Selecting Immigrants Is Right and Proper

More Misinformation from the Media

It’s quite another to claim that America values immigrants because of this contribution: this paves the way to thinking that America should make decisions about immigrants based on whether they can benefit the economy. . . . [T]he administration’s fundamentally hateful immigration agenda . . . . would stop immigrants from being able to bring their family members to the United States. . . .

Refugees don’t fall into the economic logic of immigration. The argument for accepting refugees is not that they are good—for the economy, or for the country’s ability to meet its international obligations, or even because they are good people – but that America is good.

If immigration is debated only in terms of whether it benefits the economy, politicians begin to divide people into two categories: “valuable” and “illegal,” When countries make people illegal, the world comes apart. When we agree to talk about people as cogs, we lose our humanity. – Immigrants Shouldn’t Have to Be ‘Talented’ to Be Welcome, The New York Times, 9/7/07 [Link].

Fact Check: In the minds of immigration enthusiasts it is “hateful” to consider any restrictions on immigration—which says far more about the state of their minds than it does about anything else. According to a Gallup poll few years back, about 150 million adults around the world would like to come to the U.S. Is it truly “hateful” to believe that we have good and practical reasons not to want such a tidal wave of humanity to wash over our shores?

But actually the prospect would be far worse than that. Under current U.S. law, if we let all these people in, they could petition to bring in their spouses and young children. In addition to that they could petition to bring in their parents, adult children, and siblings. And these relatives can petition to bring in their relatives in a seemingly endless chain.

One thing we need to decide is very simple: Is American immigration policy for the benefit of Americans, or for the benefit of foreigners? The patriotic answer is the former, and the immigration enthusiast answer, implied if not stated, is the latter. If the enthusiasts truly believe that preference for one’s country is “hate,” the majority of Americans should take note and reject their counsel.

With the system of chain immigration we have now, the family connections of immigrants have more sway over immigration policy than many serious concerns about national interest. One such interest is whether we should be importing poverty, a consequence of our chain immigration policy. Simple common sense pleads that we should not.

This is the position of the Trump Administration. It proposes to cut back legal immigration, now at the highest sustained level in our history, and also the categories of family connections. It would keep the ones for minor children and spouses and eliminate the others. To a much greater degree than now, immigrants would be admitted on the basis of their ability to contribute to our society. If we must limit immigration—and certainly we must—our goal should be to have immigrants who will help our country rather than impose a burden on it.

As for refugees, the writer makes a valid point that humanitarian concerns should come first. But we need changes to have a sound refugee policy. Most definitely, the definition of refugee should return to its original meaning, some who faces a personal threat of persecution. Today the definition has broadened to include members of groups which may face forms of discrimination in their homelands. Also necessary is the understanding that resettling refugees in countries closest to their homelands is more cost effective and humanitarian than trying to bring so many of them to the United States.

The author’s claim that “when countries make people illegal the world comes apart” is rhetorical overkill and a flight into unreality. Our country doesn’t make anyone illegal. People become illegal when they break our laws, and because they are lawbreakers we have every reason not to value their presence. A more accurate statement than the author’s would be that countries come apart when they cease to enforce their laws.


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