Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Immigration panel calls for real reform, puts U.S. interests first

A University of Denver panel of experts will call for United States immigration reform and will make 25 specific recommendations that put national interests first when dealing with immigration.

The report, “Architecture for Immigration Reform: Fitting the Pieces of Public Policy,” is the work of the nonpartisan DU Strategic Issues Program. Led by Chairman Jim Griesemer, the program’s panel consists of 20 leaders in politics, academics and business who sought input from all perspectives as they dug for the root issues plaguing immigration policies. Throughout 2009, the panel heard from more than 30 experts in all aspects of society, from immigrant rights advocates to high ranking law enforcement officials.

“The panel believes that U.S. immigration policy should be grounded in creating economic and social benefits to the nation as a whole while maintaining national security,” the report states.

In addition to making national interests a top priority, the report suggests ways to curtail illegal immigration, simplify the visa process and deal with the 10 million–12 million immigrants already in the country illegally.

The full list of recommendations will be delivered at a news conference at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 9 in the Renaissance Room in DU’s Mary Reed Building. The news conference will be streamed live at The full report will be posted on the Web site following the news conference. In addition, a live online chat will be held at the site on Dec. 10. A full list of panel members, speakers and videos of presentations made throughout the year is also available on the site.

The recommendations come at what may be a critical time for immigration. In November, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said her department already is providing technical assistance to members of Congress working on a plan and said she is looking to 2010 for a major Congressional push to reform immigration policies.

Some of the experts the panel heard from included Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter and former governors Dick Lamm and Bill Owens, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, Colorado Department of Public Safety Executive Director Peter Weir and local police officials. From a national and international perspective, the panel sought input from the president of the National Venture Capital Association, Canada’s immigration consul, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

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