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Reviews |  What Biden is still wrong about immigration


Our immigration system is broken. So it is the way we talk about it.

Most conversations about immigration boil down to a yes or no debate. Two parties who talk to each other with very few constructive and feasible proposals. This could be part of the reason why few effective reforms have made their way through Congress over the past 20 years, despite calls from Democrats and Republicans for an overhaul.

In reality, immigration is a complicated system and there are no easy answers to the problems it entails. This week, Jane Coaston breaks down a group of approaches that could have a significant impact on individuals and families who wish to enter the United States: temporary work programs.

[You can listen to this episode of “The Argument” on Apple, Spotify or Google or wherever you get your podcasts.]

These programs allow migrants to come to the United States to work according to the labor needs of certain industries. And because their legal status is tied to employment, workers are accountable to their bosses and the companies that hire them. Often, companies use this power to take advantage of workers.

Today’s guests analyze these programs and debate whether they should be expanded without further changes or what reforms are needed to ensure that workers are not exploited. Michael Clemens is Economist and Director of Migration, Displacement and Humanitarian Policy at the Center for Global Development. Daniel Costa is a human rights lawyer and director of research on immigration law and policy at the Institute for Economic Policy.

(A full transcript of the episode will be available at noon on the Times website.)

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“The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek and Sarah Geis; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones; additional engineering by Carole Sabouraud; additional mixing by Sonia Herrero; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin.



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