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Kathleen Does an Immigration Explainer on "Make Me Smart with Kai & Molly"

On Monday, I was flattered to be asked to explain how the U.S. got to its current “zero tolerance” immigration policy on the “Make Me Smart with Kai & Molly” podcast. By late Tuesday night, it was up. It was slightly daunting to figure out how to say everything that needs to be said in 15 minute interview, but it was really good experience. Kai Ryssdal is as friendly and charming in conversation as he is hosting “Marketplace.” Since I listen to “Marketplace,” I geeked out a little, and I admired the ease and eloquence with which Molly Wood conveyed her passions. 

There’s so much more I’d like to have said, but they would have needed a much longer podcast to fit it all in. As is, I think I met the brief and got to one of my favorite topics: How we fix immigration. We talk about it, but in short, 1) Make immigration courts independent (an Article 1 Court) and provide court appointed counsel; 2) Remove the 3/10 year bar. 3) Increase the number of work based non-immigrant visas (H1B) and immigrant visas through employment and for spouses and children of permanent residents (or tie them to economic factors/unemployment). Removal the seasonal requirement from the H2B program and increase the numbers. 4) Change the way individuals are processed at the border by allowing them to be classified as refugees (and not asylum seekers). Oh, and prosecute labor traffickers and employers for their violations with “zero tolerance”.

You can hear a few times where their reactions make it clear that I’d said something they didn’t already know, so mission accomplished. I’m just thankful to them and their staff for giving me the opportunity to help shine a little light on the technical, sometimes mundane decisions that have got us to such a dramatic time.


Listen to the episode here or wherever you get your podcasts.

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