Letter to the president on his executive action
Mr. President, we largely agree with you on the immigration issue. But we question the wisdom of taking executive action to implement your preferred policies, while snubbing Congress and the legislative process. We wish you hadn’t done it.
Immigration reform is always difficult and unavoidably controversial. There are so many variables. Crafting legislation that is fair to all, while also being economically sensible, is fraught with peril. It requires a balancing act – not a one-sided presidential dictate.
From H1B Visas for high-skilled workers to H2A “green cards” for those working in the agricultural sector to properly defining refugee status and fairly defining family reunification, the details of immigration policy require careful consideration. Add to those factors the need to “do right” by those who arrived in our country through the established citizenship process and the goal of discouraging future illegal immigration and you can easily see why major reform only occurs every twenty or thirty years.
Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.) served in the House from 1985 to 2003. He is a fellow at the German Marshall Fund and a consultant at Kissinger McLarty Associates. Tim Penny (D-Minn.) served in the House from 1983 to 1995. He is president and CEO of the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation.