The current U.S. immigration reform debate focuses too narrowly on oversimplified distinctions between legal and illegal immigration. It ignores the challenges and concerns that are fundamental to the process of immigration, whether legal or illegal. Were illegal immigrants granted amnesty, they would undeniably be relieved of a burden. But the benefits for both them and the Americans bothered by their presence would be far less significant than widely assumed. We argue for policies that would strengthen immigrants' ties towards this political community, efforts that could entail a series of rewards and bargains. In addition, we argue that such efforts should be combined with a more effective enforcement policy.
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