GOP’s Principles on Immigration Reform

House GOP leaders have recently released their standards for immigration reform. They have renewed their position that reform of our broken system can only be attained “through a step-by-step, common-sense approach that starts with securing our country’s borders, enforcing our laws, and implementing robust enforcement measures.” They will not go to a conference with the Senate’s immigration bill.

Senator Charles Schumer noted that “while these standards are certainly not everything we would agree with, they leave a real possibility that Democrats and Republicans, in both the House and Senate, can in some way come together and pass immigration reform that both sides can accept. It is a long, hard toad but the door is open.”

The first priority towards reform to the GOP principles is the “fundamental duty of any government to secure its borders,” and so these principles prioritize securing and verifying the security of our Borders before tackling other aspects of our system. In 2012, there were 409,849 total deportations – the highest they have ever been.

U.S. Border Patrol data showed apprehensions of undocumented immigrants nationwide topped 1 million. In 2004, Border Patrol counted nearly 1.2 million arrests along the Southwestern border. in 2012, 364,768 individuals were apprehended nationwide, 98% of whom were caught on the Southwestern border. These figures themselves should be enough to signal a secure border.

The reform will include a “zero tolerance” for those who cross the border illegally or overstay their visas in the future, irrespective of the driving forces to do so, yet hopefully with a more robust legal immigration system and reduction in backlogs, the need for many to cross without documentation or overstay a vista will be minimal at best. The principles also call for a robust visa tracking system and further require the full implementation a workable electronic employment verification system.

Read more about this reform.

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