Economist Herbert Stein’s old adage—”If something cannot go on forever, it will stop”—still holds. Take illegal immigration. There are currently somewhere from 11 million to 15 million immigrants living in the United States without legal authorization. Last month, nearly 100,000 people were apprehended or turned away while trying to illegally cross the southern border. Some experts suggest that at least that number made it across without arrest.
The U.S.-Mexican border is essentially wide open. Why? Because there is a general expectation in Mexico and Latin America that American immigration law is unenforced. Or it is so bizarre that simple illegal entry almost always ensures temporary legal residence, pending an asylum hearing.
Stories about foreign workers in the tech sector have been featured prominently in the media. These stories have usually referred to this group as H-1B workers — referring to the specific visa class authorizing their employment here.
As the number of migrants apprehended at the Southwest border hits 100,000 per month, President Donald Trump once again is playing a game of high-stakes brinksmanship as he threatens to shut down the border, or parts of it.
Immigration is a contentious topic. To complicate it further, immigration should often be broken down into several distinct topics. It can mean legal or illegal immigration, it can mean permanent or temporary visas, and it can mean preventing future flows or managing existing stocks.
Hoover Institution fellow Adam White joins a panel discussion about President Trump’s border security emergency declaration. They talk about the constitutional and statutory implications of the president’s declaration and make suggestions for what they think Congress should do in response.
The Conte Initiative on Immigration Reform aims to improve immigration law by providing innovative ideas and clear improvements to every part of the system, from border security to green cards to temporary work visas.