What does Comprehensive Immigration Reform mean?

With the outcome of the election 2012, where the incredible support of Latinos made as the major deciding factor, a comprehensive approach to immigration reform has become a topic to be reckoned with.Now that it has emerged as a pivotal topic for discussion, it is yet to be cleared as to how much comprehensive can prove to be comprehensive enough to tackle with something as broad as immigration reform, for the concept of comprehensive could vary from person to person.

To give a fair idea about the same, Room for Debate of New York Times called in six public figures from various fields with different outlook towards the comprehensive immigration reform.

Gary Segura, a professor of political science at Stanford University and a co-founder of the polling firm Latino Decisions, believes that just providing the unauthorized residents with a temporary adjustment of status would only create room for exploitation and permanent underclass of residents. A guided way to citizenship with obstacle-free and reconstructive requirements and penalties to seek legal status can prove as what is called a comprehensive approach to immigration reform.

On the same grounds, James Carafano, vice president of foreign and defense policy studies in Heritage Foundation, states that those immigrants who deserve a chance to legal status should be dealt with in a subtle manner by providing right solutions to address their situations. Comprehensive effort does not only mean dealing with the immigrants in the country, but also finding a solution to the problems that contributed to the problem, such as border security, poor state of public safety, lack of economic freedom and stagnant civil society in Mexico, lack of adequate programs for temporary workers, inadequate workplace enforcement in the United States.

Bruce Morrison, a former U.S. Representative from Connecticut and previously the chairman of the House immigration subcommittee, pointed out to the failed attempts of calling in for one bill in 1986 and 1990 that comprised of comprehensive immigration reform and stated that such a bill is not the answer to bring about immigration reform. The major step to be taken is to provide the 11 million unauthorized immigrants with legal status to work in the United States, making sure that they are verified and authenticated using an electronic system, which will also prove as an assurance to the immigrants of their status.

Steven A. Camarota, the director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies, mentioned that an electronic system was necessary to verify the legal status of the workers, and stiff fines should be charged against employers who hired illegal immigrants to carry their work. He was also of the view that the immigration levels should be curbed in future to keep the pressure low on the labour market. By preventing the upsurge of immigration levels by eliminating the chain migration categories, the kind that brings in the brothers and sisters of naturalized citizens, job competition will be reduced and the fiscal costs would lowered.

Ai-jen Poo, the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and co-director of the Caring Across Generations Campaign, however pointed out the hardships faced by the families of the ones deported and thereby separated. The fear of getting deported leaves the unauthorized immigrant workers, which included nannies, housekeepers and caregivers for the elderly, to not seek help even as they work in substandard conditions. Lack of guidance to legal status and citizenship renders such immigrants to strive in poverty and vulnerability thereby affecting the economy adversely. According to her, America is basically a multiracial society, a comprehensive approach would mean that ‘us versus them’ approach should be forgotten and integration as a whole should be embraced.

Adding to the statements, Leith Anderson, the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, stated that instead of providing with stop-gap measures of temporary solutions, it is very necessary to consider a broader approach towards the goal of immigration reform. This should comprise of steps to ensure border security, respecting everyone, keeping families together and most important of all providing legal status to the unauthorized immigrants.


Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas. For over 15 years, our firm has successfully represented corporate clients across the United States in their efforts to bring foreign workers and business professionals to the United States. Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is dedicated in its advocacy and community involvement efforts towards achieving effective comprehensive immigration policy reform. From filing, through approval, and on to appeal, we do everything possible to ensure that your company can bring the best and brightest in the world to the United States.