tags: , Press Releases

The High Cost of Doing Nothing: Hoping Our Immigration System Magically Fixes Itself Has Made Things Worse

Share This:

Mounting Examples of a Broken Immigration System Crying Out for an Overhaul that Republicans Block

Washington, DC – An Axios newsletter published yesterday provides a useful primer on the current immigration state of play ahead of the May end of Title 42. In the process, the reporters spotlight the fundamentally broken nature of our immigration system and the desperate need for a broader overhaul that Republicans continue to block.

  • Stef Kight writes, “Migration through the Americas has radically changed over the past decade, yet U.S. immigration laws remain stuck in the last century,” and noting of the parole program for four countries’ asylum seekers announced this year, “officials and proponents have pointed to [it] as proof that offering more legal pathways works — that people only cross the border illegally when they feel it is their only option.”
  • Russell Contreras assesses, “why it’s so hard to come ‘the right way,’” noting: “Permanently moving to the U.S. was once as easy as getting on a ship or strolling across a border … Today, most lawful means of entering the country take years because of overwhelmed immigration agencies, rising levels of global migration and a limit on the number of certain visas, all of which have culminated in a massive backlog of people trying to get to the U.S.”

Notably, several other developments add real world examples of how our out-of-date immigration system is failing us and the desperate need for a legislative overhaul instead of smaller-scale band-aids. They remind us that in the absence of a legislative overhaul to border and immigration policies, we invite tragedies and empower bad actors – from the sophisticated cartels discussed in this Dallas Morning News story to the ongoing horrific details surrounding the fire in the Juarez detention center that killed at least 39 migrants. Note the new Vice revelations that those who perished had refused or were unable to pay a $200 bribe to be released from the facility. 

According to Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communication at America’s Voice

“It shouldn’t be a surprise that refusing to overhaul immigration laws for decades has led to a festering and worsening mess. We have failed to adapt U.S. interests to modern migration realities, which leads to a chaotic system that empowers bad actors and leads to tragedies, heartbreak and dysfunction. There is a very high price for doing nothing.

Yet confronted with the examples of a fundamentally out-of-date system crying out for modernization, Republicans use that evidence to justify the opposite: inaction, delay, obstruction and an unrelenting strategy of divisive disinformation. They continue to argue that we must have complete control over our borders before they will allow any of the reforms that will, in fact, give a shot at having greater control of our borders. Legislative and executive policy changes are blocked in Congress and the courts and the ever-escalating rhetoric demonizing immigrants – and immigration itself – moves us farther from solutions. Note the GOP opposition and court challenges to the Biden administration’s new parole program that opens up legal pathways to alleviate border pressures and alternatives to a trek to the southern border for refugees fleeing four specific countries. And all legislative solutions to open legal pathways or legalize people already here – as the American people consistently request – are stymied and weaponized to mobilize the MAGA base.

Ten years ago to the month, the 2013 comprehensive immigration bill was introduced in the Senate by a bipartisan group of senators. Today, we are still paying the price for House Republicans’ absolute refusal to allow a vote to enact a legislative overhaul that would have allowed many more migrants currently excluded from visas to apply for them. For Republicans, their continued and subsequent inaction and preference for the chaotic status quo in order to stoke anti-immigrant political fears has trumped, so to speak, the desire for real solutions and reform. Meanwhile, hoping our immigration system magically fixes itself continues to make things worse.”