38 min

What Biden Is Still Getting Wrong on Immigration The Argument

    • News

Our immigration system is broken. So is the way we talk about it.

Most conversations about immigration come down to a yes-or-no debate. Two sides talking over each other with very little constructive and achievable propositions. That might be part of the reason that little effective reform has made its way through Congress in the past 20 years, despite calls from both Democrats and Republicans for an overhaul.

In reality, immigration is a complicated system and there’s no easy answer to the problems it entails. This week, Jane Coaston breaks down one group of approaches that could have a significant impact on individuals and families who want to enter the United States: temporary work programs.

These programs allow migrants to come to the United States to work based on the labor needs of certain industries. And because their legal status is tied to employment, workers are beholden to their bosses and the companies that hire them. Oftentimes, the companies use that power to take advantage of workers.

The guests today analyze these programs and debate whether they should be expanded without other changes or what reforms are necessary to ensure workers aren’t exploited. Michael Clemens is an economist and the director of migration, displacement and humanitarian policy at the Center for Global Development. Daniel Costa is a human rights lawyer and the director of immigration law and policy research at the Economic Policy Institute.

Mentioned in this episode:

Daniel Costa’s paper “Temporary Migrant Workers or Immigrants? The Question for U.S. Labor Migration”

Michael Clemens’s study on the Bracero program in a paper he co-wrote called “Immigration Restrictions as Active Labor Market Policy”

“Making President Trump’s Bed: A Housekeeper Without Papers” in The New York Times

“The Fixer: Visa Lottery Chronicles” by Charles Piot with Kodjo Nicolas Batema

Love listening to New York Times podcasts? Help us test a new audio product in beta and give us your thoughts to shape what it becomes. Visit nytimes.com/audio to join the beta.

Our immigration system is broken. So is the way we talk about it.

Most conversations about immigration come down to a yes-or-no debate. Two sides talking over each other with very little constructive and achievable propositions. That might be part of the reason that little effective reform has made its way through Congress in the past 20 years, despite calls from both Democrats and Republicans for an overhaul.

In reality, immigration is a complicated system and there’s no easy answer to the problems it entails. This week, Jane Coaston breaks down one group of approaches that could have a significant impact on individuals and families who want to enter the United States: temporary work programs.

These programs allow migrants to come to the United States to work based on the labor needs of certain industries. And because their legal status is tied to employment, workers are beholden to their bosses and the companies that hire them. Oftentimes, the companies use that power to take advantage of workers.

The guests today analyze these programs and debate whether they should be expanded without other changes or what reforms are necessary to ensure workers aren’t exploited. Michael Clemens is an economist and the director of migration, displacement and humanitarian policy at the Center for Global Development. Daniel Costa is a human rights lawyer and the director of immigration law and policy research at the Economic Policy Institute.

Mentioned in this episode:

Daniel Costa’s paper “Temporary Migrant Workers or Immigrants? The Question for U.S. Labor Migration”

Michael Clemens’s study on the Bracero program in a paper he co-wrote called “Immigration Restrictions as Active Labor Market Policy”

“Making President Trump’s Bed: A Housekeeper Without Papers” in The New York Times

“The Fixer: Visa Lottery Chronicles” by Charles Piot with Kodjo Nicolas Batema

Love listening to New York Times podcasts? Help us test a new audio product in beta and give us your thoughts to shape what it becomes. Visit nytimes.com/audio to join the beta.

38 min

Top Podcasts In News

More by The New York Times