E.g., 12/27/2014
E.g., 12/27/2014

The Independent Task Force on Immigration and America's Future: Preparatory Reports

The Independent Task Force on Immigration and America's Future: Preparatory Reports

The Independent Task Force on Immigration and America's Future commissioned a series of informational reports to help inform its task of generating sound information and workable policy ideas. The reports are listed below by subject area.
 

Task Force Overview

Independent Task Force on Immigration and America's Future: The Roadmap 
By Michael Fix, Doris Meissner and Demetrios Papademetriou
June 2005
The Independent Task Force on Immigration and America's Future is focusing on key policy questions in areas in which today's U.S. immigration policy and practices are faltering. These areas include: upholding the rule of law; developing policies that meet immigration and national security needs; managing immigration in ways that increase the nation's economic competitiveness; and promoting the economic and social integration of newcomers. This agenda-setting document provides context in each of these areas and raises policy questions that must be confronted for effective reforms to the U.S. immigration system.


Reflections on Restoring Integrity to the United States Immigration System: A Personal Vision
By Demetrios G. Papademetriou 
September 2005
The author summarizes the lessons learned from implementing the Immigration and Control Act of 1986, including that: the robust and growing demand for work and family reunification visas must be incorporated into new policies; legalization should not be done halfway; reducing incentives for fraud should be a top policy goal; and migration must be managed in cooperation with neighboring countries. He lays out three "E"s required to achieve stable reform: enforcement, expanded visas, and earned regularization.

 

The Unauthorized Population

Unauthorized Migrants: Numbers and Characteristics
Report by Jeffrey S. Passel, prepared for the Task Force by the Pew Hispanic Center
June 2005
Jeffrey S. Passel offers a portrait of the unauthorized population in unprecedented detail. The report shows that most of the unauthorized population lives in families, a quarter has at least some college education, and illegal workers can be found in many sectors of the U.S. economy. The report estimates the number of persons living in families in which the head of the household or the spouse is an unauthorized migrant was 13.9 million as of March 2004, including 4.7 million children. Of those individuals, some 3.2 million are U.S. citizens by birth but are living in "mixed status" families in which some members are unauthorized, usually a parent, while others, usually children, are Americans by birthright.


Twilight Statuses: A Closer Examination of the Unauthorized Population
By David A. Martin, MPI nonresident fellow and professor of International Law at the University of Virginia
June 2005 
Approximately 1 to 1.5 million people hold claims to legal status recognized by U.S. law because they are caught in processing or admissions quota backlogs, or have been granted temporary protected status (TPS). The author finds that this "twilight status" of partial but not full lawful residence “sends mixed signals that undermine both the enforcement goals and the services or benefits goals of the immigration system." He suggests policy changes that speed the processing of legal status claims for certain immigrants and that create incentives for those with TPS to return when their temporary status expires.


Lessons From The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986
By Betsy Cooper and Kevin O'Neil
April 2005
The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) was the first legislative attempt to comprehensively address the issue of unauthorized immigration. Although the concepts behind the legislation were sound, there were a number of problems with its design and implementation in each of its major goals: employer accountability, broader enforcement that prevented illegal entries, and legalization of a large population of unauthorized migrants. While the context of U.S. immigration has changed since 1986, the incentives for immigration remain the same. Thus many lessons from IRCA remain relevant for policymakers today.


The "Regularization" Option in Managing Illegal Migration More Effectively: A Comparative Perspective 
By Demetrios G. Papademetriou
September 2005
The author argues that legalization (or "regularization" in Europe) of unauthorized migrants can not only prevent the illegally resident population from building to unacceptable levels, but can also make the management of migration more effective when used in concert with other policy initiatives. Properly conceived and carefully executed programs would allow those that can meet certain tough but fair and transparent criteria to earn legal status and can be effective processes for meeting important security, labor market, and social policy goals.

 

National Security and Immigration Enforcement

Immigration Enforcement at the Worksite: Making it Work
By Visiting Scholar Marc R. Rosenblum 
November 2005
The author lays out six critical reforms necessary to construct a coherent worksite enforcement system, including limits on documents proving identity and work authorization, changes to shift the burden of applicant screening from employers to the government, and more efficient use of employment databases to target non-compliant employers.


U.S. Border Enforcement: From Horseback to High-Tech
By Deborah W. Meyers 
November 2005
Border Patrol funding has grown more than 500 percent over the last two decades, and border control has evolved from a low-tech, single-agency exercise focused strictly on the Southwestern border, to a far more encompassing concept that includes multiple agencies, extensive use of technology, and a broader geographic focus. This report reviews the history of border enforcement and asks whether it has been effective.


Eligible to Work: Experiments in Verifying Work Authorization
By Kevin Jernegan
November 2005
Various attempts have been made over the years to create a system that provides employers with verification of an employee's eligibility to work, each with different strengths and weaknesses. New proposals have been developed recently and new technologies have become available that were not available at the time of the Immigration and Reform Control Act's passage in 1986. The successes and failures of the efforts undertaken to date can inform proposals for future employment authorization and verification initiatives.


An Idea Whose Time Has Finally Come? The Case for Employment Verification
By Tamar Jacoby, Manhattan Institute
November 2005
Although the Immigration Reform and Control Act made it a crime to hire unauthorized immigrants, it failed to give employers the tools they need to determine who is authorized to work and who isn't -- a reliable, automated employment verification system. The author suggests that what is needed is a process not unlike credit-card verification that allows employers to swipe a card at the point of hire and receive a response in real time from the Social Security Administration.


Immigration Facts: Immigration Enforcement Spending Since IRCA 
By David Dixon and Julia Gelatt
November 2005
This study of appropriations finds that from 1985 to 2002, funds for border control jumped from $700 million to $2.8 billion per year; funds for detention and removal skyrocketed from $192 million to $1.6 billion, while funds for interior investigations rose from $109 million to only $458 million.


Documentation Provisions of the Real ID Act
By Kevin Jernegan 
November 2005
The Real ID Act seeks to increase security by  implement a reliable system for confirming an individual’s identity, preventing fraud through counterfeit-proof identification cards, and capitalizing on gains from information-sharing among federal and state law enforcement agencies. However, concerns range from cost issues to the difficulty of constructing safeguards against misuse of the data by both criminal elements and the government.


Immigration Enforcement: Beyond the Border and the Workplace
By David A. Martin, MPI nonresident fellow and professor of International Law at the University of Virginia
July 2006
In addition to effective border and workplace enforcement, other key enforcement improvements are necessary. The government must assure that removal orders are enforced through expansion of the use of fugitive operations teams; wider application of civil and criminal penalties to absconders; more strategic use of detention, including in connection with supervised release programs; and shortening hearing times while preserving due process, including testing the efficiency effects of government-provided counsel through a limited pilot project. Government reforms must also build better protections against fraud into the systems leading to a grant of benefits and mainstream immigration enforcement.


Countering Terrorist Mobility: Shaping an Operational Strategy
By Susan Ginsburg, MPI nonresident fellow and former senior counsel for the 9/11 Commission
February 2006 
This report provides a blueprint for an integrated strategy to thwart terrorists by focusing on terrorist mobility.  While all but the most recent government counterterrorism strategies since 9/11 omit mobility as a distinct element of terrorism requiring its own operational strategy, Ms. Ginsburg argues that terrorist mobility deserves comparable attention and resources to those devoted to terrorist finance and communications.  She describes the elements of a terrorist mobility strategy that can use leads generated by terrorists’ need to travel to counter their ability to enter, live in, or move within the United States and like-minded countries.

 

Immigration and the U.S. Labor Market

Temporary Worker Programs: A Patchwork Policy Response
By Deborah W. Meyers 
January 2006
In fiscal year 2004, the volume of admissions to the United States for temporary workers, trainees, and their dependants reached nearly 1.5 million people. Within these employment-based visa categories, temporary workers have dramatic variations of stay that range from three months to ten years, and many are transitioning to the permanent system. In the same year, more than 60 percent of new lawful permanent residents (LPRs) adjusted their status (rather than being new arrivals), and at least 10 percent of LPRs are former temporary workers. Furthermore, nearly half of all temporary worker admissions are in categories that explicitly allow adjustment.
 

"Comprehensive" Legislation vs. Fundamental Reform: The Limits of Current Immigration Proposals 
By Visiting Scholar Marc Rosenblum 
January 2006 
The author evaluates the elements of current Administration and Congressional proposals and critically evaluates their potential to address the fundamental flaws characterizing the current immigration system. He finds that proposed reforms likely would fail to address the mismatch between visa supply and demand, the system's over-reliance on temporary nonimmigrant visas, inefficient immigrant labor regulations, and the challenges of responding to the roughly 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States. 
Side-by-side chart of legislative reform proposals (PDF)


The Growing Connection Between Temporary and Permanent Immigration Systems
By Jeanne Batalova 
January 2006
The distinction between temporary and permanent migration, clearly demarcated in past decades, has become increasingly blurred. A new immigrant admissions system has emerged that is neith temporary nor permanent, but rather a transitional system that allows visa holders to prove their worth to employers and the broader economy. The author also concludes that data collection must be improved so that legislators have an accurate basis for designing improved programs and policies.
 

The Contributions of High-Skilled Immigrants
By Neeraj Kaushal and Michael Fix 
July 2006
​The authors find that while immigrants are one in eight U.S. residents, they make up one in every five doctors in the country, one in five computer specialists, and one in six persons in engineering or science occupations. Immigrants are having profound impacts on science, medical, and technological fields.
 

U.S. Employment-Based Admissions: Permanent and Temporary
By Susan Martin, Institute for the Study of International Migration, Georgetown University 
January 2006
The pros and cons of existing temporary worker programs in the United States include giving employers a chance to test employees for their contributions to society and the economy, but in some cases, making temporary workers vulnerable to exploitation because they are dependent on specific employers or jobs for their legal status. Additionally, the author finds that because rules for recruitment are so cumbersome, and sanctions against employers who hire unauthorized workers so rarely applied, many employers opt out of using the temporary worker system altogether. The author provides a number of policy recommendations, including: simplifying visa categories, increasing the funding for and efficiency of the government apparatus managing applications, and making requirements for employers and workers reasonable and consistent with the way that the labor market functions, among others.
 

The Impact of Immigration on Native Workers: A Fresh Look at the Evidence
By Julie Murray, Jeanne Batalova, and Michael Fix
July 2006
The authors carefully review the extensive literature and conclude that despite the rhetoric of the current debate, the literature indicates that immigration does not have strong wage or employment effects on natives.
 

Immigrants and Labor Force Trends: The Future, Past, and Present
By B. Lindsay Lowell, Julia Gelatt, and Jeanne Batalova 
July 2006
The authors find that immigrants have been a driving force behind labor market growth in the United States in the past three decades. If immigration remains at current levels, immigrants and their children are projected to account for all growth in the U.S. labor force between 2010 and 2030.