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Views from the Center


Washington’s partisan deadlock has drained the hopes of many who seek action on the challenges America faces. But even on one of the most toxic political issues—migration—there is room for hope.

One sign of hope for bipartisan cooperation came earlier this week, when the administration added Haiti to the list of countries eligible for H-2 visas, America’s largest temporary work visa program, a move backed by a bipartisan group of U.S. senators and representatives from Florida.

This is a reminder that bipartisan progress on migration regulation is possible. Just a few years ago, Congress came close to building a successful bipartisan coalition for positive change in immigration policy. The inside story of how that coalition was built, and how it eventually came apart offers lessons for what a future bipartisan compromise on immigration might look like.

On Monday I’ll be hosting an unusual CGD event to consider this history and look ahead. We will screen excerpts from a terrific new documentary series, How Democracy Works Now, that shows step-by-step how Republicans and Democrats started working together on immigration—and eventually stopped. I’m delighted to have filmmakers Shari Robertson and Michael Camerini there to discuss the film, as well as Esther Olavarria, who was closely involved in the events depicted and is one of the country’s top experts on immigration reform.

I’ll have a few words to say about Haiti’s H-2 visa success in my opening remarks and the reception that follows will double as a celebration of this week’s decision. If you are in the Washington area I hope you will consider joining us (RSVP here).

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CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.