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The problems the United States faces in redirecting immigration policies cannot be successfully addressed by a quick fix immigration “reform.” The legal, economic, sociological, political, racial, and moral issues are too complex and have been largely unresolved. As a result, it is unrealistic to expect political leaders to develop an easy solution that will satisfy the myriad competing and conflicting concerns.

Most of the calls for reform are not issued by individuals completely aware of the extent of immigration regulation and of its impact on American society. Rather, calls come from those with relatively narrow interests from all ranges of the political spectrum. These calls for reform further focus on only a few narrow areas, without fully considering the impact on the rest of the immigration law scheme or the rest of the American constitutional scheme for that matter.

However, there is a more rational approach to analyzing the areas where the calls for reform have been heard the loudest, and this analysis leads to what might be considered a radical approach to immigration reform—to first acknowledge what is right about American immigration policies and processes.

The only real hope to reconstruct an equitable immigration policy that serves national interests is to honestly and openly discuss, debate, and analyze the underlying and most often unspoken concerns at the heart of the immigration challenge. And Americans must be willing to concede that, more often than not, the American system of immigration, while far from perfect, might actually be working.

Recommended Citation

Bill Piatt, The Glass Half-Full: A Rational/Radical Approach to Immigration Reform, 13 Nᴇxᴜs 3 (2008).

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