Elements of a 21st Century Pro-Growth Immigration System

Our immigration system serves neither the positive goal of adding the world’s best, brightest, and hardest working to our American culture, nor the negative goal of protecting us from those who threaten our security or our economy. The result is, unfortunately, a deficit of the former and a surplus of the latter.

Because our current immigration system demonstrably does not succeed at these critical goals, reform of our immigration system is imperative. Further, immigration policy has vaulted to become one of the key issues of the 2016 presidential campaign. Beyond a doubt, the American people are animated on the topic of immigration. Policy thinkers, activists, and voters must begin to grapple with the goals and details of a functioning immigration system so that reform can take place when politically possible. In the meantime, failure to enforce the immigration laws already on the books, including the failure of the Executive Branch to implement measures explicitly authorized by Congress, actively damages our economy, our national security, and the rule of law.

This short paper does not attempt to offer a comprehensive immigration reform proposal, but rather makes several suggestions for a functioning, 21st Century pro-growth immigration system. The final section suggests a proposed solution to the controversial issue of the current population of illegal immigrants.

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