Last week DHS Secretary Napolitano implied that immigration reform is the next challenge that the administration will tackle. The Secretary's vision of Comprehensive Immigration Reform is a "three legged stool," where the three legs are:
- a commitment to serious and effective enforcement;
- improved legal flows for families and workers; and
- a firm but fair way to deal with those who are already here.
It is the second leg of the chair that appeals to those interested in liberalized Schedule A visa numbers. A law such as HR 2536 will allow for a steady flow of internationally trained nurses and physical therapists and also compel the recruitment community to fund domestic nurse education programs through additional filing fees for visas.
The popular press is beginning to pick up on Sec. Napolitano's message. In the last few days, I have seen these stories and editorials:
New York Times: Their Future Is Ours
Washington Times: Will Democrats Err in Immigration Reforms?
WSJ: Immigration Reform is back on the table (confirms that Sen. Schumer's office is working on producing a "firm but fair bill")
All of the editorials and articles focus on the third leg: a firm but fair way to deal with those who are already here. That aim is important. But the failings of the Immigration and Reform Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 were that it failed to deal with the immigration problems on an on-going basis. IRCA solved the problems of the past, but did nothing to solve the problems of the future.
Toward that end, Sen. Schumer and his staff reportedly are also rewriting part of the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide for improved worker flows, including perhaps a progressive nurse visa policy in line with HR 2536. Legislators and the media should keep in mind that the stool has three legs.