Peter  Roff

Without a comprehensive plan to deal with all or part of the border-related issues it will be impossible to establish a workable program allowing for the entry and exit of temporary workers vital to the American construction and agricultural industries. Without secure borders America does not and cannot know who is coming in and who is leaving – which would be a significant additional step forward toward addressing the problems the comprehensive immigration proposal has been unable to resolve.

Where work is concerned, the current system is simply nonsensical. It permits students from other countries to come here, receive quality educations in math, the hard sciences, computer programming, engineering, medicine – and then forces them to return to their country of origin once they’ve received their degrees. By doing so, and forcing them to wait for permission to return to the U.S. gives other countries a competitive advantage against us using highly skilled labor we’ve trained. Doesn’t it make more sense to allow them to remain in the U.S., or at least make it easier for them to do so, where they can add value to our economy instead of China’s or India’s?

Right now American business currently has to wait too long and pay too high a price to attract skilled workers – doctors, engineers, computer programmers, software designers and the like – from overseas markets. The process for bringing these workers into the United States needs to be streamlined and the numbers need to be increased. Their presence in the U.S. adds tens of millions to U.S. annual GDP. They are a net benefit to the country and need to be recognized as such.

The problem of what to do with those who are already in the United States illegally is not an easy one to solve. Nor can it be overlooked. Laws were broken and justice, tempered with humanity, requires that a solution to that problem be developed at the same time steps are taken to streamline the entire process. It is imperative we make sure better track can be kept of both temporary and permanent visa holders while preserving the United States as the country of choice for those who are oppressed in their home countries for reasons of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, or concepts that otherwise violate the vital freedoms we all hold so dear. That said it is not unreasonable to ask Congress to embark on an effort now to address the border and work issues that are currently entwined in the immigration discussion, where the answers are clear and already identified, while engaging in a robust national debate to find the final, missing piece.

Peter Roff

Peter Roff is a senior fellow at Frontiers of Freedom, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding free-market solutions to public policy questions and a strong national defense. He appears regularly offering commentary on national events on television and radio.