Last night, the U.S. Senate released a long-anticipated bipartisan policy agreement to impose tougher immigration and asylum laws.
Stephen Yale-Loehr, professor of immigration law at Cornell Law School and co-author of a leading 22-volume immigration law series, says that the bill is unlikely to be enacted, for a variety of reasons, but that Congress shouldn’t give up on immigration reform.
“The Senate has just released a 280-page bill in an attempt to curb the number of people trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border; however, it’s unlikely to pass for a variety of reasons. Critics on both sides have lambasted the bill. Immigrants’ rights advocates criticize the bill’s asylum restrictions, while anti-immigrant groups say the bill doesn’t go far enough. Given the fierceness of the opposition from both sides, the bill may be dead on arrival.
“The bill has some interesting provisions, however, that should be considered even if the overall bill is killed. For example, the legislation would allocate an additional 50,000 family and employment-based green cards a year for five years, offer legal counsel to unaccompanied minors in deportation proceedings, and provide a pathway to citizenship for Afghan nationals evacuated to the United States.
“The bill fails to address other important issues, such as protection for so-called Dreamers and additional work visas in labor shortage occupations such as home health aides for our aging population. Our Cornell Immigration Law and Policy Program offered a pathway to targeted but achievable immigration reforms in a recent white paper. Congress should consider those ideas in whatever immigration reform legislation it considers.”