One example—within our own borders—is California. University of Southern California Professor
Abraham Lowenthal examines in our third article the
lessons that have evolved from the most diverse state
in the U.S. and how they can lead the way to sensible
immigration reform and bilateral policy.
Thomas m. Barwick iNc,; ge TTy; paul Taylor/ge TTy; ZuBiN shroff/pho ToNica/ge TTy
Of course, the flow of Mexicans and Central Americans to the U.S. remains one of the most visible symbols of immigration today. In three of our articles our
authors propose ways to improve and regularize immigration. In the first, Demetrios Papademetriou argues
that while the North American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA) was never intended to serve as a framework
for immigration, it can help alleviate the pressures if
future Mexican governments follow consistent economic policies that will allow the country to seize
the advantage of free trade. Tamar Jacoby explores the
long-term solution for resolving the vexing and volatile issue of the 12 million undocumented immigrants
in the U.S. that ultimately torpedoed the Bush administration’s comprehensive immigration reform bill.
Given the woefully inadequate slots for guest
workers, expanding the program for temporary workers is essential to reducing undocumented workers
and meeting labor demands. Jennifer Gordon lays out
an innovative approach to increase labor circularity
and protecting workers’ rights.
Our last two articles in the series look at the current climate within the U.S. toward immigrants and
their prospects for upward mobility. The first of these,
by Cheryl Little, looks at the human cost of the anti-immigrant rhetoric that has become a steady diet on
certain television shows and talk radio. In graphic
detail, she highlights the ugly realities of racial profiling, vigilante justice and family separation. The second addresses a fundamental, but often overlooked,
issue: how will the U.S. integrate these new generations of immigrants? Without a federal policy to support immigrants to learn English or receive civics
training, the responsibility, says author Alexandra
Délano, lies with the U.S. private sector.
Whatever may come of the U. S. immigration debate,
the challenge of integrating what is the largest number of immigrants (in absolute terms) in U.S. history
remains central. One thing we should be able to generate a consensus on, however, is the need for integration.
We must find the right balance bet ween diversity and
reducing the language, educational and even cultural
differences that reduce opportunity.
In the meantime, we should be able to start with
one basic fact: we all share a history of immigration,
with the tensions and benefits that implies.