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Progressive Ideas on Immigration Reform

Progressive Ideas on Immigration Reform

Progressive Ideas on Immigration Reform

The United States of America has been a melting pot of various cultures and ethnicities for centuries. It is a country that is proud of its diversity and the values of inclusivity that it espouses. And, immigration has been a key factor that has helped shape the United States the way it is today. However, despite its importance in shaping the country, the issue of immigration has been a contentious one for a very long time. There are those who believe that immigration should be restricted and those who believe that there should be no restrictions on immigration. To that end, progressivism has developed policies that strive to strike a balance between allowing for the necessity of immigration while ensuring national security and the wellbeing of American citizens.

In this article, we will explore the various progressive ideas on immigration reform and how they seek to address these competing interests.


The question of immigration reform has been a thorny issue for the United States government for decades. It has been a primary focus of recent Presidential campaigns, but the answers to these questions can be elusive.

In this article, we will examine the different policies that progressives have proposed to address the issue of immigration reform in the United States. It begins by examining the historical context of immigration into the US, the impact that immigration has on the country’s economy, the effect of recent policy changes, and the current state of immigration in the US.

We will also examine how progressives have been at the forefront of the fight to provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the United States.

Brief History of US Immigration

The United States of America was founded by immigrants. The first settlers in the country were immigrants who came from Europe in search of a new life. The laws governing immigration in the US have changed throughout history, with each era reflecting the political and social climate at the time.

From 1790 to 1920, the US had an open borders policy, which meant that almost anyone who wished to could immigrate to the country. From 1921 to 1965, the government implemented strict restrictions on the number of immigrants allowed into the United States, based on nationality.

It was not until the 1960s that the US began to allow more minorities and people of color to enter the country, although there were still strict limits on the number of immigrants allowed in general. In 1986, the government passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act, which granted amnesty to 3 million undocumented immigrants who had been living in the US since 1982.

The Impact of Immigration on the US Economy

Immigration has always had a significant impact on the US economy. On the one hand, immigration has helped to fuel economic growth, while on the other hand, it has put pressure on the labor market and wages.

According to a report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Committee on the Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration, the primary reason for immigrants coming to the US is primarily economic. The report said that immigration can lead to economic growth by increasing the workforce, contributing to economic growth, and strengthening the country’s social safety nets.

The report also found that while some American workers experience a reduction in wages due to the influx of immigrants, the overall impact of immigration on the economy is overall positive, particularly for immigrants themselves, who can access better-paying jobs and higher living standards.

Recent Policy Changes

President Trump has been at the forefront of the move to restrict immigration into the United States. In January 2017, he signed an executive order to ban people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

The ban sparked a nationwide protest, and the executive order was modified several times before eventually being upheld by the Supreme Court.

In 2018, Trump also implemented a policy that separated children from their families at the border. The policy drew condemnation from across the political spectrum, with many calling for its immediate repeal.

The policy was eventually rescinded by executive order, but its legacy is still felt in the many families that were torn apart by the policy.

The Current State of Immigration in the US

As of now, America’s immigration system is highly dysfunctional and has been in need of reform for a very long time. There are an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States, with many of them living in constant fear of deportation.

Since the Trump presidency, immigration enforcement has been significantly ramped up, leading to the deportation of thousands of immigrants. The new enforcement policies have led to an increase in the number of cases of family separation at the border, and many undocumented immigrants have gone into hiding, fearful of arrest and deportation.

The humanitarian crisis at the Southern border is getting worse, and the current administration’s policies are doing more harm than good.

Progressive Ideas on Immigration Reform

There are several progressive ideas that have been proposed for reforming the US immigration system. Many of these proposals seek to strike a balance between allowing for the necessity of immigration while ensuring national security and the wellbeing of American citizens.

1. Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Comprehensive immigration reform is an all-encompassing approach to immigration policy that seeks to address all aspects of the issue. Under comprehensive immigration reform, there would be a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, as well as reforms to the legal immigration system.

The reforms could include family reunification programs, increased visa availability, and greater protections against discrimination. The bill would be designed to create a more humane, merit-based, and sustainable immigration system.

2. Refugee and Asylum Programs

Refugee and asylum programs would make it easier for refugees and asylum seekers to come to the United States. This approach would create a more compassionate and streamlined process for those fleeing persecution, terror, or other forms of violence in their homeland to settle in the United States.

Investing in refugee and asylum seekers would result in healthier and more integrative communities that contribute to the social and economic fabric of their new nation.

3. Strengthening Worker Protections

The economic benefits of immigration in the US cannot be understated. However, many argue that the presence of undocumented immigrants puts pressure on the labor market, leading to lower wages and simpler working conditions.

Progressive immigration reform ideas would strengthen worker protections and strive to ensure job security and fair wages for all workers in the country, regardless of their immigration status.

4. Reducing the Backlog in Immigration Citizenship Processing

Citizenship currently takes several years after an individual has completed the naturalization process due to a growing backlog of cases. Addressing the backlogged case through administrative efforts to streamline the application process is important to ensure both prompt justice and manageable workload.

5. Protecting the DREAMers

DREAMers are undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was signed during the Obama administration as a way to protect DREAMers from deportation and provide a pathway to citizenship.

The Trump administration has attempted to end the program, but the Supreme Court has ruled that DREAMers are still protected under the program. Progressive policies seek to preserve protections for DREAMers as well as extending the opportunity for them to apply for green cards.


Immigration is a complex issue that requires a balanced approach that accounts for the needs of immigrants as well as the needs of American citizens. Progressive policies seek to provide a pathway towards citizenship and ensure that immigrants are treated with dignity and respect.

The ideas outlined in this article provide some insight into the progressive vision for the future of immigration in the US. These proposals aim to improve the lives of undocumented immigrants, strengthen worker protections, stimulate economic growth, and support refugees and asylum seekers.

As we move into the future, the focus on immigration reform will become ever more important, and it will be up to policymakers to strike the right balance between national security and compassion.

In conclusion, the ideas mentioned here aren’t the only ones worth considering, but it provides a comprehensive view of the progressive stand on immigration reform. We do hope this article serves as a source of information and inspiration for future immigration policies that uphold American values and ensure that the US continues to be a beacon of hope for the vulnerable.

The term “progressivism” is common conflated with the term “liberalism” as regards American political ideologies. To a large extent, this is not such a stretch or unfair association. The comparison is apt on a number of levels, including mutual advocacy for the formation of labor unions, opposition to armed conflict, support for the establishment of a universal health care policy, and the continued presence and improvement of a minimum wage in the unskilled workforce.

Nonetheless, this tethering of progressive thought to the liberal mind belies the broader applications of the former. Technically, progressive movements in the United States and abroad have less to do with whether an individual leans left or right on the political spectrum, and more to do with the accomplishment of genuine, visible reform.

Providing a path to citizenship for all people immigrating to the United States, regardless of subjective assessments of merit;

Increasing the number of

Changing USA immigration law to eliminate detention and

Providing better protections for asylum

Raising the quota caps on certain preference classes of green cards and

Recognizing the role those immigrating to the country play in the national labor force.

At the same time, though, some progressives call for USA immigration law reforms that would limit the number of people immigrating to the country, especially with regard to the impact on the environment. Their rationale is that unrestricted immigration–legal or illegal–-will prove to drain natural resources more quickly, provide unfair competition for disaffected American laborers, and cause overcrowding and unemployment. Regardless of personal beliefs, the USA immigration system needs to be reformed.