Schumer's Marketing Lesson for "Comprehensive Reform"

By Jerry Kammer and Jerry Kammer on June 25, 2009

A powerful Senate advocate of "comprehensive immigration reform" legislation Wednesday offered some marketing advice to those who want to help him get the bill passed: Call illegal immigration by its name.

"When we use phrases like 'undocumented workers,' we convey a message to the American people that their government is not serious about combating illegal immigration, which the American people overwhelmingly oppose," said Sen. Charles Schumer, chairman of the Judiciary immigration subcommittee. "If you don’t think it’s illegal you’re not going to say it. I think it is illegal and wrong and we have to change it."

Speaking at the Migration Policy Institute’s Sixth Annual Immigration Policy Conference at the Georgetown Law School in Washington. the New York Democrat said Congress will not be able to pass the legislation "until the American people are convinced that we will stop future flows of illegal immigration.

Schumer also provided an outline of what he called "seven principles" to form the framework of a bill that could receive broad congressional support. He made it clear his approach to changing illegal immigration consists largely in directing it to vastly expanded channels of legal immigration.

This description of Schumer's seven principles is taken verbatim from his speech:

  1. Illegal immigration is wrong. A primary goal of comprehensive immigration reform must be to dramatically curtail future illegal immigration.

  2. Operational control of our borders, through significant additional increases in infrastructure, technology and border personnel must be achieved within a year of enactment.

  3. A biometric-based employment verification system with tough enforcement and auditing is necessary to significantly diminish the job magnet that attracts illegal aliens to the United States and to provide certainty and simplicity for employers.

  4. All illegal aliens present in the United States on the date of enactment of our bill must quickly register their presence with the United States government and submit to a rigorous process of converting to legal status and earning the path to citizenship, or face imminent deportation.

  5. Family immigration is a cornerstone value of our immigration system. By dramatically reducing illegal immigration, we we can create more room for family immigration and employer-based immigration.

  6. We must encourage the world’s best and brightest individuals to come to the United States and create the new technologies and businesses that will employ countless American workers. But we must discourage businesses from using our immigration laws as a means to obtain temporary and less expensive foreign labor to replace capable American workers.

  7. We must create a system that converts the current flow of primarily low skill illegal immigrants into the United States into a more manageable and controlled flow of legal immigrants who can be absorbed by our economy.

If you enjoyed this blog, check out two others on Sen. Chuck Schumer: We Promise to Keep Enforcing the Law, Honest! and The New Sheriff in Town.