If you got the impression during the debt limit imbroglio that our leaders were creatively trying to extricate themselves from a box of their own making, you’ve been cribbing from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s manual: Crises (fabricated or not) can advance worthy goals—even restoring fiscal sanity. It’s getting there that sometimes seems insane.
This report reviews the recent history of US immigration legislation, including new enforcement mandates passed immediately after 9/11 and unsuccessful efforts to pass CIR bills during the 109th and 110th Congresses. This history, together with asymmetries in the political process that favor enforcement-oriented responses, stack the deck against legalization and visa reform. Any possibility of success was further hurt by the timing of the reform debate with respect to the national electoral calendar in 2006-07 and the economic downturn beginning in 2008.
Young, low-skilled immigrants perform essential work, but the rapid growth of low-wage, limited English proficient (LEP), unauthorized populations in states with limited migration experience has contributed to increased anti-immigrant sentiment. Forty years into the current wave of regional migration, and after 25 years of increasingly serious enforcement efforts, this history also defines and limits the policy alternatives available, and highlights the challenges of managing regional flows.
When Hillary Clinton was told June 22 that House Republicans were scheduling two votes on Libya later that week, she reportedly asked, “Whose side are they on?” If that sounds reminiscent of a president telling other nations, “You’re either with us or against us,” welcome to the world of war rhetoric.
Remarks of Don Wolfensberger before the Executive Council on Diplomacy Briefing of Foreign Diplomats on "The Washington Roadmap: How Congress Works." April 8, 2004
Remarks from a Drake University-Woodrow Wilson Center Seminar, September 19, 2007