In 2004 the national debate on immigration reform was reignited as President Bush and several members of Congress of both political parties introduced immigration reform proposals. While the specific content from the proposals varies, nearly everyone from all sides of the immigration debate agrees that the current system is not functioning well, is not in the best interests of the U.S., and needs to be reformed. While the current immigration system appears generous and reasonable on paper, it is not in tune with current economic or social realities. Many immigrants who have no legal channels to arrive and work in the U.S. are forced to risk their lives and enter without proper authorization, putting both migrants and U.S. workers at risk. This Issue Brief outlines the current immigration system, explains why the current system is inadequate and needs to be overhauled, and lays out NCLR’s principles for comprehensive immigration reform.