The way forward on immigration

First, the public deserves to know whether the nation’s borders are secure and how effectively their border-protection tax dollars are being spent. To this end, we believe Congress should authorize the establishment of a set of scientifically valid measures to assess progress on border control. These measures should be audited by an independent commission, provide a comprehensive picture of the flow of unauthorized immigration and be published periodically for public scrutiny. More transparency should lead to greater public accountability.

Controlling the border, however, is only part of the solution. Protecting America’s national security also depends on our ability to enforce our immigration laws within the country. Effectively responding to the problem of individuals overstaying their visas is critical. The new border-control measurement system must therefore also quantify the percentage of individuals who stay in the United States after their visas have expired.

Second, any new system must be fair to those who have followed the rules. No unauthorized immigrant should receive a green card before visas have become available for all who have applied through legal channels and are waiting in line, with the exception of individuals brought here as children. Visas for those currently in line should be made available within a maximum 10-year period.

At the same time, we must appropriately deal with the 11 million individuals residing in the United States without authorization. These individuals are not living up to their economic potential, are open to exploitation and cost us millions of dollars annually in law enforcement and other expenses. No matter how you spin it, what exists today is de facto amnesty, a situation we can no longer afford or tolerate.