We see lots of media back-and-forth over whether immigration is a major issue. Some reports (here, for example) see it, indeed, as the great issue for Republican primary voters, and a major cause of the success enjoyed by Donald Trump, the candidate who most clearly has made confronting illegal immigration a major plank in his otherwise still incomplete platform. Other reports (here, for example) see immigration as the last issue voters worry about, far behind the economy, jobs, and government spending.
Lesson to be learned: Polls can tell you whatever you want to hear. I'll tell you want I to hear a bit later.
Let's, for now, put aside polls, and have a common sense discussion about immigration. I point to a prior effort by this humble blog to discuss immigration. That almost three-year-old post (June 14, 2013) noted that much of the immigration debate in the US missed the point, which is,
[W]hether we need none, little, some, or a lot of immigration, and if we do, what type of immigration we should seek. Do we need millions more of semi and unskilled people from Mexico and other poor countries? Absent widespread elimination or reduction in minimum wage, taxation, public assistance, and zoning laws, how will these people contribute to the economic growth of our country? This is not nineteenth century America with small factories and workshops on every street corner, and belching smokestack industries eager for cheap workers. This is the America of EPA regulations, OSHA bureaucrats, job killing minimum wage and health insurance laws, outsourcing, and of a growing ethos that sees single parents living on the public dole as an honorable existence. It is also the America of multiculturalism whereby immigrants are encouraged never to become Americans.Official US figures show that we receive about one million legal immigrants/year; about 20% of all the world's legal immigrants head here, despite the US comprising only five percent of the world's population. The US legal immigrant population in 2013 stood at about 41.3 million persons in 2013, roughly 13 percent of the total population of the nation. The top three source countries in 2013 for legal immigration were Mexico, India, and China--I have seen preliminary numbers indicating that China has now become the top supplier of immigrants. How many illegal immigrants? Nobody knows. The generally accepted number of illegals residing in the US is roughly 12 million. Very interesting--and we'll get back to this--is that almost half of those 12 million initially arrived legally with valid non-immigration visas, e.g., tourists, students, business people, and simply overstayed--some, uh, like forever . . ..
Indisputable is that the USA remains far, very far, from being a xenophobic, anti-immigrant horror house. Why do they keep coming? So let's drop that silly argument right off the bat, and understand that America is very plugged into the world, and hope that Canada's lightweight PM Justin
Some very basic basics. The USA is a sovereign country--stated in case people forget. As such, the USA has the right to determine who can and cannot enter. Period. That is not something we have to vet with Mexico, China, India, Bangladesh, Jorge Ramos, the OAS, or the UN. International law, for what it's worth, recognizes as a basic human right the ability to leave one's country, no such right, however, exists to enter another country. Entry control remains with the receiving country. We, in fact, have no obligation to take anybody, and can discriminate as to whom we take or don't; we can say no communists, no fascists, no Muslims, etc.
Before anybody brings it up, I know about the laws on refoulement of refugees; that's different, and does not pertain to this discussion.
As noted above, no recognized right exists for foreigners to cross our borders or violate our immigration laws and procedures. In sum, we can make our immigration laws as we please. Period. We, furthermore, have the same right as any other sovereign nation to deport foreigners who violate our laws, including our immigration laws, or whom we otherwise find "undesirable." Current US law allows the deportation of foreigners even those with US citizen minor children. Those so deported have the option--Choice! Horrors!--to take their children on the journey back to the old country. So Hillary and the progressives can stuff their lachrymose blather about Trump and Republicans wanting to split families--that's been the law for a long, long time. It was the law under Carter, Clinton, and remains so under Obama, for example.
Trump wants to build a wall along the southern border. Do we have the right to do so? Yes, absolutely. Do we need to clear that with Mexico and Central America? Nope, not at all. If it's built, maintained, and backed up properly will it have an impact on reducing illegal immigration and drug flow? Probably, yes. Can we get Mexico and others to pay for the wall? Yes, at least in part. Put, for example, a tax on remittances and a "special border security fee" on non-citizen consular services (e.g., immigration visa processing and a legal border crossing processing fee), and you will get a lot of money. Will it end all illegal immigration? No. As noted, apparently over 40% of illegal immigrants fly into our airports or come across the border initially legally. To deal with that, you need to do things inside the USA: deny illegals access to public benefits, including schools, hospitals, and voting (just like they do in Mexico); do away with the anchor baby laws (as is the case in most of Latin America); have an employment verification scheme; and, yes, a serious deportation program, to wit, we catch you, we send you home. As the environment for illegal aliens becomes less and less welcoming, huge numbers of illegals will leave or never come, at all. We will not have to deport 12 million people. So progs relax, lay off the Third Reich metaphors for a bit: We will see no drafty cattle cars full of wretched humanity chugging south on icy railroads.
Do voters consider the immigration issue a high priority? I think, yes, absolutely, regardless of what some exit polls suggest. I think voters meld the immigration issue into national defense, national pride, and the national economy. They do so, correctly. It is part of all of these, all part of the return of the Carteresque "national malaise." I don't think voters separate out the immigration issue as some of the pollsters seek to do. Part of the political genius of Trump is that he realizes this. If he can continue to hammer home this message, I think he could pick up considerable support from African-Americans and from the large, legal, Hispanic and Asian communities, as well. Illegal immigration affects the lower ends of the economic scale much more than it does the upper ends. Huge chunks of the populace labelled as poor, are, in fact, illegal immigrants. They also have a huge and disproportionate impact on crime. Not PC to say, but . . .
Beyond all this, we need a good discussion of how much immigration WE NEED. Not how many people want to come here, but how many and what sort WE need. I see nothing wrong with a bit of selfishness when it comes to protecting our national defense, our cultural values, our jobs, and our tax resources. Do WE need one million legal immigrants? Off the top of my head, I would say, no. What types of immigrants are they? By far, today, the majority are of the low-skill "family reunification" type. Do WE need that? I, for example, find it absurd that an adult immigrant can file for his or her adult siblings and their family members. That sets up an endless cascade of "family reunification." We no longer enforce the "public charge" provisions of our immigration law; that needs to restart ASAP. Do WE need hundreds-of-thousands of unskilled and low wage-earning immigrants? Do WE need immigrants who adhere to a totalitarian murderous cult that passes as a religion? Do WE want to replicate the German, French, and Scandinavian experience with bogus refugees? I doubt all that very much.
Engineers, scientists, artists, etc., sure. As far as I am concerned, come on over. People who want to contribute and become American? Genuine refugees? Welcome, and I don't care about your color. That said, however, we do have the right to ask what does OUR country need? While we figure this out, I favor a suspension of immigration for a couple or so years until we get our chaotic immigration system in order. We have the right and even obligation to do this.
It should go without saying and, in fact, prove a most jejune thing to say, but immigrants have made an invaluable contribution to this country. Nobody I know is anti-immigrant. My parents are immigrants; my wife is an immigrant. We, however, are entitled, as are the people of Britain, France, Australia, Germany, etc., to decide calmly without hysterics and getting mau-maued by the grievance and PC industries, what sort of nation we want to have, and whom we want living in it. That is not racist or xenophobic or any other trite label one cares to generate. That is genuine concern for OUR people.
I, for one, care more for OUR poor in Detroit than for THEIR poor in Dhaka.