The most obvious conclusions that one has after reading the “Standards,” is that House Republicans are married to border security first approach. However, they are not calling for a militarization of the border like the Senate’s S.744 passage. The Senate threw money and resources without strategy or thought. Neither do the Standards call for mass-deportations, as in the 2012 Republican Party platform. These are positive developments.
Second, there is a clear understanding that we have a broken immigration system. The Standards wants to make immigration more responsive to the economy and criticizes family based immigration. It makes the misguided notion that this is a zero sum game where by adding to employment based immigration they must take away from family based applications. We need detauks before deternining whether this approach is a positive one. We need to know not only the number of green cards but who is getting them. Although there is a discussion of future flow for temporary workers, how can those workers transition to permanent status if they want to stay? This is a good opening, but we need details to gauge whether this is a meaningful opening discussion.
Lastly, we need a lot more details on how Republicans intend to address undocumented immigrants. Giving them lawful status, subject to certain conditions is a good first step. But saying that their path to citizenship must be according to existing channels, must be coupled with a reform of the existing system. The long wait times, the limited ways to change status and the myriad roadblocks that presently exist to achieving citizenship must be addressed, for this effort to be effective. The Standards recognize that the system is broken, but without details of how to fix them, there is no way to evaluate the Standards.
The Standards are nothing more than talking points. The next step is drafting proposed legislation. That is where the rubber meets the road. Let’s hope this is an honest attempt to fix the system and not just lip service in an advance of the elections.
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