Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Immigration Impasse

Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Immigration Impasse

Article excerpt

Immigration reform has fallen on hard times. In 2007, Republicans and Democrats defeated President George W. Bush's efforts to overhaul the system. President Barack Obama has not pursued a major immigration initiative. The issue, discussed at the fifth of the Woodrow Wilson Center's National Conversations, remains contentious.

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"How do you talk about the facts?" asked moderator Thomas "Mack" McLarty, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton. "How do you do that in a safe, serious, constructive, civil manner?" In her introduction to the event, held at the University of Miami, Wilson Center CEO and president Jane Harman said that providing a "safe political space" for such discussion is precisely what the Wilson Center and its National Conversation program are designed to do.

"The reason we have an illegal immigration system is because our legal immigration system is almost impossible to abide by," argued Carlos Gutierrez, former secretary of commerce and a Wilson Center Board member. Immigrants-and American employers who seek to hire them--face a warren of costly delays and obstacles in the legal process. …

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