July 13th, 2023

CNN’s Fareed Zakaria Explores How America’s Immigration Policies Became So Broken – And What Can Be Done To Fix Them

IMMIGRATION BREAKDOWN – A Fareed Zakaria Special Premieres Sunday, July 16 at 8pm ET&PT on CNN

CNN’s Fareed Zakaria reports on America’s immigration politics – what keeps the nation from modernizing its immigration policies, and what the potential political risks and social consequences are if America does not reform the current system.  The new primetime report, IMMIGRATION BREAKDOWN – A Fareed Zakaria Special, will premiere Sunday, July 16 at 8:00pm Eastern and Pacific on CNN.

Zakaria describes America’s unique, current moment in immigration politics.  The ‘perfect storm’ of the global pandemic, economic uncertainty, and massively destructive changing climate patterns have supercharged an unprecedented surge of immigration to America.  Zakaria reports that 2.4 million migrants were apprehended at the border in fiscal year 2022.  Some of America’s border cities have received more migrants than their own residential populations, overwhelming resources and public services, and roiling local and national politics.

Zakaria traces the roots of the current patchwork of policies to the Immigration Acts of 1924 and 1965, both of which were codified in earlier turbulent times, developed in the shadow of racism. And, in the early 20th century, Eastern Europeans and Irish were considered ‘non-white,’ a circumstance that would likely surprise most Americans today.  President Lyndon Johnson seemed only able to secure a bipartisan coalition to codify the 1965 legislation, which eliminated a racist national quota system and expanded immigration access to more nations, only in the wake of the tragic assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and after some of the decade’s extraordinarily violent reactions to civil rights.

Although immigration is empirically essential for economic growth, mass migrations are both rational – and, unsustainable, asserts Zakaria.  He warns that the lack of solutions to fixing America’s immigration system has exacerbated political polarization.  Nationalist and even fascist backlash has jeopardized democracy in other nations – as well as in America –and, the time to seek legislative consensus on reform is urgent …and now.

Contributors to IMMIGRATION BREAKDOWN – A Fareed Zakaria Special include:

  • David Frum, a staff writer for The Atlantic; author, TRUMPOCALYPSE: Restoring American Democracy (2020);
  • Tom Gjelten, author, A Nation of Nations: A Great American Immigration Story (2016);
  • David Goodman, Houston bureau chief, The New York Times;
  • Robert Guest, deputy editor, The Economist; author, Borderless Economics: Chinese Sea Turtles, Indian Fridges, and the New Fruits of Global Capitalism (2013);
  • Randall Kennedy, professor, Harvard Law School; author, Say It Loud!: On Race, Law, History, and Culture (2021);
  • Thomas C. Leonard, historian of economics, Princeton University; author, Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics and American Economics in the Progressive Era (2016);
  • Rachel Self, immigration attorney; and,
  • Jia Lynn Yang, national editor, The New York Times; author, One Mighty and Irresistible Tide: The Epic Struggle Over American Immigration, 1924-1965 (2020)


IMMIGRATION BREAKDOWN – A Fareed Zakaria Special will stream live for pay TV subscribers via CNN.com, CNN OTT and mobile apps on Sunday at 8:00pm ET. The program will also be On Demand beginning Monday, July 17th to pay TV subscribers via CNN.com, CNN apps, and Cable Operator Platforms.

IMMIGRATION BREAKDOWN – A Fareed Zakaria Special is also available as a CNN Audio showcast: visit http://www.CNN.com/audio, or listen wherever podcasts may be found.

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