Is Legal Immigration Next on the GOP Hate List?
In the Republican fight for the Presidential nomination, its all immigrant bashing all the time. Demonizing immigrants from Mexico is what has propelled Donald Trump to the front of the pack. So after anchor babies, building a wall on the Canadian border and tracking all visitors to the United States like FedEx packages, what’s next on the menu of the immigrant hate fest?
According to many conservative intellectuals and I am using this term loosely, the real problem with immigration is the legal variety. Number of legal permanent residents admitted every year is too damn high, for the likes of Mark Krikorian, the National Review contributor and a frequent guest expert on immigration for the PBS News Hour. This is what he has to say about legal immigration,
Downsizing the federal immigration program would give us a breather, improving the job prospects and reducing welfare dependency, not only of the native-born but also the immigrants already here. Republican efforts at recruiting in immigrant communities might have a chance of catching up to the rapid growth that will take place even without immigration. Note that better control over illegal immigration — walls, mass deportations, whatever — isn’t going to fix this. Most immigration is legal immigration, and that’s where change is most needed.
The current numbers for legal immigration are about 1 million per year. A quick look at the data shows, that about half of the green cards granted from years 2011-2013 went to direct relatives of United States citizens. These relatives include spouses, parents and children. The number of green cards that went to employment related categories was less than 15% from 2012-2013 and 16% in 2011. So even if all the employment based legal immigration was slowed down to a trickle, it wouldn’t make a dent in the overall numbers, for that you would have to get rid of family sponsored green cards or greatly reduce their numbers. In 2013, 68% of the family sponsored green cards went to the immediate relatives of US citizens of which 39% went to spouses.
So I am wondering, which of the presidential candidates of the party of limited government will first present a plan to deal with this scourge, by decreeing who you can get married to? This is not as far fetched as its sounds. The idea of ending birthright citizenship had been doing rounds in conservative circles before it ended up in the Trump plan and the national conversation. Here, is an article in Slate advocating the same, written by Reihan Salam.
What is ironic is that Krikorian and Salam who have somewhat recent immigrant roots (namely being a grandchild and a child of immigrants) want to pull up the draw bridge now that they are in and let the riff raff drown in the moat. They may try to dress their objections in more intellectual clothing but their ideology smacks of double standards and the philosophy of FYGM. According to Krikorian and Salam, the current crop of immigrants are a net drain. If they don’t work (because they are either children or the elderly) they are a burden to the society, if they work they are stealing jobs from hard working Americans. The only good immigrants, according to these two are the ones who came in generations past, like their parents or grandparents.