What happened to the Immigration Reform Bill?

No one can win every negotiation. Many suggest making each negotiation a "Win/Win" situation. The reality is that there is always a winner and a loser. It seems to be a better strategy to seek a solution that allows both parties to come away with terms that provide each enough incentive, positive or negative, to support and live up to any agreement that is reached. This mutual incentive is the basis of every relationship whether it is in a marriage, friendship, or business setting.

Of concern, though, is that such an equitable approach to some negotiations may result in too much compromising yielding too little progress toward the original negotiation objective.

This is where I think the Immigration Reform Bill ran aground.

The People of America wanted border security. For that, many were inclined to consider some form of expansive legislation addressing the current illegal immigrant problem. However, those in control, behind closed doors, became so focused on compromises pertaining to the current immigrant situation that they lost sight of the true goal of blocking illegal entry of future immigrants.

Add to that a latent distrust that the Government will really follow through on promises, and you have a broad-based constituency that rose up and cried "foul". They felt that the solution was worse than the original problem because they did not believe the border enforcement aspects of the bill would ever be fully implemented; only the prompt legalization of the existing illegal immigrants.

So the negotiators lost the faith of their principals, on both sides. They were so embroiled in the process that they lost sight of the forest for the trees.

What is troubling is that those behind the bill are the leaders of this country and in theory have been elected to their posts based on their ethics, competence, intellect and the commitment to represent those who voted them into office.

Negotiators must retain a sharp focus on the primary goal and not dilute that objective simply to solve the problem. Anyone can compromise to the point that a deal can be made. Negotiators must strategically use compromises to make progress towards their primary objective.