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In tonight's State of the Union address, President Barack Obama is expected to make reform of the nation's immigration laws one of his top priorities. To succeed, he will have to satisfy skeptical House Republicans that immigration reform would not be as disastrous now as it was in 1986, the last time Congress revamped the laws. Fortunately for Obama, the cards are in his favor: improved overall border security has made illegal immigration a much less daunting challenge.
With Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff meeting Obama this week, it is time to reconsider allowing citizens of her country and those of other emerging markets into the Visa Waiver Program. The United States would reap economic, political, and security gains by doing so.
Washington claims that the country's borders are more secure than ever, but the truth is that no one knows for sure. The U.S. government has never defined what border security actually means or how to measure it -- both of which are essential prerequisites to keeping the country safe.