One of the great joys of writing my column comes when I get to interact with real experts on issues. Sometimes they educate me and sometimes I have a tetesa-tete that defines a significant difference on a major policy point. I had that with a noted policy person on the issue of immigration.
My positions on immigration have been clearly delineated in the column previously. I, like almost every American, treasure the benefits we derive from most all our immigrants. The problem is too many people have merged "legal" and "illegal" into the issue of immigration. I am against illegal immigration. It harms America and harms the illegal immigrants by having their first activity in America one that breaks our law. The fact that supposedly being here illegally is only equivalent to a traffic ticket is a joke. I don't believe that a person entering our country illegally or overstaying their visa has the same rights as an American citizen. We need a comprehensive visa control system and a wall along our southern border. Welcoming 500,000- one million legal immigrants into our country every year doesn't makes us miserly. We, the American people and our elected representatives, should be making the rules for who becomes an immigrant not others. We need a real system of dealing with people looking for asylum, not just anyone who walks up to our border because they don't like the prospects in their home country. I think stories of how my family came here from Lithuania or how Speaker Ryan's family came from Ireland are quaint but have zero/zilch/nada to do with how the immigration policy should be designed for our country in 2018 with a high-tech society of 330 million people. And, lastly, I am embarrassed by the failure of our education system such that we must continue draining other countries like India of their most talented people because our students waste their time at universities getting degrees that have little benefit to their or our country's future.
The expert with whom I corresponded does not exactly agree with my position. He believes that we should not be questioning whether the significant numbers of people coming here are seeking asylum. He believes that the courts should do that after releasing the people with electronic monitoring devices because that is more cost effective than housing them, which he stated was not as expensive as alluded to by (Director of Homeland Security) Secretary Nielsen.
When I asked why the people who were seeking asylum did not stop in Mexico, I received this response: "They don't stop in Mexico partly because the people who are trying to kill them could easily hop the border too; partly because Mexico's labor market isn't as good; and, partly because they already have family here. Migration is always a confluence of factors."
Yes, it truly is a confluence. Why so many of their family are here is because 1) We are more tolerant of these people than Mexico is; 2) We give them more free stuff; and, 3) A large portion of our country is not run by drug gangs.
I then posed this: "The problem is with 60,000 or so a month coming here and claiming amnesty, we end up with more than a half million a year who get into our country not going through the normal immigration process. They are here because they will end up getting government benefits because there are not jobs for these people who have few skills and we do not get to choose who comes into our country -- they do. Thus, it is a modified open borders policy and that is what you appear to be endorsing." His response was "Wildly inaccurate. Immigrants work at higher rates."
He is correct there; immigrants also have a higher home ownership rate.
The problem is he omitted a key word LEGAL immigrants. Also, we have a lot of unfilled jobs, but those are for skilled workers. I may be wrong, but I am just guessing the illegal immigrants are not highly-trained technicians.
I responded to him by stating: "The bottom line is you are arguing that we should let all these people in here, put ankle bracelets on them hoping they will return to court. We will pay for their health care and other benefits and then at some point they will get legalized through the next amnesty program. How is that not an endorsement of open borders?" His response: "What do you not understand about these people coming through our legal process?"
Then it hit me (not that I did not have a hint before) that the system is totally fixed in favor of mass immigration â€“ mainly illegal. If 60-75% return for their court dates, what do we do after that to find the others? Almost nothing. Add that to the unmonitored visa overstays and this system is wildly on the side of those who want to come here circumventing our laws. And Trump is a racist because he wants to get a handle on this?
It got even better from there. When asked what limits we should put on this, I got the following statements. "You are acting like this will bring down our country to let these people in. You know what share of the population 100,000 people is? 0.03 percent. Conservatives shouldn't run scared from a few women with children. Let Americans sponsor immigrants, and the issue would disappear. Let Americans decide, individually in the free market. If I need a worker, sponsor them. If I want a family member to come, sponsor them. That'd be ideal. Until then, we'll have to make do with what we have. I don't want the immigration politburo to pick a number out of thin air. Why no chain migration? That's how most people immigrate, by following their families."
These positions are not coming from a Leftist, La Raza or another group arguing you are racist if you don't want unfettered immigration. This is someone with a mainstream group and a policy expert in the immigration field.
Just some information you may want to know.