Interview: Despite Recession, Immigration Reforms Essential to Normalize Labor Flows

Interview, Council on Foreign Relations, 3/16/2009

Michael Chertoff

Michael Chertoff

The global economic crisis has triggered calls in some U.S. policy circles for tightening immigration rules to prevent non-Americans from competing for scarce jobs. Yet despite conditions, lawmakers should be preparing changes to immigration policy in anticipation of the country’s economic revival, says former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who had jurisdiction over immigration issues. “We are going to need to have some workers coming from other parts of the world to do the jobs that Americans will not be willing to do,” Chertoff said. In addition, he said, U.S. officials should increase contacts with Mexican authorities to work out a system for rationalizing the legal flow of migrant workers into the United States. He also stressed that tough enforcement of immigration laws, at the workplace and border, must be at the core of comprehensive reforms.

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