The Corner

But How Much Legal Immigration?

Last night, Romney was right when he said:

“I think it’s important for us as Republicans on this stage to say something that hasn’t been said, and that’s that every person here loves legal immigration. We respect people who come here legally.”

Both true and necessary to say amidst the back and forth about illegal immigration. Americans are uniquely accepting of newcomers whom we’ve admitted to join our city on a hill; as TR put it:

In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin.

But the follow-up question, which I hope some future moderator has the wit to ask, is how much legal immigration should the federal government process next year? Is the issuance of green cards to more than 1 million legal immigrants per year (plus hundreds of thousands of “temporary” workers) a good idea when we have 9 percent unemployment? How should the federal immigration program select people? Which family relationships should give rise to special immigration rights and which should not? How should we choose among the millions of refugees seeking asylum? And how do we ensure that the immigrant “assimilates himself to us”? (Only Bachmann addressed that in her call for official English, which is fine as far as it goes, but is futile when you have mass immigration dominated by a single ethnic group.) Even superficial responses about the need to limit chain migration or get rid of the egregious visa lottery would be nice.

Along those lines, Numbers USA again ran the “the debate should be about the numbers” ad.