These People Want to Work: Immigration Reform

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The European Union allows people to relocate between countries with a level of freedom that is unmatched elsewhere in the world, greatly widening employment pools. Middle Eastern conflict has created an exception in recent years, spurring a big influx of asylum seekers from war-torn countries.

Immigration reform in the United States

Mercosur, a trade bloc in South America, functions like the E. It might help to imagine that these partnerships are like Nafta — the policy between the United States, Mexico and Canada that lowers barriers for trade, which President Trump has threatened to eliminate — but instead of goods, the agreements apply to people. In a system like that, Americans looking for work would be able to expand their searches into Canada and Mexico, but they would also compete against Canadian and Mexican candidates for jobs in the United States.

South Korea and Japan are so stringent with immigration that they make the United States look lenient. This is partly because of a desire to preserve their cultures, a goal echoed by some conservative groups in the United States.

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For example, the Japanese government once offered thousands of dollars to immigrants of Japanese descent to leave the country. And very few people become South Korean citizens without family ties; doing so requires years of residence, an in-person language proficiency test and a written test on customs, history and culture. On top of stoking racial tensions, these policies have created demographic problems for South Korea and Japan. The Gulf states allow a huge immigrant influx to meet the demand for cheap, low-skilled labor, but almost all of the immigrants are temporary, and they have few rights or protections.

In Qatar, for example, roughly 80 percent of the population is foreign-born. Without them, the skyscrapers of Doha or the World Cup, for which the government has promised to build more than half a dozen new stadiums, would not be possible. And the Qatari government has been accused of human rights abuses against those workers.

The only way that governments can sustain these heavy immigrant populations is by withholding the generous resources that are granted to ordinary citizens, such as free health care, free college tuition and marriage allowances. Most Americans would not be comfortable with this approach, said Morris Levy, a political scientist at the University of Southern California who studies public opinion on immigration. Based on the current debate, any solution that Congress agrees on will probably fall somewhere between international models.

It could follow some trends that are occurring worldwide. For example, in many countries, including Canada and Australia, there has been a shift away from exclusively merit-based systems to ones that also consider whether someone has a job offer — something currently done in the United States. For purposes of immigration, the United States could narrow its definition of family, which is wider than that of any other country, to exclude siblings or adult children who are married.

Although current American policies around family-based migration are the most generous in the world, the results look much different in practice because of limits on the number of visas that can be granted in each category. Papademetriou, co-founder of the Migration Policy Institute, a research organization. When it comes to immigrant integration, family is very important.

You could envision a merit-based system that incorporates characteristics of our current system. It could grant points to people who have family members in the United States, or who come from countries that are not highly represented in the current population. In that case, it might be desirable to pay attention to the weight each category is given and to adjust based on economic and social outcomes.

Immigration Reform and Control Act

Papademetriou said. Our system that exists today is just politics. While the sputtering negotiations are frustrating for many people, especially for those caught up in the system, academics agree that, in general, these decisions should not be rushed. Gest, the George Mason University professor. Please upgrade your browser. Please Enable JavaScript Safely. In Depth: Topics A to Z. Thinking now about immigrants -- that is, people who come from other countries to live here in the United States, in your view, should immigration be kept at its present level, increased or decreased?


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Next, as you may know, thousands of refugees have left Honduras and other Central American countries to escape the situation there. Would you approve or disapprove of allowing these refugees to come into this country? Do you, personally, consider the situation at the U. On the whole, do you think immigration is a good thing or a bad thing for this country today?

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Good thing Bad thing Mixed vol. For each of the following areas, please say whether immigrants to the United States are making the situation in the country better or worse, or not having much effect. Do you think immigrants -- [ROTATED: mostly help the economy by providing low cost labor, or mostly hurt the economy by driving wages down for many Americans?

Mostly help Mostly hurt Both vol.

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Neither vol. Next, I'm going to read a list of problems facing the country. For each one, please tell me if you personally worry about this problem a great deal, a fair amount, only a little or not at all? How much do you personally worry about illegal immigration? Next, I am going to read you a list of possible threats to the vital interests of the United States in the next 10 years. For each one, please tell me if you see this as a critical threat, an important but not critical threat, or not an important threat at all. Large numbers of undocumented immigrants entering the United States.

Please tell me whether you strongly favor, favor, oppose or strongly oppose each of the following proposals. Significantly expanding the construction of walls along the U. Deporting all immigrants who are living in the United States illegally back to their home country. Allowing immigrants living in the U. Hiring significantly more border patrol agents. Next, we'd like to know how you feel about the state of the nation in each of the following areas. For each one, please say whether you are -- very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.

If you don't have enough information about a particular subject to rate it, just say so. How about -- the level of immigration into the country today? Asked of those dissatisfied with level of immigration into U. Would you like to see the level of immigration in this country increased, decreased or remain about the same? Thinking now about immigrants -- that is, people who come from other countries to live here in the United States, in your view, should LEGAL immigration be kept at its present level, increased or decreased? Allowing immigrants, who were brought to the U.

Banning "sanctuary cities" by requiring local governments to cooperate with U. Ending programs by which legal immigrants can sponsor relatives living abroad to move to the U. Which of the following statements comes closer to your view [ROTATED: immigrants mostly take jobs that American workers want, or immigrants mostly take low-paying jobs Americans don't want]?

If you had to choose, what should be the main focus of the U. S illegally]? Halting flow of illegal immigrants Deal with immigrants in U. Building a wall along the entire U. Were you born in the United States or in another country? Born in U. Were either of your parents born in another country, or were both of your parents born in the United States? One or both born in another country Both born in U. Summary: National Origin. Which comes closest to your view about what government policy should be toward illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States?

Option One: Tiered Legalization

Should the government -- [ROTATED: deport all illegal immigrants back to their home country, allow illegal immigrants to remain in the United States in order to work, but only for a limited amount of time, or allow illegal immigrants to remain in the United States and become U. Deport all Remain in U. Thinking about how the immigration issue might affect your vote for major offices, would you -- [ROTATED: only vote for a candidate who shares your views on immigration or consider a candidate's position on immigration as just one of many important factors or not see immigration as a major issue]?

How closely are you following the news about executive actions President Obama plans to take dealing with certain categories of undocumented immigrants living in the U. From what you know about them, do you strongly approve, approve, disapprove or strongly disapprove of these executive actions President Obama plans to take?


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