* Instead of hard caps for work visas, we should have flexible limits adjusted on the basis of economic conditions, allowing more immigration when there is a shortage of skilled workers, and less when there is an excess.
* People admitted on work visas should be allowed to change employers (they cannot do so now) after a probationary period of 12 months without losing their place in line for permanent status. In addition, spouses of skilled immigrants should be allowed to work, and not forced to waste their skills by staying at home.
* The per-country limits that restrict immigrants from any one country to 7 percent of the 140,000 employer-sponsored green cards issued annually should be reviewed, and perhaps eliminated. These restrictions, dating back to 1965 when they were instituted to replace racial quotas, create a bottleneck for workers from populous countries like India, China and Mexico.
Like most complex political issues, immigration reform can't be solved by platitudes about freedom, or by deluding ourselves about the genuine insecurities within us. But there are solutions that would benefit everyone -- immigrants, employers, families and ordinary citizens -- and assure that we live up to our heritage as a symbol of hope and opportunity, a nation deserving of the hard work and patriotism those yearning to become Americans are so eagerly waiting to bestow upon us.
Blumenthal is a Visiting Professor of Law at WVU's College of Law.