David Bennion: January 2013 Archives

The National Employment Law Center has released a useful summary of immigration reform legislation since 2004, with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) included as a baseline. The most recent bills listed may give us an idea of the contours of the bills Congress is working on now.

One provision in several of the bills that I've been scratching my head about is the requirement to be employed at the time of application for legalization, when by definition, applicants are prohibited from working lawfully. This as much as anything else captures the public confusion about immigrants that has made it so difficult to improve the laws. How do you write a bill that reconciles the fear that immigrants are taking jobs with the fear that they are living off welfare?