Recent immigration news has revealed how far removed from past administrations
the current White House is. Immigration policy in the U.S. is rapidly
abandoning the nation’s traditional values and good economic sense.
Rather than using policy to strengthen and improve economic growth and
the fabric of the nation, new policies have worked to keep families apart
and limit the growth of the work force.
Read below for information regarding:
House Passes Spending Bill that Includes Border Wall Funding
In May, the White House proposed a spending bill that has been passed by
the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Among the different
spending proposals is an unprecedented amount of funding for the Department
of Homeland Security—include $1.6 billion for about 74 miles of
border wall construction. The total comes out to about $22 million per
mile of the wall.
The bill now has to pass the Senate before it’s finalized, but it’s
facing opposition from the Democrats already. However, the issue the bill’s
opponents face is that
the wall funding has been bundled with spending measures for the Department of Veterans Affairs and the
Department of Defense. Opposing funding for the wall—reasonable
for economic and practical reasons—would mean opposing spending
measures to support national defense and veterans.
In the House, the bill essentially passed along party lines. The exceptions
canceled each other out—with five Democrats voting in support and
five Republicans voting to oppose. Critics say a major problem with funding
the wall is that there’s no long-term border security plan that’s
been proposed. The wall isn’t part of a larger strategy: it
is the strategy. Spending $1.6 billion on a shallow strategy makes little sense.
And we already know that this strategy doesn’t work.
The Migration Policy Institute Says Walls Don’t Work
The MPI has noted an increased number of national border walls nationwide,
nearly all of them in the last few decades. Border walls barely existed
before the building of the Berlin Wall, but the refugee crisis and the
threat of ISIS has made border walls a highly-volatile political subject
in recent years.
However, the MPI believes walls have never truly worked—and perhaps
never will, at least not on a national scale. Even the legendary Great
Wall of China was unsuccessful in keeping out the Mongols, who famously
conquered China in the 13th and 14th centuries.
According to them, walls fail for three reasons:
- Not all of the wall can be guarded—migrants can simply cross over
at a less-guarded section.
- Smuggling can happen at ports of entry—smuggling can occur regardless
of the wall, either by taking goods under the wall or through big rig trucks.
- Large portions of undocumented immigrants won’t be affected by a
wall—a large share of undocumented immigrants were once here legally
and simply stayed past their visa’s expiration date. Walls do nothing
to stop this type of immigration problem.
Ultimately, the wall is a political statement—not a sound strategy.
The Trump administration is stuck trying to follow through on an ill-conceived
campaign promise, and the American people will pay $1.6 billion so the
White House can save face rather than admit they made a poor promise.
The real solution is far more complex but effective: create a way for undocumented
peoples to become documented, become legitimate contributors, and step
out of the dark. This is the way forward, and while it doesn’t provide
as strong a political image as a wall, it provides something better—a
more secure, humane nation.
The White House Unveils a Plan to Restrict Legal Immigration
In a separate effort, Republican Senators (alongside the President) proposed
legislation that would restrict legal immigration by 50% over the course
of 10 years. The bill does not increase employment visas and would cut
out 85% of family-based visas. Specifically, the bill would limit the
spouses and children who could apply.
Such a bill would reverse a tradition of American policy that favored the
reunification of family members across borders. As many nativists have
noted, keeping families apart both discourages and limits the number of
immigrants who want to come to the United States through legitimate means.
The proposed legislation is already being opposed on both sides of the
aisle—Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has rightfully observed that restricting
immigration would cause serious damage to the economy.
Immigrants Are Good for the Economy
Documented immigrants are responsible for more growth of the work force
than any other segment of the population. Both high-skill and low-skill
laborers are in desperate need in today’s economy. Take the healthcare
industry—1 in 4 doctors in the U.S. are foreign born, same for 1
in 5 home health aides. The shortage of workers in healthcare is only
going to increase as Baby Boomers age and retire.
Rather than “taking jobs” that native-born Americans don’t
want, it’s more accurate to say that immigrants
take jobs for which there simply aren’t enough native-born applicants.
Economists agree that what our economy needs is aggressive growth of the
work force. The number of jobs is increasing, increasing demand for workers.
But restricting immigration means there won’t be workers for those
positions—restricting the growth of both large and small businesses.
More immigrants would help these businesses grow (while enlarging the
pool of consumers who would
buy from those businesses).
Other ways that immigrants help strengthen the economy include:
- Funding essential services
- Paying taxes at federal, state, and local level
- Starting businesses that create jobs
- Spend money in U.S. businesses
As one the most upwardly-mobile segments of U.S. society, immigrants are
a vital part of a healthy economy.