Conservatives and immigration reform: Now what?

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Event Summary

At an AEI event on Monday, panelists offered a variety of suggestions for developing and articulating a clear vision of American immigration policy. Alfonso Aguilar of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles argued that the conservative base supports liberalized immigration laws — including what's commonly called "amnesty" — as long as they include border security. Aguilar made the case that immigration reform is in line with traditional conservative, pro-family, and free-market positions.

Brad Bailey of Texas Immigration Solution addressed immigration from his experiences as an entrepreneur, emphasizing how this led to his involvement with immigration policy. He alleged that there is substantial common ground on immigration, with widespread understanding of the defects of the current system.

Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention then discussed how current immigration policy harms America's social fabric, arguing that the majority of Americans are people of goodwill who support reform. He argued that policy should focus on implementing secure and meaningful employment verification.

Ramesh Ponnuru stressed assimilation of immigrants as a key goal of American immigration policy, encouraging immigrants to support themselves, integrate into society, and see themselves — and be seen by others— as Americans. Overall, he encouraged both sides of the debate to understand the legitimate concerns of their opponents.
-- Daniel Rothschild

Event Description

After a close election in which a record number of Latinos voted and a Republican primary season from which no consensus on immigration policy emerged, it is clear that conservatives and free market advocates have yet to develop and articulate a clear vision of American immigration policy. A policy consensus that keeps our borders secure while allowing the levels and types of immigration that fill existing economic needs and welcome new entrepreneurs seems a daunting political challenge.

This panel will discuss what a conservative approach to immigration might look like from the perspectives of law enforcement, people of faith, elected officials, and the business community to identify a new immigration policy that encourages an American culture of competition.

If you unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.

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