David Dreier: Immigration Reform a Chance for Us to Come Together

In collaboration with Brookings, Claremont McKenna College launched the Dreier Roundtable this past Friday with a day-long event on immigration policy. The Roundtable is named after former member of Congress and CMC alumnus Rep. David Dreier, who is also a distinguished fellow at Brookings.

During a roundtable discussion, Rep. Dreier, who represented his California district from 1981 to 2013, addressed the politics of immigration policy today, noting that “there is a very broad consensus among Republican members of both the House and the Senate to get [immigration reform] done.”

Calling issue of immigration “one of the ugliest that is out there,” Dreier nevertheless suggested that “this is a chance for us to come together.” While intimating that President Obama give the new Congress “a little time … to do something,” he also suggested that the president could do something “very, very minor” by Executive Order “if he absolutely has to.” The former chairman of the House Rules Committee also decried the use of the term “amnesty” as an inaccurate depiction of what policy reform would entail, and also said that it immigration reform is very important for the United States “to remain on the cutting edge globally.”

Watch the event below; Rep. Dreier’s remarks on immigration policy start at 28:50.

The conversation, moderated by Brookings Senior Fellow and Managing Director William Antholis, included Peter Skerry, a Brookings nonresident senior fellow and professor at Boston College; Mike Murphy, a consultant to GOP politicians including Mitt Romney, John McCain, and Jeb Bush; and Jacob Goldstein, NPR journalist and contributor to Planet Money.

More information about the event, which included two panel discussions prior to this roundtable, is available here. Brookings immigration experts Neil Ruiz and Audrey Singer participated in those discussions. Prior to the event, Ruiz wrote about a “new climate” for immigration reform. Singer has written extensively about immigration reform efforts, including an article (co-authored) about federalism as the answer to reform.

Dreier and Antholis also previewed the event, writing that “Nothing could be more important to our country’s long-term security and competitiveness” than reforming the nation’s immigration policies.