What would a comprehensive immigration reform that made more sense look like?
1. Immediate family: No U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident or worked related temporary visa holder should have to wait in line for any length of time to have an application to have a spouse, an unmarried child under the age of twenty-one, a disabled and unmarried child, or a disabled or elderly parent immigrate with them.
2. U.S. educated people or U.S. soldiers. People who have obtained four year college degrees, or graduate degrees or two year college degrees in critical specialties like nursing, from accredited U.S. institutions of higher education should be entitled to green cards with their degrees, as should anyone who serves a tour of duty in the U.S. military and is honorably discharged.
3. Simplify employment rules. The employment rules for non-citizen spouses and children of temporary visa holders who are allowed to work should be uniform.
4. High school graduates with weak ties to a home country. Non-citizen kids who have lived for many years in the United States, did not immigrate to the United States as adults, and graduate from a U.S. high school should be entitled to green cards and a short path to U.S. citizenship without regard to any immigration violations while they were minors, and without even the strings that the DREAM Act attaches. A kid who comes to the U.S. at age five or seven is functionally almost indistinguishable fromm a kid who is born in the the U.S. and is likely to have very weak ties to his or her country of birth. We shouldn't impose extra burdens on kids who are functionally integrated into our society because of the alleged sins of their parents. And, high school graduates who are integrated into our society are capable of supporting themselves in the United States, even if their parents or older siblings who immigrated to the U.S. as adults are removed from the U.S.
5. Establish bona fide marriage safe harbors. While there is inevitably some gray area in determining if marriages are bona fide for immigration purposes and fraudulent marriages for immigration purposes are a reality that must be considered, there should be safe harbors, like having had children, or having lived together while legally married for a certain number of years, that make the validity of a marriage for immigration purposes incontestable.
6. Establish a statute of limitations on deportation following illegal entry to the United States. At some point, perhaps eighteen years, someone who has illegally entered the United States should no longer be deportable merely as a consequence of the illegal entry.
7. Don't make illegal entry or unlawful presence, per se, a crime, just make it a ground for deportation.