[Excerpt] The immigration policy of the United States is steeped in legal complexities and is considered to be so politically combustible that most politicians are loathe to address the issue unless circumstances absolutely require them to act. In those instances when extant policies have become so incongruent with prevailing national interests that public pressure can no longer be ignored, the reform process has usually been preceded by the formation by Congress of a national commission or congressional panel to study the needs and to frame the appropriate policy responses before the professional politicians will touch the subject. Indeed, one would be hard-pressed to find another policy issue where the use of special commissions or committees has been so frequently used to identify policy shortcomings and to offer policy changes. Social security and welfare policies have sometimes relied on commissions to serve the same buffer role because they are also complex and controversial for politicians to address directly. But commissions were used to review immigration policy long before these other two public policies ever existed.
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