The national census should be used to determine that America’s borders are secure before policymakers decide how to address those who are here illegally, a top Heritage Foundation policy expert suggests in an on-camera interview with The Foundry about key aspects of immigration reform.

“We want to see people come to the United States the right way and not unlawfully, because, again, that’s really unfair to those who play by the rules,” Derrick Morgan, Heritage’s vice president for domestic and economic policy, says.

Border security, visa and work verification measures not only must be in place but enforced before the nation resolves the status of an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants, Morgan tells The Foundry’s Genevieve Wood, adding:  “Businesses will all have to play by the same rules and Americans…, including legal immigrants and first-generation Americans, will be able to compete for the jobs on a level playing field rather than having to compete with unlawful workers.”

In the initial segment of the interview, released last week, Morgan explained Heritage’s opposition to amnesty for illegal immigrants. He said President Obama has not been “a true partner” with Congress in securing the border, toughening workplace enforcement and improving the system of legal immigration.

Until Obama gets “serious about enforcing the law,” conservatives in the House have no reason to trust him with any changes, Morgan said. The New York Times singled out Morgan’s argument in that video as critical to House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to put the brakes on immigration reform this year.

In this second installment, Wood presses Morgan on how to know that the border is secure, what to do about those here illegally and how Heritage views the value of immigrants to America.  Morgan responds by outlining recommendations in Heritage’s immigration and border security plan.

More of The Foundry interview will be released in coming days, said Rob Bluey, editor in chief.

 This story was produced by The Foundry’s news team. Nothing here should be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of The Heritage Foundation.