Immigration reform advocates are stuck on the sidelines as Congress continues to do nothing about much.
In the interim, the University of Denver has weighed into the fray with a thoughtful and constructive report which would grant "provisional legal status" to current so-called illegal immigrants.
The university gathered some 20 citizens on to a panel which spent 2009 hearing from pro and anti-reform advocates.
Immigration reform needs a pragmatic and aggressive approach and needs to focus on U.S. interests first.
The report singles out the following as essential for U.S. interests:
Government-issued worker ID cards
English language requirement for permanent residence
Greater flexibility in work visas
These are just four of 25 recommendations they make for overhauling the nation's immigration policies.
The panel heard expert testimony from 30 experts in law enforcement, labor union leadership, governance, academics and business.
Speakers included immigration experts; Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter and former Govs. Dick Lamm and Bill Owens; a state attorney general; a U.S. attorney; and leaders in venture capital, education and health care.
The panel's recommendations were divided into five areas;
1. National security
2. Social vitality
3. Economic enhancement
4. Family unification
5. Refugee concerns
The report emphasizes that the U.S. needs to attend to its own needs first. For example, the panel would do away with much of the family reunification allowance.
They say that adult children, married sons or daughters and brothers and sisters should not be considered, saying that such "extended family immigration," is not consistent with U.S. interests.
This is bound to cause an outcry among immigration advocates but James R. Greisemer, the chair of the panel says immigration needs to be treated as a security and economic issue.
“Immigration affects our national security, shapes the fabric of our society and impacts our economic future,” Griesemer says.
Interestingly, the report also says there are "between 10 to 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. and that 8 million of them are working."
Read the full report here.