As many of you know, I was back and forth to Washington, DC many times over the past year to take part in an unusual gathering of scholars and thinkers on immigration policy. The Brookings-Duke Immigration Policy Roundtable organizers, Noah Pickus, Peter Skerry and Bill Galston convened a group as diverse as possible without members being likely to strangle each other by being in the same room –but they weren’t far off! The idea was to see what this disparate bunch could agree on (or at least agree to disagree on), in hopes that it might provide some guidance to the Obama administration as it tackles long-overdue immigration reform. We made it through somehow with a report that would have been different had I (or any of us) written it ourselves. Nevertheless, it gives a pretty good sense of some of the tradeoffs that might be politically feasible and result in a policy that, while not perfect, would significantly improve upon the mess that we have now.
That report, available in PDF format here, was released October 6. Links to the executive summary, the Spanish version, and the Brookings launch event transcript are available here. I’ll be part of a panel discussing it further at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC on October 23.
Here’s more information about the report:
Breaking the Immigration Stalemate
The Obama administration has committed itself to immigration reform. Yet despite all the shortcomings of current policy — threats to the rule of law, exploitation of vulnerable newcomers, real and perceived competition with Americans for jobs and public resources — reasonable compromise on immigration will be exceedingly difficult. The divide between elite and public opinion on this issue remains deep and wide. It is a critical factor in the lack of trust that pervades today’s political culture.
This distrust was readily apparent in November 2008 when the Immigration Policy Roundtable first convened its twenty participants. The Roundtable is a joint undertaking of the Brookings Institution and the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University. The group’s distinctive feature is that its members came to the table with divergent, often conflicting perspectives on immigration. In fact, the range of political and ideological views represented at the Roundtable is unprecedented in recent immigration policymaking. Continue reading ““Breaking the Immigration Stalemate” report released”
It’s interesting to see that after Medicare tightened its proof-of-citizenship rules in 2005, about half of the states surveyed by the Government Accountability Office reported that people had fallen off of their Medicare rolls. The vast majority of those who lost health care were citizens, who paid a huge price for an effort that netted nine –count ’em, NINE– unauthorized immigrants. Here’s yet another case where efforts targeting illegal immigrants hurt many citizens, doing more harm than good.
Interview excerpt: “The largest issues facing women around the world are in many ways the same as the ones facing men: basic questions of human security and having a voice in solving problems that affect you. Literacy, education, jobs, and health are all part of this, of course, but they all come down to the question of whether women have the rights to pursue those things, and a way to influence the governments, organizations, companies, and people who affect whether and how women get what we need. In so many parts of the world —including in wealthy countries like the United States— women have a harder time meeting some of those needs than men do, but it’s important not to see this as a women-versus-men issue. The places where women have the least rights also tend to be the places where men have the least rights. If we’re all going to move forward together, we need to be sure that men also support the idea that improving women’s rights leaves men better off too. It’s “win-win” not “zero-sum.” I just saw this great new Turkish movie, “Bliss,” about a man charged with carrying out an honor killing of his cousin. During the course of the movie, he comes to the realization that the horrible infractions of her rights don’t leave either one of them better off.”
I met Latoya in the 2008 Progressive Women’s Voices program at the Women’s Media Center. She’s smart, young, and going places, and writes about the intersection between race and pop culture. Check out her website, www.racialicious.com.