We Can Solve Our Immigration Problems


Much of the success of the United States is attributable to the successive waves of immigrants on which our country is built. Yet despite several bipartisan attempts, our political leaders have failed to develop a comprehensive immigration strategy and policy at a time of great need.

Core population growth has stagnated.

Our population is aging rapidly as life expectancy is well ahead of what it was decades ago when long term plans for Social Security and Medicare   were developed.

We have chronic shortages of labor which put an upper limit on supply and create inflationary pressures.

We have a broken system on both the legal and illegal immigration fronts.

  • The legal immigration system is incredibly slow and cumbersome and doesn’t address U.S. quantitative and qualitative needs.
  • Because our borders are not secure, undocumented immigrants pour across our borders causing many issues and questions regarding the characteristics and quantity of those entering illegally.
  • On the other hand, we do have an obligation to accept immigrants

fleeing from countries because they are politically oppressed and seeking asylum. 

  • And then there are 10+ million undocumented people already living in the U.S. What do we do with them? 

So, we have at least three big issues to address:

We need immigrants to help our economy grow and to support our aging seniors as well as to provide economic and social vibrancy and diversity. 

We need a secure border to be able to implement an effective and strong immigration policy and protect the country from having people cross the border that could put us at risk.

We need to provide a path to citizenship or legal working status to the tens of millions of productive people working and living in the U.S. without legal status.


Among the various solutions that could address these three broad problems:

  • Streamline our legal immigration policy.
  • Develop criteria/qualifications for those that desire to work and live in the U.S. Significantly expand the annual number of admitted immigrants.
  • Significantly expand the resources of our Immigration and Naturalization Department as well as ICE, Immigration, Customs and Enforcement.
  • Steamline the process to reduce the time it takes to get potential immigrants approved for legal status.
  • Make the Green Card/Work Permit process easier.
  • Expand the number of temporary workers permitted for seasonal jobs.
  • Allow more foreign graduates the opportunity to work here in the U.S. Once the immigrants are admitted, provide courses and programs to help them assimilateeconomically and culturally.

Provide a pathway to citizenship for the ten million people living here in the country without legal status. Other than habitual criminals, let’s get these people documented so they can become fully contributing members of society.

Secure our borders. Some combination of technology, people/organization, and walls/fences is needed.

  • Increase the resources supporting our Immigration and Naturalization functions, particularly those along our borders.
  • Make it clear that while we welcome immigrants through the legal process, we will turn away those attempting to enter the country illegally.

We call on our political leaders in Washington to address these problems now. Polls show the majority of Americans want to see these issues addressed promptly and in an effective and bipartisan way.

Robert GaryScott GrayPaul HylbertLucie LapovskyLynn LarsonEd SabolHerb Soroca and Becky van der Bogert are founders of  Miracle on the Key, a group of four Democrats and four Republicans devoted to civil dialogue as a means to address our country’s opportunities and problems.

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