By Senator Mark R. Warner
Some would argue that the best way to fix our broken immigration system is for Congress to take a piecemeal, fragmented approach. But the truth is, there are practical reasons why a comprehensive fix represents a more effective and practical solution to this large and complex problem.
No matter how many billions of dollars we spend on border security, if we don't fix our visa system to make legal entry more attractive than illegal entry, we'll still have the same problem we started with. People come to the U.S. illegally because of powerful economic incentives -- they're looking for jobs. If we don't address employment verification, improve security processes, create pathways for STEM graduates and provide a legal way for DREAMers to pursue educational opportunities, then we are wasting vital opportunities to grow our economy. These issues are inextricably linked to each other. A piecemeal approach will resolve some problems while making others worse, and may even create unforeseeable challenges down the road.
A comprehensive bill represents the best chance of getting passed by Congress. Individual bills, which have been tried over the past decade, inevitably get bogged down by competing interests. Some want to focus only on border control, while others are more interested in designing a path to citizenship. The truth is, we need both of those elements. One without the other will not get the job done.
With comprehensive, bipartisan legislation, we can strike a proper balance where everybody gets something and no one gets everything they want. The comprehensive and bipartisan Senate bill isn't perfect. It's a compromise. Democrats don't get everything they want, and neither do Republicans.
But if it's enacted, it would represent the most ambitious enforcement plan in recent memory. The American people want us to get this done.