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New Resources and Reminders: Why Fixing Immigration is Bigger than the Border

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Washington, DC – With migration and border policies back prominently in the news ahead of next week’s overdue lifting of Title 42, a series of analyses and new resources highlight how we can manage migration in a humane, orderly and ultimately beneficial fashion while underscoring the importance continuing to fight for a legislative fix to modernize our broken immigration system – a fix that Republicans continue to block.

As Douglas Rivlin of America’s Voice noted yesterday:

“The real issue isn’t what happens next week, rather what happens five years from now if Congress continues to kick the can down the road … the right question and focus shouldn’t be a myopic obsession with what numbers look like in the coming days or weeks. It should be a larger assessment of what policies and vision we need to get right for the coming years and beyond. We have failed to modernize our immigration system for decades and it has not miraculously fixed itself.”

Republicans’ Role in Blocking a Legislative Modernization of Immigration

NBC’s “First Read” political tipsheet notes regarding the 10-year anniversary of the 2013 immigration reform debate: 

“Few episodes better explain how American politics has changed — and how America’s political system has been unable to respond to challenges and crises — than immigration. It was 10 years ago, in April 2013, that the “Gang of Eight” Democrats and Republicans unveiled their comprehensive immigration reform legislation, which would go on to pass the Senate with 68 votes but never become law after the GOP-controlled House refused to consider the bill. 

…[W]e’ve witnessed two political parties moving further and further away from what was always the compromise — more border enforcement, a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and a capacity to respond to future challenges (such as the asylum-seekers from Central America).”

As we point out in a new America’s Voice backgrounder:Republicans Are Against Solutions and Policies that Alleviate Border Pressures; In Favor of Chaos and Politicized Misinformation,” the role of Republicans in forging and maintaining our broken immigration system is essential to understand at this moment. And see here for a separate recap highlighting the number of times Republicans have blocked or derailed legislative solutions in the decade since the 2013 reform debate. The latest evidence of this pattern comes in the form of H.R. 2, an extreme proposal coming to the House floor next week that is more about creating political messaging attacks and GOP fundraising, than about legislating serious policy solutions.  

Leading Policy Experts: The Necessary  Longer-Term Vision for Fixing Border and Asylum System

The American Immigration Council yesterday released a must-read blueprint for how to modernize our border and asylum system:Beyond A Border Solution: How to Build a Humanitarian Protection System That Won’t Break. As their accompanying summary notes, the paper:

“[E]mphasizes the need for policymakers to abandon short-term solutionism and acknowledge that only sustained investment over a period of time can realistically address 21st century migration and displacement challenges.

As Title 42 is scheduled to sunset on May 11 and the Biden administration announces plans to manage an expected increase in migration at the southern border, this paper offers a roadmap for building a functional, flexible, and orderly asylum system that at the same time ensures effective border management.”

And writing for El Pais, Dan Restrepo and Marshall Fitz write,To effectively manage migration — go bigger.” Restrepo served as Special Assistant to President Obama for Western Hemisphere Affairs and Fitz is Managing Director for Immigration at Emerson Collective. They conclude:

“To find durable, effective solutions, we must go big and grapple with the true dimensions of the migration challenge and resist the siren song of narrow, simplistic approaches bound to fail. The time has come for the Biden administration — and those in Congress serious about managing migration and not just playing politics — to fully embrace and implement the Los Angeles Declaration and the Menendez Plan as the way forward.”