More Misinformation in the Media:
The bombshell comes near the bottom of [Donald Trump’s] immigration paper entitled “immigration moderation.” The words he uses sound benign: “Before any new green cards are issued to foreign workers abroad, there will be a pause where employers will have to hire from the domestic pool of unemployed and native workers.” What could be wrong with “moderation,” or even a “pause?” Lots. This is a radical position that would profoundly change America.
And according to a recent Gallup Poll, the public divides three to one – 74 percent in favor of increasing legal immigration or maintaining current levels, and just 25 percent for decreasing it. After all, most of us buy into the old ideal – we’re a nation of immigrants. . . . On the contrary, immigrants boost the U.S. economy. They’re twice as likely as native-born Americans to start businesses. – Donald Trump’s Single Worst Idea, New York Daily News, Tamar Jacoby, 8/19/15
Fact Check: For decades, the U.S. has had the highest sustained level of legal immigration in our history, averaging around a million immigrants a year. A high level of immigration may have made sense when we had an empty continent to populate, but not so now. What we have today is truly a radical policy, and moderation and a pause are long overdue.
Like many immigration enthusiasts, Jacoby would have us believe that our economic health somehow depends on a massive and unending flood of immigration. As one example, she repeats the tirelessly repeated claim of enthusiasts that immigrants are vastly more likely to start and run businesses than native-born Americans. It is a claim not supported by the Census Bureau which finds that immigrants and natives are self-employed at almost exactly the same rate. The truth of the matter is that immigrants are far more likely to receive welfare than start businesses, and are far more likely to receive welfare than natives.
If immigration is so enriching, then why has the U.S. middle class significantly declined since the current cycle of mass immigration took off in 1970? And why have our wage levels stagnated since then? Also, we might look at what has happened to California during that same interval. As the state with the highest number and percentage of immigrants, surely it would be an exemplar of prosperity today, In fact the opposite has happened. California has gone from being a solidly middle-class state to one with a classic Third World economic profile, relatively few wealthy people at the top and a great many poor at the bottom.
According to Gallup, a majority of Americans support the current level of immigration and even more. One reason is that many people surveyed probably don’t know how high that level is, and also they hear the media proclaim constantly that immigration is wonderful no matter what the numbers. Jacoby is wrong, however, when she claimed last year that 74 percent of Americans favored the status quo or wanted more immigration. The actual figure was 65 percent.
Since then the percentage wanting less immigration has gone up, while percentages wanting the current level or more have gone down. The latter two now are 59 percent. One reason is that the public is now starting to hear some critical analysis of legal immigration thanks to the Trump campaign. For too long, the slogan “nation of immigrants” has short circuited reasonable discussion of immigration policy. What we desperately need is immigration moderation for a nation of Americans.