Immigration Reform: Three Things to Know

Immigration Reform: Three Things to Know

January 29, 2013 2:06 pm (EST)

Immigration Reform: Three Things to Know
Explainer Video

Following the unveiling of a new immigration plan by a bipartisan group of senators and its subsequent embrace by President Barack Obama, CFR’s Bernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow Edward Alden offers three reasons why the time may be ripe for a U.S. immigration overhaul:

More From Our Experts
  • Reduced U.S. allure: In the past, immigration reform efforts had failed largely due to fears that amnesty to undocumented immigrants "would be followed with still higher levels of illegal immigration," Alden explains. This is unlikely to happen today because of increased border security and improving economic conditions in Mexico, which have "reduced the allure of the United States," he says.
  • Improved U.S. enforcement: Efforts to ensure that employers only hire those authorized to work in the United States have become more effective, Alden says. "This would do more than any other enforcement measure to turn off the magnet that attracts people to come here illegally," he argues.
  • Economic costs of current policy: Current immigration policy is associated with substantial economic costs to the United States, Alden says, and "a more flexible immigration system that responds to labor market demands could give a huge boost to the U.S. economy."

Top Stories on CFR


Six graphics illustrate the extraordinary level of support the United States has provided Ukraine in its war against Russian invaders.

United States

Amid renewed calls for changes in the world order, U.S. President Joe Biden sought to stress his support for greater inclusion of developing nations in addressing economic, social, and climate concerns.

Climate Change