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Once every few decades, the stars align for major immigration legislation.
And crucially, it includes future generations of Americans, who deserve to inherit a society with at least as much opportunity, stability and ecological health as we have inherited from our forebears.
By we mean conserving sufficient natural resources for future human generations to live good lives, and not forcing them to live on polluted, degraded, overcrowded, or otherwise diminished landscapes.
This means immigrants and would-be immigrants, who deserve to be treated humanely and with respect.
It also includes American workers, who can reasonably demand that their government enact policies in their economic interest.
Reduce annual immigration into the United States from its current 1.2 million to between 300,000 and 550,000 people.300,000 is the number implied by the policy proposals of the President’s Council on Sustainable Development in 1996. As the President’s Council on Sustainable Development put it: “Managing population growth, resources, and wastes is essential to ensuring that the total impact of these factors is within the bounds of sustainability.
Stabilizing the population without changing consumption and waste production patterns would not be enough, but it would make an immensely challenging task more manageable.As the Jordan Commission noted, it makes little economic sense to add to an already overlarge low-skilled labor pool, while a commitment to equity requires that “a higher level of job protections should be made available to the most vulnerable in our society.” Accordingly, with respect to legal immigration, the Jordan Commission advocated “a significant redefinition” of admission priorities and a reduction in admission numbers.The Commission concluded that the present legal admission system be “shifted away from the extended family and toward the nuclear family and away from the unskilled and toward the higher-skilled immigrant.” It also proposed steps to reduce illegal immigration through enhanced enforcement along the border and at work sites.PFIR believes that Congress and the Obama administration should avoid pandering to special interests and instead take this opportunity to rethink and refashion immigration policy so as to best further the common good.In this spirit, we provide the following proposal for comprehensive immigration reform, grounded in progressive political principles.Instead, it reflected accommodation to then-current immigration levels and to the basic goals of the nation’s post-1965 immigration policies: family reunification, meeting identifiable labor shortages, and humanitarian asylum.Current immigration policies bring in a preponderance of less-skilled, less-educated workers, who compete directly with low-income Americans, increasing unemployment, fueling economic insecurity and driving down wages for those who can least afford it.In the United States, each is necessary; neither alone is sufficient.” One of the Council’s ten major suggestions for creating a sustainable society was: “Move toward stabilization of U. population.”  With immigration now the main driver of U. population growth, reducing immigration is essential to stabilizing our population.The Commission on Immigration Reform’s recommendation of 550,000 a year did not consider the impact of continued population growth on ecological sustainability.By we mean economic fairness: a more equitable distribution of income, wealth and opportunities.Current levels of economic inequality, which have been growing now for five decades in the United States, are unacceptable.