Talking Points by Issue


Aug 7, 2020 2 min read

Congress and the Administration must start pursuing fair and practical solutions to America’s broken immigration system and porous borders. David McNew / Staff / Getty Images

Policy Proposals

  1. Establish a merit-based immigration system, in which America selects the majority of future immigrants based on skills, as opposed to the current majority family-based system in which immigrants select future immigrants based on relations.
  2. End chain migration. Congress should cut all or almost all of the current family preferences for extended family, thus ending chain migration.
  3. End universal birthright citizenship. By granting immediate citizenship to anyone born on U.S. soil, regardless of the legal status of the parents, we reward and encourage illegal and exploitative immigration.
  4. Implement effective border security and give immigration law judges summary judgment and contempt authority.
  5. Do not grant amnesty, which undermines the rule of law and encourages more unlawful migration.

Quick Facts

  1. Many countries around the world such as Canada, Australia, and the U.K. successfully use merit-based immigration systems. 56 percent of Canadian immigrants and 62 percent of Australian immigrants are merit based, compared with fewer than 15 percent in the U.S.
  2. In 2016, illegal immigrant births accounted for 7.5 percent of all births in the U.S., totaling over 297,000.
  3. The number of illegal border crossers apprehended or individuals deemed inadmissible at ports of entry more than doubled from 2018 to 2019.
  4. As of October 24, 2018, 786,303 immigration cases were pending in immigration courts, up from 186,090 in 2008.
  5. It is estimated that almost half of the illegal immigrants in the U.S. came here legally and then overstayed their visas.  

How to Talk About Immigration

Safe, Prosperous, and Free

  • U.S. immigration policy should keep the American people safe, prosperous, and free.

An Immigration System for the 21st Century

  • Our current legal immigration system is outdated and fails both immigrants and Americans.
  • Prioritizing “merit”—the ways immigrants can contribute to the country—over distant family connections, like many other countries do, helps ensure immigrants can thrive in our country while maximizing the benefits of immigration for Americans.

Illegal Immigration

  • We have a responsibility to secure the border and enforce our existing laws.
  • The problem with amnesty is clear: It only encourages more unlawful immigration by unfairly favoring those who came to this country illegally over those who follow our laws.
  • Amnesty would overwhelm our already unaffordable and failing entitlement programs.

Step-by-Step Reforms

  • Congress must consider the full range of necessary reforms to legal immigration, border security, and enforcement, using a step-by-step approach to address each on its own merits rather than a comprehensive approach that often leads to amnesty.



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