Congressional Dysfunction Hampers U.S. Immigration Policies and Actions

A New York Times’ Editorial correctly castigates congressional dysfunction for hampering U.S. immigration policies and actions.[1]

The editorial simply states the dysfunction. “In the past year, more than a million people have entered the United States through the southern border, overflowing shelters and straining public services. Most of the newcomers claim asylum, a status that allows them to be in the country legally but leaves them in limbo. They often must wait years for their cases to be heard, and it can be a lengthy process to obtain legal permission to work.”

This dysfunction is a direct result of the Congress that “has failed to provide the necessary resources to welcome those who are eligible and to turn away those who are not. Instead, overwhelmed immigration officials allow nearly everyone to stay temporarily, imposing enormous short-term costs on states and cities that the federal government hasn’t done enough to mitigate.”

As a result, “the federal government’s negligence is fueling anger against immigrants and stoking divisions” and a “devastating failure to protect people from smugglers, who have made sneaking people into the United States a big business, or from exploitation after they arrive.”

Yet the U.S. needs immigrants to satisfy the demand for more workers. Congress could “raise the level of legal immigration — by increasing the quotas for employment visas and other categories that allow people to come to the United States legally and have the chance to become permanent residents and then citizens.” [2]

The editorial notes that “Gov. Spencer Cox of Utah and Gov. Eric Holcomb of Indiana. . . [are] offering to sponsor immigrants, citing more than 300,000 job vacancies between the two states. ‘In meaningful ways, every U.S. state shares a border with the rest of the world, and all of them need investment, markets and workers from abroad,’ they wrote. ‘That border can remain an embarrassment, or it can become a big asset to us once again.’” These two states, therefore, can join the State of Iowa, which has established state agencies to welcome the resettlement of refugees and other immigrants to meet Iowa’s need for more workers.[3]


[1] Editorial, The Cost of Inaction on Immigration, N.Y. Times (Oct. 7, 2023),

[2] E.g., U.S. Has Long-Term Labor Crisis, (Sept. 26, 2023).

[3] Iowa State Government Encouraging Refugee and Migrant Resettlement, (Feb. 3, 2023).

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As a retired lawyer and adjunct law professor, Duane W. Krohnke has developed strong interests in U.S. and international law, politics and history. He also is a Christian and an active member of Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church. His blog draws from these and other interests. He delights in the writing freedom of blogging that does not follow a preordained logical structure. The ex post facto logical organization of the posts and comments is set forth in the continually being revised “List of Posts and Comments–Topical” in the Pages section on the right side of the blog.

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