• Legal immigration is good for Americans

    Illegal immigration is bad: bad for our economy, terrible for the poor and unemployed, and dangerous for our national security.

    But legal immigration, done right, is good for our nation and for the American people. Conservatives should lead the charge in advocating legal immigration policies that will boost our economy, increase the number of US taxpayers, and continue our historic tradition as the world’s beacon of hope.

    As with all immigration policies, the key question to ask is: how can we use immigration law to help American citizens?

    So the first set of would-be immigrants we should seek to admit to the United States are skilled, highly-educated immigrants and businesspeople.  You want to move your company and its jobs from a foreign country to the US?  You go to the front of the line.  Are you educated and would you be a net taxpayer (rather than a welfare recipient) from Day One?  You come next.

    Let’s look at some real-world examples.  In 2012, France’s socialist president Hollande threatened new supertaxes of as high as 75% on his country’s job creators.  The response from our clueless politicians?  Deafening silence.  The smart policy would have been for President Obama and Congress to publicly invite French businesspeople to bring their companies and themselves to America.  If France wants to punish its job creators, we should make space for them here.  (In all cases, of course, we should first do a national security screen on potential entrants to weed out potential terrorists and criminals.)

    Or how about Carlos Slim? He is the Mexican billionaire who battles Bill Gates for the title of richest person on the planet.  He advocates mass amnesty and open borders for America, while living in Mexico, which immediately deports virtually all poor illegal entrants.  Slim also has a highly-profitable business as a major provider of Obamaphones in the United States.  Yes, you read that right: one of the world’s two richest people is getting richer providing free phones to poor people in America, paid for by middle class American taxpayers.  No wonder Slim wants a flood of new poor people in our country. But if Mr. Slim wanted to come to America, we should admit him at once.  America needs more taxpayers and job creators.  And it just might cool his ardor for America having open borders.

    Engineers, computer scientists, medical researchers, entrepreneurs–all of these groups should be near the top of any sensible national list of would-be legal immigrants.  But incredibly, these are near the bottom of our list under current law and under current reform proposals in Congress.  The problem for politicians with admitting job creators and taxpayers is they often seek economic freedom and limited government. That threatens politicians’ power; admitting poor people dependent on government handouts, on the other hand, makes politicians more powerful.  That is why American immigration policy is to admit millions of very poor people, while Canada makes space for the world’s young scientists and engineers.  Canada’s immigrants are net tax payers, while ours are net tax receivers. See what’s wrong with this picture?

    We must permanently seal the border and closely track those who overstay their visas.  Once we have a handle on those issues, we can implement legal immigration programs that strengthen America and offer hope to hard-working foreigners from across the globe.

    The United States can also make space for poor people to come to America through legal immigration.  We’ll touch on just four categories here.

    First, we should reserve some annual immigration slots for foreign relatives of US citizens.  The US citizens sponsoring them should sign legally-binding declarations that they will cover their welfare needs for a significant number of years–not the US taxpayers.  This would let us admit low-income people to the US without further burdening middle class families.

    Second, we should admit a certain number of refugees each year, to allow people to escape horrendous conditions in some of the worst places on earth.  Unfortunately, President Obama is working to destroy the legitimacy of the refugee admission process to reward groups that would likely vote Democrat rather than focus on those who present no national security risk but who face the most dire circumstances.  Sensible refugee policy can be both humane and good public policy.

    Third, there are regions and industries where employment gaps develop.  Agriculture is one such area.  Guest worker programs can allow poor immigrants to come here to work temporarily, helping our businesses compete against foreign competitors while providing important economic opportunity for foreign workers.  Labor-intensive, low-skilled industries could be another.  But it bears repeating, the United States citizenry gets to decide who gets to join us.  That’s the way it works across the globe.

    Fourth, we should have public debate about the conditions under which we would admit additional poor immigrants as a humanitarian gesture.  For example, when unemployment reaches historic lows, we could allow more immigration, and when unemployment rises, immigration slots could be reduced. This is the kind of Americans-first policy completely absent from current law and absent from current proposals being discussed by politicians in Washington.

    This website is rolling out more detailed proposals soon; stay tuned.  But as this brief introduction shows, immigration policy can serve the American people and still provide slots for a variety of immigrants, from the highly-skilled to the poor-but-willing-to-work.

    Conservatives should remain at the forefront advocating pro-growth, pro-America legal immigration done right.