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Commentary By Reihan Salam

The Hidden Consensus on Immigration

Economics Immigration

The border crisis isn’t just a matter of open or closed but of who to admit and how much public assistance to give. On these issues, there is surprising common ground.

In 2013, the Senate passed a bipartisan immigration bill that would have coupled a pathway to citizenship for millions of unauthorized noncitizens with a major increase in future immigrant admissions. Republicans in the House of Representatives wanted nothing to do with the plan, which faced intense opposition from conservative voters. Ever since, the partisan battle over immigration has proven utterly intractable, and the split decision in this year’s midterm elections suggests that the stalemate will continue. But it doesn’t have to be this way: The fact is, Americans agree in key respects about how to fix our broken immigration system.

It is worth underscoring that the system really is badly broken. Whether you believe we should welcome immigrants in larger or smaller numbers, on the basis of skills or family ties or humanitarian protection, there is no defending a system that is plagued by delays and uncertainty for newcomers, that encourages hundreds of thousands migrants to make illegal and potentially deadly journeys across the Southwest border, and that has left the U.S. with a population of 11 million unauthorized noncitizens, or roughly 3% of the population.

Continue reading the entire piece here at The Wall Street Journal (paywall)


Reihan Salam is the president of the Manhattan Institute. Follow him on Twitter here.

This piece originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal