There is an interesting article by Phil Kretsedemas, co-editor of Keeping Out the Other: A Critical Introduction to Immigration Enforcement Today, on History News Network which looks at the history of immigration policy and how the United States has defined the concept of “illegal alien.” The article also offers suggestions for creating a more realistic and effective policy toward undocumented migrants that considers changes in migration patterns and the changing demands of the global economy.
Part of the problem, Kretsedemas suggests, is that current policies and the national conversation surrounding undocumented migrants relies on an older understanding of migration patterns that “still seems to be lodged in a paradigm that is organized around border control.” What this misses is the massive increase in temporary visitors who enter the United States every year. These visitors, include tourists, workers and students with visas, and undocumented workers, most of whom are vital participants in the U.S. global economy and are found in almost every employment sector, including health services, child care, manufacturing, and agriculture.
At the end of the article, Kretsedemas offers a multi-pronged strategy for reducing the undocumented population. He cites four areas that require special focus:
* Tracking and decriminalizing legal status violations
* Revisiting current immigration quotas
* Eliminating exploitative hiring practices
* Cross-national planning