Theresa Cardinal Brown

Only legislation, not litigation, can fix our immigration challenges
As advocates and administration look to the courts, Congress is MIA

Last month, the American Civil Liberties Union sued the Trump administration over its new requirement that asylum seekers remain in Mexico while their claims are processed in the United States. With advocates and the administration repeatedly turning to the courts to resolve our nation’s immigration challenges, you could be forgiven if this news made you feel like Bill Murray’s character in the film “Groundhog Day.”

But these developments are anything but funny. The constant litigation has weakened our capacity to pursue meaningful immigration legislation through compromise, while rolling the dice on the fates of millions of immigrants themselves.

The emergency at the border isn’t national. It’s regional
We’re dealing with a regional humanitarian crisis that no wall can solve

OPINION — President Donald Trump has claimed again and again that the influx of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border constitutes a humanitarian and national security crisis that merits construction of a border wall to protect the country and deter people from making the perilous journey north.

He is half right. An honest assessment of what’s driving these people — often families with small children — to come to the United States shows we’re dealing with a regional humanitarian crisis that no wall can solve.

Opinion: Enough of Border Crackdowns. Try Staffing Up the Courts
Untenable backlog in our immigration court system is prompting tough choices

It was a week of recriminations as lawmakers, civil society organizations and the public slammed the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” criminal prosecution policy that split families apart at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The outcry caught the administration flat-footed, leading to a new executive order that supposedly keeps children with their parents. But the fix still requires families to be detained (possibly in violation of an existing court order), and it doesn’t address the key issue that is prompting these hard choices in the first place — the untenable backlog in our immigration court system.

Opinion: It’s the Summer of No Love for American Tourism
The economy is part of the immigration debate, whether we like it or not

Graduation season is wrapping up and summer vacation season is just beginning, rites of passage enjoyed by Americans and visitors alike. Foreign tourists flock to America’s beaches, parks and cities, and students travel from all over the world to study in our world-class universities. But data suggests this summer may bring fewer of both.

Tourists and students account for roughly 80 percent of total non-immigrant visas issued by the U.S. each year. They spur demand for goods and services, which pads economic growth and helps to power the tourism industry and higher education system.

Opinion: Once Again on Immigration, a Victory for the All-Or-Nothings
With DACA tied up in the courts, the urgency for Congress to act is gone

When President Donald Trump travels to California later this month to view the prototype designs for a new border wall, perhaps he will take a moment to think about what could have been. Because as things stand, those eight 30-foot-long samples are the only walls likely to be built.

Trump could have had his wall. He had numerous opportunities to get it, dating all the way back to the “Chuck and Nancy” deal last fall. All he had to do was agree to something he says he wants — a permanent replacement for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program he canceled in September.

Opinion: On DACA, Not All Bitter Pills Are Poison
To break the stalemate, lawmakers from both parties will need to swallow proposals they don’t like

After months of talks, Congress is still stuck in the throes of an immigration debate it didn’t want but now needs to settle. And after months of signaling — and then retracting — support for various proposals, President Donald Trump finally laid out a clear, one-page summary of a deal he would accept on permanent protections for DACA recipients and “Dreamers.”

Both Republicans and Democrats had hoped the plan would help move things forward. Instead, it managed to anger both sides quickly and equally. That reaction is often the sign of a viable compromise, but this plan instead joined nearly every other immigration proposal — from hard-right enforcement-heavy bills, to progressive attempts at a clean DREAM Act, to the bipartisan Gang of Six proposal — as a nonstarter.

Opinion: Why a DACA Fix Next Year Would Come Too Late
It takes months for the government to ramp up a new program

As Congress speeds toward its year-end pileup of “must pass” legislation, a legislative fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, remains in the balance. President Donald Trump insists it should not be tied to the annual appropriations scramble. But many Democrats — and a few Republicans — are calling for the issue to be addressed this year, with some threatening to withhold their votes to fund the government if legislation for so-called Dreamers is not attached.

Beyond the political posturing and jockeying for leverage, there is a pragmatic reason why any fix, if that is what both parties really want, should happen this year: it takes months for the government to ramp up a new program.