The 110th Congress and Immigration Reform

The link above to the Council on Foreign Relations provides a detailed overview of the recent congressional debate on immigration reform. The site covers an overview of the debates that plagued the 109th Congress, as well as the current proposals that are under consideration. It also offers analysis of the political, economic and foreign policy implications for immigraiton reform.

The most interested aspect of this report are the new proposals that under consideration (with a link to the full PDF document). They include:

A bipartisan task force chaired by Lee Hamilton, a former Democratic congressman, and Spencer Abraham, a former Bush administration energy secretary, released a set of proposals (PDF) in January 2007 calling for an overhaul of the U.S. immigration system.

It calls for simplifying the overburdened U.S. system and setting annual legal immigration levels at around 1.5 million, which it says is about three hundred thousand less than the annual number of both legal and illegal immigrants coming into the country today. It calls for the creation of a White House coordinator for immigration policy, as well as a body known as the “Standing Commission on Immigration and Labor Markets” to make recommendations to Congress biannually to adjust immigration levels. Hamilton told a recent CFR meeting such a realignment was essential. “Immigration is spread all over this government one way or the other,” Hamilton said. “A lot of people have their finger in the pie. You don’t get integration. You don’t get coordination.”

Overall, the report is concise and well informed. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to stay informed about the immigration debate.

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