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Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

The “Crime” of Working in America: Immigration Laws Need to Catch Up to Reality

In 2008, when I returned from trips abroad at Boston’s Logan International Airport, I was greeted by pictures of the president and the regional director for Homeland Security, Lorraine Henderson, who had the responsibility for the enforcement of immigration law in the northeastern US. In December of 2008, Lorraine Henderson was arrested. Her crime? She employed Fabiana Bitencourt to clean her house. The rub: Fabiana was a Brazilian national who didn’t have authorization to work in the United States. When Fabiana suggested she might return to Brazil for a visit, Lorraine advised that since enforcement was based only on border interdiction, Fabiana ran risks crossing the border but almost no risk in staying put. Lorraine Henderson was charged with “encouraging” and “inducing” an alien to remain in the country illegally.

Two Cheers for the New Republican Proposal on "STEM" Immigration

Republicans in the US House of Representatives have proposed a step toward immigration reform. The bill would change who can receive an annual block of 55,000 US permanent resident visas. Currently those visas go to people from countries with relatively low rates of immigration to the US via a lottery system. The new bill would close that program and reallocate the visas toward people earning doctorates in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Development-Friendly Immigration Reform in the USA

Not surprisingly, development issues played no role in the recent US presidential election.  Perhaps surprisingly, immigration reform is now a major second term agenda.  CGD has been promoting migration as not just a domestic but also a development issue for some time, with my Let Their People Come, the Place Premium, new empirical research that shows the massive gains to unskilled labor mobility, the inclusion of mig

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