The common mistake we make in our immigration policy is that too many people start with the assumption that immigration is a domestic issue.
In reality, it is an international issue.
Because the movement of people around the world is first and foremost an international issue, our policies toward immigration should be driven by international relations.
Our immigration policy needs to look country by country to see what is going on with that country.
Let's say we are allies with a country with liberal immigration policies and we have migration parity with that nation. Emigration to and immigration from that country should be relative easy.
In contrast, if a country has punitive immigration policies or there is a great imbalance of migration, then we need to address those issues.
Sometimes there are really nasty things going on in the world.
For example, a few years back, China was oppressing its Tibetan population. The United States took in many Tibetans with the goal of helping to preserve their language and culture.
There is value in diversity. If a group is threatened with extinction, then there is value in finding a place where the culture can continue to exist.
Sadly, taking in refugees during an ethnic cleansing enables and rewards the rogues engaged in the ethnic cleansing. If a hole bunch of people show up at the border saying their land was taken and they were pointed to the US, we should do something about the theft of land.
Colonization is another issue that mars migration. Historically powerful groups would send people abroad to colonize foreign lands for political gain. Colonization has proven to be a destructive thing.
It still goes on. In the 1970s, Turkey sent a large number of people to create an Islamic majority on the island of Cyprus.
Russian immigration to the Baltic States last century appears to have been an effort to crush and subdue the Baltic people.
Democracies are prone to demographic manipulation by migration. Democracies must question large migrations. If politically powerful groups are moving people about for apparent political reasons, we must take note and respond.
Some of the Islamic migration to Europe of late appears to be colonization and not immigration.
There have been many cases in American history in which groups manipulated migration to gain local political control. Native Americans can justly point to immigration as the reason for the loss of their lands.
I am pro-migration, but I also realize that the world must carefully monitor migration for shenanigans. Ideally an immigration policy should study migration patterns and be nimble enough to respond to abuse.
The fact that migration is first and foremost an international issue does not mean that immigration does not have domestic connotations.
Domestically, America has some really big problems with illegal immigration. The problems generally start with illegal border crossings or visa violations.
The visa system was established to facilitate world travel. A visa is a signed contract that says a person will enter the country on this date and depart on that date.
A violation of a visa should be handled in the context of the visa and not as an immigration case. The systematic violation of our visa system is troubling not only because it creates undocumented workers, but because the violations put the visa system and international travel in jeopardy.
A visa is a contract. The contractual penalty for violating a visa is deportation. Deportation sounds mean in day to day context, but the context of a visa violation in the contract of the visa.
Taking a person's car as a punishment sounds evil and cruel, but if the repossessing a car because someone violated the terms of the loan on the car is proper in the context of the loan.
Immigration is not simply an internal policy. World migration is an international issue. As a nation of immigrants, it is my hope that the US will continue to play a leading role in promoting liberal migration policies.
IMHO, whenever there appears to be migration parity, then migration should be easy.
If migration appears to be putting an indigenous group at a disadvantage to a larger power (colonization), the US and the international community should take note.
Whenever there is a great disparity in migration, we need to figure out why and seek to find ways to address the cause of inequity.
The demographics and political landscape of the world is in constant flux, which means that we need a nimble immigration policy that changes with the times.
America should be proactive in encouraging international travel. International travel depends on the integrity of the visa system.
By enforcing our internal immigration policies we actually make it easier to promote liberalization of migration policies abroad.
Because migration is an international issue, attempts to derive immigration policy from the aether or attempts at comprehensive immigration reform are all doomed to fail. The ideal system is based on careful observation and reaction to international migration policies and issues.