A Compromise on Immigration Is Possible. This Bill Could Make It Happen.

Oct 28, 2022 · 501 comments
Larry (New Jersey)
Yes, people are seeking better lives. They are also seeking escape from the long-term havoc our policies have caused in their countries. Whether it is drugs, climate change, business practices or political interference and violence, the United States bears a great deal of responsibility for the immigration problem. We need to face up to our culpability and do what is necessary to repair the damage we caused.
Qwerty (Washington, D.C./Mountain View, CA)
We do not have enough resources to sustain the U.S. citizens here in the country. People coming here will quickly make America the world's poorhouse. Ideally, we should stop immigration for at least two years (both legal and especially illegal) for the system to reset itself. Because of President Trump's immigration policies, limited immigration increased pay for lower-income workers for the first time in decades. It would be nice if people in government positions cared about native-born Americans for once, not illegals coming through the floodgates on our southern border.
esp (ILL)
@Qwerty Some of those immigrants actually work, and work very hard for very little pay, long hours and often no benefits doing jobs our citizens refuse to do. Our citizens would rather go on welfare that work in the heat picking crops. Ask Alabama's farmers. We won't work in a hotel cleaning toilets; we won't work in the heat from a kitchen. The list goes on and on and on. I have some Hispanic neighbors that I wouldn't trade for some of our citizens.
Margo (Atlanta)
@esp In other words, they accept substandard pay in order to game out system, pushing out citizens and legal residents.
Dom (Lunatopia)
@Qwerty they provide cheap labor. we don't become a "poorhouse" with that we get to have nicely cut lawns and freshly painted walls for 1/3 the price.
Djt (Norcal)
Earn my trust by expelling 500,000 people with deportation orders. We were fooled by the 1986 immigration reform, where people were granted amnesty and enforcement never happened. Not going to be fooled again. Do the deportations first.
Leslie (SoCal)
@Djt And follow that up by making mandatory E-Verify the law of the land, as was promised in 1986.
Lorenzo Jones (Bronx, NY)
It sounds like a good idea, but what the writers from the Board do not get is that the Border Patrol is fighting a war against our country being overrun - there are so many criminals denied, yet so many have gotten across and in, and since last October more than 95 terrorists identified as grave danger have been stopped. We are all happy to see people make it here, but let's be honest, the Border Patrol and all it involves are made up of people who care - not pols and media who sit at home or at desks and make false complaints - like the ones against the border patrol on horseback where the head of Homeland Security, and Biden, said they were whipping transients when that wasn't the case at all and he knew that and still condemned the front line for America. That is why so many of us who voted for Biden, have turned away from the Biden administration, even Republicans can't be as unapologetic as Sec. Mayorkas or Biden. We see this happening and they lost our trust.
kirk (kentucky)
If our policies and politics and citizens continue the gun toting xenophobic paranoia the immigration ' problem' will solve itself.We are already a gated country with a plethora of gated communities for the wealthy and other gated minded people.We do not like anybody very much. We should be afraid.
Lotzapappa (Wayward City, NB)
Astounding! The NY Times editorializes against what is currently a de facto open borders policy. Perhaps there is hope yet for getting a grip on this problem. And, yes, allowing millions of of people entry who shouldn't be here is a problem.
James Ribe (Los Angeles)
Illegal immigrants are running at 2.3 million per year. Is that going to be the "compromise?"
T Smith (Texas)
I think it is a fair observation NYT reads skew progressive, yet the vast majority of comments on this and similar articles in the NYT reflect real concerns regarding illegal immigration. That being the case either the Democratic leadership is deaf, blind, and uninformed, or they truly don’t care what their putative supporters desire, namely border control. Which is it?
Stephan (N.M.)
The problem is complex no doubt. But as long as the left keeps ignoring reality it's going to be a powder keg like it or not. Some realities for folks here: 1) Illegal can and do take jobs from Americans. In construction, as mechanics, any number that involving working with your back and hands. Believe it or not there are American's who HAVE TO take these jobs. Not everyone is a white-collar college educated professional. I know it's a surprise but many of us Don't get to college. 2) Immigration is a Zero-Sum Game folks. There are few jobs here that pay a living wage. And spare me the song and dance excuses about jobs Americans won't do. I said living wage. And there aren't enough jobs that people can live on. No matter the economists DELUSIONS. Every living wage job taken by an illegal is one not available for US citizen. 3) And the situation for housing is even worse. We don't have enough housing for our own people. And if people don't believe the poor have to compete with illegals for housing? I have a bridge to sell you great view of Brooklyn. Again, there is only so much affordable housing for the poor, legal or illegal. And again, it's a zero-sum game not an infinite supply. No matter the claims. 2 questions for the let everybody in crowd: 1) When is enough when we can't take care of our own people? 2) Why is the wellbeing of immigrants legal & Illegal more important than the wellbeing of our own people?
Immigration is the number one issue for the GOP because they are inordinately obsessed with being 'replaced'. Most in this country are immigrants or the children and grandchildren of same. Most are white, and thereby lies the problem for the GOP. The browning of America, the loss of 'whiteness' - this is the crux of what is dividing this country.
Good John Fagin (Chicago Suburbs)
Charming. That lady with the construction scaffolding in place. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore." And we will screw the original owners out of a few million acres to provide you with free land. My grandfather got some Native American acreage near Upper Red Lake, Minnesota. Thank, you, my "Red" benefactors; you made me an American. And yourselves refugees in your own land. So, by all means, let's make room for some more "Wretched Refuse". Perhaps in the inner cities, where the "natives" are living in splendid abundance. Or those southwestern farmlands, now uninhabitable, thanks to climate change. Speaking of which, how about all that melted permafrost. Welcome home my huddled friends: your swamp awaits you. Facts, facts, facts...where is Donald Trump when we need more fictions.
Jim (Phoenix)
No one gets into the US without a visa, period.
Saints Fan (Houston, TX)
Don't fall for it. Any "deal" the democrats make, they will renege on. See Reagans deal with them during the 80's. One time amnesty. That one time promise was trashed once the ink was dry on the agreement.
ebmem (Memphis, TN)
Democrats demand relief for those already present in the US. That relief will be spent on; 1. Providing taxpayer funded attorneys to people who have entered the country illegally. That is a gift to a political crony group, trial attorneys, who will also benefit from having their student loans forgiven after ten years in service to Democrats. 2. Taxpayer payments to "non-profit" homeless housing groups that will enrich the "charities" that currently charge $500 per day per resident for substandard housing and services. ThriveNYC, which is a charity that ostensibly was serving the poor, homeless, mentally ill residents of NYC squandered billions in taxpayer dollars and has mislaid in excess of $1 billion. The CEO of the largest charity operating homeless shelters in NYC was convicted of fraud and has been fined less than 2% of the excess profits he clawed out of the system by self-dealing, overcharging and fraud. 3. Providing free public education [funded by local municipalities] in the 1000 plus languages that cost the low-income districts twice as much per student to educate than English-speaking children. Low-income school districts are struggling to educate American children but are forced by the federal government to deny American students to accommodate the Democrat desire to provide a steady supply of easily exploited workers to depress wages for the very Americans whose children are being denied an education. 3. Medical stressing resources for poor Americans.
An interpretation (Buffalo NY)
As a Latino-Hispanic, I want to see our population grow in NYC, LA, and Washington DC. Thus I fully support what governors DeSantis and Abbott are doing. Viva la Riconquista!
Johnny Xerox (Los Angeles)
Compromise. Just get a number we can agree on. Accept the fact that no one is going to go home happy. Stop the chaos at the border. Right now the Biden Administration is funding the drug cartels with their coyotes. Enough.
MD 🌎 (The Old New World)
On the basis of the majority of comments, not only do most people find that the situation at the southern border is a problem, but they also indicate the rationale of the NYT Editorial Board and Democrats are part of the problem.
Olivia (NYC)
Re-instate the policies Trump put in place: Remain in Mexico, no catch and release, and finish the wall.
Olivia (NYC)
No amnesty. Not now. Not ever.
Edgar (Cape Cod)
The open invasion at the southern border by this trove of illegals has been allowed by Biden in clear violation of existing federal law. For that, he will be impeached as soon as Republicans seize control of the House, and properly so. This flouting of Federal law has lead to thousands of America's youngest children being killed by illegal fentanol being supplied by China and smuggled in. This must stop.
Prometheus (Caucasus Mountains)
I'm not sure what World the NYT's Editorial Board is living in, but it ain't the World the rest of us are living in
Tired of Sleeping (USA)
What compromise? It's time for the world to realize migration to the US is not a civil right.
Hugh Jones (Usa)
Here's a thought that no one ever expresses: how do we continue to allow Mexico and Latin American governments to get away with such a travesty, namely making life so bad for their citizens that they fell by the hundreds of thousands every year? Perhaps we should use our military power to annex Mexico and Latin America, seize the assets of the rich and corrupt who take drug money by the boatload as bribes, use that to fund improvements for the people, and then obliterate the cartels piece by piece with physical military destruction. These nations take our jobs, make bundles of money, and also take money from drug lords and keep it all for themselves, instead of helping their people. Perhaps military conquest and occupation are the answer for failed nations like these.
Ski bum (Colorado)
Today’s immigration issues and problems are nothing compared to what will overwhelm the U.S. as climate collapse picks up steam (no pun intended) and millions upon millions must migrate to countries that are not completely destroyed by climate impacts. The U.S. has unwittingly created conditions around the world that will force millions to try and immigrate here, that or lose their lives in their home countries. Possibly we should negotiate an immigration treaty with Canada and Mexico and create the mechanisms to deal with the onslaught of immigrants. I just looked at a map and it seems to me that North America has lots of room for all that want to immigrate. We should face facts and come to the realization that there is no stopping mass immigrations. It has become the next wave from climate collapse.
Cloves (Brazil)
Many people (I know a few personally) decided to immigrate to the US, legally our illegally, based on false premises. One young man from El Salvador said he wanted to go to the US because "there, all houses are big, everybody drives expensive cars and jobs pay well". Most get their information from Hollywood movies, TV series and music. It might help if the US government promoted educational campaigns to inform people that life in the US is as difficult as anywhere else, and people have to work hard to earn a living, which requires a lot of study, special skills and talent. The US is not El Dorado, the hens do not lay soft boiled eggs, booze does not ooze from rocks and the streets are not paved with gold.
TastetheDifference (Cwmbran, UK)
The biggest problem with immigration, is people arriving at the airports and overstaying their visas. Know anyone?
T Smith (Texas)
From the get go this article is disingenuous. If it was a serious attempt at explains the problem and potential solution it would clearly explain the legal basis for seeking asylum. It would also go on to point out the vast majority, probably 99%+ of the “asylum seekers” are actually economic refugees who not, based on that fact alone, qualify for asylum. We need to expand and accelerate legal immigration, but let’s get the facts straight.
Mike Pod (Massachusetts)
Republicans are not the least bit interested in solving this problem when it is such a useful cudgel to beat Democrats with. And once they take Congress back, they will go after the problem with yet another cudgel. Welcome to the Feral Republic of trumplandia.
Anthony F (NYC)
I'm all for legal immigration. Secure the boarder first. Let's have voters set every two years the number of immigrates they want to enter the state they live in and what skill sets they should have, if any. We also need a process to know who has overstayed their visa. Right now we have no clue.
lehomme (marin1950)
Asylum was created for rare individual cases of political persecution - NOT - mass immigration. These people are not fleeing political persecution - but rather - poverty & chaos. Asylum has nothing to do with that - and saying otherwise is both disingenuous & ridiculous.
William Case (United States)
Migrants who meet the criteria for asylum walk across Rio Grande bridges that lead to ports of entry and submit their applications at legal point of entry. Migrants who do not meet the criteria slosh across the Rio Grande and apply for asylum when detrained by the Border More than 2.5 million migrants unlawfully entered the United Sates during fiscal year 2022. They are processed at Customs and Border Patrol stations and released with notifications to appear at future court hearings. Migrants refer to the notifications as “permisos.” Permisos entitle them to reside in the United States until their applications are rejected, a process that takes up to five years. They know no one will look for them if they do not appear for their hearings. America can regain control of its Southwest border only if it revises its immigration and asylum laws to: (1) Permit asylum seekers to apply for asylum at U.S. embassies and consulates in their home countries or in intermediate countries. (2) Deny asylum to anyone who crosses the border illegally, (3) Close immigration courts and make admissions decisions made by U.S. officials at the border final without judicial review. (4) Permit states to enact and enforce laws that make it unlawful for illegal immigrants to reside within their jurisdiction. (5) Makes e-verify mandatory nationwide. These proposals would not deny asylum to anyone who qualifies for asylum. They would stop the tsunami of illegal border crossers.
Ampleforth (Airstrip One)
The best to do for immigration is also the easiest. Designate Mexico as safe-harbor nation for asylum seekers, so those coming through that nation must seek it there.
Lon Newman (Park Falls, Wisconsin)
People are desperate for some simple solution: "Just say 'No!" But a simple answer does not exist. As long as voters and the wealthy and powerful (benefitting from the current lack of coherent policies) refuse to act on comprehensive immigration reform, we will have this mess.
HT (Ohio)
Could we train county judges to rule on asylum cases? Every county in the country has a courthouse -- in Ohio alone, that's 88 counties.
just Robert (North Carolina)
Thank you Tom Tillis for helping to introduce this bill and bucking your party . You give hope for compromise ;
Patrick (NY)
Yes immigration is important. Yes there should be a system. Let’s start by the needs of this country being met. Asylum seekers get in line. We are not the Red Cross. Caught here illegally immediately returned to your country of origin. You come here to have a baby. Baby can stay in foster care. Mother goes home or mother can leave renounce the child’s citizenship and leave with baby. Harsh maybe but necessary if we want an orderly legal system that protects current citizens and the rights of people who want to come here
Scott (Pdx)
It seems violence and persecution exist in too many countries, perhaps we should change our own laws since our attempts to fix issues in other countries is now considered interventionalist. Can you imagine a world with Saddam Hussein still in power? Syria is enough of a disaster already.
hawk (New England)
Biden has blown apart our Nations’ immigration laws, that’s what you voted for. 2.4 million illegals were encountered this fiscal year, and allowed to catch and release. That’s the City of Houston. Since this President took over a population equal to that of Ireland, including “got aways” have moved here. Exactly what Trump told us would happen is now a reality. Change the laws? Over 850 immigrants have died this year. In the first three weeks of October more individuals on the terror list have been arrested than in the last five years. The Dems will pay dearly for this “not-open” border come next month
Ray (NY)
Si Seulement Voltaire (France)
Please note that NONE of the majority liberal Democrat States have implemented E-Verify to defend & protect jobs for legal immigrants and citizens ... or to support our immigration laws! "As of January 1, 2021 E-Verify became mandatory in Florida. To date the following states require E-Verify for some or all employers: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia." https://www.e-verify.gov/about-e-verify/history-and-milestones
Jane (NY)
Wow-there’s an article about overhauling the immigration system because the situation is out of control?! A little time ago, this very same board was lauding the loose immigration policies of Biden. Look up AOC’s Embrace Act. What happened? Open, unregulated immigration didn’t work? Printing tons of money didn’t work? Getting rid of law and order in cities didn’t work? So curious…
No Party for the working class (Fly over country)
What seems bi partisan to the editorial board of the NYT seems like madness to regular Americans trying to put a roof over their heads and support their families. What is fair and equitable to the most privileged people in our nation is a terrible generations long impoverishment to America's working class. Asylum seekers should apply at refugee camps of the very first country they arrive at or the American embassy in their own country. Every single illegal immigrant should be deported, and asylum seekers who arrive by illegally entering the country should be deported as well. They are economic seekers, often with good jobs in their home country seeking to make more money here. No single issue will get Trump re elected as easily.
Brian (NY)
Right to appeal? That’s insane. They must be deported. If they have a right to appeal that’s radical open borders extremism. This bill is all about raducal open borders extremism pretending to be pro borders. Also Flores must be overturned by law and remain in Mexico be made law.
SteveH (Zionsville, PA)
Congress makes laws, Presidents enforce laws.
M (Colorado)
This opinion piece is laughably naive. The GOP has no interest in resolving the crisis at the border and Progressives will not support reasonable controls and limitations.
Montalvo (Puerto Vallarta)
Central American asylum seekers are eligible for asylum in MEXICO but they refuse the offer. Why? Because they're ECONOMIC migrants, whose motivation is driven primarily by the economic benefits of living in the US. All the whining you hear as reasos for asylum are secondary at best. Mexico even offers a culture in their native language! We should refuse ALL asylum requests at our southern border EXCEPT those from Mexican residents who can make a case for seeking refuge in the US.
Forgetting the merits of the case, one way or another, how about getting to the meat of the article more quickly than eight preliminary paragraphs of potato-like background?
SteveH (Zionsville, PA)
The amnesty process can be changed with legislation. But only one party has been willing to negotiate the needed legislation. Attacking Biden for Congress' lack of work is stupid, but what else is new in the dumbed-down country we've become?
P McGrath (USA)
The US already has an immigration policy. Catch them, don’t vet them and then bus them. This is the far lefts answer to immigration. It’s as comprehensive as defund the police.
ABC (Flushing)
“Amnesty for everyone” is how Biden’s words were heard around the world. Does it affect the outcome that he didn’t say precisely that? Obviously Not. Do illegals about his exact words? Obviously not. 300,000 new illegals every month on top of the millions already here. How many will you take in? As to the tsunami of illegals, remember the Carpenters' song, "We've only just begun"
Michelle (California)
"The shambles of the asylum process is undermining public support for immigration." Intentionally written to be misleading, which is all-too-typical of the NYT. I believe that the vast majority of Americans *support* intentional, legal immigration, particularly when there is some balance of the interests of the would-be immigrant and the well-being of US citizens. I also believe that well over 2/3 of Americans have *zero support* for illegal immigration, i.e. people just walking into the USA and being allowed to stay. The NYT, like most news outlets categorically refuses to make this distinction. Both the legal and illegal aspects of immigration need to be radically reformed.
David (Texas)
The most effective deterrent is not a wall but a system in place that promptly deports the illegal aliens and will enforce our laws when ICE or Border Patrol encounters these people. If they are sent back quickly, that is the most effective tool to manage immigration.
Citizen (United States)
After almost two years of silence, during massive illegal immigration under the Biden administration, the Times editorial board comes up with this--two weeks before an election that the Democrats are going to lose, in part due to two years of massive illegal immigration. Hmm...
Ctmartin (Texas)
Looks like NYT readers have become much more conservative in their immigration stance since TX and FL governors have started busing immigrants to their states.
Mark (OC CA)
We had a compromise in 1986-ish. Reagan: Okay, I'll sign off on legitimizing the 3 million illegals already here, with the understanding that you'll put a hard cap on immigrration and refuse entry/deport those who don't followo the rules. Tip O'Neill: Okay, you have a deal. Tip O'Neill, a couple hours later: Ha, you thought I was serious?
boston doctor (a logical world)
Most would agree that it is reasonable to secure the border, ship out newly arriving illegal immigrants, and come up with a rational system to admit immigrants with preferred skills regardless of country of origin. Win win for all......except the woke, I mean.
Wonderfool (Princeton Junction, NJ)
I am an immigrant who came to America 63 years ago to get higher education and happen to stay here since. all people except the people brought in as slaves by Anglos and French and Portuguese and then others came to the US by choice. When the Germans came, the English and French did not like it. when Irish came, the Protestants objected. When the Jews came, the Christians objected. And now it is the Hispanics. We here most of the objections by White Christians. But the Hispanics are also coming by choice. Some racist white people scream "if you do not like it, GO BACK. Yes, except for the blacks and native Americans, evry one can go back to where they or their ancestors came from. But not blacks and not natives. And the hispancis and other immigrants are increasing in numbers. And not only whites but some blacks also are wondering if.....
Judy (New York)
We got rid of the Chinese Exclusion Act and the 1924 Act that kept out Southern Europeans and Jews. At our southern border we now have a de facto immigration system that privileges people from Latin America. How is this any better than when racist policies kept out people because of country of origin? We need a fair immigration system that does not privilege by country of origin or race.
God (Heaven)
An open border with a part of the world which has the highest murder rates on the planet makes as much sense as leaving your door unlocked so homeless people can walk in at night for a bed and something to eat.
denmtz (nm)
Wishful thinking.
Sipa99 (Seattle)
Why would the Republicans want to solve illegal migration problem? They keep winning elections based on the ‘immigrant hordes’
Stone (Oakland)
End birthright citizenship
Grunt (Midwest)
This is the one time that progressives will not speak of climate change. Overpopulation, water shortages, and the housing crisis also vanish when we address how we can help the better life seekers. Then there's crime, stagnating wages for the working class, decline of unions, lack of social cohesion, racial and ethnic strife -- so much to ignore.
Michael (Ottawa)
It's all about the asylum seekers and never about said consequences for America's lower income and working class. This influx per se does raise the country's aggregate GDP, but it's corporations and the wealthy who benefit from it. However, the more than ten million undocumented immigrants - and counting - puts a downward pressure on wages and job stability for the country's poor. "Labour shortage"? Who says all the restaurants that can't find employees are essential? Where is it written where we have to have to have people mow our lawns, take care of our gardens, clean our houses, deliver food to our doors, etc.? Why is it acceptable for people making good incomes to hire nannies and pay them slave wages to look after their children? Time to tell these employers that they can either pay living wages to American residents, or shut their business, and mind their own children. No longer should there be a two-tier system that allows people to profit from cheap labour which lowers the overall wages and job stability for America's poor. t. Past generations of Americans undertook most of these responsibilities themselves. But we got lazy and now we're addicted to cheap labour - which has severely undermined the living standards for the country's lower income cohort. Again, America's policies with respect to undocumented workers and asylum seekers illustrates a complete disregard for the country's growing poor population.
Maryellen Simcoe (Baltimore)
Yes, doing something is better than doing nothing. I suspect this will have the same degree of success that the 2013 bill did. The issue is too valuable as a cudgel against the democrats to garner republican support.
Gail (Franklin, NC)
Right now we are at 3.5% unemployment. You see signs all over saying "hiring". I went to a restaurant a few days ago and they were unable to open the dining room because they didn't have enough employees. We have supply chain issues. Seems to me like we need more immigrants to fill the positions we seem to be lacking. We should be welcoming immigrants that want these jobs. Instead Republicans are doing everything they can to keep brown, black, Asian and others who are not white out of the country. Then they claim they are not bigoted. Immigrants can help us with the "jobs" problem we find ourselves in today. That means filling needed jobs not "taking away your job," the fear tactic the Republicans use to try to keep non-whites out.
Jack (St. Louis, MO)
Our political parties need to define the purpose of immigration. Most counties utilize immigration to benefit the country's need for trained, educated immigrants without families that require support by the welcoming country. Our present system acts as a welfare state for other country's discards.
JL1951 (Connecticut)
Per a Syracuse Univ. study...in 2020 71% of asylum seekers were denied asylum and in 2021 63% of them were denied asylum. So, yes. More behaviors that have proven to not work (not). I prefer to try something really different. The abuse/exploitation of immigrants - illegal or otherwise...in the service of our "lowest price period economy" - is (IMO) very much a nonpartisan event. Wage theft and the exploitation of immigrant labor did not start in the US yesterday. Joe Biden - today...without abandoning his DACA/immigration agenda and much needed increased work visa aspirations - could instruct all fed agencies to enforce existing immigration laws, in ways that border on unconstitutional, against those American companies and individuals that hire/harbor/exploit illegal immigrants here in the US. This includes slow-walking fed funds to sanctuary cities/municipalities that do not cooperate with this level of federal enforcement. Responsible candidates - those genuinely who believe in enforcing existing law (if you can find them) as opposed to posturing - need to make this idea part of their patter to potential voters...which hasn't happened from them or entrenched media commentators/opinionators. In the meantime, in addition to more temporary work visas, use Real ID as a national ID (voting anyone?) and another tool in worker identification...and exhort voters to badger Congress (regardless of party) to come to "yes" on real immigration reform. One person's opinion.
Robert Avant (Spokane, WA)
@JL1951 We need not travel or exist with "papers" on us at all times, which are worthless unless you also wish to institute a "stop and identify" routine on our streets. E-Verify for workforce verification and identity theft deterrence is needed. Being released and failing to show up as instructed for asylum claims should be a permanent disqualifier except in the most extreme circumstance with no appeal.
Once-a-Swede (America)
There is never going to be immigration reform until they get rid of the filibuster. One party will have to force its vision on the other, and then the other will reverse it when it comes to power. The issue is too toxic for compromise. Sad!
Tad Ornstein (Hyde Park, NY)
Half a loaf is better than none, but it is still depressing that our elected representatives can't come together to craft a set of well thought out laws to create an orderly and fair set of rules to govern access to our nation. We are a nation of immigrants, but that doesn't mean we can't control the gates. The current flood of immigrants is driven by a combination of political repression and a lack of opportunity in their home countries and an overly permissive legal framework in ours. Anyone who crosses into our country without permission should suffer some consequence, for example a fine of $1000 for any adult for a first offense, and permanent exclusion for a second offense. Enforcement should apply also to those who overstay on travel, education or work visas without legally seeking an extension. Additionally, employers should be required to verify a person's right to work, and if they cheat, there should be a stiff penalty since this illegal employment encourages and incentivizes further migration. This isn't cruelty, it is just common sense. If you come to my house as a guest, you must knock at the door and wait to be admitted.
Kerm (Wheatfields)
The choice of who is allowed to enter must be intentional, not the result of a government that lacks the capacity to enforce its own laws. The shambles of the asylum process is undermining public support for immigration. And that, in turn, jeopardizes the ability of those with legitimate need to obtain refuge. America’s commitment to offer asylum to people fleeing violence and persecution in their homelands is an essential expression of the nation’s ideals. But the system is broken. That was an abrupt shift from an overly permissive policy to an overly restrictive one. Individuals who do not meet the standard could be deported, with a limited right to appeal. but it is a sensible strategy to discourage people without valid claims from joining the back of the line in the hope that years will pass before anyone judges the merit of their claim. The bill also does not address the strain on border communities where migrants are released from federal custody, and on the communities throughout the country where migrants settle. In a 2016 assessment... immigration imposes significant short-term costs on local governments but that the children of immigrants “are among the strongest economic and fiscal contributors in the U.S. population.” Immigration, in other words, is an investment in America’s future, but someone still needs to cover the upfront costs. Congress has a real opportunity.... Your are talking a prayer & hope of any kind of immigration policy changes.
rose6 (Marietta GA)
"The bill is narrowly focused on the mechanics of asylum. It does not address the economic and political problems that propel people to risk the journey to the United States." First, make the autocratic countries democratic allowing the local population to improve their lives and providing an alternative to the USA. Start with Haiti, Cuba,Honduras and Nicaragua. The USA has its limits; ask a native American.
Ockham9 (Norman, OK)
An interesting counterpoint to this editorial and many of the anti-immigrant comments: https://tinyurl.com/ypmayufm. More than one in five Canadians is an immigrant and 19 years from now that number may increase to 34%; year sixty-nine percent of Canadians think that is ok. “… 69 percent of people it contacted disagreed when asked if Canada was taking in too many immigrants. Fifty-eight percent said they wanted more immigration to increase Canada’s population.“ What accounts for that contrast? Of course, one aspect is that Canadians don’t have floods of immigrants coming from their southern border, even when the Trump administration was doing all it could to make Democrats, immigrants and POC feel like the United States was not their home. In addition, most of the immigration is legal and economic, in the sense that Canadians filter who can come in as refugees and immigrants. But a crucial aspect is that there is strong approval for Canada’s official multiculturalism policy; 90% regard multiculturalism as an important part of the Canadian identity. Perhaps the foundation of a US immigration reform could adopt these ideas: vastly increasing the number of legal immigrants allowed into the country; greater resources to process applications; nationwide approval of multiculturalism as the basis of our society; and the willingness to give our new brothers and sisters help to succeed in the American dream.
Jackson (Virginia)
@Ockham9 And where do the immigrants come from? Other Commonwealth countries?
First, people need to figure out what "seeking asylum" means. To me, it means you are being politically persecuted ( say , an active opponent to the Maduro government, or fleeing Rohingas from Myanmar). It does not mean leaving a corrupt and poor country to better your life. I am sympathetic, but we only have room for so many. We also need well educated and well skilled people in much bigger numbers. The biggest issue is that many Democrats seem to feel that all poor people need to be able to come to the US. Our country just can't handle all those people. The governmental infrastructure burden is immense and the hidden costs go unspoken. Let's decide what asylum really means -
Eccl3 (Orinda, CA)
There's something terribly wrong when the State of California pays for health care for illegal immigrants, but not for large numbers of its own citizens. This year's ObamaCare will be $1850/month for two 62 year old American citizens.
TastetheDifference (Cwmbran, UK)
How can Democrats pass any legislation, when Republicans block everything? Is this the plan, to eternally complain while doing nothing?
Clarence Williams (Mancos Colorado)
An excellent, interim step to reforming our immigration system. Those seeking asylum because they personally face persecution should be detained until their hearing, and immediately deported if they fled here because of a poor political and economic situation (e.g., Venezuela). It's only missing the funding of a police force charged with finding and summarily deporting the 50,000 or so illegals who failed to show for their asylum hearing.
Plubius (Annandale, VA)
Here are my thoughts: 1- First, establish a program whereby the Federal government picks up the tab for law school for students who commit to enter a federal service program to serve for seven years as immigration officers (subject to their satisfactory performance of their duties in that capacity). 2- They would then be able to apply to serve as a immigration judge (having a law degree and the requisite seven years relevant experience). 3- This system would eventually create a pipeline of qualified immigration judges which in turn will alleviate the current case backlog problem. While this situation cannot be remedied overnight, I believe this comprehensive approach would help.
Vinay (Maryland)
First things first. Why let in 3 million without resolving the problem of 11 million already in the country? Dear Dems seem to have a death wish! To put that number in perspective, the cap on H1B work visa is 125,000 annually and tech companies fight over that quota to hire qualified workers.
Vinay (Maryland)
@Vinay I stand corrected. The cap is only 65,000.
Clarence Williams (Mancos Colorado)
Very simple answer: political reality. Pollyannish positions are appealing but they're childishly foolish.
Kibi (New York)
“The US cannot admit all who wish to come.” So how many could we admit? Let’s look at Germany, which admitted 1.5 million immigrants during the 2015 surge. They are now revitalizing small towns whose young people have largely left to seek a better future in urban setting. Germany has 80 million people. Doing the math, we should have room for at least six million new Americans. In 2017, as reported in NYT, the Trump administration studied how much immigrants cost the US taxpayer. They were disappointed to discover that immigrants pay $ billions more per year in taxes than they consume in services, so they tried to bury the study. Other studies have shown that when immigrants “invade” a community, all quality of life indicators improve. Four million people have been screened and are waiting to come in “the right way,” a reference to quotas that were are and products of racism and xenophobia. After “the big quit,” we need immigrants as much as they need us. They are our future.
Hugh Jones (Usa)
@Kibi Nonsense. The reason for the 'big quit' is that good American workers finally woke up to the fact that the jobs offered by many employers are dead-end garbage and they have sought better employment. The answer is not hundreds of thousands of refugees flooding our nation and creating tax burdens and crime.
Clarence Williams (Mancos Colorado)
You've totally missed the Editor's point. Comprehensive immigration reform is needed, but it is foolish to hold your breath waiting for that. This system of detention and rapid hearing would be a part of immigration reform anyway, and it is politically doable (if it's amended to fund a police force to find and summarily deport the 50,000 or so who failed to show up for their asylum hearing and are now illegal aliens).
Me (Here)
They were instructed to report to immigration offices in their destination cities, but as of March 2022, roughly one in four of those people had failed to do so. That means that roughly three in four did report to immigration offices in their destination cities.
PWD (Long Island, NY)
Both parties have kicked the can down the road too many times. Addressing this issue is long overdue, and first and foremost, more judges are necessary, although I think having newly minted lawyers (instead of lawyers with 7 years of experience) take the 6 weeks of training is a far better idea: at a minimum, they have the basic skill set. "The bill also instructs the government to prioritize adjudication of new asylum claims during surges in the number of applications." I couldn't disagree more. The surge in illegal migration has stopped up the administration of legal applications: the proposed strategy won't work as a deterrent, but will make those waiting in line wait even longer as people are official given "frontsies". We are on track to having 2 million more enter at the southern border this year, with papers or not. This is absolutely unacceptable: a strain on everything, which has been ignored for far too long, or thrown about as a political hot potato. Ultimately, our representatives in DC will have to find some way to deter people from attempting to arrive at our southern border in the first place. We simply cannot take everyone. We must concern ourselves first, with the impact on our own, as noted in some of the comments: schools and other services and resources at the local level being overwhelmed.
deepharbor (nh)
The biggest problem is any solution must be bipartisan and the GOP can't live with that. If the Dems get partial credit for solving the border what will the GOP run on?
Jackson (Virginia)
@deepharbor The Dems won’t even acknowledge there is a border crisis. Our bumbling border czar is amused by yellow school buses.
Michael (North Carolina)
Yes, this bill would provide resources to more quickly process applications. But, if the US is serious about regulating the current flood of immigration it should simultaneously enforce existing laws pertaining to the hiring of those in this country illegally. Those entering the country seeking work will do so as long as jobs are available. Employers for too long have taken advantage of the broken enforcement system to avail themselves of cheap labor with no benefits. Make them pay, and we'll close the other wide open immigration door. That is, if we're serious. As with everything else, it all comes down to money.
Lilo (Michigan)
What if American citizens don't want any more immigration? What if that's the compromise that we want? What if there is actually no legal, constitutional, or human right to move to the United States?
Clarence Williams (Mancos Colorado)
Well, your "what if" is wrong. Most Americans understand why immigration is in America's best interests.
Nolapdog (Australia)
@Lilo If the US didn't have over 30% of the world under sanction/s maybe people wouldn't want to leave their native country. Maybe if the US was not at war with half the world there would be less people movement, less people leaving war zones.
Richard Winkler (Miller Place, NY)
The Democratic Party, of which I am a member, is losing support due to "turning a blind eye" to the vast numbers of undocumented immigrants entering the country. In Suffolk County on Long Island, there are four or five school districts where new immigrants land and their children are then enrolled in school. In many of these schools there are not enough desks or other resources and children, both citizens and non-citizens, are paying a price. Many of us get to live in our "ivory towers" where the uncontrolled flow of immigrants does not affect our daily lives. When we see polling that shows the Democratic Party losing support from Black and Brown folks, it might do us well to ask "why". I know some liberal-minded folks who have moved "immigration" to the top of their "issue concerns" because of the impact that the influx of immigrants has had on their children's schools. And these folks don't sit around watching Fox News.
Victor James (Los Angeles)
The solution is right around the corner. After the Trump party retakes power and the country goes over a political cliff, the issue will no longer be immigration. It will be emigration. Canadians will build a wall.
mikeg4015 (Cherry Hill, NJ)
"Winning broader support will require more compromise and courage." This closing sentence basically explains why nothing will happen. Throw in the fact that the immigration issue is second only to the gun issue in fundraising (and whipping up votes) for both sides and you can pretty much forget any positive movement. I hate to be a cynic on this important issue for our country, but..........
Putnam (Florida)
The immigration system is important in many ways and to approach its repair blithely, as so many posters do, is not helpful. Until leaders from ALL congressional persuasions sit down and collectively hammer out a cohesive plan we are just shooting in the dark. Where is the person who can lead a sensible approach and garner support from various angles in a manner that is sensible and productive. The attempt delineated in this article is void of pertinence considering the effort that will be required- why not go for a big move?
eclectico (7450)
This article lists some of the serious problems with immigration that we are experiencing today, but it offers no solution. However, we can hope the agency (s) Congress funds to deal with the problems, can make some headway. Some say the Repubs want to keep the problems in the news, as a political ploy. Would they be so craven ?
JoeL (Wildwood, MO)
Look, if 80-95% of the asylum claims are in fact bogus, then the policy changes advocated in this article will essentially result in mass daily deportations. Do we really think adding immigration judges and processing centers for 1000s of daily asylum seekers can keep up with the demand generated by an "open border". Part of the solution has to be closing and securing the border so that the only way "into" the country is through designated points. Unfortunately, "closing" the border would require an effective "Wall", but that idea has been labeled "Trumpian" and so that's not going to happen until it gets so bad that Democrat Party comes up with the idea as their own.
CB Evans (Continental Divide Trail)
Re "The basic problem is that the government does not have the resources to act justly." A lack of resources is not the only problem, but it is perhaps the most serious problem, when it comes to numerous issues in America today, whether its crime, immigration, poverty, environmental protection, or something else. Alas, Americans allowed themselves to be duped by Ronald Reagan and company into believing that taxes are bad and they really shouldn't have to pay any. And since then, insane deficit spending has convinced many that "deficits don't matter" as someone once darkly claimed. In other words, we are spoiled rotten as a nation. We demand, we want, we insist, but we don't want to be accountable for footing the bill to resolve any of our myriad problems. Over-taxation causes clear problems. But under-taxation is what's dragging America down for the last four decades.
Scott (Pdx)
@CB Evans This. This is why the GOP will mop up in November. “Under-taxation is what’s dragging America down” Can you say that with a straight face?
Steven H. (Spain)
@CB Evans, Bingo !! Americans want all the services, but don’t want to pay the bill. No wonder Trump is so admired by millions, he’s the poster boy for the American way.
Independent Voter (USA)
Both political parties have been gaslighting this on going issue for now 40 / 50 years , pretending they will fix the illegal immigration problem if elected . Sure
Steve G. (Los Angeles)
Wake up. Smell the coffee. Not possible.
And Another Thing (USA)
This is a good direction for the Times’ editors - short sentences with phrases which are impactful without being inflammatory. Thank you. Keep it up
Steve G. (Los Angeles)
Wake up and smell the coffee. No way.
Strand (Brooklyn)
The portrayal here of the Biden administration's policy at the southern border as "the United States has allowed hundreds of thousands of migrants seeking asylum to live and work in the country" is simply not true. Many if not most of those crossing make no claims of asylum at all when asked why they want to enter the US. Instead they state clearly they are coming because they want to make money or unite with family already in the US. So they are not granted entry based on any claims for asylum. In fact almost all of those who are granted entry after crossing the southern border illegally would be refused entry based on the same claims at a port of entry. So the administration is not granting entry to all those crossing the southern border because it believes the law allows those people to be granted entry. Instead it created a policy that applies exclusively to those crossing the southern border illegally and the policy is to allow the entry of people who are not allowed entry under the law. And the administration has not merely allowed the laws of the US to be violated. It has ordered the very agencies the American people tasked with patrolling and protecting the border to actively facilitate the unlawful crossing of the border and the violation of the very laws they are sworn and paid to enforce. And if the Republicans gain control of the house and are inclined to impeach Biden this is a high crime that definitely qualifies as grounds for impeachment.
Alan Jones (Chicago, Illinois)
Do you really believe that the Republican party is in the mood to solve nationwide problems. We have a number of policy initiatives, some of which President Biden has proposed and passed, that would improve our nation's quality of life. But, at least for a decade or so, the GOP has shown no interest in a process for finding solutions to political, social, economic, natural conditions that have degraded our way of life.
RF (Arlington, TX)
The immigration problem only gets worse each year, and the elephant in the room, overpopulation, continues to be ignored.
CarrieAnne (Livonia, MI)
Sam (Seattle)
We had an amnesty in 1986. The deal was to let all the illegals stay and the government would stop allowing anyone to enter illegally. They lied. The illegals got to stay and nothing was done to prevent others from flooding the country. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
T Smith (Texas)
We need to expand and accelerate LEGAL immigration because immigrants can and will make valuable contributions to our society in many ways. Alas, we must concurrently control ILLEGAL immigration to the extent possible because the current situation is utter chaos. In some places that may require a wall, in others technology, and in other cases expelling visa violators. Legal or illegal, know the difference. By the way, part of the reason the Democrats are losing their edge in the Hispanic community is people who are here legally deeply resent illegal immigration.
Ami (California)
Anyone entering the country illegally should barred from immigrating for life.
Amazed (US)
Ah, yes, import these dirt-cheap opportunistic (if they weren't, they'd request asylum at the first country they enter on the way to US--e.g., Mexico) strike breakers, oftentimes with criminal history back home (they are not vetted prior to entry like legal immigrants), who will further devalue American citizens' labor and pad multinational corporations' bottom line; put them on taxpayer-paid welfare programs (thus indirectly subsidizing abovementioned corporations who use these "immigrants" to debase US citizens' salaries while paying the laughable corporate tax of 0-15%), use them to prop up the real estate bubble for all those homes bought up by BlackRock and Co with freshly-printed billions of dollars; and masquerade all these actions with demagoguery about justice and human rights while American citizens suffocate under crashing living standards and American youth will NEVER be able to afford a house and a family. - Sincerely, A legal immigrant who didn't hop over the fence, paid above average tax rate, forever renting.
414Mike (Milwaukee)
@Amazed My wife is a legal immigrant as well. As you are well aware, it was quite a demanding process with a hefty price tag. The process also required use of a learned second language, English. I don’t necessarily blame those people looking for a better life for their families. I do wonder why their illegal process is a lot simpler for them than the legal process everyone else goes through. I also wonder if the average reader of this article is aware of that.
FG (california)
It's all smoke..powers want illegals here and they know it. If illegals could not work here or get free things here - they would stop coming. Hidden truth is that many want cheap labor available. After work, the attraction is free education, and health care. An electronic nation can make a work permit system that works - but management feels differently. Asylum is an excuse, to not clean up their own homes.
Si Seulement Voltaire (France)
@FG MOSTLY true only in Liberal Democrat States ... look it up! https://www.e-verify.gov/about-e-verify/history-and-milestones
Brock Landers (Van Nuys, CA)
We should only accept asylum applications at the borders from Canadians and Mexicans. All other applicants should have to apply to from their home countries or a country that borders their home country. If non-Canadian and non-Mexican asylum seekers show up at the border or are apprehended in the US, they should immediately and automatically be sent to their choice of either their home country or a country that borders their home country. No ifs ands or buts. This will put an end to much of the asylum fraud that currently plagues the US's system.
Jeffrey Gallup (Phoenix, AZ)
Edit to my post: the number of encounters annually is now over 2 million, though this represents some people coming across multiple times.
Si Seulement Voltaire (France)
@Jeffrey Gallup The truly dangerous number is how few are deported in the same time period!
Lpb (Ny)
The West has a big immigration problem because migration is leading straight to fascism. We citizens and voters of Europe, the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand (all the nice places people want to live in) have had way too much migration. Since our current leaders do not hear us (we want zero migration) we are electing fascists (lord help us). Trump was the first, then Sweden and now Italy. Soon France will follow, with Marine Le Pen. Why are our leaders willing to have a voters’ uprising and elect fascists….just for the sake of more immigrants? It is preferable for the West to spend a period of time with no migrants (zero migration) in order to reasses the whole thing, and prevent Trump and Marine LePen from gaining power. If we do not, fascism will soon follow, because we voters do not know what else to do to stop migration.
Kurfco (California)
"Often they seek or wait patiently for arrest as soon as they set foot in the United States, knowing that after a few days in federal custody they will be released. More than 750,000 people are now waiting for the government to review their asylum claims, and the average wait time is more than four years, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. In the meantime, they can live in the United States and, after 150 days, apply for permission to work here." All over the world, this reality is known. Open border. And, thanks to the continuing lunacy of Birthright Citizenship, every illegal "immigrant"/migrant/asylum seeker can parent one or more US citizen children at US taxpayer expense.
Chevy (South Hadley, MA)
In Massachusetts on Election Day I'm being asked to vote on a ballot question which will overturn a law passed in our liberal Commonwealth giving licenses to drive to non-citizens here illegally. Let me get this straight: people here illegally are driving illegally and we are asked to ratify the existing law because . . . . . . these people are just going to keep ignoring both our immigration laws AND our licensing laws for drivers and just keep driving anyway. What is wrong with this picture? The sooner we close our borders, put our own house in order and serve the needs of our citizens first, the sooner America will get back on track to meet our real needs as well as help the peoples of the world.
Puzzled at times (USA)
The Democrats should seek no compromise. Our borders are secure. I did not read this on Twitter, it is not disinformation! This is what our well-informed Vice-president declared in a recent interview.
abc (ny)
the entire asylum system favors certain groups - just look at this lowest rejection rates for (white) people from the former Soviet Union (between 4 and 10%); high rejection rate for (Black) people from Somalia (above 50%) https://trac.syr.edu/immigration/reports/448/
james (USA)
Good luck Dems to vote for real border security. They just want open borders. They got amnesty during the Reagan administration but never addressed border. security.
Democrats: Lets use more taxpayer money to wave in more immigrants with the dream of easy entry and rapid processing. Once we get them in, we'll figure out how to get their votes. Republicans: Not on our watch. RINOs: Well maybe I can vote for it if the NY Times does a profile of me and gives me the Liz Cheney treatment. You know where asylum claims are meant to processed - at the local embassies. Why do Democrats insist on throwing vulnerable people to the coyotes and traffickers in a dangerous attempt to violate our borders and laws? That's what is heartless.
Scott (Pdx)
@TL Liz Cheney should be our next President. I was Treasurer in College Republicans. What office did you hold?
Vinny (Boston)
This is yet again, ineffectual, feel good pipe dreams made into legislation. The first solution to illegal immigration is strict enforcement and jail time… for employers. Announce a mandatory 6 month jail time and a bounty for any employee legal or illegal who reports these cash wage employers and you’ll see the lines dry up rapidly. I’m all for humanitarian help, medical etc, but hiring immigrants for cash should land you in jail.
Roger (NYC)
I wish liberals would just say what they mean--no democrat ever says "immigration reform" and means it. They just want everyone who already came to be made legal, and anyone who wants to come to be able to. And if I'm wrong, I challenge any liberal to tell me which groups of people specifically SHOULD NOT be allowed to come and stay here. Crickets.
Bill (Detroit)
The unmitigated invasion of our southern border, with the attendant explosion of Fentanyl coming over with it, has been aided and abetted by the Biden administration, simply because his progressive wing hates Trump, and wanted to undo anything he did. Biden broke it, and now he owns it. That he won't even acknowledge it's an issue (something even the Times reluctantly now does) is the tipping point that will result in a bad day for Democrats on the 8th. It's the issue hiding in plain sight that will be their undoing.
Donalan (Connecticut panhandle)
“America’s commitment to offer asylum to people fleeing violence and persecution in their homelands is an essential expression of the nation’s ideals.” Yes, we want to help the truly needy and deserving. But as with any moral imperative, there are always trade-offs. This editorial never addresses the possibility that the number of truly needy and deserving might become too large. We don’t undertake to feed the world. We don’t undertake to educate, cure or enrich the world. Practicalities intrude. It’s unfortunate, but we have to put a limit on our largesse.
Si Seulement Voltaire (France)
@Donalan The "truly needy" are only a very small portion of the otherwise purely economic migrants at our borders, most of whom only want to profit from a better system that American built rather than the one they actually built for themselves in their own countries. At least the Ukrainian war refugees are women and children who only want to return to their country because the men stayed to fight and even die if necessary to build a free and prosperous nation for themselves. (I've had a young Ukrainian refugee living with me since March so know that of which I speak!) What motivates people to cross our borders needs to be understood and factored in before "refugee" policies are put in place.
Si Seulement Voltaire (France)
Without the possibility and implementation of deportation as the laws allow there are no immigration laws, only open borders.
DPQuinn (New Jersey)
Bi-partisan sounds like the old American way; thank God for that and this to DO something for all these people and us.
Lavender (Olympia)
Disappointing to see how widespread nativist sentiment is. What most disgusts me are the liberals calling for an end to all immigration on the basis of helping the American poor, when those same people wouldn't in a million years support any kind of meaningful support of the working class. Standard nationalist rhetoric, but frustrating to see it get such positive engagement.
Si Seulement Voltaire (France)
@Lavender Maybe ask yourself why every country including the most "liberal" like Sweden have seen their progressives/socialist parties lose elections over their own open border policies. One exception where progressives won they elections: Denmark where the Social Democrats (socialists) actually studied to issues and came to this conclusion: "For the Social Democratic Party, it is about finding the balance between helping people in need and ensuring the coherence of our country, and continuing to be able to afford the high level of welfare provision that characterizes our society. […] We have therefore been tightening asylum rules and increased requirements for immigrants and refugees. And we will continue to pursue a tight and consistent asylum policy, which makes Denmark geared to handling refugee and migratory pressures’." https://samf.ku.dk/presse/kronikker-og-debat/the-danish-social-democratic-case/
Dave (New Jersey)
There should be no deal until the border is secure. No more shenanigans.
Brian (USA)
Anyone who wants asylum in the US ought to be told to apply for asylum at a US embassy or consulate in their home country. Why is this not the way it is done?
Vired99 (Redmond WA)
Most of these migrants are economic migrants coached to utter right words at the border to get entry. It's laughable that a family from Venezuela would skip 6 countries along the way to come to US for asylum. We need more sensible laws to weed out such obviously fraudulent cases first.
GK (California)
This is a disaster. To pretend otherwise is beyond hypocritical. It's a visual reminder that our immigration system not only isn't working but is intellectually & morally bankrupt. Biden doesn't want to admit that his border policies are a failure. This fiasco was easy to see coming. In 2020 Biden invited this debacle saying he would end deportations & detentions. If we're not careful we will replicate the Syrian migrant crisis of 2016 when 1 million refugees flooded Europe. For years Democrats demagogued this issue pretending it isn't a big problem. It is. The asylum issue has to be addressed. Now. How are Dems responding? They're freezing. The threat & fears unemployed voters are feeling are real. Because if we accept these illegal immigrants more will come. We all know that. The GOP is telling their people that Dems want open borders. Vote for the GOP or you will be overrun. Dems are angry but GOP voters are scared. Scared beats angry every time. The GOP base will turn out in huge numbers in this year's midterms. Pretty much guaranteed with illegal immigration dominating the news every week until we vote. Fox News has non-stop coverage of this developing crisis. This ongoing drama will motivate not just the conservative base, but fair-minded Independents who are mad that Dems don't have the guts to address our immigration problems head-on. We have to do something. Otherwise, this frustrating predicament will continue to fester & spiral out of control.
Silas Campbell (Paris, Kentucky)
The USA can't support the 335 million people already here, not to mention the impact of so many people on what remains of our ecosystems. All the illegal immigrants should be expelled, and the number of asylees, refugees, and legal immigrants should be significantly reduced.
Ben (The Promised Land)
I'm a legal alien. It's not a human right to immigrate to the United States or any other country. Simple as that. I suggest the following: Shut down illegal immigration (maybe except DACA). Reform and enforce the law, and deport illegals. Let them ask permission from outside the U.S. to enter, just like I had to do. America can decide if it wants them back, case-by-case. Implement aggressive security on the southern border. No one gets in without giving fingerprints, verifying identity, and establishing a lawful purpose for entry. No exceptions. Asylum is for a very narrow class, not for everyone simply wanting a better life from everywhere on the planet. We all want better lives, but how can WE make Americans' lives better by being here?? That's something every foreign citizen wishing to be here has a duty to ask themselves in 2022. Fix legal immigration. Implement a point-based system to benefit Americans, America's economy, and the immigrants themselves. Fluent English speaker? High-skilled? Educated in the United States? A real benefit to the economy? Top priority. Brain drain America's adversaries in the process. Modernize the system from top to bottom and make it fit for the 21st century. Make it a speedy, digital, efficient, firm, fair, responsive, commonsensical process to adjudicate benefits. Reward those who make productive, peaceful, law-abiding, assimilated citizens. Gang members and violent criminals OUT! End this nonsense. God bless America.
John D (Queens, NY)
We have this "Open Border" policy because one party wants to buy all, or most, of the new votes...!
Si Seulement Voltaire (France)
There is every possibility for controlling illegal workers from keeping salaries low and employers from exploiting them. It is up to State Legislatures, not Congress or the President to apply and enforce these existing "E-Verify" laws. See which States take this seriously and which refuse to participate or enforce them (most Blue States): "Since 1996, E-Verify has been helping enrolled employers confirm the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. E-Verify is fast, free and easy to use – and it’s the best way employers can ensure a legal workforce. As of January 1, 2021 E-Verify became mandatory in Florida. To date the following states require E-Verify for "some" or all employers: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia." https://www.e-verify.gov/about-e-verify/history-and-milestones
Nick (New York)
There are currently about 180 million inhabitants in the Americas that are of German origin. Had their ancestors stayed in Germany the population of Germany would have been over 240 million, a very crowded nation.Now we know why immigrants migrate.
Blackmamba (IL)
Yes but America's original immigration policy and practice favored white European Protestant immigrants from Northwest Europe particularly Germans. While neither brown Indigenous nor Black African men, women and children were immigrants. But the immigration reforms of Lyndon Baines Johnson and Ronald Wilson Reagan made a much more equitable fair and balanced humble humane empathetic policy and practice. Until it didn't work. Bipartisan immigration reform died in the Senate during the George Walker Bush Administration with the titans John McCain and Ted Kennedy unable to close the deal. Meanwhile white European ethinic Slavic Judeo-Christian Ukrainian men, women and children are pushing and shoving to the head of the American immigration displaced and refugee person welcome line. And Haitians, Somalis, Ethiopians, Sudanese, Eritreans and Malians are separate and unequal and invisible barred and shunned.
Art P (Phoenix)
Exploiting and hoarding other nation’s’ natural resources has historically always led to immigration problems for the exploiters.
Jeez Louise (Pennsylvania)
Wonderful how a skimpy-clothes supermodel was able to come to our country, violate her visa, marry a billionaire, and become a first lady trophy wife. The American dream!
hm1342 (NC)
"A Compromise on Immigration Is Possible." Dear Members of the Board, Are you not listening to the Biden administration? Vice President Harris and DHS Secretary Mayorkas say our border is secure. What have you heard from the VP on whether she's identified all those "root causes" for the influx at the border? Has she submitted her findings and recommendations to the President? Do you, members of the Board, actually care?
Blanche White (South Carolina)
NYT Editors, When an article publicizing this Bipartisan Immigration Solutions bill includes a blanket statement that Customs and Border Protection has a history of mistreatment of migrants, we know that the thoughts expressed should be taken with a grain of salt. The statement reminded me of the incident with the Border Officer on horseback trying to stop a Haitian and all the negative media comments that created the false narrative of the border patrol being racist and recalling the times of enslaved Blacks. All so over the top and our President jumped in, before even knowing the details and pretty much took up the theme. Recently, that narrative has been disproven. ... now, is that the kind of mistreatment you mean? But, as for the information you gave about what is contained in this overhaul bill, there seems to be a lot missing: 1) No E Verify 2) No stiff fines for Employers 3) No Removal of gang and domestic violence claims from "Social Groups" 4) No Rule that irregular entry outside border crossings is not permitted and migrants will be returned immediately (without Title 42) These are just some of the sensible ideas that ought to be included. Also, DACA should not be expanded from those currently under it and they should be given a path to "legalization" but not citizenship. Amnesty was given in the eighties and it definitely did not work out and I, as a lifelong Democrat, believe it does nothing but incentivize others and Democrats need to face reality.
Brian (NY)
@Blanche White I worry about an employer being fined or even going to jail but the illegal alien not being deported
jack (south carolina)
The editorial and the proposed immigration bill represent a thoughtful effort to try to find a compromise on an issue that divides the country. The comments to this editorial demonstrates the divide in the country. Republicans will not agree to a compromise until such time as immigration no longer is an effective campaign issue. If republicans take over both the house and the senate immigration becomes their problem. Instead of talking points, repubs will have to come up with solutions. Only problem is that their solution most likely will be to either close the borders completely or to treat asylum seekers inhumanely both of which will be vetoed . The proposed bill should discuss DOCA as well as providing a method to fill all those jobs indicated by the number of help wanted signs. These are jobs that citizens do not want but would be gladly filled by immigrants. There should be a way to allow immigrants into the country to fill those jobs, let them pay taxes etc it would be a benefit for all. You cannot complain that your favorite restaurant is limiting hours and refuse to provide help by way of a larger job pool.
Tim Kulhanek (Dallas)
The thought is positive but I don’t see it making any difference. It’s not realistically possible to evaluate an individual asylum claim in days or weeks. It’s based on stuff happening thousands of miles away, most of which is plausible though no different that what is going on in many cities right here in this country. The only way asylum can be reasonable is blanket for an area with real and extreme conditions. Either a natural disaster of government sanctioned/tolerated violence. Otherwise, we’re not really changing anything, just catching up on paperwork and providing an illusion of progress.
Hellen (NJ)
A maternal great aunt a d uncle owned a thriving landscape business in South Carolina. A well established Black owned business that serviced churches, schools and other public businesses. They hired many locals, paid taxes and donated to their community. They had many contracts because they knew which trees and native species to plant in various zones. They had knowledge about which areas had a history of flooding and how to mitigate that issue. They did beautiful work. Their daughter took over the business and then their grandchildren but eventually it was dissolved. The places they use to contract with had contracted with businesses that used third party companies that hired illegals. All they did was chop down trees, dig up plantts, mow over everything and pour concrete. Cheap and efficient but they are paying a heavy price in other ways. The areas now have flooding issues and many native trees and plants are almost nonexistent. The toll of illegal immigration and cheap unskilled labor has been devastating in many ways.
dd (nj)
@Hellen Those that hire undocumented immigrants need to be held accountable. They do so for the reasons you stated; cheap, exploitable labor that can be thrown away like garbage when it's broken. That is the true crime. People still want slavery.
William Case (United States)
Migrants who meet the criteria for asylum walk across Rio Grande bridges and submit their applications at legal points of entry. Migrants who do not meet the criteria wade, swim or raft the Rio Grande and apply for asylum when detrained by the Border Patrol.They are processed at Customs and Border Patrol stations and released with notifications to appear at future court hearings. Illegal border crossers refer to the notifications as “permisos.” Permisos entitle them to reside in the United States until their applications are rejected, a process that takes up to five years. They do not expect to be granted asylum, but they know no one will look for them if they do not appear for their hearings. More than two million migrants—most of whom do not meet the criteria for asylum—unlawfully entered the United Sates during fiscal year 2022. America can regain control of its Southwest border only if it revises is asylum laws to: (1) Permit asylum seekers to apply for asylum at U.S. embassies and consulates in their home countries or in intermediate countries. (2) Automatically deny asylum to anyone who crosses the border illegally (3) Close the immigration courts and make admissions decisions made by U.S. officials at the border final without judicial review. These revisions would not deny asylum to anyone who meets the criteria for asylum. They would make applying for asylum easier, not harder.
Lpb (Ny)
No. We need a period of zero migration before any more money is spent. What needs to be done, what law needs to be passed, in order to deport everyone who comes across the border? And do so immediately. American voters are in no mood to spend more money on anything other than deportation of all trespassers.
Practical Thoughts (East Coast)
Immigration is a political loser for Democrats. If Latinos and certain Asian demographics are trending towards draconian and ruthless GOP immigration policies, why should African American, Indigenous Americans, climate, women's rights and LGBTQ constituencies risk their policy preferences for a position that appears to have SCANT support beyond political idealists? I think its a shame that America has turned its back on non-white immigration. With that said, one has to see America as it is. Its an America that's insular, somewhat ruthless and uncaring about the plight of those not from here. Too many people are willing to beat Democrats over the head with this issue and cruise to power. As with a lot of important issues, immigration may have to be put on the backburner until a new generation of more reasonable and empathetic Americans make up a majority of the electorate.
Meena (California)
Remember we reap what we sow. Every illegal immigrant finding a short cut into the US brings with them a disdain for law and order. In the most basic things in life, driving according to laws, working within laws, taxation within the laws. They come in knowing they will be able to access free education, free food, free medical care, cash for low wage work that is unrecorded, and a support from politicians who court their votes. The Democrats are foolish in pretending this group tends towards them. These are deeply religious populations controlled by religious leaders who sway according to their political gain. In the end an influx of ill educated people will erode our advantage in all arenas of innovation. Let people in legally. Let them be aware of what it takes to be a citizen of this nation. It can only be profitable to our national identity. We definitely need to stop illegal immigration. If this editorial article is a sounding board for Democrats, then please hear the loud voices of your very blue constituents, staunch illegal immigration and unfair amnesty for illegal immigrants now.
Q Frost (Boulder CO)
Republicans don't WANT to fix the issue. So it does not matter if there is a great solution. They will not let it happen. You cannot have any further discussion on the issue until you first find a way to change the republican cult. Same could be said for anything that makes our quality of life better, for that matter....
Philip Cafaro (Fort Collins, CO)
No sale. As a taxpayer, I have no interest in helping fund an enormous bureaucracy to assess millions of “asylum” claims of what are mainly economic migrants. Instead, our government should name any countries from which we will consider asylum claims, and summarily reject all claims from all other countries. We do not owe everyone in the world a shot at coming to America. Period.
BC (Arizona)
Your editorial says nothing about legal immigration. To your mind it may not need reform are you have the naive belief it is working and functional. However that is for from the case. Especially fiancé petitions and family visa for spouses and children are taking years with longer and longer processing times by USCIS" they gladly take your Mooney but are totally dysfunctional. Meanwhile legal immigrants just see these migrants waltz in and stay as long as they want and even get to work no need for green cards. Unless they can show persecution they are not refugees and should be immediately deported. It is that simple.
Gary V. (Oakland, CA)
This is politically a no win situation for these poor refugees and other economic immigrants. They are escaping despotic regimes, climate change, criminal gangs ( to which we have contributed in Central America by getting rid of the drug gangs to go prey on their own people, which starts a new cycle of emigration from those countries.) Unfortunately they are caught in our political nightmare, contributed in part by TFG and his faithful white nationalists who have not realistically funded immigration and asylum judges and officials. We cannot close our borders even with a huge fence. We are only deferring the day of reckoning. We need a sensible immigration policy coupled with a serious and sustained effort to improve the lives of Central Americans and South Americans in their own countries. The possible solutions are there, the politicians driven by elections are not listening.
David L. (Pacific Heights)
We've been on the horns of this dilemma for decades. Illegal immigrants from Central and South America are hardworking, well meaning people. But there are tens of millions of them. And, yes, they have lowered wage standards in the service and construction industries, where requirements of citizenship are a joke now. There are no wars south of the border, the old hoary arguments about rooting these asylum claims in Reagan-era policies are ridiculous. Reform is a non-starter until we abolish our current asylum agreements, and start over. Once we have secured our border, with iron-clad immigration rules, not a wall, only then can we start to deliberate the fate of tens of millions of illegal immigrants who live and are exploited by employers in this country.
SteveSlats (The Jersey Shore)
Republicans have no interest in compromise on Immigration as they prefer to rant about open borders, oppose pathways to citizenship, and pursue deportation of all undocumented immigrants including DACA kids. Anything that risks their ability to maintain power will be opposed by Fox News and the Politicians who cower to the base.
Kurfco (California)
Good editorial. It's a start. The foundation of any system of laws is messaging around them, which is bolstered by clear, predictable enforcement. No system of laws functions without enforcement. Enforcement means making some people unhappy because it thwarts what they wany to do. Perhaps the NYT editors are beginning to grasp this. What "progressives' don't seem to grasp yet is what accelerated the current border rush: Biden. The waves of migrants showing up at our border could just as easily have been their parents and grandparents if Biden had been in office back then. The world has been swarming with people wanting to get here for generations. There are more today than yesterday. But it was Biden, sweeping into office promising to undo all Trump's policies, that opened the floodgates.
TMSquared (Santa Rosa CA)
The editors' thoughts about the immigration crisis are made in good faith, they are serious, sincere, compassionate, and well-informed. On the other hand, the editors' notion that a sufficient number of congressional GOPers will get behind an immigration bill because it's made in good faith serious, compassionate, and well-informed, instead of using immigration as an occasion for inflammatory racist demagoguery, well, that notion is, I'm afraid, insane. The editors keep proposing such things. The GOP keeps responding to them as opportunities for inflammatory racist demagoguery. The definition of insanity is, etc. Somebody's not taking the lesson here.
CBP Data (US)
Data on numbers of migrants, year by year, data on CBP border arrests of individuals during terrorist screening dataset encounters, and alot of other information is not classified information. It is public, and is open to review by members of the public. Go to the cob.gov website. CBP is in charge at all US ports of entry, Border Patrol is responsible for patrolling international land borders.
M (Jersey City)
There is a de facto caste system in amnesty and citizenship reflecting political power. Any Cuban who shows up is granted a fast track. But somehow anyone who feels other places, often worse off, is exploiting the system. In a thought experiment, an asylum seeker who swims across the Atlantic from Africa to the US would be denied while a Cuban who comes over in a boat would be welcome. No republican, or even democrat, will propose any system that clarifies the criteria and aggressively pursues it. It's unfortunate.
Zeneida Disla (Harlem, USA)
I am wo disappointed you chose to use the trite term "the system is broken." Not only is it so oft repeated it no longer conveys any gravitas, but it doesn't even sound important. As if I were to say "one of my dishes is broken, let me buy a new one" Why not say something else like, "It is in urgent need of repair" or "Our democracy depends on creating a new immigration paradigm." Something!
Citizen Kane (Boston)
It's practically impossible to envision the two parties putting their differences aside and coming together to sign a meaningful immigration reform when one party's plan to win elections is to offer a blanket amnesty to millions already here illegally while encouraging millions more to cross the border illegally. The Democrats are completely beholden to the pro-immigration lobby even when that comes at the price of losing the Latino vote that is fed up with uncontrolled mass immigration. The government already stopped deporting people here illegally and instead is focusing on creating a legal path for everyone to stay here, regardless of how they came.
JD Gold (Brooklyn)
You cannot be in favor of healthcare and affordable housing for all Americans, living wages for working people, and more affordable educational opportunities while simultaneously increasing competition for all those resources by allowing millions of people who are unlawfully present to compete for, and in many cases receive preferential access to, those necessities.
John (Arlington Va)
I agree with this editorial that this bill is a good first step to dealing with refugees. The second most important step with regard to immigrants is to legalize the estimated 15 million undocumented who have been in the US often for decades with American born children and often spouses. The editorial is very accurate about the cost of helping refugees and the need for more federal funds to reimburse localities and nonprofits already covering this cost. My church sponsored a refugee family of 2 adults and 3 minor children; we spent in 2 years about $50,000 for rent, food, clothing, medical care, books. etc. plus hundreds of hours of volunteer tutoring and guidance to adults and the children. This is our Christian faith to help refugees but it is very costly to settle new immigrants in US. Good news is that both adults are working and children on their way to becoming Americans.
Calworkman (Smartypants)
@John No way. If you give amnesty to 15 (but really 20) million illegal immigrants, no other action you take will make a difference. They will keep coming in bigger and bigger waves, to live and work here while awaiting the next amnesty.
fgros (Florida)
Change the law to require that requests for admission to the nation, whatever the basis, should be filed at the American embassies. No more showing up at the border, entering illegally, then making a request.
Susanna (United States)
Does anyone amongst our citizenry actually think that our country (population 330 Million+) needs yet more people? Are we competing for ‘overpopulated and dysfunctional’ gold here? If so, the United States is well on its way.
Accordion (Hudson Valley)
I'm all for a plan that helps resolve the immigration problem. And I agree the country needs these immigrants to fill the help wanted signs I see everywhere I go, not to mention that many of their children will fuel the engine of growth for our country going forward. As much as i dislike Texas governor Abbott (and would never vote for him) he got me thinking with his renting buses and sending immigrants to NYC & D.C. But instead of sending them just to those 2 cities they should be distributed around the country- to cities like Cleveland, Buffalo, Detroit, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Omaha etc., etc., etc. That way the backlog to making sure they deserve to stay can be shortened and these people can more quickly get to work
Lilo (Michigan)
@Accordion What if American workers do not want to compete with cheap labor imports? Why is an larger labor supply, resultant lower wage, and increasing competition for housing a good thing for American workers?
Nick (New York)
First: Redo family unification by allowing only minor children and parents of the newly naturalized citizen to immigrate. No more green cards for brothers and sisters. Second: Hold employers responsible if they hire people without the proper work permits, green cards etc. Illegal immigrants as employees work throughout the country, by the millions. If it is made difficult for migrants to get job then there will be less incentive for them to come here. Not much we can do about the migrants from the south. They have been coming here for thousands of years, before the Europeans began to come. We can, however , help make the lands from where they come safe and prosperous, thus giving the migrants lees reason to come here.
Bob23 (The Woodlands, TX)
The MAGA Republicans do not want a solution to immigration, whether focused on process or substance. They want the problem to fester so they can use the issue in their performance art and their attack ads.
Jonathan (USA)
How can there be a compromise when Republicans are determined to keep out people who are better educated, more honest and more skilled than they are? That would eliminate pretty much all asylum seekers and pretty much all would-be immigrants.
RG (upstate NY)
Conservative estimates a world population of 15 billion by 2100 and climate change will produce massive migration towards the United States. Current discussions are in total denial of the scope of the problem facing us.
Maya (California)
“Immigration in other words, is an investment in America’s future”. It looks like as per US policies, only immigration from certain countries is an investment. Young children who came as dependents with their parents on H1B visas from India, when they age out are stuck in a stateless limbo. Having grown up and been educated in US, are they not an investment in our future? New visas now to visit US from India take over 18 months to be granted, these are friends or families who want to come for weddings, serious illness etc. These visitors do not “disappear in the crowds” or stay permanently. People who have job offers are stuck without being able to get a timely visa. This is a highly racist policy directed toward one specific friendly democratic country. When asked about it Blinken glibly lied that it is due to backlog from Covid. Does Covid apply to only one country?
Lilo (Michigan)
@Maya There are 1.3 billion Indians. And apparently a sizable percentage of them think it's their right to come to America and work, displacing American IT workers. They are wrong.
michjas (Phoenix)
Border states tend to be less welcoming to those illegally crossing our borders. The immediate border area is overrun. There are safe houses in many parts of the state. And education and health care costs are substantial. Still, I favor the undocumented. Phoenix is 3 hours from the border—far from border crime—and safe houses are in poor, Hispanic neighborhoods. As for more established undocumented people, i’m for them. They come from little and tend to be up from the bootstrap types. And like most scorned people, they appreciate decency. Practically speaking, many of the undocumented have considerable skills that they offer at bargain prices—carpentry, plumbing, and crafts among others. And they know how to deal with Arizona’s summer heat. It’s true that the undocumented often cause harm to American workers. But cheaper and better work is not a crime. (Though tax evasion is.). As for child care, house cleaning, cooking, bookkeeping and nursing (maybe you get a doctor) the women also are frequently cheaper and better. And the kids. I substitute taught in a high school with a number of undocumented kids. (They are entitled to a free public education.). These were poor schools with much diversity. I like that. A mixed pot is more interesting than one filled to the top with vanilla cream. From the standpoint of what is best for the country, I defer to you. But from my own standpoint, things are better with undocumented people around. Variety is the spice of life.
Olivia (NYC)
@michjas Illegals cost American tax payers $140 billion a year. They are a burden.
Si Seulement Voltaire (France)
Democrats apparently want to flood the country with people whose goal is to game the system, not join a nation, adopt our Constitution and laws in order to adapt, so belong. Even most who vote Democrats see what dangers our "open borders" present. Why does Biden want to "reinvent" a complicated wheel that exists ... and has been tried, tested and worked for decades by our Canadian neighbours to the North or our allies around the world like Australia, NZ, the EU? They have "needed skills, point based immigration as well as temporary and permanent work and resident permits (and limited, specific humanitarian permits for special cases) ... ALL work far better for everyone. The two absolutely necessary changes needed in the US: a) The first thing to go must be the way "Green Cards" function as automatic pathways to citizenship. Permits corresponding to situations and people leading to a Green Card after living 5 years in the country without problems - is more reasonable. b) The second in time has more than proven that citizenship by birth alone attracts cheats and harms all citizens. A child brought up in the US all their lives, born or not, should have facilitated access to a Green Card and citizenship once an adult. (Think DACA) Women who travel specifically to have babies in the US then return home should not be seen as equal to the birthright principles of our Constitution (that was specifically about freed slaves not planeloads of Chinese or other pregnant women.)
Brody (NYC)
My 3-point plan: 1. Change the law so that assylum can only be requested at embassies in each country, but never at the border. 2. Build safe and secure dormitory-style housing near each embassy for assylum seekers. Provide healthcare for them including prenatal services for pregnant women. Allow these people to stay there until they are screened and their cases are evaluated, a process which must be shortened to one month. Only legitimate assylum seekers, not economic migrants, will gain admittance. 3. Guard the border like our nation depends on it and do not allow anyone to cross without being summarily arrested and deported immediately. Once the word gets out, migrants will no longer risk their lives for entry when it's a near zero-chance proposition.
alan (MA)
"Many Republicans want to make it even harder for anyone to seek asylum; many Democrats insist that any overhaul of immigration rules must include relief for those already in the United States." Why do Republicans want to make it harder to seek asylum? Legal residents are covered by Our employment laws. Illegals can be underpaid with no benefits.
Tournachonadar (Illiana)
Correction: we do not owe the 8 or 9 billion other people of Earth a living at our expense. The existing Title 8, United States Code that governs immigration is there for a reason: to tell everyone that coming into the commerce of the United States is a privilege that is earned, not an entitlement one is born into. Helping our southern neighbors to get their countries in order would be far more beneficial than turning our own country into one vast shelter. Uninvited means—and remains forever—unwelcome.
Step #1 Enact a law that does one thing: prohibit people who have entered the United States illegally from applying for citizenship — even if their current status is legal. If you ever have entered the United States illegally, you don’t ever become a citizen.
Louweegie272 (Carmel, CA)
This doesn't sound like a good deal for the citizens or legal immigrants. We have a nation wide affordable housing shortage and a homeless epidemic. Where will the millions of recent immigrants live? Won't they be competing with citizens and legal immigrants for jobs housing and services? We need to make E Verify mandatory and enforce our immigration laws like every other country on the planet. Open borders like sanctuary cities have been a disaster.
Someone (Somewhere)
In regards to “California coordinates closely with federal authorities and nonprofits to meet migrants as they are released from custody, providing them with health care and temporary shelter, and helping them to connect with friends and family,” that belies what is happening in San Diego, according to local news sources and homeless advocates. Many migrants are being housed in homeless shelters. San Diego has a burgeoning homelessness crisis, due to many factors include COL to salary and a housing shortage. Tijuana’s ability to temporarily house Venezuelan migrants is also near a breaking point. Also as of last year, asylum now includes “fleeing domestic and gang violence.” In regards to the latter, there appears to be a lack of sufficient clarity as to what that entails—and given how the Northern Triangle countries along with Mexico and Venezuela all have serious gang violence via cartels, I’m not sure that is sustainable, however well-intentioned it is. https://www.npr.org/2021/06/16/1007277888/the-justice-department-overturns-rules-that-limited-asylum-for-survivors-of-viol https://www.kpbs.org/news/local/2022/10/17/tijuana-shelter-system-at-breaking-point-as-venezuelan-migrants-arrive https://voiceofsandiego.org/2022/10/18/migrants-ending-up-in-city-homeless-shelters-amid-border-surge/ https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/commentary/story/2022-10-26/commentary-joya-saxena-san-diego-failing-citizens?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter
Publius (Princeton)
A remarkably sober assessment from the editorial board. I didn’t expect these authors to endorse the idea of deporting those who can’t remain. But that is in some the sense the only tool which makes an immigration policy authentic.
Dan (Denver, Co.)
The people crashing the border are not asylum seekers, they are economic migrants - illegal aliens. A reason we can't fix this issue is because we are not recognizing the fact that illegal immigration is a corruption problem which requires a broader approach. Illegal immigration is a three way give and take with the illegal immigrants themselves able to benefit by vastly increasing their earnings, business that profit by exploiting illegal immigrants and the reduced wages they accept and the politicians that receive financial largess and political support from the business lobby to perpetuate this corrupt system of serfdom. Breaking this system requires tough enforcement of our existing laws which requires political will. The stated panacea of 'immigration reform' won't fix the issue and will most likely be a repeat of the failed 1986 IRCA amnesty. I am not hopeful for our country to meaningfully solve this extremely important issue.
Rick (Texas)
This is a problem that’s not hard to fix, yet it persists.
Kumar Aiyer (California)
The fundamental issue is a certain portion of asylum seekers are economic immigrants simply looking for an escape from poverty. Unfortunately, the United States cannot be the only solution provider for this global disaster. I would like to see Canada's or Brazil's response if these unfortunate people are set ashore in those countries. Our immigration system should be on the basis of economic advantages provided by legal immigrants to this country. Adding any fancy varnish to that simple goal is a raw deal to native-born US Citizens.
RCS (Springfield, MA)
Sadly, compromise is impossible because too many people have been deliberately whipped up over this issue. Just read these comments.
kkseattle (Seattle)
It is virtually impossible to control the supply of immigrants, but it is not difficult to control the demand. There must be meaningful penalties for hiring workers without proper work authorization. Not a slap on the wrist, but something like drunk drivers get—a night in jail and real consequences. If Republican farmers, construction contractors, meatpackers, and golf course owners want more workers, let them lobby their Republican representatives for higher limits. As it stands, Republicans get away with illegally hiring as much cheap labor as they can, and then blame Democrats.
Philip W (Boston)
We desperately need a fair system to weed out economic refugees. They should be returned to their own countries. Otherwise, the system as is can only be changed with a change in Government. We don't want economic refugees who fail to go thru the normal channels.
Some Guy (USA)
"America’s commitment to offer asylum to people fleeing violence..." fleeing violence by itself does not qualify one for asylum protection.
Jerry Davenport (NY)
What’s unsaid is, Biden on his first day opened the floodgates and the system was almost instantly overwhelmed. Biden in his hate of Trump disregarded any consequences that might follow. This is a Biden created mess.
Geraldo (Wisconsin)
What a naive, misguided approach to this problem. The editorial's primary approach is "What does the United Staes owe these people?" and it is flawed. It should be "What does the United States owe the American people?" Second, the vast, vast vast majority of the asylum claims are bogus. Everyone knows this. One of the main problems with asylum claims is the inability of a judge or official in New York or LA to know whether a story from a village in Guinea or Venezuela or Congo is true. It almost certainly isn't. It may lead to the occasional denial of a true claim, and it does lead to the approval of thousands and thousands of bogus ones. Thus incentivizing the use and abuse of the process.
Hugh (LA)
"Immigration, in other words, is an investment in America’s future...." The editorial bases this statement on a report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (A link to the report is included in the editorial.) It's worth noting that documented and unauthorized immigrants, as well as high-skill immigrants like Elon Musk and Sergey Brin and folks with little education are all lumped together by the report. From the report: "To the extent that negative impacts occur, they are most likely to be found for prior immigrants or native-born workers who have not completed high school...." So the negative effects are born largely by our country's most vulnerable, including previous immigrants. Not a problem for me and you, members of the Times editorial staff, or the people who wrote the report. And then there is this: “...immigrants’ children—the second generation—are among the strongest economic and fiscal contributors in the population.” The statement is based on aggregate, not per-capita, economic impact. A million working low-skill immigrants add to the GDP. But not so much to the per-capita GDP. By this thinking, it's great economic news that world population is expected to exceed 8,000,000,000 by the end of this year.
Mitchell myrin (Bridgehampton)
No mention of the hundreds of thousands of “get a ways“ by the editorial board. And not a word of seriously increasing the security at our southern border which should include a wall of some sort. No mention either of the ridiculous policy to allow family members other than the immediate ones to come join those that are already here. This is really not a serious proposal.
JR_star (WA)
How can an immigrant pass through multiple countries, only to claim asylum at the US border. Shouldn’t asylum seekers be required to make that claim at the first border they transit?
Dan (NJ)
I read with sympathy when many commenters say, "What about us? Shouldn't we take care of Americans first?" Well that sounds good until you listen more carefully to the Republican broad agenda. They want to go Liz Truss on working Americans who are struggling to pay for food, energy, medicine, and a safe place to live that's also affordable. Republicans would love to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. They would love to privatize all public schools leaving it up to people to pay their own children' tuitions in a privatized system. To top that off, they would love to cut taxes, especially for wealthy people who can afford to pay lobbyists to keep the perks coming. The wealth disparity is increasing in America. The Republican plans for 70% of the people who are actually citizens isn't all that much better than the plan for the people trying to cross the border. I'll believe the Republicans when I actually hear how they are going to control inflation, make houses and rentals affordable, provide adequate health care to all of its citizens, and get the price of food, medicine, and energy under control for its citizens.
Jackson (Virginia)
@Dan You’ve certainly got those DNC talking points memorized. Are the Democrats now planning to make housing affordable? I never heard Joe’s plan for that. And we certainly know he has no plan for inflation. But maybe you can explain why he let in 2.4 million illegals with no plan for what to do with them. Is he expecting them to vote Democrat?
Brian Barrett (New jersey)
Seems worthy of becoming law. On the premise that the first step is the hardest, this bill would alleviate much of the current damage being done by inadequate resources. Perhaps then we can construct the "spillway" which would include securing the border, a way forward for dreamers, and providing a path to citizenship. Let us promote those few in the gop who are genuinely looking for solutions.
Kevin (MA)
This article misses the fact that it’s not immigration, it’s migration of refugees running from failed governments. We spent trillions on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with the philosophy of we fight them there rather than here with a policy to install democracy. We need to give those countries in the south an ultimatum, fix your house, or we will fix it for you. We need a long term policy or else this situation will go forever and the political class will keep using these poor people as campaign talking points.
Raphael (Tampa. FL)
Obstructionists in Congress know that they need the immigration "threat" to win re-election. The logistics of the immigration system could have been reformed years ago at a tiny fraction of the cost of invading Iraq. By opposing immigration reform, obstructionist are diminishing what truly made "America Great" - its capacity to attract and retain the best talent from around the world.
Robert (Georgia)
No bill that asks about compromise should have amnesty. That is what has stalled most efforts in the past. The asylum laws need to be changed. The focus of legal immigration should be limited to immediate family only of those who are skilled workers. These changes would get the ball rolling and should not include anything about amnesty for now. Lastly, and this is where it gets tricky, enforce E-Verify with significant punishments for those who flagrantly violate the law, and end birthright citizenship. Once those are done, there can be a process about amnesty for those who are here. None of this will happen though because our leader class doesn't have the will to do so.
JFM (Hartford)
@Robert - If we were honest with ourselves and honest with our politics, we would solve the immigration issue by building 10 new screening centers instead of 4. Everyone coming across the border would get their hearing right away, not months or years later. But we're stuck with a political class, supported by a voting class, that wants to make hatred of immigrants an election issue. If we were serious about e-verify, which has been around for years, rich americans like TFG would have been arrested years ago instead of being a hero on the right. But instead, we can only do half or less measures that only change the bandage. This is the country that is destroying the agency that collects the money to pay for everything, why should we expect any actual solutions on immigration?
Strand (Brooklyn)
The portrayal here of the Biden administration's policy at the southern border as "the United States has allowed hundreds of thousands of migrants seeking asylum to live and work in the country" is simply not true. Many if not most of those crossing make no claims of asylum at all when asked why they want to enter the US. Instead they state clearly they are coming because they want to make money or unite with family already in the US. So they are not granted entry based on any claims for asylum. In fact almost all of those who are granted entry after crossing the southern border illegally would be refused entry based on the same claims at a port of entry. So the administration is not granting entry to all those crossing the southern border because it believes the law allows those people to be granted entry. Instead it created a policy that applies exclusively to those crossing the southern border illegally and the policy is to allow the entry of people who are not allowed entry under the law. And the administration has not merely allowed the laws of the US to be violated. It has ordered the very agencies the American people tasked with patrolling and protecting the border to actively facilitate the unlawful crossing of the border and the violation of the very laws they are sworn and paid to enforce. And if the Republicans gain control of the house and are inclined to impeach Biden this is a high crime that definitely qualifies as grounds for impeachment.
Immigrant (Pittsburgh)
I stopped caring about proposals that demand even more money. Start with how you'd re-prioritize current resources. Then we know whether you're worth listening to.
Thomas Renner (New York City)
Immigration in the US is in chaos. I have heard talk about fixing it for years and nothing happens except complaints from the progressives it's too strict and from constatives it's too liberal. While this goes on, we have an economy and small business sector that exploits these people for finical gain. The same people screaming for a wall go down to the local park and try to hire these people for a few bucks and a free lunch to do backbreaking work they would never do. Now we even have the GOP bussing and flying these poor souls around the country to keep the MAGA people happy. Congress must act.
Sierra Morgan (Mi)
@Thomas Renner Bussing and flying "migrants" to other places is the best thing for them. Or would you prefer to spend months in a cage as some like to call the detention centers and shelters? Other cities and states are better able to place the "migrants". I think I am getting a whiff of NIMBY. Moving "migrants" also helps some break free from human traffickers. The United Nations has the US as a top destination for human trafficking due to not enforcing immigration laws. My family has been involved with "migrants" in Texas for more than 80 years. Most of those years aiding them with food and shelter. Two years ago, two family members were killed by coyotes, aka human traffickers. The only humane thing to do is to move "migrants" to other places across the country so they do not have to live in cages, can get jobs, and can have dignity.
Thomas Renner (New York City)
@Sierra Morgan, I live close to a hotel where the city has housed many of the people sent from Texas. We have helped them with food and clothing. That said I do not believe it is in their best interest to arrive at the port authority bus terminal unannounced, dumped off with nothing. Their best interest is congress setting up and funding a system that works and that means both parties working together to get it done.
Girish Kotwal (Louisville, KY)
We have heard this before that 'a compromise on Immigration is possible and it could happen" What good is it if immigration laws currently on the books that have welcomed millions of legal immigrants don't get enforced because an admin like the Biden-Harris admin leave the border wide open for welcoming illegal or undocumented migrants also referred to as the getaways? Until all undocumented or illegal migrants are not returned back to their country of origin from which they could join the line to return legally to the USA in their country of origin there will be no bill that will be worth the paper it is printed on. There is nothing that can be done to harm any one born in the USA to parents of legal or illegal residing in the USA and the current laws will protect citizenship by birth. A pathway to citizenship of those entering illegally should be considered unlawful and never be allowed privileges or rights of US citizens. Trump's policies that welcomed orderly legal immigration should be reinforced and Biden policies enforced by his executive order should be reversed before any bill is passed by congress. The mid terms should be a referendum on the Biden-Harris admin not only on hyper inflation and crime but also on humanitarian, public health and national security crises created by the Biden-Harris admin policies enforced since J20, 2021. It is a sad state of affairs in USA where Americans are no longer safe in their own homes. Speedy recovery P. Pelosi and Rushdie.
george (new jersey)
@Girish Kotwal Actually the number of illegals is much higher. Around 50 million give or take
Keith (Connecticut)
This nation is clearly struggling socially, and in other key ways, at about 340 million citizens. Undocumented people puts things 350 million. US Census predicts a peak of 400 - 700 million citizens some day and that all depends upon if current legal immigration is slowed or kept the same as it currently is. Huge immigration made America what it is; that does not mean that teeming numbers of immigrants needs to continue in what is now a colossal nation struggling to hold itself together with a any sense of unity. Adding 50 -100 million people over the next 20 years isn’t going to help make a better nation.
Donna (NJ)
The key to controlling immigration is enforcement of employment laws. While E-verify is used up front to determine eligibility for work, it is not universally mandatory (or accurate, apparently). The I-9 is a joke, since phony documents may be offered to support the claims of the I-9. What might work is the imposition of immediate and harsh penalties every time an employer receives a "no-match" letter from the government. "No match" means that the name doesn't match the social security number submitted with tax filings. I worked for contractors in New Jersey who received dozens of these letters over the years and ignored them. At what point can we say that these contractors had constructive knowledge that their work force was illegal? The regulations say that upon receipt of a no-match notification the employer should make the employee aware of it and ask that they correct it. The regulations caution the employer not to fire the employee outright. I have to conclude that while we have the data driven means of identifying undocumented workers, we don't really care to do anything about it. Not up front and not after the fact.
Sierra Morgan (Mi)
@Donna I agree companies that employ people who are not able to legally work in the US must be brought to justice. There are human traffickers who set up contract labor companies and pitch their "employees" to companies. With a wink and a nod companies get great rates and the traffickers get rich off from their "enslaved" workers. Then there are others who knowingly hire people with no legal documentation or even fake documents. I cannot wait to hear from the IRS where I worked this year. We need to severely punish companies using illegal workers, go after human trafficker, and repatriate as many of the trafficked people as fast as possible.
Mostly_Bitter_Old_Man (Somewhere_on_the_Fringe)
Illegal immigration has been - for years - one of the most valuable talking points for the GOP; a talking point they will never relinquish. Any bill seeking to move forward on this is DOA.
Nick (New York)
@Mostly_Bitter_Old_Man , the Tom and Jerry syndrome. Tom never kills Jerry because then show will be over. The GOP does not wish to have a sensible solution to immigration issues.
Thomas Moore (Washington DC)
This proposal reminds me of the folly of endlessly widening highways to accommodate everyone driving their cars to work. We will all too soon be overwhelmed again. A better system, like a wider highway, will encourage more people to come. But the article is right in saying "enough" with the politicization of the issue and time for both parties to come together with a sincere and honest intent to address it. I would say it is ridiculous to expect this to happen, but I just watched the final episode of Derry Girls in which the Irish peace agreement was concluded so I'm feeling optimistic this morning.
Horsepower (Connecticut)
To grant asylum, the US needs to define the conditions carefully and have fixed criteria upon which such claims are deemed true. We should also come to terms with whether or not and under what conditions and criteria, the idea of putting families together is enough to warrant legal immigration status.
Nick (New York)
Past immigration laws have allowed family reunification including the The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 The Act established immigration preferences by categories. It reserved 74% for family members of naturalized U.S. citizens. This policy must be changed to allow only parents and minor children. This change will significantly cut the number of immigrants.
Sierra Morgan (Mi)
@Nick I'd suggest only verified minor children and a legal, verifiable spouse.
mrfreeze6 (Italy's Green Heart)
You all get lost in a myriad of details when the immigration problem can be solved with several distinct measures: 1) Issue identity cards to all documentable U.S. citizens. Set up centers where citizens can obtain their card at no expense (you've got the money to do this). In this way, you can determine exactly belongs and who doesn't. 2) Enact draconian punishment to those who employ improperly document workers. Make it a crime punishable with an non-negotiable 5-year prison sentence. This would include the boards of directors, CEO's, management of companies and your neighbors (you?). This would attack the demand side of the equation 3) Create a migrant worker visa so that those who come to do the work Americans won't can do so legally. Of course, you won't do any of the above because: 1) You'll whine that identity cards violate your privacy. This is nonsense. Most people will give up their personal information for a loyalty card to their favorite retailer. 2) Employers don't want to solve the immigration problem. It's good for business. Politicians don't want to solve the problem because it allows them to divide and distract people. 3) Employers don't want a migrant visa because it would offer workers basic rights and benefits. The States aren't the only country with immigration issues but these three actions would go a long way to make immigration more controllable. I'm convinced that the powers-that-be don't want a solution.
Apathycrat (NC-USA)
@mrfreeze6 I fully agree with your points #1 & #3. I also agree to the principle of #2 except I think stiff fines (vs. prison time) is more appropriate for all but the most egregious, flagrant cases (eg., Trump organization ;-)... or those involving human trafficking. We already have way too many people in prison here and think stiff fines and sanctions are sufficient deterrent here.
Thomas Moore (Washington DC)
@mrfreeze6 We already have a national identity card that is increasingly impossible to live without, the Secure ID, implemented in the aftermath of 9/11. You are not required to have one, but they are increasingly (going to be) required to fly or enter a Federal government building. Although issued by the States, they conform to Federal requirements.
mrfreeze6 (Italy's Green Heart)
@Apathycrat I think that after a few of the owners and managers of companies go to prison, there won't be too many more. Once they realize that they must be part of the solution, they'll change their ways. Again, it's all about "the rule of law" that so many claim to respect, but really don't if it applies to them.
Kroobey West Coast (West Coast.)
Thank you NYT and EB for the first reasoned discussion of the borders, especially asylum claims. We must all recognize that most who claim asylum don’t qualify, need compassionate care, and expeditious adjudication of the claims, then as appropriate, return home. The process won’t be perfect, but the status quo cannot contiinue. It sends needed message to our southern neighbors and can unify voters across the spectrum for years to come. With the NYT behind it, the administration and Congress have the support necessary to move forward. Let’s get it done, united, as a party.
doesntwork (anywherebut)
Long article with nothing about fixing legal immigration. After 18 years waiting for a green card and paying a boat load of taxes what did I get? Nada. Just a notice from the immigration lawyer telling me that I have at most one year to leave the country where my son was born. So I moved to Canada. Yes the taxes are high and opportunities fewer, but at least they value high skilled legal immigrants.
Sierra Morgan (Mi)
@doesntwork The US doesn't value highly skilled Americans, why would companies value highly skilled immigrants? They view immigrants as cheap and easily controlled labor. I say this as a 25 year IT worker who sees this 1st hand. A cousin married a highly educated lady from Eastern Europe. They met in college. Immigration deemed their marriage a scam because she was older. They fought her deportation and lost. The whole family moved to her home country and have been living happily. They have been married for 25 years. Immigration sure missed that call. Be glad that you got out of this cesspool. Many Americans have the needed skills to immigrate to another country, they just lack the money to buy their way in or are too old to qualify.
James Mitchell (Everett WA)
We have a lot of good thinking and strong proposals in this comment thread. I do hope somebody in the Biden Administration is capturing this and using it appropriately.
JFM (Hartford)
@James Mitchell - I'm sure some on the administration side will pay attention, but there won't be anybody on the republican side who does. It's too good a campaign issue to give up with a solution.
Vivo (Nueva York)
“Compromise and courage” truly the defining trait of legislators.
Si Seulement Voltaire (France)
The facts: "The Immigration Act of 1924 limited the number of immigrants allowed entry into the United States through a national origins quota." "The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 changed all that. Sponsored by Representative Emanuel Celler of New York and Senator Philip Hart of Michigan and signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson at a ceremony on Liberty Island, the Act abolished the quota system in favor of a regime that established immigration preferences by categories. The 1965 law reserved 6% of visas for refugees, 10% for professionals, scientists, and artists, 10% for needed workers, and 74% for family members of naturalized U.S. citizens. This policy favoring family reunification would result in significant demographic changes over the coming decades, as immigration from Europe declined and the U.S. welcomed an increasing flow of migrants from Asia and Latin America."
Viatcheslav Sobol (HLL)
@Si Seulement Voltaire The key word has consisted of Asia and Latin America are welcomed. For now, eu citizens rarely have an inclination to relocate from their environment to USA. The NA is not meant to be white people's domain. Those who think that it ought to be are only deceiving themselves.
Bee Reasonable (US)
Republicans have truly gone off the deep end in many ways, but this issue is one in which Democrats are bogged down by serious groupthink (or unthink). In Texas, Republicans run the exact same ads on the border and crime that they ran in in 2020. That is because they work. If Democrats stood on moral high ground on this issue despite negative political ramifications they would deserve some credit, but they don't. There is nothing moral about encouraging people to pay cartels thousands of dollars and travel thousands of miles through dangerous territory in order to make an asylum claim. If it is international law, I haven't heard any of the politicians I otherwise respect propose changing it. But is it international law to treat so many people as asylum seekers? What is the difference between a refugee and an asylum seeker? Some explanatory journalism also would be helpful.
Si Seulement Voltaire (France)
We have all the laws needed to address illegal entries, illegal residents and the deportation of those who cheat or game the system. The central problem in the US is those who refuse to enforce our laws (the very most important role of the Executive Branch according to our Constitution.) For example, we have an "E-Verify" system that is imperfect but usable. Why have only a handful of States (Red States) made its use mandatory for all employment? Equally, why did California try to make using the E-Verify system illegal? Politics, not the good of the nation is behind this growing crisis.
ann (Seattle)
Most of the asylum seekers who present themselves at the southern border have traveled through many countries to get here. We could follow Canada’s example in dealing with them. If a foreigner tries to cross an official gateway from the U.S. into Canada to ask for asylum there, he or she is told to first request asylum in the U.S. If our immigration courts find that the foreigner does not meet the criteria for asylum, and the foreigner then asks for asylum in Canada, Canada will deny him or her a full asylum hearing (except in a few special situations). If a foreigner’s request for asylum is denied in Canada, the Trudeau Administration makes it a priority to deport this person a.s.a.p. In regard to non-Mexican migrants who approach our country’s southern border, we could refuse to hear their claims for asylum unless they have first requested it in Mexico. If they have been turned down in Mexico, we could refuse to give them full asylum hearings with an immigration judge. Those who are found not to qualify for asylum could be immediately deported .
S Sm (Canada)
@ann Put 'Roxham Road' into google.
Greg S (Louisville, KY)
A phrase in the second paragraph says it all "...a government that lacks the capacity to enforce its own laws." Whatever any Congress and Administration agree on, if that isn't backed with funding and a way to prevent hiring illegal immigrants, nothing will change. Meanwhile our immigration chaos literally lures them in. If we can't or won't enforce current laws, and fund the infrastructure and organization to do so, what's the point of passing other laws. We don't know if what's already on the books works or not. Like the famous philosopher Pogo once said, "We met the enemy and he is us!"
Blanche White (South Carolina)
@Greg S Yes, it's enforcement of current laws that is the problem. ...and when they won't make employers e verify and face stiff fines for non compliance, then we know where the rot is, don't we? It's both Democrats and Republicans. But, under no circumstances, should anyone think the Republicans should ever be given the keys to the Whitehouse again or the House and Senate to fix immigration because that would be throwing the country to the wolves over one issue which they will not fix either.
ann (Seattle)
"Under a pilot program that the Biden administration launched this spring, some asylum claims are heard by asylum officers who participate in a five-week training course …" One of the problems with this pilot program is that the cases of those who are found not to qualify for asylum are automatically appealed to an immigration judge. And, if the judge also finds that the migrants do not qualify for asylum, the migrants have the option of appealing to a higher judge. Most of the cases will drag on for years before a final ruling is issued. Since the Biden Administration has instructed ICE agents not to arrest anyone at court, those who have been given final orders to leave the country are able to slip into our country's underground economy instead of returning to their own country.
Jean McK (Austin)
That is why the new bill, assuming it is actually properly funded, would make processing faster and limit the right to appeal.
Susan Abrams (Oregon)
Every where I go I see nothing but help wanted signs. We need these immigrants. So many restaurants are closing or reducing hours because they can't find enough employees. Since the 1990's the birthrate has been declining. By 20% since 2007. We also have a shortage of child care workers, caregivers for the elderly and teachers. If we don't start letting in more immigrants, our economy and all of us will suffer.
Hoping For Sanity (In An Overpopulated World)
@Susan Abrams I hope you can read this in the tone I intended, which is with sincerity. I, too, used to believe that we needed immigrant labor. But I’ve since read, observed, studied, experienced in my workplace and objectively examined the facts — and I see now that we are all being gaslighted by corporations and businesses. They tell us they need workers, but what they really mean is they want cheap labor. They don’t NEED immigrants. They WANT cheap labor. But the propaganda they’ve push via their politicians is what they want you to believe. The American population has an abundance of available workers at every level. There is literally no job an American citizen won’t do if it pays a livable wage. Why have corporate billionaires been importing H1B withers and unlawful migrants for decades? They want cheap labor to the demise of hundreds of millions of real Americans citizens.
Susan Abrams (Oregon)
@Hoping For Sanity The cheap labor comes will illegal immigration. Legal immigrants are paid just like any other employee. I also worked for a company with a large number of refugees. They were paid the same as everyone else and the wages were good because we had a union. According to the Chamber of Commerce and the Brookings Institution between the construction, retail and service industries there is a shortage of over 1.5 million workers. That is based on the number of jobs unfilled and number of people unemployed in these industries.
Si Seulement Voltaire (France)
@Hoping For Sanity Behind the "corporate" are their clients. No business can work or pay employees without paying clients. American consumers have demanded "more for cheaper" to feed their consumer obsessions. Businesses have to find ways to answer consumer demands or go out of business ... so low salaries. Is it the chicken or the egg?
Hoping For Sanity (In An Overpopulated World)
And constantly labeling anyone who opposes our current “immigration system” as xenophobic or racist, while also ignoring the impact immigrants have on working class American taxpayers and communities, has pushed those voters and many middle class voters away from the Democratic Party. This issue has nothing to do with race or culture and everything to do with the fact that our government in both parties abandoned workers and the middle class — a large group of citizens who can longer afford housing, food, medical care, education — while giving away taxpayer money to foreign nations, wars. billionaires, corporations and immigrants. That’s not what taxpayers signed up for when they agreed to a tax based representative government.
Fight4FreedomGirl (USA)
@Hoping For Sanity : every time the smug left labels people against illegal immigration as "xenophobic racists"... a tiny bell rings and another Trump voter is born.
Viatcheslav Sobol (HLL)
@Hoping For Sanity On the net based measurements in the economy immigration is positive and contributes to USA society welfare structure. Why else do you think it has been happening to keep people flowing into this country's interior? Do need them.
Dan Kelly (Brielle, NJ)
I believe most immigrants are seeking better economic opportunities for their families - but present as immigrants seeking relief from persecution. The bottom line is our govt will need to determine what the optimal number of immigrants should be allowed to enter legally into our country. And it should, thoughtfully, economically and compassionately. Whatever that ideal number may turn out to be, you can bet we’ll be subjected to constant media sympathizing with those that are on the wrong side of that immigration figure….stadium’s by tearfully at the “gate”. Call it cruel, but a line has to be drawn somewhere. Until we agree on this issue, nothing will be resolved.
Jackie B (New York)
While there are a handful of Senators and Representatives who truly wish to fix our broken immigration system, the great majority of those elected to Congress, especially Republicans, prefer to use immigration as a political tool to win elections. The current bill has its merits but is too little too late. It would have very limited impact because it mainly addresses asylum issues. What is truly needed is comprehensive immigration reform that addresses the nation’s labor shortage which is becoming chronic and is already a major cause of rising wages that contribute to inflation. While politicians often pay lip service to our founders and the nation’s success they conveniently forget that immigration was a major driver of our economy for 250 years. Without it the US would still be inferior to the rest of the advanced economies. Somehow we need to get past our political divisions and get our nation back on track before Asian and European nations surpass our economic might. Those days are not as distant as our political leaders may believe.
kkseattle (Seattle)
@Jackie B Wages aren’t rising. They are flatlining or declining. It’s is exploding corporate profits that are causing inflation.
Andreabeth (Chicago)
@Jackie B Immigration was strictly limited between 1924 and 1965. The country not only functioned with the reduced numbers of immigrants but thrived during the 1950s. This was a time of innovation and economic growth for many although tragically not for all. Raising a hue and cry that the US will collapse unless we allow in several million immigrants each year (legal, illegal, refugees, asylum seekers, etc) does not stand up to close scrutiny.
Fight4FreedomGirl (USA)
@Jackie B : Japan has an advanced tech economy and no immigration, let alone illegal immigration. Canada has lots of immigration, but all legal. They deport illegals ASAP. China? nobody immigrates to China, period. And they are the world powerhouse economy, eclipsing our own. As far as wages... they are up 35% over 2019 but since all prices are inflated that much... it is not any better for average workers. For many it is worse, as rents have increased by about 50%.
Iron Mike (PA)
This is far from a solution. Once in this country there is no way to track those who fail to report for an even expidited amnesty hearing. Those that fail to gain amnesty and are deported just emigrate back through the lengthy, wall-less border. And birthright citizenship makes this a one generation problem, anyway. The only long-term solution is a Marshall Plan for Central America. If we had spent 50% of the foreign aid money in Latin America that we wasted in Afghanistan and the Middle East, we wouldn’t have a border problem.
Fight4FreedomGirl (USA)
@Iron Mike : yes, because we have SOOO much money left after the pandemic and with a looming recession -- with Ukraine demanding billions from us to make war with Russia -- and out of control inflation. What part of "we are $32 TRILLION in debt already" don't you get? Central America alone is 165 million people -- Venezuela alone is 29 million -- South America is 466 million (almost half a BILLION people)!!!!
Ockham9 (Norman, OK)
Add more immigration judges, streamline the process, build additional processing centers, establish and enforce professional standards of conduct for ICE agents. All that may help reduce the enormous backlog of cases that make our current immigration system, but it does not address the economic and political problems that propel people to risk the journey to the United States. And that is the foundational problem that defies solution. As conditions elsewhere worsen — the result of climate-induced hardships, or increased political repression, or the growth of gangs — more people will seek entry into the US as a safe or prosperous haven. Despite these additional resources, the system will again be swamped in a few years. Even if the majority of the cases are denied and the applicant is deported, more will take their place. No barrier is effective; walls, ‘remain in Mexico,’ public health barriers are all ineffective because when the choice is either a fast death at the hands of a despot or a gang or the slow death of starvation or disease, people’s will to find a way to survive will thwart the most aggressive policies.
Sierra Morgan (Mi)
@Ockham9 Chicago is statistically more dangerous than any Central American country. Look at the violence in this country every day. And that is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg that gets reported. Reality states most of the migrants coming to the US are not poor. They are paying thousands per person to a coyote. People in the poorest areas in the US cannot afford a bus ticket to a better place. Secondly, if a parent left on foot with a toddler from Chicago's Southside, to find a better life in say Vermont, they would be arrested for child abuse and be stripped of their parental rights. But the US rewards migrants who do the same thing.
Bradley (Utah)
The fact that so many commenter find issues with every individual facet of this well-thought-out article is hilarious to me. The whole point of the editorial is to promote bipartisan strategies and the forgotten principle of compromise. The editorial board, in my opinion, did a wonderful job examining both sides of the border debate and they did so in a way that SHOULD be helping people see the issue in different ways from what they're used to. Instead, commenters mindlessly blare their predetermined biases and ignore the whole point of the article--a center.
James (Arlington)
The basic problem is not that the US government does not have the resources to act justly. The basic problem is the asylum law itself. The asylum law needs to be rewritten. Congress must assign the President the duty to designate each year which countries are conducting some form of persecution and who is being persecuted. Only people in those groups suffering persecution would be eligible to apply for asylum in the US, and these people upon arriving in the US would have to provide proof that they had applied for and been denied asylum in each country that they transited. Anyone else would be immediatley deported to their country of origin.
Sierra Morgan (Mi)
@James No and 'ell no. Not the president. Congress needs to determine what countries are on the list. The rest is a viable solution. The US president already has too many undocumented powers. And Citizens are represented by Congress, not the president.
GUANNA (New England)
I am not sure the GOP want reform. They make incredible capital out if things as they are. Has anyone notice they did nothing in Trumps first two years.
CT Resident (CT)
The bill should include a provision that would make members of congress and senate who advocate policies such as open borders, let them in or abolish ICE responsible to resettle and pay for illegal immigrants from their own pockets. Such provision should put a ban on these politicians from plundering the tax payer money for their political games.
kkseattle (Seattle)
@CT Resident No, the bill should include a provision that imprisons every farmer, construction contractor, slaughterhouse owner, and golf course owner who illegally pays workers without authorization. It’s those people who are drawing immigrants here, and plundering taxpayers, just as the Walmarts of the nation pay such poor wages that we have to subsidize their workers with food stamps and Medicaid.
Thomas Moore (Washington DC)
@kkseattle So what happens when the migrants have documents that are accepted as legit by said farmer? Turning this into another war against our own people is not the answer. (The failed Drug War is the other war against our own people.)
Joe Arena (Woodcliff Lake, NJ)
Nope. Sorry but that ship has sailed. Comprehensive immigration reform was on the table in 2013-2014 when a bipartisan bill passed the senate, which would have put 30,000 agents on the border, made unprecedented investments in border security tech/capabilities, granted a 5-8 year path to citizenship for otherwise law abiding immigrants with a job, plus pay a fine, visa reform etc. Republicans in the senate voted for this bill, along with Democrats, but Republicans thought Obama wouldn't accept it because it wasn't aggressive enough on DACA or a path to citizenship. Obama surprised them and determined he would sign it if passed, at which point Republicans immediately flip flopped and oppose the bill...the same bill they proposed and helped craft. Couldn't give Obama a win. Meanwhile, the bill they're currently crafting is the Farm Workforce Modernization Act...which will essentially grant legal status to illegal immigrants...but only if they work agree to work in red states/red areas (e.g. large commercial farms), in other words amnesty, but with a requirement that you become a low wage worker for red areas. Other immigrants in other jobs? Nope, the bill doesn't cover you. Only if you agree to work for big red state farmers.
Fight4FreedomGirl (USA)
@Joe Arena : no, no, no and NO and by the way... the reason it did NOT happen back then was that millions of us wrote our representatives and told them NO NO NO NO. Sorry, but I don't care if you come here illegally and then work and are a nice person. I don't care if you pay a fine. If you came illegally, I want you GONE and permanently. (If you have children who were born here, they can return on their 18th birthdays.) There is no option I will support but permanent and absolute deportation of anyone who came to the US illegally and I believe I speak for 85% of the US public, i.e., THE VOTERS.
Gary (Chicago)
Overall, we have probably cut immigration more than makes sense. We have too few workers to support our retirees, despite having nearly everyone interested employed. If we admitted more immigrants, the social security challenge would be reduced, possibly significantly.
Montalvo (Puerto Vallarta)
There are PLENTY of applicants to fill EVERY opening, IF the wage is high enough!
Fight4FreedomGirl (USA)
@Gary : illegals do not pay taxes; they work under the table for cash. Some forge SS cards, meaning they are corrupting our SS system and putting it into jeopardy. Anyone who thinks "well, they pay IN illegally, but we get to keep the payments"... is nuts. People who would steal an SS number, are going to be Johnny-on-the-spot to apply for benefits at age 62-67. I am on SS as of this year. The application is online, it takes about 5 minutes to fill out. No in-person meeting, no proof of you actually being who you say you are. An illegal would not be deterred. They will COST US far more than they contribute.
Erik (Virginia)
The US is now overpopulated, and as a consequence quality of life for the working class has declined. University is no longer affordable, and much less accessible. It was affordable and accessible, from 1870 to 1970. Tuition at UC Berkeley was zero from 1868 to 1968. Rent for students could be covered by a part time job. Rent is no longer affordable. Rent was affordable 1890 to 1970. Homes are no longer affordable. They were from 1890 to 1970. One salary will no longer support a family. It did, from 1900 to 1970. Engineering used to be a good career path. Now, employers hire H1b visa's at cheaper wages. Child care is unaffordable for pretty much everyone but the rich, and especially unaffordable for the poor. Immigration driven overpopulation to provide cheap labor and enrich corporations led to unaffordable homes and unaffordable university - see Vigdor for effect of immigration on housing costs. Turchin and Spengler will help you understand the cause and effect of other challenges that, so unlike the nineteen fifties, Americans face today
Ctmartin (Texas)
Where do you live? The Midwest has been experiencing a population decline for decades. They can use the influx in their labor market.
kkseattle (Seattle)
@Erik All of this is due not to overpopulation, but to a deliberate four-decade push by Republicans to funnel the nations’s productivity gains into the hands of a very few. Last year, wages were flat while corporate profits exploded. Gas prices are high, and oil companies are taking in record profits.
Mike Porter (New York City)
An influx of desperately poor, non-English-speaking people who will be on the government dole the rest of their lives.
S Sm (Canada)
The Statue of Liberty, always referenced as a beacon for the huddled masses. I have visited Ellis Island as a tourist and the immigration museum. The immigrants were vetted. Had to be in good health, and not dependent on the public purse. The Red Star line was responsible for the return of those who were not successful. The Biden administration's plan for legal entry seems to be more attuned to the past mandate of Ellis Island protocol.
Kurfco (California)
@S Sm And, very importantly, any immigrant who came though Ellis Island did so before Lyndon Johnson put very expensive taxpayer funded social safety net programs in place. Immigrants back then prospered — or didn’t — without any taxpayer cost.
Thomas Moore (Washington DC)
@Kurfco Migrants don't qualify for these programs. They are reserved for citizens. It is much easier to illegally get a job than to illegally qualify for welfare.
Fight4FreedomGirl (USA)
@S Sm and Kurfco: exactly. The left keeps harping on this, but the Statue of Liberty was a GIFT from FRANCE to celebrate our Independence. It has nothing to do with immigration. The POEM was added 30 years later, written by a left-wing poet of the day (Emma Lazarus). It is a much later "add-on" and reflects her personal views. It is not a law. it is not a PROMISE to ANYONE of open borders or unlimited immigration. It most definitely is not about ILLEGAL immigration. My 4 grandparents immigrated to the US legally and I can prove it with their immigration and naturalization papers! Quite a few immigrants in the past (late 1800s to early 1900s) were TURNED AWAY and sent back! And Kurfco has a critical point -- 120 years ago, there was zero welfare and zero help for immigrants. You came here and it was "swim or sink". No food stamps -- no health care in the ER -- no bilingual ed programs -- no free college for Dreamers!
ann (Seattle)
“… an initial screening to determine whether they have a credible fear of persecution in their countries of origin.” Congress has never agreed to provide asylum for everyone who had a credible fear of persecution in their country of origin. It only voted to provide asylum for those who feared persecution due to their race, religion, nationality, politics, or membership in a particular social group. No country, not even ours, has the natural or man made resources to accept everyone who wants to leave a country where there is a general atmosphere of violence. Nor does any country have the capacity to absorb everyone who claims to have been threatened by a gang, if they do not pay a bribe. Congress agreed to offer asylum on the assumption that the number of people requesting asylum would be limited. It expected them to be held in detention until their cases had been decided in our immigration courts so that those who did not meet the criteria for asylum could be quickly deported. No member of Congress would have ever expected the huge numbers of migrants who have been asking for asylum … so many that we lack the capacity to quickly determine whether or not they meet the criteria and that we lack the capacity to detain them until their hearings. We should only be admitting those whose persecution is due to their race, religion, nationality, politics, or membership in a particular social group. This would be reasonable, and it is all that Congress agreed to do.
Thomas Moore (Washington DC)
@ann Persecution for sexual orientation is also on the list, fyi. If that's what you mean by "social group." I've been surprised the GOP hasn't jumped on that one.
Erik (Virginia)
Will more people lower the price of rent? Increase access to university? Make land for homes more affordable? Increase wages so that one salary will support a family of five? We had all that back in the '50s because the population was half of what it is now. Back then we hadn't paved over the orange groves in Southern California, and there were still a few vacant lots left in San Jose.
Jack (Los Angeles)
Prediction: Thinking that open borders will inevitably flip Texas and Arizona, Dem judges will grant asylum to anyone and everyone who asks. For there part, Republican judges will grant asylum to whatever number the US Chamber of Commerce determines can be efficiently exploited, but not one more. Same song, different verse.
kkseattle (Seattle)
@Jack During federal fiscal year 2021, 23,827 asylum decisions were made, and 63 percent were denied.
Fight4FreedomGirl (USA)
@Jack : we have definitely been failed by both parties. The GOP has tended to want a "path to citizenship" to get more and more poor workers who can be exploited. The Dems and lefties want "the poor brown people" to be a huge voting block that gives them permanent power. They are both WRONG. We need to deport every single illegal alien and immediately, and with no exceptions nor excuses.
Informer (CA)
I wholeheartedly agree with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine study that finds that first generation Americans (i.e. parents came to America) immigrants are, on the whole, a win for the US. But I'd be curious to see how the achievement of first generation Americans varies based on whether their parents: * spoke English prior to arriving to USA * had existing close family in USA * were middle class+ in they country they emigrated from * were legally admitted to the USA * came to the USA on a student visa (i.e. for grad school)
Robert (Out West)
I’d be more innarested in the results of your research into who actually fought the Revolution, as well as your definition of the term, “rhetorical question.” Or to put the same more bluntly, does this sort of thing really impress the folks back home?
Craig H. (California)
It's the wrong end of the stick. There needs to be enforcement against employers for employing without proper e-verify use, and there needs to be working visas made available by congressional vote. If US farms and companies cannot get workers other ways, they will lobby for visas. For temporary workers, the employers should provide transportation in and out of the country (save the smuggler fees and danger), an appropriate minimum wage, housing, and health insurance. Those workers must be able to access the legal system while they are here. Employers should be able to apply for permanent visa for their employees in certain cases of skilled jobs - such as dairy workers. Asylum should be limited to political asylum - not economic asylum. When temporary workers go back to their countries they will be able in invest their money and make their countries better.
Joey (Upstate)
@Craig H. I generally agree. The Republican position is performative cruelty to rile up their base. If they had any genuine interest in reducing migration they’d be stepping up enforcement on employers who break the rules. The Republicans don’t do that and as such they are clearly not operating in good faith.
ann (Seattle)
@Craig H. The temporary workers should leave their families in their home countries while they are here. This would let their families continue to live in their own culture with their own language among their relatives and friends. It would also let our country’s Department of Eduction use our taxes to educate the children of our own citizens. Many farm workers move from one region of the country to another as different crops become ready for harvest. Those who bring their families here have to transfer their children from one school district to another over the course of the agricultural year. The Department of Education has been giving states $375.6 million every year to help pay for their education to little avail, as about half fail to finish H.S. The Department of Education also supplements the budget of school districts with more stable populations according to the numbers of their students who are learning English and/or whose families are low income. In addition, it gives money to a limited number of schools under Title I so their classes can be smaller. And, it gives grants to some school districts based on its own criteria, which includes all of the above. The Department of Education’s payments supplement those of state and local districts. The amount spent by every level of government to educate the children of farm workers and those of other unauthorized migrants every year could be otherwise spent to better educate the children of our own citizens.
kkseattle (Seattle)
@ann Workers used to leave their families at home, and the border was pretty open. After the harvest or the construction season, they’d go home to their families, and return the next year. Then we hardened the border, and workers were afraid to cross, so eventually they smuggled their families in. The hard border is what led to the current crisis. The enforcement should be on the employers.
Ohio Mom (Cincinnati)
I wonder how many of the commentators here that are complaining that the U.S. needs to take care of our own citizens first are Republicans who vote for the party that consistently denies us citizens what we need. Let’s help our southern neighbors become stable, productive democracies. That will make hiking across the desert and wading across the Rio Grande a lot less tempting. Oh, I forgot, no Republican will vote for that. Well at least the slaughterhouses and the rest of big agricultural will continue to have their cheap, compliant labor.
And Another Thing (USA)
That help is extraordinarily difficult to make effective for those who need it most. A country with instability and high crime will have enough corruption that billions can sink in and be embezzled by power groups. The Marshall Plan for Central America is already in effect and for some reason it hasn’t solved the problem. It’s a great idea but nearly impossible to make real.
Fight4FreedomGirl (USA)
@Ohio Mom : what part of "we are already $32 TRILLION in debt" don't you get? We can't "save" Central and South America, and if we did... what about Africa? parts of Asia? the Middle East? All our attempts since the post WWII era have ended in disaster. You can't just force your values or economic values onto other nations. You can't force other nations to become democracies. If that were possible... we'd have turned Iraq and Afghanistan into paradise of wealth and democratic elections. NOTE: before massive illegal immigration... all our meat processing was done by proud US citizen workers in UNIONS earning fair pay and benefits and pensions. The illegals ruined all of that.
Sandip Nath (Redmond, WA)
The United States cannot possibly give asylum to everyone who seeks it. There is nothing in the world which will avoid the inevitable overwhelming of the system, however big the system is. As the country the US must strike a balance between benevolence and portraying itself as a free for all. There are hundreds of thousands of legal immigrants, who are educated, well trained, pay taxes and contribute actively to the US economy. Process their cases with the existing infrastructure!
Jas (CA)
Read the editorial again. No one is proposing giving asylum to everyone who seeks it. On the contrary, this would allow us to investigate their claims quickly and more effectively, instead letting people live here for four years before being sent back.
This editorial would have been a lot better if it at least acknowledged that most “asylum” seekers today are by and large economic migrants. Asylum is important - critical - but it truly is limited in definition to those fleeing political persecution. There is no country on the planet that could absorb all who understandably seek a better life while still managing to work for its own citizens as well.
Marina (Washington)
@JE Ask Poland about absorbing migrants. Ask Turkey.
michjas (Phoenix)
If you’re against income inequality, you’ve got to decide if the notion ends at our borders. The poorest of the poor in the US are wealthy compared to Haitians, 80% of whom lived on $5.50 per day as of 2012. To me, income inequality is not a top issue. As long as you get by, billionaires are not the point. But I’m not much about limiting my vision of fairness to the 50 states. I don’t bleed as much for working class Americans as I do for Haitians and I’d like to see more Haitians admitted to the US. I’ve lived in Germany, I’ve travelled a lot to places like Beirut and Kazan and Izmir as well as the staples, like London and Paris. And I know the bad parts of Jersey—Camden, Trenton and Newark—really well. It’s important to me to protect my middle class standard of living. I’m no bleeding heart. But I can’t ignore Haitians and I don’t believe that a bunch more of them will deprive me of my comforts. As I say, income inequality is not my thing. But $5.50 a day? That’s unacceptable.
Hellen (NJ)
Apply in their countries, no exceptions. and immediate expulsion of anyone caught illegally. Also biometrics must be obtained from any person in the country illegally who tries to obtain services or benefits and that includes those overstating visas.
hm1342 (NC)
@Hellen: "Apply in their countries, no exceptions. and immediate expulsion of anyone caught illegally." Absolutely agree. In addition, Congress should submit a change to the 14th Amendment that denies birthright citizenship if the parents are here illegally.
emily (PDX)
@hm1342 Absolutely - birthright citizenship should apply to children o citizens and perhaps green card holders. Not children born to parents here illegally, or here on "temporary" status of any sort - whether TPS, waiting for an immigration-related hearing, etc. As it is we have millions barging into the country, tying to set down roots (have citizen babies) before they can be told to deport by our bogged-down immigration courts. Not that they'll actually leave when told to deport...
Wayne (Rhode Island)
Your recommendation about the 14th Amendment will subject millions to deportation if MAGAs get power.
tim (los angeles)
How will our country react when climate change and global warming make some now-heavily populated areas inhabitable? Where will those people go? Will we see people starving at every blocked border? I don't have the answers, but I'm always surprised when this approaching storm is never mentioned.
And Another Thing (USA)
What is happening to all the farms left behind by the migrants? Yes, climate change, but they’re not sand dunes yet. Look for some corporation to be buying it all up cheap. A hundred fifty years ago when very rich people wanted land they used armies to forced-march the people away. Now somehow the people just flee and leave the land for the taking.
Viatcheslav Sobol (HLL)
@tim Coastal USA will be uninhabitable and rampant, permanent drought elsewhere will make migrating to USA much less appealing concept. Canadians should dread in several decades invaders from USA called "climate refugees" after ruining the planet with commodities and energy profligacy for centuries.
Sam (San Jose, CA)
There has to be a mechanism to enforce immigration laws inside the country. Romney had some good ideas. We need to require use of federal e-verify system to get a drivers license, apartment rental, bank account, utility line or work. Local law enforcement should be authorized to look up e-verify system when they do traffic stops or for any other encounter. This way illegal immigrants will self deport.
Jeffrey Gallup (Phoenix, AZ)
The asylum system is overwhelmed by sheer numbers. Ironically, one cause of the flood of applicants is the false GOP assertion that the US has an open border policy. While the number of border encounters is over 1 million annually now, we also send back huge numbers - about a million. The bill proposed would help some, but hardly solve the problem. We could make people apply at US Embassies or Consulates in their home countries or third countries, and have their claims adjudicated promptly and finally there. They are much more likely to have the documentation to support their claims at home and they don't have to make a dangerous trip to the US border. For that remnant that shows up at the border, asylum officers and immigration judges should be on site to make swift and final determinations. Most asylum applications are now turned down, and probably that will remain the case. Overseas I made final determinations on visas and refugee applications in short order and in the US rendered my opinion on asylum applications swiftly. Most asylum applications I read, prepared by immigration lawyers, were grossly inadequate, consisting of newspaper clippings and nowhere making the case that the applicant individually had a well-founded fear of persecution, as required by law. There is no need for a long drawn out process.
Jackson (Virginia)
@Jeffrey Gallup Watch the news and tell me our borders aren’t wide open.
Dan (Southwestern, Ut)
@Jackson Indeed. The border patrol force has been told to stay home, the ports of entry are a free for all and whoever wants in can come in. Open borders. Now, satire off. But, I must ask-what are your thoughts about the border between the U.S. and Canada, a mostly unguarded border that is inviting for illegal immigrants also. Consider our shores, mostly unguarded also, which can be considered as an “open border”. I’m not advocating for unfettered immigration, but, merely pointing out the fallacy and fiction of the “open border” nonsense.
Jonathan (Connecticut)
I'm afraid asylum is no longer a viable concept. There are billions of people who can be said to be oppressed by their government in some way, and many of them can manage to make their way to the US. We're sorry, but we are not able to handle all the world's problems. We have to take care of our own citizens first.
Rajashekhar Patre (Bangalore, India)
@Jonathan I concur with the views of the editorial board on the subject of immigration. America is a nation of immigrants. It. is these immigrants who built this country to what it is to day. However, immigration has to be organised. America needs immigrants to run it's economy from agricultural operations to technological skills. Immigration has to work on t he principles of legality. Illegal immigration has to be curbed. For those seeking entry into U.S.must be checked at the border itself to find out their bonafides. Lately owing to violence in many poor countries, there is an increase of asylum seekers. But there is a limit that the U.S can admit people who are victims of violence. So a comprehensive law to protect legal immigration as well as asylum seekers is necessary and the Congress must act with bipartisan support sooner. This law has been kept in abeyance for a long time. Now the time has come to act and to justice for the seekers of a better life in t he United States of America.
Blanche White (South Carolina)
@Rajashekhar Patre This is by no means comprehensive immigration reform. As for the seemingly balanced article on Immigration, it is definitely not for a lot of reasons. NYT is noted for offering their solutions but here they only stress the bipartisan nature of the bill. ....and the reality is there are no sensible deterrents here. I would point out the graphic as an indicator of the position of the editors. It is this issue that will ruin Democrats if they do not show something solid to indicate they will enforce our laws and tighten immigration.
Erik (Virginia)
@Rajashekhar Patre I understand your motivation, and that your interests run counter to ours.
gpickard (Richmond via Luxembourg)
I am glad that there are some Senators from both parties who are willing to tackle this difficult and critical issue. Nevertheless until the Feds are ready to turn illegal immigrants/unqualified asylum seekers back en masse, and make a public spectacle of the deportations, there will be no cessation in the flow of people trying to jump the queue to enter the US. A wall is not necessary. Forceful and widely publicized enforcement is the most effective deterent to this unsustainable migration. CNN video of deportees boarding, buses, planes, boats returning these folks to their home country will make future jumpers think twice about paying a coyote to smuggle them into the US.
And Another Thing (USA)
I kind of agree, but I think the coyotes would just charge double and keep right on working. There are social, psychological and family pressures to migrate in addition to economic ones and literal refugee situations. Making it harder just makes it look cooler when someone succeeds.
Al (Suburban Phila.)
Democrats offer solution after solution and compromise after compromise. They never make it past the Senate filibuster. We have a 1 trillion dollar military with installations across the world. We have the money, the technology and the manpower to secure our borders. If Republicans wanted secure borders we would have them.
Jonathan (USA)
@Al Republicans had four years and used a fake border issue to spread fear and paranoia. The reality is that Republicans know that there is no immigration problem other than the one they've created in the minds of their base. But that delusion got plenty of contributions to Trump's wall, which went straight into Steve Bannon's bank account. The problem we have isn't immigrants or asylum seekers, it's Republicans who refuse to follow the law.
Joey (Upstate)
@Jonathan thanks for bringing it up. I remember that as well. In 2017/18 the Republicans could’ve gotten 90% of what they claim to want. Between their failure to reform the system when they had the chance and their obvious disinterest in addressing employers who break the rules I am quite convinced they are demagogues acting in bad faith. That’s not a solution to anything.
Bruce Thomson (Tokyo)
It’s difficult to solve the immigration situation because most American businesses have no interest in slowing immigration down. They may not admit it, but they like the availability of cheap labor and new customers. Before the recent flood of asylum claims we had lots of people who came legally but overstayed their visas. E-verify and heavy penalties for employers of these people could have solved this but there is no political will.
Dan (Southwestern, Ut)
@Bruce Thomson They like the availability of workers who will show up for work, who are not “entitled” or spend their days on phones. They like workers that will not complain and many employers will treat those workers fairly. I know-I see who works the jobs the entitled won’t. The immigrant workers did a fine job on my concrete work.
Vic Young (Clermont, FL)
@Bruce Thomson It has been obvious to me for a long time that a physical wall is not necessary to stop illegal immigration IF employers are required to e-verify the social security numbers of applicants or pay heavy penalties, BUT as you stated there is no political will.
Jonathan (USA)
@Bruce Thomson You're correct. The immigration situation isn't because of the immigrants, it's because of the slow court system which Republicans arranged to make even slower so they could scare Americans. Businesses know that asylum seekers and would-be immigrants are highly qualified, honest and desirous of building a good life for their families. It's about time Republicans accepted that truth.
Rick Carosella (Greer, SC)
More resources and a more humane system will not work. As soon as desperate people in other countries learn that there is a way to get into the US when they ask for asylum at the border, the numbers will swell and overwhelm the new system. Close down the asylum system altogether it will never work. People should be required to go to the US Embassy in their own country and apply for legal immigration and wait for approval like my grandparents did.
Gus (Florida)
@Rick Carosella, Enough with the "apply at the American embassies in their country". In Venezuela there isn't one!
Fight4FreedomGirl (USA)
@Rick Carosella : my great-grandparents were literally FLEEING POGROMS and rampant anti-semitism, and yet they had to wait YEARS to get visas to immigrate to the US. One aunt and her husband and 2 children decided to stay behind, afraid of moving so far away from home. They were rounded up by the Nazis, sent to a concentration camps and gassed.
Erik (Virginia)
@Rick Carosella Well said. We need a time out.
mythocracy (indoctrinated)
Will the GOP politicians sincerely work with Democratic politicans to find a solution for immigration rather than using it as a wedge issue to get to power? I seriously doubt that they want a solution. They had the house, senate and WH in 2016, hadn't they?
DC (Philadelphia)
When sanctuary cities with populations in the millions and a tax base of hundreds of billions are pleading for federal help when a few thousand immigrants show up on their doorstep, how do you expect little towns up and down the Rio to have the capacity and financial means to handle literally millions each year even if the state put forward more aid? Border management is a federal responsibility which the White House continues to remind the state governments when they disagree with how the states try to deal with the literal invasion yet there is zero help coming from DC and this administration. The demonstrated preference is for the immigrants to overwhelm the states which all except California are led by Republicans then eventually push for them all to be granted citizenship and hopefully vote Democrat in those states. We cannot help our own citizens let alone everyone else in the world. This cannot be just about having a bunch of processors to expedite giving everyone asylum. That is not a solution. That is abdicating responsibility to uphold all our laws, not just the ones they like.
Dan (Southwestern, Ut)
@DC At first I thought this comment to be satire. Then I thought perhaps comedy. I then understood that every point made is parroting of many anti-immigrant groups and the propaganda they spread. Your belief in conspiracy theories should be kept to yourself and shared only with others who are gullible and refuse to believe facts.
ALB (Maryland)
The concept of “asylum” as a basis for immigration has been warped beyond all recognition. Allowing thousands upon thousands of people to enter the U.S. based on an asylum claim is preposterous. Also preposterous is the notion of completing the Trump Wall. We could have used the billions of dollars we wasted on that fiasco to harden our borders with better monitoring equipment and many more border patrol officers. Anyone crossing our borders illegally should be sent back immediately to their countries of origin. An exception must be made for so-called “Dreamers” (DACA) — a group the editorial doesn’t bother to mention.
ann (Seattle)
@ALB People say we should not punish those who were brought here illegally by their parents. But, if we were to let Dreamers become citizens, then they would be allowed to sponsor their parents for green cards and eventual citizenship. This would encourage yet more illegal immigration. Foreigners would get the message that they could come here without our authorization, but just in case they would not be granted either asylum or an amnesty, their children would be able to get them legal status.
David (Texas)
@ALB All of these."asylum" claims.need.to.be sent back immediately. They are just gaming the system & exploiting the process.
Tired of Sleeping (USA)
@ALB The so called dreamers can go home too. All of them need to go home. Now.
tom (midwest)
Finally. the overload to the immigration system of inadequate resources may be fixed. Numbers of immigration judges, etc have been a failure on the border for years. The real question is whether Republicans in Congress will finally support real immigration reform rather than obstruct.
DC (Philadelphia)
@tom How is just processing applications faster a solution if there is no limit to how many come in?
tom (midwest)
@DC that's my point, not enough personnel to do so.
Saints Fan (Houston, TX)
@tom We did with Reagans amnesty in the 80s.
Sage (Santa Cruz)
The problem here is not the ideas, including more effective border controls, fairer and more efficient processing of asylum claims, a host of other policy proposals (employer verification, development aid to sending countries that encourage return migration, and better education for women, reducing population pressure, a points system to attract more skilled immigration) not even mentioned here. The problem is political will. Obama's administration waited four years before seeking bipartisan immigration along such lines, by which time Republicans had control of the House and nativists in the GOP, though a minority of the Congress overall, were able to kill reform bills. Trump of course only wanted to build a wall, that was actually a fence, that his predecessors had already mostly built and that Mexico did not pay for. And to bash immigrants in general, despite hiring and marrying them. Though they did not have as firm a position as during Obama's first two years, Democrats in 2021 did have a 50 seats in the Senate and a narrow House majority. Why was this proposed bill not given a higher priority much sooner than this?
Dennis (New York)
America exists because of immigration, some of it vary ancient from Asia, some of it forced, most of it political and economic opportunism - it was bad where they came from and better here. People want to come here for myriad reasons but all amount to the same thing, life is likely to be better here than where they are coming from. The other side of the equation is that most of us are attached to the place we come from, even when it is poor, hot/cold backward, and or oppressive. It isn't until it gets to a certain level of hard to continue that packing up becomes attractive. The reason we have too many people wanting to come here is four fold, 1) opportunities are perceived to be better here than most anywhere else, 2) other better closer places effectively keep them out, 3) we are close to places which are much worse, and 4) we are easy to enter illegally (not just across the southern border). There is no single solution. We need immigrants. Without them the population is shrinking, and the economy cannot elongate the myth of perpetual growth in numbers and wealth without immigration. We need seasonal workers in agriculture and construction and a process for their registration and flow back and forth across our borders. We need to establish an asylum process that requires pre-in-country registration and enumeration, and finally, in one way or another, we need to reduce the disparity in political and economic opportunity between ourselves and our close bordering neighbors.
DC (Philadelphia)
@Dennis Yes, we need and want immigrants. But it cannot be unrestricted numbers. It just cannot be. We have laws that are not being enforced, we have quotas not being enforced. That is government failing to execute on the oath they took plain and simple.
Fight4FreedomGirl (USA)
@Dennis : our population is not SHRINKING. Our birth rates are slightly down, due to recession and pandemic, but we have GAINED population every single year. We WANT a lower population. Low population growth places have high standards of living -- Scandinavia, Japan -- HIGH population growth places are disasters ... Central America, Syria, etc. You can't grow yourself out of this. There is a natural limit to population, after that you have misery and disaster! With 330 million people... we don't ever need one single immigrant here for any reason whatsoever.
Tired of Sleeping (USA)
@Dennis A nation of 330 million does not need more people.
Monroe (Michigan)
As someone who has worked side by side with many immigrants/migrants for two decades, I find the comments so far in this section extremely small minded and short sighted. I am continually humbled by the drive, work ethic, and adaptibility of the many immigrants that I have had the pleasure of knowing and working alongside through the years. We are a big and rich nation who can figure out housing, border enforcement, immigration processing, etc., if there is enough political will. And there will be, eventually. Hopefully some ideas in this bill are a start. What is missing is long term perpesective, how much our country has, and is currently benefiting from immigration, and will continue to benefit in the future. Don't let the immediate issues with immigration sour our mood on what is an essential part of our success in this country. Don't let Fox News and their fear mongering set the mood folks.
DC (Philadelphia)
@Monroe We cannot do it for our own citizens and that is not just a failure of Republicans. Every major city is a complete mess with crime, homelessness, poor schools, and crumbling infrastructure. Every one of them is run by Democrats responsible for managing their significant tax base and they are failing miserably. And the Democrats and the media supporting them refuse to acknowledge this.
Jim (Phoenix)
@Monroe I've been exposed to the dark side the last few years. It's as bad or worse than people claim.
Dale (Idaho)
I don’t see anything in the editorial (and by extension the bill) which truly seems to support setting serious limits on legal immigration and ending illegal immigration. All it seems to do is throw more resources at a legal system so paralyzed with process it can’t get anything done, but somehow sending more lawyers and judges is going to fix this sclerotic mess?
Robert (Out West)
What seems specially unclear about the part that says we’d get asylum-seekers processed and either okayed or thrown out faster?
Geoff Burrell (Western Australia)
There's a sense that once a potential migrant/asylum seeker reaches the border, or even journeys towards it, the system has already failed. Much better to provide substantive migration services within the potential migrant's home country where they can be better assessed/selected or excluded. That way America gets the citizens it wants and the border agencies can concentrate on filtering out the rotten apples rather than processing the whole crop.
Geraldo (Wisconsin)
@Geoff Burrell We already do have that. It's called the immigrant visa system, run by consular officers in U.S. embassies.
michjas (Phoenix)
Immigration is important. But it’s not as important as climate change. So it seems worth noting that the most sensible immigration policy, from an emissions standpoint, is to close the doors for now with an eye to opening them later. At present, Americans generate four times as many emissions per capita as Mexicans. But we are reducing our emissions while they are increasing theirs, and they will likely outstrip us in the future. So admitting Mexicans for now increases emissions. But that is likely to change. And if and when it does, the more Mexicans admitted, the lower global emissions will be. It’s not the bottom line for our immigration policy. But it’s relevant. What’s best for reducing emissions should be part of the conversation.
Fight4FreedomGirl (USA)
@michjas : you are about 20 years out of date, sir. We already have about 22 million illegal Mexicans living in the US, but they are not the majority of NEW illegal immigrants. Mexico is doing well economically and is the 14th largest economy in the world. The majority in the last 20 years have come from Central America -- El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras. We also get a lot from Haiti. But in the last couple of years, it has shifted to other nations like Venezuela and many caravans -- look closely at the videos! -- are made up of mixed race groups, which have included people from as far away as THE CONGO. Meaning these folks literally have to FLY to Mexico in order to walk across OUR border! It is literally that insane. Biden and the crazy left have sent out an invitation to the WHOLE WORLD that we let anyone in, with the flimsiest claim of "asylum" so why bother following any laws?
Tom (Oregon)
"Immigration is a vitalizing force in the nation’s cultural and economic life, but the United States cannot admit all those who wish to come." Why not? And I'm not asking that as a rhetorical question,but as a very real one that this article's presumption wildly begs. Our country is nowhere near 'full,' as some claim; our population density is less than a tenth that of many other developed countries. Yes, we already have endemic poverty, but we also have the largest economy and GDP in the world; our inability to take care of our own is a result of our own policy choices, not any measure of inexorably overtaxed welfare systems. What evils do this supposedly "vitalizing force" carry that are too banal to be worth mentioning, but so ironclad as to warrant presumptive regulation? If we can't even define the problem we're so concerned with solving, then we stand no chance at intentionally reaching a solution save for a purely momentary one through blind luck. Define the root problem you're conceding the terms of the debate to, Board, or the problem will define and then rout you.
Erik (Virginia)
@Tom It's not how many people can fit on an acre of land, but about how many acres are required for food, water, air, minerals, recreation, . . . and how many acres are unfit for habitation (deserts, mountains, flood plains, fungus infected valleys, . . ). Logic and reason support the assessment that we are already overpopulated by a factor of at least two, and, given the depletion of resources to date. probably by a factor of 3
Bluhorizons (America)
@Tom Clearly unknown to you, many if not most of the millions who have entered either illegally or as refugees are unskilled and thus compete for the diminishing number of unskilled jobs with our own unskilled population, flattening their wages. These are doubtless the most impacted of all our residents by inflation and stagnant wages. Many of our own unskilled realize they are better off on the dole, getting food stamps and free medical care and working small jobs for cash. This has created a huge population of chronically unemployed, who can never join the work force or have dignity, a problem destined to grow as automation gobbles up more and more unskilled jobs. Many of those who claim refugee status are also unskilled and avail themselves of government assistance. Data shows that many of them must have various forms of assistance for their entire lives. There is only so much of that any country can take before the hard choices have to be made about either cutting services or raising taxes. Furthermore, it is fundamentally unwise to think of America as a sort of bottle that can be filled up. Your bizzare suggestion is that since it is not filled to the top, it can be filled more.
Lilo (Michigan)
@Tom If I wanted to live in cities with the population densities of Delhi, Shanghai, Mumbai, or Dhaka I would move to those countries. Legally that is. I don't want to live in places that overcrowded. Yet for some reason you insist that I should live in such a place and that I shouldn't have any say on the matter.
Michael (Brooklyn)
I agree with a lot of what this article says but how can anyone from any country in the Western Hemisphere claim asylum on a valid basis? Asylum I thought was legally reserved for those fleeing political, ethnic, or religious persecution. Seeking a more prosperous life somewhere else simply does not qualify.
Jas (CA)
People can seek asylum due to persecution based on race, political opinion, religion, national origin, or social group. People can be persecuted for any and all of those reasons pretty much anywhere.
Steve Hunter (seattle,wa)
I consider myself a progressive, liberal, Bernie Sanders style socialist but I think that we need to draw a line in the sand on immigration. Is there a person on this planet that does not wish for a better life? Just what is the criteria for or definition of an asylum seeker and who defines it. We are a nation of some 330 million people having doubled our population in the last fifty years of which 37.5 million people live in poverty all of whom want a better life. We are a nation that does not offer its citizens universal health care, free college or trade school training, day care or senior housing and care. We have a homeless population of 600,000 and growing. We are not in a position to open our borders to everyone who would like to come here or claims to be an asylum seeker. Harsh perhaps but necessary. We need to resolve some of our social problems first like universal health care before we dump more people on our overtaxed under performing system. How are we to house, feed, educate these people when we can't even take care of our own. Does the NYT editorial board think that by initiating their suggested changes that it will stop "bedraggled families sloshing across the Rio Grande to reach Texas". Our commitment as a nation "to shelter those in need has thus devolved into a Kafkaesque sham" without the added burden of these immigrants. Let us fulfill that obligation to our 37 million living in poverty before we extend that offer beyond our borders.
June (Charleston)
@Steve Hunter The U.S. spends $800 Billion a year on our military. Every year. That is money which could be used to provide health care, child care and education to our citizens. But, the military contractors employ thousands of U.S. citizens and are in every state and they donate to and control our representatives who then continue to vote to fund the military. This is a choice voters have made for decades, while voters in Europe choose to support social services for their citizens. The U.S. will never support social services for our citizens because we choose to support corporations and their capital.
BC (Arizona)
@Steve Hunter you call them immigrants not migrants. So I take it you are also against legal immigration who wait in line, pay fees and meet the criteria. Now most legal immigrants must wait years for processing. You say you are a progressive but sound like a Stephen Miller and Trump white replacement theorist.
Brody (NYC)
@Steve Hunter Well said, but now you make far too much sense for a progressive. Congratulations, you are now a moderate, common sense Democrat.
ExDoc (Chesapeake Watershed, MD)
Compromise and courage...2 qualities sorely lacking in the "hard edges" of both parties. The traditional, moderate faction of the Dems must sit down with the Progressives and convince that half a loaf is better than no loaf at all and the Progressives must learn that patience in legislation is not a flaw. The drive for compromise in the Repubs is harder given that any remaining moderates are in hiding from the trumpist majority. The Dems must encourage their cross aisle colleagues and not vilify them as they criticize the trumpist elements of the GOP. This is a well thought out position by the NYT Editorial Board, good but not as they admit perfect.
Joey (Upstate)
@ExDoc regrettably there is no approach that will get 10 Republican Senators to vote for it.
S.B. (S.F.)
For the simple reason that the population of the US has far exceeded its carrying capacity, I think immigration should be very tightly restricted to those who are needed for jobs that absolutely cannot be performed by anyone who is already here. We should basically be hiring ‘in-house’ for virtually everything. Unless Americans can learn to consume vastly fewer resources (which we won’t) or have mandatory restrictions put on our resource usage (which we would never accept), the carrying capacity of the US is maybe 200 million. We are already way over our ecological budget, as is the entire world, which should have stabilized its population at 1960’s levels (or lower). But Americans and humanity in general will do no such things, so we will be soon faced with unimaginable environmental catastrophes even more severe than what we are seeing now. If we do not limit our own population (which we won’t), nature will do it for us the ugly way.
michjas (Phoenix)
The cost of immigration administration is controversial. And oversight and administrative costs span many programs, including the Border Patrol, ICE, Customs, criminal prosecution costs, DEA costs, education outlays, and so forth. The bill discussed here is backed by centrists so it probably doesn’t cost much. But I couldn’t find the overall cost. And because of the amalgam of programs a bottom line number is elusive. Homeland Security spending is prominent. And the feds pay Texas, alone, $8 billion in subsidies. Also, I found that the Feds pay more for immigration oversight than criminal justice. And hospital emergency rooms provide unreimbursed care costs. After much searching I could find many piecemeal costs and an estimate of Homeland Security spending—a big piece of the pie—amounting to $333 billion since the inception of the DHS. When people talk immigration they often talk philosophy—what is fair, what is best for us and them, the importance of providing refuge and the importance of not being too welcoming. If you talk philosophies, you’ll highlight the differences. So I’d concentrate on brass tacks. How much does it cost to admit how many with the greatest need for refuge. And then I’d find the amount most are willing to spend and the number most want to admit. Immigration is a numbers game. And it’s all about finding the best number. There is no consensus about overall policy. But there’s probably some number that a majority are willing to admit.
Frank Scully (Portland)
"immigrants 'are among the strongest economic and fiscal contributors in the U.S. population.' Immigration, in other words, is an investment in America’s future, but someone still needs to cover the upfront costs. So, because a few people decided immigrants are more valuable than citizens, this article suggests putting more money into services for undocumented immigrants instead of allocating that same money into shoring up the education of economically disadvantaged citizens? Doesn't make a lick of sense to me.
james (USA)
@Frank Scully So you're saying that we should open our borders to anyone?
Aaron (Orange County, CA)
"California coordinates closely with federal authorities and nonprofits to meet migrants as they are released from custody, providing them with health care and temporary shelter, and helping them to connect with friends and family." Good God. Why can't our government FIRST offer those coordinated services to homeless populations of US citizens? And while we're at it: What about US citizens addicted to drugs? What about US citizens without health insurance? What about US citizens with mental disabilities? What about US citizens who face domestic spousal abuse? What about US citizens trapped in inadequate foster care or elderly care? And Finally... what US citizen doesn't require occasional help being connected with friends and family? I think we all need that. Take care of the US FIRST- then bring in as many immigrants as you want. I'll even make room in my small house and they can all stay with me.
Two Thunders Lake (northern MN)
@Aaron I read the digital version of the LA Times from my distant outpost here in northern Minnesota, and, I must say, the hatred, fear, and meanness expressed in response to editorials over several of the items you list, e.g., homelessness, drug addiction, immigration, mental illness, and abuse is breath-taking. Not to say you're wrong, but reading the bitter remarks of the paper's readers time-after-time in the comments section is supremely demoralizing. I rarely come away with a feeling that there's hope or that I have connected with people who are committed to positive change.
Aaron (Orange County, CA)
@Two Thunders Lake I will say, Immigration is the one issue where most liberals are saying enough is enough. And I find it very ironic that this very paper prints an hourly story about the impending doom and demise of our Democracy. All our rights and civil liberties and institutions to create a better society are soon to be eroded when we fall under autocratic rule. If that's the case, why then are we encouraging immigrants to come here? Wouldn't we want to warn them the US isn't the best place to be right about now? When did we become a nation of snake oil salesmen?
Rebecca (US)
The issue of illegal immigration is seriously destroying Democratic support. I imagine the vast majority of Americans are in favor of legal immigrants who are qualified to enter the US and against illegal immigration. It's been so puzzling that Democrats and 'liberal' media don't get this, and in fact, keep rubbing our noses in it thinking we will fall in line with open borders. If we need a certain amount of unskilled labor immigration, then fine, make it a legal process that we can control. Is it being allowed just because some powerful businesses want ultra-cheap labor? It can't be because Democrats think 'Hispanics' will vote for them as many are Republicans or don't/can't vote. Now we have the term "asylum seekers" as a new term for illegal aliens. As if we don't know what they're talking about. With the world's unsustainable, expanding overpopulation and climate crisis, the Democrats aren't going to get away with playing this game much longer. Republicans won't give us any solution but why won't the Democrats face it head on?
Michelle (California)
@Rebecca I am conservative as they come, and I will freely admit there is plenty of blame to share on both sides of the aisle on this disaster. Businesses who build their fortunes on the backs easily-exploited illegal labor must be punished, and harshly, to end this practice. And those on the Left will have to figure out how to deal with the fact that not even a tiny fraction of those who would voluntarily migrate to the US will be allowed in. I.e. they will somehow need to learn to be "a meanie". These are very big asks from both sides.
Andre (Eugene, Oregon)
@Rebecca I totally agree. The problem of illegal immigration and immigration in general has become the Achilles heel of most western democracies. You can clearly see in countries such as Germany, Italy, Sweden, and our own country the United States the far-right has grown very strong just by criticizing liberals’ immigration policies. This is very alarming because it threatens the existence of democratic systems. Yes, accepting immigrants is a very noble job to do, but it is not worth to lose our democracies over it. It doesn’t seem like the liberals in western democracies really understand the gravity of the situation and have no intention to face the reality and compromise.
Joey (Upstate)
@Michelle I don’t believe there is a single Republican leader who has any desire to make employers play by the rules. If there were, then I might take them seriously but there aren’t any. Based on their unwillingness to enforce the law against shady businessmen -something that is in their power to do and might help address this tricky problem- I have to conclude they are unserious demagogues who aren’t interested in making anything better.
John (Virginia)
CBP is fighting a war- and a just one too. What’s happening now on the border is essentially an invasion. It’s time to take the handcuffs off an agency that is trying to stem the tide of wave after wave of people entering illegally - most of whom are economic migrants who do not merit asylum. It’s further distressing that people on the terrorist watch list have been getting intercepted at higher rates as illegal migration has increased. We need to enforce the border- physically and with people. Then we can talk about improving a system to bring in those immigrants who can contribute meaningfully to America.
Chuck (Texas)
Yes by all means let’s encourage militarization of a police force and use the rhetoric of war to create policy. It was supper effective during the war on drugs.
Woof (NY)
NY Times Paul Krugman : Notes on Immigration "First, the benefits of immigration to the population already here are small. " "My second negative point is that immigration reduces the wages of domestic workers who compete with immigrants. That’s just supply and demand: we’re talking about large increases in the number of low-skill workers relative to other inputs into production, so it’s inevitable that this means a fall in wages" "Finally, the fiscal burden of low-wage immigrants is also pretty clear. Mr. Hanson uses some estimates from the National Research Council to get a specific number, around 0.25 percent of G.D.P. Again, I think that you’d be hard pressed to find any set of assumptions under which Mexican immigrants are a net fiscal plus, but equally hard pressed to make the burden more than a fraction of a percent of G.D.P." The NY Times , Mar 27, 2006 Why does this administration pursue a policy that reduces the wages of domestic workers who compete with immigrants? Reaching up the skill ladder all the way to Silicon Valley ? And costs the US taxpayer, taking the 0.25 percent of the GDP value, 57 Billion? This is not a small amount : The entire National Science Foundation Budget for 2021 was 6.91 Billion
Joey (Upstate)
@Woof seems like you really want to think about this problem. Have you considered that for four decades business has been quite content to bring the immigrants in and every administration (yes every administration and yes I mean Trump) allowed employers to play fast and loose with the rules? Perhaps give it some more thought.
@Woof Depressed salaries are a goal of business, which supports the GOP. Every time you hear a "conservative" object to the "Orwellian" demand of a national ID card, you know it's just a shill for keeping a steady supply of cheap labor, which in turn keeps all labor rates low.
Talbot (New York)
Relief for those already here? Like NYC must, by law, provide housing to anyone here? There is never a deadline for "now." It's endlessly expansive. And if, by some miracle, a deadline is enforced, there are multiple exemptions or the person simply disappears. Or if that's impossible, we give them lawyers. I feel like our country has any control over who comes in and stays. And that loss is both political and voluntary.
Paul (Palo Alto)
Both extremes, unlimited immigration and zero immigration are bad for everyone. An immigration law that is the result of bipartisan compromise, and is seriously enforced, is the best solution any country, including ours, can hope for, it is the ideal. To reach this ideal, we need legislators from both parties who are committed to achieving it. All of this is simply Democracy 101, but it does imply the voters might want to reject legislative candidates at the extremes. We have roughly two types of people at the door, asylum seekers and 'better job' seekers. We should create a speedy due process for the former, and create a documented foreign worker program for the latter. Those who just want to skip the due process should be speedily removed to the back of the line.
Christian S. Miller (Saratoga, California)
Let's set and enforce a limit on the number of immigrants, legal plus illegal, that enter the United States. Let's start with a limit of 100,000 per year. 1. Finish building the wall. 2. Require asylum seekers to apply in their home country U.S. Embassy and that embassy judges their case and makes a final determination. If asylum is granted, fly that person to the U.S. at government expense. 3. Deport those who have overstayed their visas. Never allow them to get another visa. 4. Enforce e-very 5. Do not issue student visas to citizens of China.
Margo (Atlanta)
@Christian S. Miller Well, except for your proposed number, that pretty much covers the existing laws. In other words, all we have to do is enforce our existing laws - right?
Christian S. Miller (Saratoga, California)
@Margo Yes Margo. Enforcing our existing laws would be a great start. A problem is that most in Congress, Democrats and Republicans, want increased immigration.
Jackson (Virginia)
@Christian S. Miller No, they don’t.
Ansapphire54 (MA)
There will be no immigration. Republicans have decided that the issue is more important to them as divisive political issue. Right wing media has been feeding their viewers that immigrants are threat and are invading the country. Republican in Congress daily push out the same message. The other reason is Republicans are not participating in governing.
Joey (Upstate)
@Ansapphire54 I concur. I have never seen a Republican leader make a serious effort to enforce labor laws against shady employers who break the rules.
Fight4FreedomGirl (USA)
@Joey ; are you aware that when the GOP tried to pass and enforce E-verify in California (which has 8 MILLION illegal aliens)... the liberals in the State made E-verify ILLEGAL? Any Californian employer who attempts to determine the immigration status of an employee can be sued, fined and even jailed for using E-verify.
Jonathan (Fort Worth, TX)
Sadly, most of these comments are based on one's political views. Compromise that meets our county's needs and not the party's needs are critical for our nation but sadly unreachable. - Trump. Steven Miller, advisor to the former president, was xenophobic, and he led Trump's efforts to appeal to the white supremacists who fear that America is being overtaken by non-whites. That view sadly persists. - Fecundity. American women are having fewer children, based primarily on their need to work and the cost of raising children. With today's unemployment rate at 3.5%, it is obvious that the US needs more qualified immigrants to fill those unfilled jobs. Who cuts your grass, cleans your house, or builds the new homes in your neighborhood? - Political parties. Because each major party uses immigration to denounce the other and gain political points, compromise is almost impossible. Those who try to cross the political divide are pariahs, but we need to support those willing to do what is best for our country and not just their party or their re-election. - Asylum. As other commentators have pointed out, many who cross the border and request asylum are not legitimate. But have any of these commentators been to Venezuela, Haiti, or other nations that have extreme poverty, gangs, and violent crime? Unfortunately not. We in the US are not perfect, but one can never fully understand the plight of the asylum seekers until they have experienced the other side.
Ann (WA)
@Jonathan I cut my own grass and clean my own house, and always have. And, I suspect that the great majority of Americans do the same.
SBVP (Charlottesville Virginia)
We need to start with an effective personal identification system with a secure and accurate personal identification card. We need to be able to distinguish between those with rights in the system and those gaming the system. Without this, we cannot be just.
Timothy (San Francisco)
Totally agree that all citizens of the USA should have verifiable national identification cards. Presently, the best we have are Social Security cards, which are less sophisticated than than my daughter’s high school ID. We should allow vetted non citizens to come to the USA and participate legally in our economy with fair wages and reasonable protections, but without an assumption of guaranteed citizenship. This does not mean we should close the door on legitimate asylum claims, or people who legally pursue citizenship, but both should happen in an orderly and well documented manner.
Michelle (California)
@SBVP Agreed. And this card needs to be presented when we apply for a job, or board an airplane, and when we go to a polling place to VOTE. Say "no" to California-style ballot harvesting. We can improve the immigration process and also shore up confidence in our elections at the same time!
2manyhorsez (DC area)
@SBVP Sounds like a good system to vet our pols!
Tim Clark (Los Angeles)
A grand compromise: Confirm DACA, take care of those already registered in the country. And complete the southern border fence while announcing that asylum claims will be viewed skeptically.
Michelle (California)
@Tim Clark Thumbs up -- I'm in. The border barrier is probably more important and useful as a marketing message as it is a physical barrier. Perceptions count: and would be migrants have heard from the Biden administration loud and clear: "come on in!" And they are coming.
Sam (Seattle)
@Tim Clark Tried that in 1986. Didn't work. We won't be fooled again.
Saints Fan (Houston, TX)
@Tim Clark Exactly what Trump proposed, Nancy said nada.
Jay T (Texas)
I can hear it now, “let them in and they’ll never leave.” I’m sure the same was said about my grandmother’s immigration from Ireland during the potato famine. I exit because she was desperate or had enough courage to, alone make the trans-Atlantic journey- knowing no one yet living a middle class life with family within a few years. Like then, the country has a labor shortage - reflected in today’s high inflation rate. One solution is to reinstitute a guest worker program. We wrongfully think everyone wants to live here permanently. Many voluntarily returned home in the past after making enough to feed their families. Given the growing far-right anti-immigrant attitude, do you think they want to stay here any longer than necessary? I’ve even met American citizens giving up - recognizing that our society is broken and are searching for a new country to start over. We all came from somewhere else. Have some compassion and remember what we do for the least of our brothers we are doing to our father. One more thing. I spent 30 years working for Texas’ welfare department and time and again I recall talking to someone and realizing that, there but for the grace of God, go I. Think about it people. We’re all a lot closer to poverty than we’d like to think. The majority of Texans are now living paycheck to paycheck.
2022 Now (US)
@Jay T I’m with you, my grandfather came in the 1930s just before WWII. We are thankful for America. But the Irish potato famine was in 1845-1852. One hundred years before WWII. Are you sure your ancestors fled the potato famine.
S.B. (S.F.)
@Jay T It is impossible for your grandmother to have come here during the potato famine. That was in the 1840’s. Also, the US population was about 5% of what it is now, and there were only 26 actual states. I do not think you understand the nature of the ‘labor shortage’, or the nature of the current inflationary situation, or the downward pressure on wages that mass immigration creates.
Brock Landers (Van Nuys, CA)
@Jay T Unless you're about 140 years old, your grandmother did not come to the US during the Potato Famine, which occurred in the 1840s, nearly 200 years ago!
AndyW (Chicago)
It’s a good piece of legislation, but only a fraction of what is needed in a truly comprehensive and humane package. Someone needs to put out ten bullet points that sixty or seventy percent of the public can get behind. This is not impossible if a few of our better politicians would just decide to put self-interest aside and craft an innovative package. We need a proposal that puts some of the shine back on the Statue of Liberty, as well as provides support for severely overworked and underfunded immigration officials and related support systems. It’s all doable and only needs doing.
Ann (WA)
@AndyW In my opinion, a humane package would be to take care of the massive problems of our own citizens. I couldn’t care less about those of other countries’s citizens.
Fight4FreedomGirl (USA)
@AndyW : I am willing to disassemble the Statue of Liberty and plow the base (where the poem is) into the ground, and send the whole mess back to France... if it will end illegal immigration once and for all.
Philboyd (Washington, DC)
This proposal does not go nearly far enough. Step one has to be an elimination of the present definition of who is eligible for asylum. Including things like spousal abuse and fear of gangs has made a mockery of the good intentions behind offering asylum to A FEW TRULY WORTHY REFUGEES. We have our share of abused spouses in the US, and, alas a growing gang problem. If Americans abused by a spouse or menaced because our laws are ineffective in curbing gang vivolence decide they want to seek asylum in Switzerland or Australia or Singapore, they'd be laughed at. Step two needs to be enforcement of the international law that states people fleeing a country in search of asylum must stop in the first country they enter. You aren't really running for safety if you travel from Venezuela to the United States through six Central American Countries and Mexico. Step Three - Don't call it a "Wall," that is too politically loaded. But we need rigorous, aggressive enforcement of our borders using physical structures, drones, high tech sensors and whatever else, and IMMEDIATE expulsion of anyone caught crossing -- playing the "asylum" card should be ignored for the good of our national sovereignty.
William (New Jersey)
@Philboyd I agree with all three of your points. How about "Step Four - " enforcing our laws as they relate to immigrants as they do to citizens - violate the law, and pay the consequences. You cannot enter illegally and then play by the rules only when caught.
Fight4FreedomGirl (USA)
@Philboyd : the part that is REALLY ridiculous... MANY women coming to the border, claim spousal abuse or mean ex-husbands and the like. But if THEY could get to the border... what would stop the mean boyfriend or ex-husband from following them? Why isn't it enough to move to another village or city within their own nation -- or in the next-door nations, where Spanish is spoken and the women could more easily assimilate? Most of the Venezualans coming NOW openly brag about crossing SEVEN safe nations to get to the US. So it is clear none of this is really about "escaping domestic abuse". It is a LIE like false asylum claims always are. The individual just wants a "free pass" into the US and knows how to jerk our chains.
William (Minnesota)
Comprehensive immigration reform has been needed for many years, but Republicans politicians have found it in their interests to fight against reform, and with a presidential campaign getting closer, their candidate can then pummel Biden for the immigration mess he supposedly created, blame-shifting being one of their specialties.
ann (Seattle)
@William Comprehensive immigration reform bills would have rewarded illegal immigrants with permanent legal status and a path to citizenship. A 1986 bill did this on the promise of stopping any further illegal immigration. But, it is impossible to end illegal immigration by rewarding it. There were an estimated 3 million illegal immigrants here in 1986. Within a few years of the bill's acceptance, an estimated 12 million more illegal immigrants had moved here. Professors at Yale and MIT estimate that the number of illegal immigrants in 2016 had risen to 22.1 million. Now the number is considerably higher. If we offer another amnesty, yet more will be encouraged to come.
Working Mama (New York City)
@William much of the right also secretly loves illegal immigration, because it suppresses wages and undercuts unions.
Wondering (NJ)
@William Dems don’t want any limits. Hard to compromise with that
Azalea Lover (Northwest Georgia)
The USA has twice fought on American soil for what its people believed in. Thousands of Americans died for those beliefs, in The Revolutionary War and The Civil War. The Founding Fathers, especially Thomas Jefferson, set up a form of government that is the envy of much of the world. Why don't other countries, countries that are the homelands of the "bedraggled families sloshing across the Rio Grande" and the homelands of the millions of people who walked from Africa to Europe and the people from South Asia who migrate to North America and Europe rise up and let their governments know what they expect? It can't be only Northern Europeans and Americans who want decent lives, jobs, education for the Why don't the people of other countries march on their governments and insist on the changes necessary to make their countries more prosperous and less corrupt? What if some of the people of Central America who have migrated to the USA and been educated and have become successful returning to their home countries and teaching their fellow citizens how to petition governments? How about a Central American Marshall Plan that uses DACA men and women to help their relatives in their home countries? The USA cannot save the world - the world must save itself and it will take the citizens of non-prosperous corrupt countries to save both the people and the countries.
@Azalea Lover I think you don't understand US form of the government. The creation of three branches and separation of power was deliberate attempt to make sure no one branch becomes all almighty. AT the same time, this means the policy process will be extremely slow. So first let' s go back to American Government 101. FYI, it was Madison's great idea not just Jefferson. Let's read about how constitution came about. Lot of yoututbe videos on that. Most non-Native people who travelled to US came from Europe for better life as many of current immigrants are. They were trying to get better economic opportunities or trying to save their life from authoritarian governments. Migrants are fleeing for lives, many of them. It is easy to sit in our safe homes and tell them to go back (to their brown countries, isn't that the real issue?) Most of these migrants work hard and do send money back home. In fact, if you ask many recent immigrants would prefer to stay at their home, but when your home is burning and you might die, you have a little choice. Many highly educated immigrants are going back. It's called reverse brain drain. China and India have incentivized their innovators go back home after they educate and work in US. So that's cost to US actually. Civil War fought because the South Wanted to preserve slavery. And people (many of the southern soldiers were poor and had no choice) died for rich slaveowners (not really patriotic). American History 101.
Joe (New Orleans)
@Azalea Lover This country was founded by people fleeing persecution and seeking better opportunities. We can expect people from other countries to follow our ancestors in doing the same.
Fight4FreedomGirl (USA)
@RS : it is already well established that virtually NONE of the current crop of illegals -- the fake asylum claimants flooding the border since Biden -- are genuinely in any danger. They are NOT fleeing for their lives AT ALL. That's the point. It isn't a brown or black issue. These are perfectly safe, if poor countries. They are not at war. They are not persecuting anyone on the basis of religion. The problem is NOT perfectly legal Chinese or Indian visa holders, who go to college and work a few years here and then return home. They are free to do this. They are knowledge workers. They did NOT come illegally nor make false asylum claims. WHY ARE YOU CONFLATING THESE TWO GROUPS? they have nothing in common. On top of that, why bring in the Civil War? it has nothing to do with illegal immigration.
Gery Katona (San Diego)
The reason absolutely nothing has been done in the past is that everyone has skin in the game making it almost impossible to compromise.
Riverwalk (US)
The one reference to the Border Patrol says “a long and well-documented history of mistreating migrants….“ The one time that VP Harris came to the Texas border was June 2021, when she jumped to conclusions along with media and made inflammatory remarks about Border Patrol on horseback. She compared Border Patrol to slave patrols in the old south. Although the situation has been debunked, neither VP Harris nor many media have acknowledged that, and have not apologized. The ACLU would do well to scrutinize all immigration policies and practices. The proposed hiring and use of so-called “judges” who have no professional credentials or experience is a theatrical pretense of fulfilling law, like a stage prop pretending to be real. A bureaucracy that will grow on an unwieldy base without a strong supporting foundation, with little accountability. The numbers of migrants are higher than counted here. The suffering of migrants, the hardships and dilemmas faced by Texas border towns and other border areas are real and ongoing.
Fight4FreedomGirl (USA)
@Riverwalk : to this day... despite ample proof and exoneration of those Border Patrols on horseback... Biden never apologized, never went to the border... neither did Kamala Harris! whose JOB it was! and most of those agents were demoted or fined for something they never did. Let's call them what they are: ILLEGAL ALIENS. And we have at least 33 million plus the Biden fake asylum gang.
Blue Danube (Florida)
Illegal immigration in this country would be fixed in 2 weeks by enforcing e-verify rules and heavily fining companies that breach them. Issue work permit cards with retina scan embeded and you will never be fooled again. If there is a will, there is ALWAYS a way. You wanna take it further? Require legal work permit to lease homes and enroll children in school. Do not tell me it can not be done. It’s a political wedge issue that neither side is interested in permanently resolving. Republicans because they have their cheap labor and “criminal and rapists” stick to beat democrats with , and democrats have their future voters and goverment dollars. Gimme a break.
John (Damon)
@Blue Danube enforcing everify will do squat. First, it's not constitutional to subject citizens to it. Second, most immigrants work labor jobs paid in cash.
Azalea Lover (Northwest Georgia)
@Blue Danube Good ideas - have fines that are substantial when an illegal worker is found in a business - maybe $1000 per illegal worker for the first offense, $5000 per illegal worker for the second offense, and jail for the business owner/operator plus the $5000 per illegal worker for any subsequent offenses. Federal government would have to rely on local governments, authorizing all law enforcement in the city/county/state to check work status of all employees, arresting and calling Federal employees to take the illegal workers into custody.
David L. (Pacific Heights)
@Blue Danube E-verify is no longer required, and in fact discouraged in sanctuary cities like San Francisco. Yes, using it is seen overly cooperative with ICE. Our sheriff has been directed by SF's mayor and Board to not cooperate with federal authorities on immigration requirements, and E-verify is one of the cows which has been led to slaughter.
Oregondoggie (Baltimore, MD)
Endless refugees from dysfunctional countries. It won't be pretty ten or a hundred years from now. The American dream is pretty thin icing spread amongst a huge population. Ironicallly, the natural resources south of the border far exceed ours. And the corruption?
Azalea Lover (Northwest Georgia)
Years / decades from now, the USA will be a Third World Country if the endless refugees are granted asylum, with all the benefits that flow to that status. Try finding information on the cost of asylum - I spend an hour and found only one article on the cost. It was in a Minnesota newspaper, and the cost was $100,000 per person for the first five years. With large families, the cost can easily be $1 million dollars! P. S. An interesting story was in the Minnesota newspaper about "Minnesota Men" and a number of refugee women who set up day care centers to care for the children of the refugees. The owners/operators were enrolling children at several day care centers, getting paid with tax dollars several times for each child. The extra money was being taken by the Minnesota Men to the Middle East, in suitcases full of cash. Millions went to Al Qaeda before the Feds figured out all those Minnesota Men going to Somalia and other countries were part of a sophisticated ring of refugees. Some went to jail......but doubtful any of them were returned to their home countries. But how many articles did we see in the NY Times or the Wa Post or the Atlanta Journal et al about this fraud?
Rob (Florida)
No one talks about the Dignity Act introduced by Congresswoman Salazar. Would be interested in your comments.
John (San Francisco)
Yes, immigration is a vitalizing force, like water from a drinking fountain. Not like water from a fire hose.
Keith (Tucked up against The Cascades)
The initial 7 words sets the tone for this piece. Those words are then adjusted in the 2nd sentence but as any English teacher'll probably tell you, "It's the topic sentence they remember." The Democrats use the topic sentence as their organizational philosophy and minimize the 2nd. The Republicans: just the opposite. And, uh...well...here we are....
Jordan (Melbourne FL)
I will vote against any politician of any stripe who includes amnesty in any comprehensive deal. It's crazy to give amnesty to the people already here and then say you weren't aware it would cause a 20 times increase in people trying to sneak across the border.
@Jordan and where did you or your family come from?
J (Alaska)
@LK Originally the same place yours did—Africa. But the year is 2022 and we're well into the era of sovereignty, property, nation states, etc. The way things go now is that countries get to decide who enters. But what's happening in the United States is utterly ludicrous. We currently naturalize what, roughly a million people a year? Maybe it needs to be more—I don't know, I'm not an economist—but I'm with Jordan. People should only enter legally, go through the system, and amnesty cases should only be a small fraction of who we admit.
@Jordan The immigration problem started at Plymouth rock and continued from there. North America was pristine prior to their arrival. There are no politicians in the United States that have the ancestry to remove amnesty from the discussion. They are all immigrants.
Sam (Minneapolis)
I’m for on any measures that provide for standards to be applied to immigration. But this type of presentation - “The daily scenes of bedraggled families sloshing across the Rio Grande to reach Texas encapsulate the misery…” - is irrelevant to policy. Anecdotes, images, poems, statues, paintings, stories, etc are all flatly non-compelling and fully irrelevant to the conversation, as is race. How things were 200, 130, 70, 30, or 10 years ago is also irrelevant. As we face an existential environmental threat, the inability for us to house and feed our citizens (NYT story this week cites 104,000 homeless students in NYC alone), and our collective inability to obtain adequate education or health care, importing masses of migrants is transparently bad policy. The moral and ethical choice must often be no and we need to have the spine to say it when we should.
Q Frost (Boulder CO)
@Sam I agree with your opinion on anecdotes, etc.. However, here's where I think you are wrong. Yes, we have other issues that are tangent to the immigration issue. However, welcoming immigrants is not only the right thing to do, we NEED them in our workforce. Countries that try to keep out immigrants and asylum seekers become stagnant, and their economy shrinks and the population just gets smaller and older.
Sam (Minneapolis)
@Q Frost Controlling migration does not impact innovation and in fact likely improves it by prioritizing skill sets. It’s interesting that we insist welcoming immigrants is the “right” thing to do, and that we NEED them in our workforce. Is it the right thing to do when much of our core civic infrastructure and social security net does not work for most citizens? It’s not a zero sum game but resources are severely limited. Do we need them to work jobs at wages that won’t allow them to survive without the federal, state, and municipal services and benefits for which they cannot pay into at a break even rate? Do we need them in industries that can’t attract citizen labor because of poor wages and working conditions (is that an ethical reason to bring them in)? We cannot continue to pull the lever of population growth in order to drive economic numbers - it’s a short-term strategy that is toxic to our future. I don’t think I agree that it is the right thing to do - it feels wrong. While acknowledging migrant labor has its place in our policy, I also don’t agree that we need them in the workforce when so many of us can’t make enough to survive already.
Bill (FL)
@Sam Biden created the current immigration crisis by essentially offering an open invitation to billions of poor people around the world to come to America, so it is hardly surprising that he now finds it necessary to limit entry. All nations have requirements for, and limits on, who may become citizens and who may enter the country. Most Americans welcome LEGAL immigrants, but do not want ILLEGAL immigrants. They recognize that the US cannot afford (or choose not) to support our own citizens: the poor, the ill, elderly, disabled, veterans, et al., and that they and other US taxpayers cannot possibly support the tens of millions of illegal immigrants already in the US, much less the hundreds of millions of foreigners who would like to come here. US laws allow foreigners to seek entry and citizenship. Any child or adult who does not follow these laws is in this country illegally and should be deported; this is policy in other countries, too. It is not cruel to limit legal immigration, or to detain and deport illegal immigrants, or to force those who wish to enter the US to undergo processing and review. What is cruel, unethical and illegal is encouraging people to take children on the dangerous trek to the US, and explaining how to game the system by falsely claiming asylum. No nation has open borders, and the US should not establish or allow them.
Calworkman (Smartypants)
I mostly agree with this editorial, but I do bristle at the depiction of people made miserable by our unfair system. It's only unfair because they didn't take "no" for an answer.
Deniz Avsar (New York)
@Calworkman Exactly my thoughts. Especially, when they can come to the U.S. and be released into the country and getting work permits regardless of having a legitimate claim to asylum or not. Plus, banking on a backlog stretching for over 4 years, they all will have established lives by then which in turn will encourage them to stay in the country even in the case of a denial for immigration benefits. You can only do this in the U.S.
Lavender (Olympia)
This analysis assumes the government is always right in their denials of immigrants, which strikes me as overly credulous. The constitution and inferior us and intl law guarantees asylum seekers rights. Border Patrol routinely violates the rights of immigrants.
Ben (Canton,NC)
This Charlie Brown is finally getting wise to Lucy and her little football trick. Why, oh why, should anyone believe anything you put down on paper involving immigration is going to be real on the ground. Tell us what happens if enforcement, will and interest wither, as they surely will. One example is Temporary Protection Status: who believes in the "Temporary" part? Who believes the federal government enforces immigration laws throughout the country? Nope, not me, let others land on their backs!
Andreabeth (Chicago)
@Ben I agree there often appears to be very little that is temporary about Temporary Protected Status. There are currently Nicaraguans and Hondurans who were granted TPS after Hurricane Mitch struck Central America in 1998. They are still here 24 years later. Presumably every time TPS comes up for renewal they are allowed to remain. All will agree that a Hurricane can cause tremendous damage but surely 24 years is enough time for a country to recover from the initial effects. It is unclear if any group that received TPS has returned to their home country once conditions have stabilized following the disaster that led to the granting of TPS in the first place.
Ben (Canton,NC)
@Andreabeth Could not say it better! My policy: say what you mean and mean what you say!
David MD (NYC)
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (a Republican) the 2nd most powerful person in the House, lost to a political unknown who had about $100,000 in funding compared with Cantor's many millions in 2014. He lost because he was working on an immigration compromise and not listening to his constituents. Only elites want immigration bills and a few others, most of us want immigrants to follow our laws. I am very much for immigration, but almost everyone in the past 200 years that came to this country came here and respected the country, following our laws. The curent situation is very, very easily fixable simply by enforcing eVerify laws that are were passed (but not enforced) during the Reagan administration. We already tried amnesty back then and it didn't work. The eVerify laws prevent the hiring of people living here illegally. There is a database that is checked and there are big fines for violations. There are 8 states in the US that have complete enforcement and 13 others that have some form of partial enforcement including Texas and Florida. So, you see, even TX Gov Abbott, and FL Gov DeSantis do not take the immigration issues and the rule of law seriously, otherwise their states would joint the 8 that have full enforcement of the law. The immigration system is not broken at all. What is broken is lack of enforcement throughout the country of a 40 year old eVerify Law. Simply pathetic.
Fight4FreedomGirl (USA)
@David MD : thank you for mentioning Cantor. Unfortunately neither the left, the Dems or GOP learned from that. I speak as an anomaly in this forum -- a working class woman, who has lived most of her life in the Rustbelt Midwest and seen a once-proud region of the US with factories and manufacturing and the auto and steel industries... decline into poverty and irrelevance. The folks here, with their "degrees" and six figure jobs, all living in the Blue Coastal liberal "bubble"... don't have any idea how ENRAGED average Americans are over illegal immigration. When Republicans "don't go along to get along" on this stuff, it is because WE THE VOTERS deluge them with letters and postcards and emails telling them we don't want compromise, we don't want Dreamers, we don't want DACA, we don't want a "path to citizenship". This is why Trump was elected, and I promise you folks... the next populist we elect, will make you weep in your latte remember how nice Trump was and how much you miss him.
ebmem (Memphis, TN)
@David MD The eVerify system was never well maintained or designed by the federal government, similar to the disastrous rollout of the Obamacare markets. During the Obama administration, the system erroneously identified several potential workers as ineligible, and the prospective employer did not hire them. Did the victims sue the federal government for depriving them of the right to work? No, they sued the employer for racial profiling and the Holder/Obama Justice Department joined the suits on the side of the very people they, themselves, had victimized with their intentional incompetence. When the federal government attacks employers attempting to comply with the law that prohibits hiring aliens not entitled to work in the country and in so doing makes impossible for the employers to avoid frivolous but still expensive lawsuits, the employers are forced to make accommodations. As long as employees provide documents that are copied and attached to the I-9 documents illegal aliens sign and attest that they are legally entitled to work in the US, the employer has complied with the law. It doesn't matter that the documents are completely implausible. Texas and Florida were prohibited from requiring eVerify against illegal aliens who did not speak English, since that constituted racial profiling.
clarity007 (tucson, AZ)
A soothing calm will envelope the land when a comprehensive immigration policy becomes a reality. Lax border controls have been a two decade contention for most Americans along with a too complex set of rules for immigrating and citizenship. One pet idea is for all foreign students attaining university degrees from U.S. institutions should be granted accelerated citizenship status.
Helios (Ohio)
@clarity007 Granting green cards to every US educated foreign student will open the floodgates to hundreds of millions of young people from India, China and beyond. This will be utterly unfair to American kids. While we should strive to welcome top talent from all over the world, doing so indiscriminately will be a disaster.
Margo (Atlanta)
@Helios It already has opened the floodgates with foreign students. That need to be cut back to more reasonable numbers. The university admissions office should not act as a de facto immigration office.
Sam (Seattle)
@clarity007 How about we figure out how to get our own American citizens into college before we take on the world's children?
The vast majority of migrants who cross our border do not qualify for asylum. But they claim asylum anyway, knowing that's how they can gain entry into the US. Then if their asylum claim is rejected, they just disappear into US. Step up border enforcement, make migrants apply for asylum in their country of origin, and watch the number of illegal crossings plummet. This really isn't complicated.
Brock Landers (Van Nuys, CA)
@EJS We could also hand out lifetime bans from the United States (no future applications, no green card, no tourist visa, nothing) to people found to economic migrants found to have misused our asylum process.
ebmem (Memphis, TN)
@EJS When Trump legally established the Remain in Mexico program, the flow of illegal aliens slowed. Fewer aliens were willing to risk their lives, and the lives of their children, to travel thousands of miles when the prospect was that they would spend three or four years in a refugee camp until their asylum claim was adjudicated. Since an asylum claim requires that one's home government would persecute if the migrant were returned, fewer than 5% of the claims are likely to be granted. Rather than selling the family farm to investors in Guatemala or Honduras, the economic migrants chose to remain at home. A better choice than paying the drug and human traffickers to spend three years in a refugee camp, followed by a return home. Under catch-and-release, 95% of the illegal entrants vanish into the underground economy. The death rate of aliens crossing the border is up tenfold under the "humane" policy of Biden.
Scott Kurant (Secaucus)
Considering what our country has become become over the last six years it’s hard to believe anyone would want to come here to improve their lives. We are no longer the shining star we once were considering the end of our democracy may be upon us.
Fight4FreedomGirl (USA)
@Scott Kurant : so we were a shining star in 2015, but we aren't any more because you didn't like the 45th President. Got it. Also: the definition of "democracy" is not "Democrats are entitled to win every single election".
Jeremy Bounce Rumblethud (California)
The flood across our southern border can only be stemmed by turning back everyone attempting to cross illegally. Any asylum system will be abused as long as people think they have a chance of getting in and staying in. Only zero tolerance will send a message to the world that illegal immigration will not be tolerated.
Jay T (Texas)
Having spent $4.5billion dollars on border patrol, local Texans near the border will tell you the only thing they see is increased traffic stops for minor violations. The intelligence and DOD already possess the technology to stop smuggling people and drugs if we want but, like abortion, illegal immigration is a far more valuable political wedge issue so we keep the issue alive. The courts have upped the anti in abortion. Let’s see if they pursue immigration.
Q Frost (Boulder CO)
@Jeremy Bounce Rumblethud Asylum seekers are protected by international law, so that's not an option. Nor should it ever be. The solution is to fund enough judges to get through the backlog and then you won't have people hanging out, waiting. Oh, and asylum seekers are NOT illegal.
Betti (New York)
@Q Frost They are illegal if they lie about their status to gain entry by gaming the system.
Floyd (New Mexico)
Another bane of the Democratic Party - Immigration. Heck no we can’t take in just anyone. Look at what it has done as far as polarized politics, not to mention the humanitarian implications. A lot of this could be solved by a zero tolerance as far as the hiring illegal immigrants in the workforce. Propose additional manpower in the field, on job site inspection for undocumented workers. That’s where the resources should be directed. Violators will be prosecuted. If the work isn’t available then the illegals won’t come, in large part. I agree with some conservatives, that the terrible situation some people find themselves in, in their own country, is not solely the problem of the US to solve. At some point we need to protect our own interests first. To me the real challenge is not solving the problem with legislation, as much as it is the Republicans are not going to let the Democrats steal the immigration agenda. Additionally, they would like a reason to maintain the violent rhetoric, because that appeals to the white-nationalist base of the party that always has to have someone or something to hate and threaten against. I am not for harsh detention or relocation of children without parents because they are “lawbreakers”, when in fact they are largely seeking asylum. But the Democrats could take some thunder out of the radical right by adopting a hard stance on immigration themselves.
ebmem (Memphis, TN)
@Floyd The American non-policy of immigration is responsible for the hollowing out of the middle class in the third world, as well as the countries that until recently were not third world, like Venezuela. Although the Democrat narrative would have you believe that they are opening their arms to the poor huddled masses, the poor huddled masses cannot come up with the $10k per person coyotes charge. The leading edge is the middle class working age men. When they abandon the women and children with the promise of funds from America, the vacuum left behind is an invitation to drug smugglers and gangs. A rational US policy would make it desirable for the middle class to rise up, prosper and institute non-corrupt governments. Allowing the rich and middle class to leave their countries behind allows corrupt government to flourish. Look at what happened to the Ilhan Omar family. They were the ruling elite in Somalia until the corrupt government collapsed. The wealthy fled to refugee camps in Kenya where they awaited refugee status in America and the UK, which they got after four years. the poor huddled masses the Omar family ruled over are still in Somalia, they couldn't afford to escape.
Jake (New York NY)
"America’s commitment to offer asylum to people fleeing violence and persecution in their homelands is an essential expression of the nation’s ideals." By that definition of asylum, we would be obligated to admit half the world. In my mind, asylum should apply to people who are being persecuted or subjected to violence by their governments for their political beliefs.
Kevin (Colorado)
@Jake Many would agree with you, but I am sure that some supporters for totally open borders would take the definition of a political belief and twist it like a pretzel and make it meaningless. If those beliefs don't align with our norms, I hope we don't accept someone else's problems.
ebmem (Memphis, TN)
@Jake Under their definition, Trump would qualify for asylum outside of the US during the last seven years. Most people are confused between the meaning of asylum and refugee status. Asylum applies only to people who are at risk on being persecuted by their governments. If a country is subject to a national disaster, violence, or other disruptions, its residents may become refugees. Under international and American law refugees are allowed to proceed to the nearest safe country where they are entitled to request refugee status at their destination of desire and wait in a UN sponsored refugee camp until their request for refugee status is adjudicated by the country to which they seek to relocate. If the national disaster or other disruption in their home country is resolved, it is believed they will return to their homes.
John (California)
The problems is that in our fractured society, no politician can publicly assert that an idea supported by the "other side" is anything other than the first step on the road to perdition. Republicans cannot be monsters and Democrats cannot be communist cannibals if there are also working together for the common good.
Andrew (Philadelphia)
Since the Republican party is known for their collective empathy and strong track record of helping those in need, after the midterms (especially if the GOP regains control of Congress) the proposal will be a main focus of McConnell and McCarthy, and all other items on their agenda will take a back seat. Of course I also have a lovely bridge I can sell you.
Gabe (Cary, NC)
This stand alone bill is unacceptable outside the context of comprehensive immigration reform. Asylum reform must be connected to the DREAM Act and legislative codification of the DAPA policy. Republican obstructionism on comprehensive immigration reform cannot be rewarded with passing only the aspects they want. What is at stake is millions of American's ability to retire with Medicare and Social Security dignity.
Carol B. Russell (Shelter Island, NY)
It would be very helpful if those that say they are bipartisan for immigration laws would hold open public debates on this subject on Tv and internet. Tv Prime Time for a broad listening audience. It may help both the GOP and the DEMS to realize that they are elected to represent the US citizens not only their political aims/or dreams.
Victor (Scottsdale, AZ)
The de facto open borders that we're having right now are a choice, not a necessity. The Democrats signaled that (nearly) everyone would be allowed to stay in, as long as the utter the magic word "asylum". It's very well established that a vast majority of these asylum claims are bogus (somewhere around 85-90%). And we have seen that. As an example, people of Haitian descent who were living safely in South American countries decided to show up at the border, throw away their Chilean ID's and claim "asylum". Nobody was persecuting them in Chile. But they thought America was better. That's called economic migration, not asylum. Furthermore, letting these "asylum seekers" in is extremely unfair for the would-be immigrants still following the rules, waiting for years for their turn to come. It's time to stop this madness.
Thad (Austin)
@Victor The right to seek asylum is international law. Part of an international framework that the US created at the end of World War II. Disrespecting international norms on a whim isn't bold leadership, it makes us look backward, uncivilized, and dishonest. Something we could do is hire more judges to help work through the backlog of asylum cases so we can process them more quickly. But that will never happen because Americans hate paying for the things they want.
Taylor (USA)
@Victor There are a number of reasons why Dems will get hammered in 2 weeks but this issue is one of the issues that poll better for Republicans. Biden/Harris have been in hiding regarding the issue and it will come back to haunt them. There are solutions to immigration but ideologues on both sides of the aisle are unwilling to compromise. The only way that the situation might change if the party that suffers the most negative political consequences decides to step up out of necessity. Dems may be getting near that moment.
David L. (Pacific Heights)
@Thad " it makes us look backward, uncivilized, and dishonest. " Well, we might be there. We have to do something, and I'm not that concerned how it looks to the rest of the world.
Stephen (United States)
Thank you for this well-written editorial. I expect that most Americans would agree with what you've written here. Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress have consistently blocked any attempt at comprehensive reform. At the same time, Democrats have too often failed to push back at those in their party that protest any additional enforcement of immigration laws, which turns off many voters. It's a tough position. Republicans in Congress are most to blame but Democrats are largely losing the battle of public opinion.
S.B. (S.F.)
@Stephen Democrats pander to the extreme left and republicans pander to the extreme right; and the republicans win because they’re better at the dirty game of politics.
Corina (Gil)
And then democrats wonder why they are getting slaughtered on the upcoming midterm elections? Anybody can come in, basically we now have open borders but the people who is already living here for decades can't have access to a green card? Shame on the democrats for this.
Steve Hunter (seattle,wa)
@Corina Getting a green card is a "Democrats" fault or problem? I don't think so. President G.W. Bush put forth an extensive immigration reform package including the issuance of temporary work permits, his own party shot him down. Please get your facts straight.
lisa (michigan)
DeSantis is suppose to have a state fund for those that can't get insurance but instead of raising taxes to fund this insurance he wastes money on MV stunts with the immigrants. Why raise taxes when he can get a bailout from the blue states. Repubs only care about stunts not real solutions. It is time to tell Florida they are on there own no more bailout from the fed. People are rebuilding in Florida with immigrants and their insurance rates will go high but so will everyone else's when the Insurance companies are nation wide.
George (Flyover)
Yep, keep it simple and sensible and focus on overhauling only the asylum process. Trying to load it up with comprehensive immigration reform will ensure it fails.
Non Believer (Chicago)
Given that the bill was sponsored by 2 Republican senators and 2 Democratic senators, I'm eager to see how many co-sponsors from each party sign on. That will be the true test of how possible this potential compromise really is.
M Ford (USA)
Trump repeatedly asked for money and help with the immigration problem, and the Democrats were against it. The Democrats like the current system. We recently learned that voter suppression of Hispanic immigrants in LA reduces Hispanic representation in the local government. They were furious about the discrimination, lashing out at the beneficiaries that cause their oppression. What we should really do is get these immigrating veterinarians, astrophysicists and eight grade French teachers employed in their field of study more quickly. Then, they can pay for the costs of capturing them at the border and processing their asylum claims. This would allow them to create jobs for Americans more quickly than we see with the current system. We should also encourage cities like New York to back their mortgages when they come here, instead of paying $300,000 for a cot for them. That is what they really need. This would help them to get established quicker, so they can pay taxes and start local charities to benefit poor Americans.
Andreabeth (Chicago)
@M Ford “ What we should really do is get these immigrating veterinarians, astrophysicists and eight grade French teachers employed in their field of study more quickly.” These individuals must be fluent in English to be employed in these fields. An adult can become fluent in another language but, unless he or she has a natural proclivity for languages, it will be neither quick or easy. Until then their employment opportunities will be limited and they will have to be subsidized by the taxpayer.
Jeremy Bounce Rumblethud (California)
@Andreabeth It is not only professionals that must speak English. Here in California, nearly all manual work is performed by illegal immigrants, most of whom speak little or none. When I had a recent roofing job, out of a dozen workers, only one spoke a bit of broken English. Same with some simple landscaping work. A contractor sends a crew and the client cannot give them any instructions or feedback, so it is no surprise when bad mistakes happen.
Margo (Atlanta)
@M Ford So appear at the border, claim asylum and declare yourself a veterinarian? Would you find that adequate? No vetting. Not acceptable to the rest of us.
Cheryl Keenan (Lexington Kentucky)
What a concept! Having a bipartisan bill which would include shared goals, ideas, compromise and cooperation? That is precisely how a representative government should work.
M Harvey (FL)
Too much of a sensible plan to pass.
Socrates (Downtown Verona, NJ)
Most Americans - left and right - support comprehensive immigration reform. Democrats have tried for decades to negotiate in good faith with Senate Republicans to fix the broken system, but the Republican party never wanted compromise, preferring instead chaos, dysfunction and a border crisis to sell fear, loathing, panic and hysteria to their easily addled, duped and bamboozled voter bases. You might as well ask Republicans for their healthcare plan or their plan for tackling inflation; it's identical to their immigration plan: nothing, the null set zero. The Party of No says 'No' to compromise. Nice GOPeople.
Calworkman (Smartypants)
@Socrates Every version of "comprehensive immigration reform" I have seen proposed by Democrats includes amnesty for 15 (now 20+) million illegals. That's a deal-killer. If we give amnesty to that many, nothing else we do matters, because nothing will stop the next wave.
Gabe (Cary, NC)
@Socrates Thank you, exactly. I'm concerned that many on the Editorial Board don't understand the context.
Margo (Atlanta)
@Calworkman The amnesty is bad, the extra attempts to vastly increase the number of H1b visas is terrible - every time. There are money interests involved in this.
See also