Good Law | Bad Law #90 - Unraveling the immigration debate: What are the facts? W/ Theresa Cardinal-Brown

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Aaron Freiwald, Managing Partner of Freiwald Law and host of the weekly podcast series Good Law | Bad Law, is joined by Theresa Cardinal Brown, the Director of Immigration and Cross-Border Policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) in Washington, D.C.,  to discuss the hotly contested political issue of immigration.

This is the episode you need to hear to really understand the immigration debates that have become so divisive in the last many months and years.


BPC is a think tank that was founded 10 years ago by four former Senate Majority leaders (Bob Dole, George Mitchell, Tom Daschle, and Howard Baker) and works to bring Democrats and Republicans together to develop policy answers to some of the most critical and complex questions facing the country. “We are by name and by design bipartisan,” Theresa says.  “Everything we do is aimed at trying to figure out how to get Democrats and Republicans to agree to develop consensus and principal compromises that can be politically valuable.”


Theresa has been working in immigration for well over 20 years, working in the administrations of both President George W. Bush and Barack Obama.  A graduate of the University of Delaware, Theresa studied international relations and economics.  Her first job out of college, in 1990, was evaluating foreign educational credentials for immigration attorneys who wanted to help people get visas. From there Theresa worked as a paralegal in the immigration practices of several large D.C. law firms. In the mid-1990s, Theresa worked on immigration policy and advocacy with the American Immigration Lawyers Association.  She then spent five years working at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as the Director of Immigration and Border Policy.


 In 2005 Theresa joined the government, working for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection in the policy Office of the Commissioner.  In 2005 and 2006, she became a member, and eventually director, of the Immigration Legislation Task Force in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Policy. After a few years working at the department headquarters for DHS, Theresa left the government in 2011, working briefly as an independent consultant until joining the BPC in 2014.


Aaron and Theresa discuss a range of immigration problems, from border to security to separation of families to the complicated question of what to do about the millions of undocumented immigrants already in our country, 60 percent of whom have been in the United States for 20 years or more.  Theresa says that the majority of Americans disapprove of the current immigration system, saying that most of the population believes it is flawed. Throughout the episode Theresa explains what the fundamental issues are regarding immigration and border policy and why this issue is so polarizing. Listen in as Aaron and Theresa talk about how the system works, what is wrong with it and the different solutions and priorities people think may “fix” it.


Host: Aaron Freiwald

Guest: Theresa Cardinal Brown