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University of Denver panel calls for immigration reform: Put U.S. security first

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Change priorities or lose global competitive edge, panel warns in new report


DENVER— A nonpartisan panel of leaders in business, government and education says it’s time to put United States interests first as immigration reform takes center stage in 2010. The new report moves beyond earlier failed efforts to reform immigration policy by putting aside politics and finding aggressive, pragmatic solutions.

With U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano calling for comprehensive reform in 2010, the report is timed to help policy makers as they wade into what could be the biggest, most contentious and most talked about issue of the coming year.

Secure, government-issued worker identification cards, an English language requirement for permanent residence, greater flexibility in issuing work visas and stronger borders are key among the 25 recommendations for overhauling United States immigration policies just released by the University of Denver Strategic Issues Program.

The report released today (Dec. 9), Architecture for Immigration Reform: Fitting the Pieces of Public Policy, follows a year of study led by Panel Chair Jim Griesemer. The 20-member panel met with more than 30 experts in law enforcement, labor union leadership, governance, academics and business. Speakers included immigration experts; Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter and former Govs. Dick Lamm and Bill Owens; a state attorney general; a U.S. attorney; and leaders in venture capital, education and health care.

Recommendations fall into five areas: national security, social vitality, economic enhancement, family unification, and refugee concerns – in that order. The common thread throughout is a shift in national priorities to focus first on policies that benefit the United States.

Immigration reform has vexed political leaders for decades. But in November, Napolitano said she sees a “major shift” in political circles. Leading up to the debate ahead, Griesemer and the panel sought nonpartisan solutions rooted in reason, not emotion.

“Immigration affects our national security, shapes the fabric of our society and impacts our economic future,” Griesemer says. “Few topics are more consequential, and few have been more resistant to resolution … The goal has been to provide a sound foundation for policy, a comprehensive view of the issue, a balanced perspective and a logical ordering of ideas.”

“An effective immigration policy is about applying enlightened self-interest to capture a national opportunity,” the panel reports. “It is about creating benefit to the United States in a highly competitive global economy.”

Visit to read the report and learn more about the Strategic Issues Program.


The University of Denver is committed to improving the human condition and engaging students and faculty in tackling the major issues of our day. The oldest private university in the Rocky Mountain West with more than 12,300 students in undergraduate and graduate study, DU is a nationally recognized research university and ranks among the top 100 Universities in the U.S.


Contact:  Chase Squires
Phone: (303) 871-2660

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