Barbour, who along with the other co-chairs of the task force was on call with reporters, said the U.S. needs high-skilled foreigners who graduate from American universities to stay. He stressed the importance of retaining low-skilled workers for agriculture jobs, as well.
“I believe we should be for what is good economic policy in terms of immigration, and it is immigration reform that is needed — in terms of border security, in terms of guest worker programs, in terms of green cards, in terms of making sure people who come here legally on visas don’t overstay their welcome — and we will look at that whole gamut of issues to try to look at this comprehensively.”
Cisneros, the former Housing and Urban Development secretary, spoke to the human aspect of illegal immigration.
“We are going to have to find solutions, like Gov. Barbour said, to deal with the employment issues and the legalization, and hopefully in there somewhere is a pathway to eventual citizenship so we don’t have people living in the shadows illegally, and then later don’t have a permanent underclass,” he said.
However, Rendell noted that while many agree on the need for immigration reform, “the devil is going to be in the details.”
“It is going to be difficult to reach agreement on many issues that are very thorny. I think the Policy Center is going to play an important role in meeting with all the stakeholders,” he said.
The Bipartisan Policy Center Immigration Task Force will be engaging with policy makers, offering their ideas and assistance to help bring about immigration reform. The effort is set to be led by Rebecca Tallent, the former chief of staff to Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain.