Congress should attempt to execute immigration reforms in multiple steps rather than all at once, says Wall Street Journal columnist Gordon Crovitz
Crovitz advocates the Silicon Valley concept of "minimally viable" launches, which he suggested would have saved the Obama administration a lot of money and a lot of political heartache had the Obamacare website been handled more cautiously.
"The idea is to introduce products with limited features to learn what works and what doesn't work," Crovitz wrote Monday in the Journal.
"Proponents say this approach has a better chance of ultimate success than trying to get everything done at once. This is the opposite of how Washington often operates, as the Obamacare debacle illustrates."
When it comes to immigration reform — a top priority issue for Silicon Valley — Democrats are going for all or nothing, Crovitz added.
"With comprehensive reform looking unlikely, technology leaders should urge the minimally viable approach as the best way to get smarter, more economically beneficial and more humane immigration policies," he writes.
One issue both parties agree on is making it easier for foreigners who get technology degrees from U.S. universities to stay here.
"President [Barack] Obama says he supports the idea of relaxing immigration rules for skilled workers, but last year House Democrats opposed a Republican bill that would have done just that," Crovitz noted. "The Democrats insisted that any visa reform must be part of a broader immigration bill."
The result: nothing has happened on this issue.
Another reform that could easily be passed is the Dream Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. Both Democrats and Republicans support this proposal, Crovitz observed.
"A minimally viable approach to fixing immigration could combine these two ideas," he said, adding that "visa reform would get the U.S. back into the global competition for entrepreneurs, which Canada, Australia and China are now winning.
"For those who oppose citizenship for the estimated 12 million people living here illegally, legalizing those who arrived as children would be a reminder that fellow citizens make the best neighbors,” Crovitz continued.
Crovitz cited the immigration bill passed by the Senate in June
as having "many virtues." But he said it was "weighed down by numerous complex rules and billions of dollars for futile border fencing.
"The ultimate immigration reform would be an iterative system that kept the borders open by matching immigration goals to the country's growing need for more economically productive people," Crovitz continued. "The fastest way to get to this result is to start with workable reforms."
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