Reflections of a Veteran of Past Immigration Battles

Parsing Immigration Policy, Episode 17

By Mark Krikorian and George Fishman on August 19, 2021

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Today’s immigration policy debate focuses on many of the same issues as it did decades ago, including numbers, amnesties, labor impact, fiscal costs, and legislative strategy. In this week’s episode of Parsing Immigration Policy, George Fishman, former Department of Homeland Security Deputy General Counsel and Republican Counsel on the House Immigration Subcommittee for over two decades, shares his institutional knowledge on immigration and legislative strategy and its application to today’s debates.

Fishman became part of the immigration policy debate in the mid-1990s at the time of the bipartisan U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, the “Barbara Jordan Commission.” He discusses his participation in the three important immigration legislative battles that followed – in 1995-96, 2005-07, and 2013-14 – and what that experience can teach us today.

In the closing commentary, Mark Krikorian, the Center’s executive director and the host of Parsing Immigration Policy, highlights a new report from the Center which provides a comprehensive analysis of the Biden administration’s immigration actions during his second 100 days.

Related Reports

CBO Projects Gang of Eight Bill Fails to Stop Illegal Immigration

Not So Realistic: Why Some Would-Be Immigration Reformers Don’t Have the Answer

Shortfalls of the 1996 Immigration Reform Legislation

Two Hundred Days of the Biden Administration


Mark Krikorian is the Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies.


George Fishman, former Department of Homeland Security


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Intro Montage

Voices in the opening montage:

  • Sen. Barack Obama at a 2005 press conference.
  • Sen. John McCain in a 2010 election ad.
  • President Lyndon Johnson, upon signing the 1965 Immigration Act.
  • Booker T. Washington, reading in 1908 from his 1895 Atlanta Exposition speech.
  • Laraine Newman as a "Conehead" on SNL in 1977.
  • Hillary Clinton in a 2003 radio interview.
  • Cesar Chavez in a 1974 interview.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaking to reporters in 2019.
  • Prof. George Borjas in a 2016 C-SPAN appearance.
  • Sen. Jeff Sessions in 2008 comments on the Senate floor.
  • Charlton Heston in "Planet of the Apes".