A SYMPOSIUM ON REFRAMING THE IMMIGRATION DEBATE
In January 2012, ImmigrationWorks and the New America Foundation cosponsored a half-day symposium, Beyond the Dream: Changing the Conversation about Immigration. The question on the table: how to break the logjam on immigration? Is there a better way to underscore the urgency of the issue? To enlist voter support? To break through to lawmakers sitting on the sidelines? Participants – a diverse group of journalists, advocates and social scientists – agreed: the answer is to frame the issue in terms of American interests, not moral absolutes. Exhibit A: the children of unauthorized immigrants. A panel of experts tried out a new line of argument that steered clear of immigrant rights and focused instead on the costs – to America and American taxpayers – of allowing this next generation to grow up on the margins of society, ill-educated, lacking skills and with so little hope that they see no reason to do well at school or work.