Slow Progress on Immigration Reform Spoils Olympic Bid

The Immigration Policy Center makes an intriguing and powerful claim in its recent newsletter: the United States’ ever-tougher enforcement of immigration laws and its continued delay in bringing about meaningful immigration reform was a factor in the I.O.C.‘s rejection of Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games.

According to the newsletter, a representative from Pakistan drilled President Obama about the barriers to foreigners entering the United States were Chicago to host the Games. Ongoing security concerns in the United States and a recent crackdown on illegal immigrants seeking employment opportunities in the country provide ample fodder for the claim that a post-9/11 United States would struggle to accommodate deluge of foreigners from all over the world.

In its blurb, the Immigration Policy Center also mentions recent events that highlight how “the U.S. is slowly adopting an anti-visitor policy that is harming business, higher education and families.” This blog has covered other stories that show how immigration regulations are sometimes applied with strict rigor despite extraordinary circumstances.

Surely Chicago’s bid was not solely derailed by these immigration policy concerns, and Rio de Janiero made a compelling and emotive case to host the Games. But the fact that immigration policy was a factor in the decision should be a reminder to U.S. policymakers that our immigration policy is not just domestic law–it is the face we put forth to the world.

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