Immigration reform

I would like to work toward comprehensive reform, but I’m thinking it might be more realistic to work on smaller projects. There is a proposed bill for making exceptions for Afghan refugees, (Afghan Adjustment Act) which is great. AOC mentioned recently that the government should fast-track getting work permits to asylum seekers who are in the country waiting for asylum status rulings. I agree, and think that an expansion and extension of work visas more broadly is worth a try. I would like to see a similar movement with student visas and family green cards.

What do you think? What should we work on first?

How should we approach the border prisons? How can we work toward simplifying the asylum seeking process, getting more judges down there, and helping people find proper housing and jobs?


Until we get the money out of politics there’s no way to do anything about the major problems in this country. We need to spend all our time and resources on this one goal.

Actually, I have an idea for immigration reform that involes labor/employment reforms to help the system/process to become more fair. I would really like to know your opinion about this.

I’m a bit older, so the things in my idea here are based on things that I lived through.

Here we go:

The solution to the immigration problems is clearly not razor wire fences and killing people along the border.

I believe the solution that would reduce costs while being the most just would be the following:

  1. Use a Reagan era policy of amnesty for all of the migrants and their families that are already in the United States. Reagan did this for the Salvadorians during his administration. The realization that he apparently had was that we could not effectively round up these millions of people effectively – so it was cheaper to just let them stay.

  2. As a part of the amnesty, pass DACA. This is too obvious, so I will say nothing more about it, here.

  3. Roll back a Reagan era policy: Before the Reagan administration, I remember having to fill out a declaration form that included me entering my Social Security Number declaring that I am legally authorized to work in the United States. The employer would then enter their own unique identifier onto the form and have it processed by some US government agency (The labor department? I don’t know for sure… I was young…). Given the time, the employer probably used a FAX machine to submit the data. The government apparently would verify that my SS# was correct and that I did in fact had authorization to work based on my immigration status, visa, or whatnot. If I was not authorized to work and the employer hired me anyway, the employer would be in trouble: Fines? Loss of tax status? I can’t remember exactly, but the key point here is that the employer had to pay the heavier legal price – not the employee.

As to #3 above, during the Reagan administration the laws were changed so that if the employer was found to have hired illegally, it were the workers that got rounded up and punished severely – not the employer. Before that it was the employers responsibility to use the reporting system to check valid working status.

That results in employers that actively advertise across the border that if someone wants work, all they have to do is get into the US and make their way to the employer. That could be in the middle of Montana, the Dakotas, anywhere. Field work, meat packing, anything.

The prize is just too enticing, in my opinion. Make $2-$3 per hour in your home country or make $7 per hour somewhere in the US.

Well, that’s my idea.
I would really love to hear your opinions. :smile:

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We don’t have to wait until after we get money out of politics to solve immigration or any other policy goals.

We all, progressives and such, can walk and chew bubblegum at the same time. :wink:


To that end the way you protest is you make every issue that issue. The game should be if you are in a media space that has non-progressives, how few words can you have to use to tie XYZ subject to money in politics.

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Sorry but history tells us until we get money out of politics we get nowhere.

I honestly don’t buy your position.
You are simply proposing giving up on doing anything else until money is removed from politics.
That is exactly what the GOP, the corporate Dems, the mainstream media, etc. would want us to do – nothing. Not even build up proposals.

I am a Black American.
If your kind of thinking existed in the 1960s, then nothing of Civil Rights would have moved forward because people like you would have done nothing until money was removed from politics. Obviously, through our collective experience, we can see that things can get done.

Anyway, I would be interested to see your opinion on the OP’s proposal for immigration as well as my proposal for immigration – without being defeatist.

Buck up, friend! Give it a go! :smiley:


Thank you, fieldmouse, I like your suggestions.

Holding companies more accountable for how they deal with immigrant workers seems very important. If they have to show their paperwork and the labor department is actually making sure they do, then we have a very different situation. I would like to see more of the authority over immigration shift toward the labor department in general. I’m not sure how we on the outside can push for such a shift, but I’m on board for sure.

You said DACA is a no brainier, yet it’s under attack. Maybe we should start with DACA. I don’t have numbers, but I reckon most folks would vote in favor of it, and the big corporations won’t lose money, I don’t think, if we preserve it. I’m going to remind my representatives how I feel about defending DACA and remind the guy I’m supporting for congress of how popular it is.

Another offshoot from Reagan’s reforms I’ve been thinking about is the temporary work visa stuff. I think Eisenhower made the first moves in that direction, or at least congress did it and Eisenhower approved, and it’s designed for agricultural seasonal workers, and expanded during Reagan for the same group, but travel is different now, and agriculture was never ‘unskilled’, as it is classified.

This stuff needs to be adjusted. I have been talking with caregivers from Jamaica who get temporary work visas for a few months, and as soon as they get a good grasp on their job and get a good relationship with their clients, they have to go home, and they can’t bring their families. Caregiving is apparently also categorized as ‘unskilled’.

Oh, and amnesty, oh I would love it. Someone please bring that to the floor. I don’t see it getting through this congress, but yes, I’m fully on board with blanket amnesty and a streamline path to citizenship.

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So, I think this thread sounds a tad specific, like this reform would be the result of some strategy. And, I think that strategy is what operation hope is looking for, but not just for this result, but for broadly applicable results that would include this specific issue. Am I making sense?

For instance, I would point to my topic thread on running progressive republicans, and in it are examples of political dynamics which I would strategically use to reach this type of specific outcome, among other progressive policy results. Maybe check out the topic on running progressive republicans if what I’m saying sounds interesting. I would be particularly interested in pipwige’s input over there, and also fieldmouse as well.

Thanks <3

Thank you sciguy24. I agree that corruption is a huge obstacle to immigration reform. Racism is a big obstacle, too, and racism and corruption are really raging these days. I think the two main reasons congress and Biden refuse to really address the border catastrophe are that big agricultural wants to keep cheap labor in Central America, and because politicians don’t want to be associated with replacement theory. That statement by trump that immigrants are poisoning our blood has a lot behind it.

Yet, the Afghan Adjustment Act looks like it will get through. Even Lindsay Graham is a co-signer. It might not be big in the sense that it fixes the whole structure, but for people from Afghanistan living in Seattle, who don’t know if they’ll be shipped back next year, it is huge.

Also, the whole immigration policy and bureaucratic structure is anti-immigrant and anti-immigration. I think that when they pass smaller bills that don’t get all that much press, and that people generally agree on, and that are somehow pro-immigrant and pro-immigration, we shift some of the momentum, and we can build on that.

I think fighting for immigration reform can help us make progress on corruption and racism, too.

Thank you jared123456,
I’ll see what I can do. :slight_smile:

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Thank you for your thoughts. Let me be clear, I am not advocating doing nothing. I’m saying we need to target our time, energy, and resources on the one thing that is holding back our most important initiatives: money in politics. In real terms, the main pipe that feeds all the other pipes is clogged. Money in politics is clogging all our initiatives. If we don’t fix the main problem all the other “incrementalist” solutions are temporary.

You are welcome. Thank you. Maybe you are right. I like what fieldmouse said about chewing gum and walking at the same time. I think when I keep working on what I’m passionate about, and you keep working on what you’re passionate about, then together we are much more than the sum of our parts. Our diversity is our greatest strength. Go team.


I had different opinions on immigration until recently. Of course if you’ve been here most of your life, went to school here, worked here citizenship should be a given.

Border immigration is a huge problem. I didn’t realize we didn’t vet people very well, can’t teach them, don’t really have housing and necessarily jobs for them. That includes ones that sneak across the border. People with no homes or jobs are more vulnerable to being used by criminals in multiple ways. I worry that we currently can’t get a handle on housing, homelessness, gang violence, trafficking, etc… with people already here.

We need innovative solutions that don’t make current problems worse, offer a good quality of life for those here and coming in and treat immigrants with respect and decency. Waiting centers shouldn’t be like prisons or separating families or take forever to get there cases to court.

We need someway to stop the illegal crossings, I’ve heard on TYT listening sanctions in there home countries could help.

We need better facilities for those claiming asylum. And more judges clerks attorneys streamlined processes so people aren’t waiting forever.

A system that keeps track of new immigrants in a respectful way, to make sure people with bad intentions aren’t sneaking in. How do you do that respectfully not sure.

A nationwide system that matches people with housing and jobs vs dumping busloads in places already struggling with housing and living wage employment.

My ideas lack specifics need some creative people to fill that in. Think it’s definitely a topic hell have to address.

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Thank you for your comments, blustery_breeze.

Yeh, I agree, the border issue and illegal immigration is a mess. There are a lot of categories involved, and I’m not sure how to best move forward, honestly. The only real consensus seems to be that what’s going on is not working.

There’s another side to it that I think is worth considering. I don’t have numbers on any of this, and I wouldn’t really trust the numbers if I did, but I suspect that more people are here illegally who have overstayed their visas than those who have snuck across the border. A lot more. People who overstay their visas make things much more difficult to get visas and for people who are trying to follow the rules and stay in legal status. The mess around all this, I think, is why they don’t send a bunch of extra judges to the border; all those judges are years behind in their caseloads already.

Stepping back another layer, when people apply for an immigrant visa, stating clearly their intention to become US citizens, they might have to wait a decade for their request to be decided, and if they can’t show that they have a highly valued skill, they will likely be denied. Showing up at the border and applying for asylum used to be a legal short-cut, (and I think that’s very different from sneaking across, or being smuggled across, the river or the desert), but the requirements for being granted asylum are different from ‘we want a better life for our children.’ Asylum is for people who are under threat of political violence back home. So, the way I see it, most of the people stuck at the border are in the wrong line and filling out the wrong forms.

I really don’t know what to do. The most recent comprehensive immigration reform was under Reagan, and it had a lot of border-security enhancement and a lot of amnesty for those who overstayed their visas. Since then, almost forty years, congress has basically avoided the issue as it keeps getting worse. And as for helping people get housing and jobs, maybe integrating more local governments with federal funding and giving immigrants solid information and contacts to help them decide where to go.

I don’t know. I’m open to suggestion for sure.

It is so super complicated. Any solution is going to have to be in steps and take awhile for sure.

I am not sure if tracking them is what is needed. I think the problem you are grappling with has more to do with erroneous record keeping and corrupt government. This is really difficult to do when vetting if you cannot trust reporting from an immigrants country of origin.

The last I checked there was more over staying of visas, however that doesn’t look good on a camera. I think the optics is the issue in a way the fact that you catch them on film is the issue. This is also due to our asylum laws and how we treat poor immigrants. It is some sadistic survival exercise and it doesn’t have to be.

We need virtual courts. Judges shouldn’t go anywhere physically. We clearly have a huge issue with judicial oversight. We allow stenographer funding to be removed in many courts and that permitted huge amounts of judicial corruption. The fact that little to few members of the legal profession raise this issue seems highly problematic.

I think it is long past time we force cameras in all court rooms (not saying make all proceedings public). We need a citizens review board of lawyers and citizens to be pooled like a jury (lawyers often cannot serve a jury). This pool would scrutinize courtroom conduct and decisions. They would issue a report and be paid for their time.

Almost like an auditing jury.

Thank you, enduser. And thanks again to all who are engaging here.

Yes, I think transparency is worth fighting for, and it’s something that conservatives can get on board with, too. In addition to monitoring court proceedings, and maybe an audit of USCIS, maybe we can argue to let the press into the detention centers on the border.

I’ve been thinking about the helping people find places to live and work issue, too. I saw a while back, I think it was on PBS Newshour, an interview with a spokesperson for a religious organization that does just that. She said that there are a bunch of religious organization around the country doing this sort of work, and that when the government gets more involved, it just gets in the way and makes their work more difficult. Her argument was that the government should get less involved so that these organizations can do the work.

In that vein, I’ve been thinking that maybe a more fruitful approach would be to focus on repealing law, rather than creating more, and reigning in governmental control over the process. I remember when I first started researching this I watched a video for law students who are intending to work in immigration, and they opened with a list of about twenty federal agencies with which such a lawyer would communicate.

I would also like to see some sort of clarification that a Muslim ban is unconstitutional. I like that the president has the authority, thanks to a law signed in by Jimmy Carter, to declare a refugee emergency and bring a whole bunch of people in beyond the national quota limits (which I would also like to repeal), and help them settle around the country.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m unrealistic about the situation in the beltway, but I figure there are still a bunch of reasonable small government folks out there who don’t hate immigrants, who believe in the US as a land of opportunity, and who are willing to mobilize for reform.

Maybe we can come up with a bullet point list of five or six priorities that we can send to our representatives and candidates? Any thoughts?

From what I can tell our immigration issues stem from a s
Starve the Beast strategy that was employed in the 80s and 90s targeting the government by the GOP. The state department and its inability to allow embassies to effectively take on immigration seems to be a byproduct. Application processing and proper due diligence should be funded and demanded. In fact our embassies should act as ombudsman and infrastructure facilitator in some countries if possible.

I will attempt to generate a list as requested.

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Topic: Foreign Policy
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There is a proposed bill for making exceptions for Afghan refugees, (Afghan Adjustment Act) which is great. AOC mentioned recently that the government should fast-track getting work permits to asylum seekers who are in the country waiting for asylum status rulings. [Strategic: more attainable]


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