Chasing the Dream: Sorting Fact and Myth Is Biggest Obstacle to Immigration Reform

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Originally published in ABA JOURNAL - May 2012.

Consensus doesn't seem to have a place in policy discussions about the state of the U.S. immigration system. But there is, at least, widespread agreement that the system needs fixing.

"Everyone will tell you the laws aren't working;' says Brittney Nystrom, director of policy and legal affairs at the National Immigration Forum in Washington, D.C. But beyond that starting premise, views on immigration laws start to splinter.

"On both sides of this debate, there are deeply held beliefs about what immigration means to America," says Nystrom. "On one side, you have the idea that we're a nation of immigrants, and it's healthy and important to keep that tradition alive. On the other side, you have the argument that immigrants are a burden. Trying to factually discuss immigration becomes almost impossible when people tend to fall into one camp or the other based on what they're told:'

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