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May 2016 Brief: Volume 23, Number 14

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It's Time to Reform Our Immigration Policy


by John Hendrickson



It is clear that all sides of the American political spectrum agree that our national immigration policy is failing. Any attempt at immigration reform must focus on protecting and securing our borders, putting the interests of American workers first, reforming the visa process to prevent further overstays, and enforcing the current immigration laws. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) wrote that “the immigration debate can be reduced to three essential questions;”


•Is America a sovereign nation that has the right to control its borders and decide who comes to live and work here?
•Should American immigration laws serve the just interests of the country and its citizens?
•And do those citizens have the right to expect and demand that the laws passed by their elected representatives be enforced?[1]


Senator Sessions is taking the lead on a pro-American approach to immigration reform, and his Immigration Handbook for the New Republican Majority provides a solid policy blueprint to reform our broken immigration system. One area that needs to be reformed is not only securing more border enforcement guards and agents, but also giving them the tools to do their jobs effectively. President Barack Obama has not only gone around Congress with his executive amnesty, but also, as Senator Sessions argues, “Since entering office, [President Obama] has engaged in a sustained campaign to collapse immigration enforcement.”[2] As Senator Sessions wrote:


Increasing the budget for DHS [Department of Homeland Security] in the form of additional Border Patrol Agents, vehicles, etc., will not stem the tide of illegal immigration as long as catch-and-release continues and as long as interior enforcement remains gutted. No amount of additional resources will work if our law enforcement officers cannot carry out their duties. Absent such reform, we are just using those resources to facilitate the transfer of illegal immigrants from south of the border to north of the border.[3]


Sessions notes that “interior deportations have fallen 23 percent since 2015 alone, and have been halved since 2011…”[4] The result of non-enforcement of our immigration laws simply encourages further disregard:


The effective result of the Administration’s non-enforcement policy is that anyone in the world who manages to get into the interior of the United States — by any means, including overstaying a visa — is free to live, work, and claim benefits in the United States at Americans’ expense.[5]


From an economic standpoint, immigration reform must also benefit the American worker first, regardless of the occupation. For example, “Nearly half of all illegal aliens in the country have violated the terms of their short-term visitor or work visa.”[6] Oftentimes, the immigration debate focuses on those jobs that advocates of amnesty and liberalized immigration argue that Americans will not do — such as agricultural work — but often, the visa (such as an H-1B visa) overstays also are impacting highly skilled and high-earning occupations.


As middle-class Americans struggle with declining and stagnant wages and unemployment, the level of immigration has been increasing. Senator Sessions notes that “From 2000 through 2014 … 14 million new permanent legal immigrants were admitted to the U.S. in addition to the illegal immigration flow…,” which does not include the large number of guest workers, foreign students, and refugees who enter the nation on a regular basis.[7] “From 1980 through 2013, the immigrant population tripled from 14 million to more than 41 million, according to government data,” and this is expected to increase to an average of over one million immigrants per year.[8] As Senator Sessions wrote:


The principal economic dilemma of our time is the very large number of people who either are not working at all, or not earning a wage great enough to be financially independent. The surplus of available labor is compounded by the loss of manufacturing jobs due to global competition and reduced demand for workers due to automation.[9]


It is clear that any immigration reform must include actually securing the border and strengthening border security, enforcing immigration laws and punishing businesses that violate those laws, and enforcing visas. Senator Sessions’ immigration policy blueprint is one that will protect our national borders, place American workers first, and protect our sovereignty. A nation without borders cannot exist for very long, and policy makers should learn from Europe’s mistake of allowing open borders, which only results in loss of sovereignty, swamps the social welfare system, and creates serious security concerns. In addition, we must emphasize assimilation in immigration rather than multiculturalism.


In writing about the upcoming 2016 election, Senator Sessions wrote that “this election will decide, perhaps once and for all, whether we continue the slide into open borders globalism, or begin to emerge again as a nation-state that defends its people’s interests.”[10] This is also what is at stake in the debate over immigration.


[1] Senator Jeff Sessions, Immigration Handbook for the New Republican Majority, Office of United States Senator Jeff Sessions, January 2015, <> accessed on April 15, 2016.
[2] Ibid., p. 6.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Michelle Malkin and John Miano, Sold Out: How High-Tech Billionaires and Bipartisan Beltway Crapweasels Are Screwing America’s Best and Brightest Workers, Threshold Editions/Mercury Ink, New York, 2015, p. 312.
[7] Sessions, p. 9.
[8] Sessions, p.9., and George Rasley, “How Many Immigrants Are Enough?” Richard Viguerie’s Conservative HQ, April 15, 2016, <> accessed on April 15, 2016.
[9] Sessions, p. 1.
[10] Jeff Sessions, “Election a Chance to Undo Damage of TPP,” Office of United States Senator Jeff Sessions, February 16, 2016, <> accessed on April 15, 2016.


John Hendrickson is a Research Analyst with Public Interest Institute, Mount Pleasant, Iowa.Contact him at


Permission to reprint or copy in whole or part is granted, provided a version of this credit line is used:"Reprinted by permission from INSTITUTE BRIEF, a publication of Public Interest Institute." The views expressed in this publication are those of the author and not necessarily those of Public Interest Institute. They are brought to you in the interest of a better-informed citizenry.




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