Across the world, immigration policy hinges on the tension between desire to control large-scale immigration and the need to recognise the economic importance of migrant labour. Nowhere has this been resolved in any satisfactory way. In most countries where they settle it is politically charged to the point of paralysis. In the United States over the past couple of years we have seen the opening, and now apparent closing, of an opportunity to replace a thoroughly dysfunctional and ineffective immigration system with an orderly, just and humane approach.
The latest installment of the American immigration debate has been marked by muddled presidential leadership, deep splits in the Republican party and an intransigent stand-off between two versions of policy reform.