The U.S. badly needs a comprehensive reform of its federal immigration policies, instead of leaving each state to cope with recent crises on its own, which is what's been happening lately. Since comprehensive reform is dead for 2014, the Obama administration may make a limited gesture toward reform via executive order or regulation that grants undocumented immigrants more leeway to remain in the U.S. and improves border security. If that happens, some Republican opponents may throw up their hands in exasperation with the president, although each side's basic position on these issues isn't dramatically different.
The trouble with the standoff is that more states are improvising their own immigration solutions. Last year, lawmakers in 45 states and the District of Columbia enacted 437 laws or resolutions related to immigration, up 64% from the 267 adopted in the same period the year before. Luckily, only one out of 10 of those measures had to do with employment. And that's where the concern should be when it comes to any federal reform plan.