More Misinformation from the Media:
One aspect of Donald Trump that has particularly bothered me has been his denunciations of immigrants. . . . maybe it just seems unfair to scapegoat people who are powerless and struggling. . . . Yes, immigration brings challenges, including security risks that we’ve seen with terrorism. Yes. There are economic challenges, with immigrants sometimes displacing low-skill workers in particular. But above all, immigrants bring hard work, diversity, and global connections. – Speaking Truth to Trump on Immigration, The Opinion Pages, The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof, 1/18/17
Fact Check: The truth of the matter is that Donald Trump has never denounced immigrants, as immigrants. He has denounced the violent crimes of some illegal aliens and he has warned of the dangers that improperly vetted refugees from terrorist–harboring might cause us. But again, this is not a denunciation of all immigrants, but of particular immigrants who pose particular problems.
Trump also has called for steps to stop illegal immigration, which is pro-rule of law, and not anti-immigrant. In fact, it affirms respect for the foreigners who wait their turn in line to come here legally. The president further has suggested that legal immigration be reduced. But this suggestion is not anti-immigrant any more than a company that cuts back on hiring new employees is anti-employee.
Just as the company adjusts its new hiring to conform to its capacity and needs, our country has the obligation to set immigration policy in accord with its interests. With legal immigration now at the highest sustained level in our country’s history, it would make sense to reduce it to a more moderate level. In many ways, that would help native-born Americans and the immigrants who have already settled here. By benefitting the latter, it is most definitely a pro-immigrant policy.
Immigration advocates commonly try to pull the deceit that immigrant and immigration are interchangeable words and that any proposal to reduce immigration implies hostility or disregard for all immigrants. An extension of this deceit is when they claim they are standing for the “powerless” when their advocacy clearly benefits the political and financial elites who gain from unchecked immigration. Indeed, many of the genuinely powerless people in our country are those harmed by immigration.
Kristoff mentions one group of them in passing, low-skill workers—who are both native and foreign- born. But his mention is in passing and perfunctory. No doubt his concern would be higher if immigrants were commonly seeking jobs as opinion-piece writers for The New York Times.
Yes, it’s true that many immigrants work hard, but due to their numbers this means that their wages tend to be low—a great benefit for firms seeking profits from a cheap labor force. With low wages they often qualify for welfare, which is why immigrant-headed households use welfare at a considerably higher rate than native-born households. The firms call what they do “free enterprise,” but it’s hardly free for the taxpayers who subsidize the low wages with tax-paid public assistance.
While immigration enthusiasts constantly inform us that diversity is our strength, it most definitely isn’t when it overwhelms our powers of assimilation and becomes divisive. Some good evidence that it has is the research of Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam which reveals that the more diverse a community is, the weaker are its civic and social ties. As for global connections, these are not necessarily good, most specifically when those ties are so strong that they prevent assimilation and promote divided loyalties.
Kristoff is right about one thing. Immigration does bring challenges. But to suggest that challenges brought by our reckless immigration policies will always work our well is grossly ignorant and grossly irresponsible.