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What Does the New Statement on Immigration Reform Actually Mean?

Translating immigration reform buzz words into policy terms.
What Does the New Statement on Immigration Reform Actually Mean?
What Does the New Statement on Immigration Reform Actually Mean?

More than 100 evangelical leaders, including Focus on the Family's Jim Daly, signed a statement listing the values that they say should guide immigration policy. The Evangelical Statement of Principles for Immigration Reform is not a policy proposal with specific recommendations, however. Instead, the statement lays out broad parameters that the signers believe should guide the debate over immigration reform.

The statement calls for a bipartisan solution to immigration reform that meets six criteria:

  1. Respects the God-given dignity of every person
  2. Protects the unity of the immediate family
  3. Respects the rule of law
  4. Guarantees secure national borders
  5. Ensures fairness to taxpayers
  6. Establishes a path toward legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify and who wish to become permanent residents

Of these, only the sixth—the path to citizenship—is likely to touch on anything controversial. The other five principles represent values that the vast majority of Americans believe should drive immigration reform.

Third Way, a think tank that focuses on bipartisan policy solutions, studied their own polls on immigration to see what messages worked best on the public. Third Way's Richard Schmechel and Rachel Laser used the results to write a how-to memo on how advocates of immigration reform should frame their arguments.

"There is a tested message on immigration that works with the vast majority of Americans, including a strong majority of Hispanics. That message is tough, fair, and practical," Schmechel and Laser wrote. "Tough means being tough on border security and workplace enforcement; Fair means FAIR TO TAXPAYERS [sic]; [and] Practical means finding a realistic and lasting way to restore the rule of law."

These results ...

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What Does the New Statement on Immigration Reform Actually Mean?
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