New bipartisan bill in the House

The Wall Street Journal reports a fledgling effort in Congress to support important reforms in immigration. The chances of near term success are at best dim. Yet it is useful to consider how reforms can be credibly articulated within one package. The leaders are Reps. María Elvira Salazar (R., Fla.) and Veronica Escobar (D., Texas).  I’m of the opinion that a lot of Reps and Dems don’t really want major reforms is that would require them to abandon their crisis messaging and commit themselves to change.

Note that a key element is the reduction in lag times for resolution of asylum cases.

Per the WSJ: Among the measure’s main components —

It would pay for more Border Patrol agents, as well as additional surveillance technology and border fencing.

Asylum-seeking migrants would be sent to new “humanitarian campuses” along the border that are managed by the federal government. There, they would have access to legal counsel and receive an asylum decision within 60 days.

It would create a new seven-year “dignity” program for immigrants in the country illegally to pay a $5,000 penalty and gain a legal status. After seven years, if they pay an additional $5,000 penalty, they would become eligible for permanent resident status, known as a Green Card.

It would require the use of E-Verify, an online system that checks whether an employee is legally authorized to work, for every sector of the economy including agriculture. The system is popular among many conservative Republicans but has drawn criticism from some lawmakers and industry groups worried about its effect on the labor pool.

It would fund five “regional processing centers” throughout Latin America where migrants could apply to come to the U.S. as a refugee or on a work visa.

It would make more green cards and temporary visas available, including creating a new year-round visa for farmworkers that has been a top request of the agriculture industry.


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