining the reconstruction of America’s immigration system, (they reportedly are demanding that their version of a guest worker program would start at only 10,000 workers per year, and only be expanded at the behest of some kind of a politically appointed commission), we will someday ­- in the near future -­ find ourselves back in the same mess that we are currently in today. Therefore, I truly pray that our friends on both sides of this issue, from both the labor and business sectors of our economy, will soon come together in compromise, pragmatically and justly, to solve this issue as Americans, and for the good of America.

At the end of the day, we have to solve this very real crisis through immigration reform. It is an unacceptable and unconscionable moral outrage for our great nation to have 11,000,000 undocumented people, along with their 5,000,000 citizen children and several million legal or citizen spouses ­– roughly 20,000,000 people in total ­ — living in the shadows of the American Dream. Our leaders must have the courage and moral compass to legislate a solution that solves the problem now, but also for America’s future prosperity. They must rise above the political fray, and make determinations about the future flow of immigration that respects the nuclear family, as well as the true labor needs of our future and expanding economy.

By Robert Gittelson, President of Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

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