In his farewell address, former President Ronald Reagan envisioned America as a city “…wind-swept, God-blessed, teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.”
The United States has a proud heritage of welcoming immigrants from around the world.
Immigrants contribute to the diversity of the U.S. culture as well as to the strength of our economy. America is such a desirable place to live that millions of people would immigrate to America if they were allowed to do so. Given that we cannot allow everyone who wants to be an American to gain citizenship, how many people do we allow and how do we prioritize them?
And there are other questions: How should we address illegal immigration? What about illegal immigration by minors (“Dreamers”)? How can we best balance the promise of freedom for immigrants with legitimate concerns about national security, the labor market, cultural assimilation, public health, taxes, public safety nets, and more?
We address these questions in this policy focus with the view that, like any sovereign country, the U.S. must control immigration, U.S. immigration law must put American interests first, and the rule of law must be followed.