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What Specific Package of Changes to Law and Policy Are Included in "Comprehensive Immigration Reform?"

Comprehensive immigration reform typically refers to a set of legislative proposals and efforts to overhaul the current immigration system, which many believe is severely broken.
The proposals generally pertain to the following issues:

  • border security
  • reducing family-based and employment-based green card visa backlogs
  • reforming detention practices
  • legalization of undocumented immigrants
  • worksite enforcement
  • creating new non-immigrant visa worker programs
  • strengthening interior enforcement

Several attempts have been made to pass comprehensive immigration reform as one legislative package but none has succeeded. As a result, some of the proposals are now trying to be pushed through individually. A prime example of that is the DREAM Act, which is now a contentious election-year issue. Obama in his State of the Union stated that if Congress can’t agree on a comprehensive immigration reform package (which it can’t), then to send him individual bills that he can sign, like one that would give visas to foreign advanced-degree students.