When he’s right, he’s right

Ev­ery na­tion de­cides its im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - EDITORIAL PAGE -

HERE is some un­so­licited ad­vice for our friends on the left: If ev­ery­thing is an emer­gency, if ev­ery­thing is a cri­sis, if ev­ery­thing is a catas­tro­phe, then noth­ing is. You have enough am­mu­ni­tion when it comes to crit­i­ciz­ing the cur­rent oc­cu­pant of the Oval Of­fice. Why take out the ashes and sack­cloth after ev­ery news con­fer­ence?

The pres­i­dent—along with a cou­ple of U.S. sen­a­tors—is propos­ing some com­mon-sense changes to the na­tion’s im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies. As if this na­tion’s peo­ple could be choosy about who gets to come to these shores and when. As if this coun­try had the same claims of se­cu­rity and econ­omy of, say, ev­ery other coun­try on the planet. There are some louder types on the port side of Amer­i­can pol­i­tics who seem to think the United States is the only coun­try in the world that doesn’t have the right to en­force im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies. Those peo­ple are easy enough to spot. They’re on cable TV night and day.

Pres­i­dent Trump, with an as­sist from a sen­a­tor named Tom Cot­ton, is sup­port­ing a plan to re­duce legal im­mi­gra­tion—yes, legal im­mi­gra­tion— to give pref­er­ences to skilled work­ers who would help drive the na­tion’s econ­omy. This is con­sid­ered, among some, to be a con­tro­ver­sial pro­posal.

Those who keep up with these things say the leg­is­la­tion, if passed, would cut legal im­mi­gra­tion in half over 10 years. But they also say that legal im­mi­gra­tion to this coun­try al­ready ap­proaches 1.1 mil­lion peo­ple a year. And that num­ber does not in­clude the il­le­gal im­mi­grants who go back and forth over our south­ern bor­der as the United States’ econ­omy waxes and wanes.

Sen. Cot­ton’s pro­posal would im­ple­ment a points-based sys­tem for im­mi­grants look­ing for green cards. (Same as those aw­ful xeno­pho­bics in Canada!) Ap­pli­cants would re­ceive points based on age, ed­u­ca­tion, the abil­ity to speak English, will­ing­ness to in­vest, and their ré­sumés. For ex­am­ple, those with No­bel prizes would get a good head start on punch­ing their tick­ets.

For too many years, im­mi­gra­tion to this coun­try was based on who could get here, and then send for their fam­i­lies. In­clud­ing ex­tended fam­i­lies. For the record, Sen. Cot­ton’s pro­posal would still al­low new Amer­i­cans to bring along their spouses and mi­nor chil­dren. Just not all the aunts, great-aunts and sec­ond-cousins once-re­moved. Also, the “diver­sity lot­tery sys­tem” pro­gram, which gives pref­er­ences to those from “un­der­rep­re­sented” na­tions, would be elim­i­nated. Diver­sity by it­self has never nec­es­sar­ily been a bad thing, but, as in higher ed­u­ca­tion in this coun­try, it has turned into a mon­ster, de­vour­ing ev­ery­thing in its path. In­clud­ing com­mon sense. Why give a pref­er­ence to a man from Coun­try A, when a man from Coun­try B has a mas­ter’s de­gree, a busi­ness plan and two star­tups?

DOUBT­LESS in the com­ing days and weeks, as this im­mi­gra­tion plan fights for at­ten­tion be­tween health care and taxes, there’ll be any num­ber of peo­ple who’ll make the fol­low­ing ar­gu­ments against it:

Who will pick the crops? This doesn’t al­low more un­skilled work­ers to work in the agri­cul­ture and the hos­pi­tal­ity busi­ness.

Build That Wall! is just a slo­gan at this point, and doesn’t ap­pear to ever be­come more than that. Un­skilled la­bor will con­tinue to flow to­ward the jobs, just as wa­ter flows down­hill.

How will the econ­omy man­age with­out the con­stant in­flow of worker bees?

In his an­nounce­ment Wed­nes­day with Pres­i­dent Trump, Sen. Cot­ton (R-Ark.) said this: “We bring over a mil­lion im­mi­grants into this coun­try a year. That’s like adding the pop­u­la­tion of Mon­tana ev­ery sin­gle year, adding the pop­u­la­tion of Arkansas ev­ery three years. Only 1 in 15 out of a mil­lion new im­mi­grants come here be­cause of their job skills and their abil­ity to suc­ceed in this econ­omy.”

The Brook­ings In­sti­tu­tion put to­gether a pol­icy brief a few years back that said only about 6.5 per­cent of peo­ple who come to Amer­ica do so based on la­bor and skill. As Casey Sten­gel used to say, you can look it up.

Mi­crosoft founder Bill Gates and Face­book founder Mark Zucker­berg are against this plan.

They’ll be OK. Bank on it. What is a na­tion if it can’t con­trol its own im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy? What is a na­tion if its own peo­ple can’t make de­ci­sions on who joins the club? And who’s to say such poli­cies can’t be al­tered to ben­e­fit said na­tion?

Sen. Cot­ton’s pro­posal sounds like mostly com­mon sense.

Un­for­tu­nately, com­mon sense isn’t all that com­mon these days.

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