Immigration reform has ‘excellent beginning,’ Baker Institute expert says

David Ruth

Jeff Falk

Immigration reform has ‘excellent beginning,’ Baker Institute expert says
Payan: Path to citizenship for the undocumented resident population is a must

HOUSTON – (Jan. 29, 2012) –President Barack Obama’s and leading U.S. senators’ bids for immigration reform this week mark an “excellent beginning” in fixing a broken system, according to Tony Payan, a scholar for immigration studies at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Payan is available to comment on both the immigration reform blueprint offered Monday by a bipartisan group of senators and by President Obama this afternoon in a speech in Las Vegas.

“The bipartisan framework to reform immigration unveiled by eight senators this week is an excellent beginning in fixing what they acknowledge is a broken system,” Payan said. “It is nearly remarkable that such common sense can spring out of an electoral defeat. The great pillars of this reform are, for the most part, correct, although the devil will be in the details, in how these senators translate their four basic pillars into law. One of the pillars, a path to citizenship for the undocumented resident population, is a must.”

In addition to being a Baker Institute scholar, Payan is an associate professor of political science at the University of Texas at El Paso and serves at the graduate faculty of the Universidad Autónoma de Juárez in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. His area of study is international relations, with an emphasis on U.S. and Mexican foreign policy and U.S.-Mexico relations. He is the author of “The Three U.S.-Mexico Border Wars: Drugs, Immigration and Homeland Security” and other books.

The Baker Institute has a radio and television studio available for media who want to schedule an interview with Payan. For more information, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at or 713-348-6775.


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Founded in 1993, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston ranks among the top 20 university-affiliated think tanks globally and top 30 think tanks in the United States. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows and Rice University scholars. Learn more about the institute at or on the institute’s blog,

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.