The Corner


Immigration Hypocrisy

Fred Bauer and Kevin Williamson have already said most of what should be said about the idea that someone whose family came to this country a couple of generations ago shouldn’t be for increased restrictions now. I’d add one more point: There is no contradiction in thinking both that immigration policies in the past were appropriately open and that they should be more selective now.

Some changes that have taken place over the last few decades might be thought relevant to what our immigration policies should be. Reduced transportation costs have made it easier to maintain ties with the old country from which people are coming. Average educational levels in our country have risen. Changes in the economy have reduced the number of strong-back jobs and put a higher premium on cognitive skills. Changes in the economy and public policy may have made upward mobility more elusive.

My point is not that these and other changes make Stephen Miller obviously right on immigration. It’s that there’s nothing wrong with thinking that changed circumstances might argue in favor of a changed immigration policy too.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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