The Corner

Re: Spreading the Wealth Around

Also, Mark, I don’t think it’s a good idea to use “preference for redistribution” as a criterion for granting U.S. citizenship or U.S. residency. After all many, many, many Americans are pro-redistribution. These Americans are the ones who elected Obama and other redistributionist presidents before him. Should we kick them out?

Jason Riley of the Wall Street Journal makes a spectacular case for legal immigration in his new book Let Them In. He also speaks clearly about the fears brought about by immigration. More importantly, he explains rightfully that for years much of the debate over immigration reform has been polluted by the debate over amnesty. He had a great piece specifically on this issue back in April. I highly recommend it to pro- and anti-amnesty advocates.

 

 Some of it here:

Critics of comprehensive immigration reform, which ideally combines legalization with more visas and more enforcement measures, say that the last amnesty enacted — the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 — didn’t solve the illegal alien problem. This is true but misleading. After all, border enforcement enhancements over the past two decades haven’t stanched the illegal flow, either, but that hasn’t stopped immigration restrictionists from calling for still more security measures.

The reality is that the 1986 amnesty was never going to solve the problem, because it didn’t address the root cause. Illegal immigration to the U.S. is primarily a function of too many foreigners chasing too few visas. Some 400,000 people enter the country illegally each year — a direct consequence of the fact that our current policy is to make available only 5,000 visas annually for low-skilled workers. If policy makers want to reduce the number of illegal entries, the most sensible and humane course is to provide more legal ways for people to come.

Like Riley, I wish we could keep these issues separate.

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