"Our country and state have a special obligation to work toward the stabilization of our own population so as to credibly lead other parts of the world toward population stabilization."
At a time when the negative consequences of America's "broken" immigration system are clearly evident, this page is intended to be a guide for engaging in the complex, and at times, controversial immigration debate. With key facts, figures, and explicit responses at your fingertips, this valuable resource will prepare American Socialists to debunk the most common immigration fallacies and deceptive generalizations, and for making the case for true immigration reform.
- Fundamentals of Immigration Reform
- Immigration By the Numbers
- Debunking Common Fallacies and Misconceptions
- Immigration Impacts
- Sensible Solutions
- Ten Steps to Fix the Broken Immigration Enforcement System
Fundamentals of Immigration Reform (Top)
What is the purpose of the U.S. immigration policy? Like every other public policy, it should benefit first and foremost the American people. It should not operate, as it currently does, to benefit a political and economic elite who have total disregard for the needs, interests, and security of the average U.S. citizen. They tell us that any restriction of immigration is either xenophobic or economic suicide. Of course, their arguments are transparently self- serving and unsubstantiated, but those who are pushing for amnesty and mass immigration, while a small minority of the public, have deep pockets and control the levers of power.
This presents a formidable challenge for proponents of true immigration reform, as even well-meaning Americans are susceptible to the constant disinformation campaign in favor of ever-increasing levels of immigration. The most effective way to counter this is a well-informed citizenry who can articulate what the purpose of our immigration policy should beâ€”and how to put this policy into effect.
Cut the Numbers
We need to restrict immigration to the minimum in accordance with our countryâ€™s needs. This means reducing legal admissions from the current level of more than one million per year to 300,000 per year. This would stabilize our population over time. Right now our population is growing rapidly. About three- fourths of this growth is due to immigrants and their descendants. Since 1970, all U.S. population growth is attributable to immigration. There is no problem the United States is facing that can be solved by more immigration.
Stop Illegal Immigration
Laws against illegal immigration must be enforced if they are going to act as a deterrent. The Jordan Commission said it best in its 1995 call to Congress:
"Credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence: those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave."
Just as we believe that illegal immigration is unacceptable, we also reject amnesty as a solution. The 1986 amnesty was a failure. Rather than reducing illegal immigration, it led to a massive increase. Rewarding illegal aliens with amnesty is not only unfair to those immigrants who play by the rules, but it further weakens respect for our nationâ€™s laws.
Set a Limit and Enforce the Law
Some argue that the reason there is so much illegal immigration is because it is so difficult for immigrants to come legally. This position assumes that the U.S. immigration system exists for the benefit of foreign nationals. If the U.S. simply admitted everyone who wanted to come, annual immigration would increase tenfold. There is no right for anyone to immigrate to the United States. Immigration is a privilege extended by the American people. We get to determine who comes and how many, and it is the federal governmentâ€™s responsibility to set reasonable limits and enforce those limits.
Proponents of mass immigration usually say the United States should â€œadmit as many immigrants as we need.â€ Although low numbers of skilled immigrants could be beneficial, the United States doesnâ€™t really need to admit any immigrants. Those who say we must have mass immigration mistake a need (an actual shortage of workers) for a want (a desire for cheap labor and a reliable voting bloc). The best counter to the argument that legal immigration should be increased to reduce illegal immigration is that when legal immigration increases, so too does illegal immigration. Either we have limits and enforce those limits or we have open borders.
Protect the American Worker
Our primary concern is the well-being of Americaâ€™s native workforce â€” especially our most vulnerable citizens who are hurt the most by additional competition from low-skilled immigrants. Therefore, we must have an immigration policy that is aimed at protecting American workers. American workers are willing and able to perform any job our economy requires. Americans havenâ€™t suddenly turned lazy and incompetent. Instead, multinational corporations have continually called for the importation of massive numbers of lower-wage foreign workers, and our government has complied. This has created disincentives for Americans to work in certain occupations and has led to the displacement of American workers in othersâ€”such as native tech workers being forced to train their foreign replacements.
As long as there are foreign workers who are willing to work for lower wages than natives, unscrupulous employers will continue to undercut American workers by claiming that immigration is necessary to address "chronic labor shortages."
Unfortunately, labor union leaders and Congressional Democrats, until recently stalwart defenders of American workers, have abandoned any support for restrictive immigration policies aimed at protecting native workers. They now favor expansionist policies they believe will bring political benefits.
Enforcement through Employer Sanctions
Those who employ unauthorized workers are the magnets that attract illegal aliens into the United States. We must reform the current system by enforcing employer sanctions and punishing employers who break immigration laws. E-Verify is a free program that allows employers to electronically compare an applicantâ€™s information against Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security databases. Making this program mandatory nationwide would limit the job magnet and would empower states to impose penalties against employers who break the law by hiring illegal aliens.
Ensure our National Security
Illegal immigration may be the most direct violation of our sovereignty and the sanctity of our borders, but the flaws in our legal immigration policies pose a real threat to our national security. The same open borders and lax entry/exit controls that allow millions of economic migrants to settle here can be easily exploited by terrorists and others who threaten our security. In order to protect our nation, we need measures in place that significantly reduce the ability of potential terrorists to operate freely in our country. Effective immigration enforcementâ€”on the border and inside the country â€” requires tighter screening and identification procedures, as well as major upgrades to staffing, equipment, detention facilities, and removal capabilities.
Often ignored in the national security discussion is the threat that illegalâ€”and increasingly legal â€” immigration pose to public health. In fact, the very notion of public health has been totally divorced from immigration policy by federal officials. No attention is paid to the ramifications until there is a health crisis to deal with, such as Ebola or drug resistant tuberculosis. This is especially troubling as the federal government is taking an increasing role in the operation of the health care system.
Immigration By the Numbers (Top)
Immigrant admissions into the United States are at historic highs. Since 2000, legal immigrant admissions have averaged more than one million a year. However, the number of legal permanent residents doesnâ€™t tell the whole story.
While difficult to measure, annual illegal immigration is currently estimated at around 500,000. There are also about 650,000 guest workers admitted every year; an accurate accounting is impossible because the federal government fails to adequately keep track of foreign workers coming into and (supposedly) leaving the United States.
If we look back to 1970, ALL population growth in the United States is attributable to immigration. In that year, the foreign-born population of the United States was 9.6 million and comprised 4.7 percent of the population. In 2013, the foreign-born population was 40.3 million, 12.9 percent of the total population.
Legal Immigration: Annual Admissions
About 75 percent of population growth is due to immigration, and that percentage is expected to increase in coming years. The U.S. adds one new immigrant every 32 seconds.
"Let me state my view unequivocally: I believe new immigrants are good for America... But mark my words, unless we handle this well, immigration of this sweep and scope can threaten our union."
â€” Bill Clinton, former U.S. President
Admission Categories and Preferences
|Immediate relatives of U.S. Citizens||439,460|
|★ 1st: Unmarried sons/daughters of U.S. citizens and their children||24,358|
|★ 2nd: Spouses, children, unmarried sons/daughters of alien residents||99,115|
|★ 3rd: Married sons/daughters of U.S. citizens and their spouses/children||21,294|
|★ 4th: Brothers/sisters of U.S. citizens (21+ years old) and spouses/children||65,536|
|Employment Preferences (includes family members)||161,110|
|★ 1st: Priority workers||38,978|
|★ 2nd: Professionals with advanced degrees or aliens of exceptional ability||63,026|
|★ 3rd: Skilled workers, professionals, and unskilled workers||43,632|
|★ 4th: Certain special immigrants||6,931|
|★ 5th: Employment creation (investors)||8,543|
Nearly 50 percent of admissions to the U.S. come from only ten countries.
"The old employments by which we have heretofore gained our livelihood, are gradually, and it may seem inevitably, passing into other hands. Every hour sees the black man elbowed out of employment by some newly arrived immigrant whose hunger and whose color are thought to give him a better title to the place."
â€” Frederick Douglass, former slave, abolitionist and statesman
|3.2 million||8.5 million||9.4 million||11.9 million|
Top 10 Source Countries for Illegal Immigration
Insomuch as most illegal immigration is traceable to just ten countries, international efforts should be focused on improving conditions in these 10 countries to make immigration unnecessary. Instead, Democrats and Republicans focus on Afghanistan, where the cause of hostility is actually too much capitalist encroachment into the agrarian lifestyles of the local population.
Fact Checking: â€œRecordâ€ Deportations
If the border was secure and the Obama administration had deported â€œrecordâ€ numbers of illegal aliens, as the president has claimed, then the illegal alien population would have noticeably decreased from 2009 to 2012. Instead, there has been no statistically significant change in the illegal alien population according to the Department of Homeland Security. The reason is, rhetoric aside, DHS (by its own admission) has less than half of the U.S. border under "operational control." And, as the president stated outright to a group of Hispanic journalists, the deportation statistics "are actually a little deceptive."
The deception comes from the method used by the Obama administration to count removals of illegal aliens, which changed how those numbers were tallied. In the past, illegal aliens apprehended at the border were â€œreturnedâ€ to Mexico by the Border Patrol. Under President Obama, DHS counts these as ICE â€œremovalsâ€ (which is the official term for deportations), resulting in these deceptive numbers.
If removals and returns were to be separated, as has been the case in the past, the Obama administration would, in fact, have removed fewer illegal aliens than any other administration since Gerald Fordâ€™s.
Also skewing the numbers is the fact that the president has illegally and unconstitutionally declared millions of illegal aliens to be â€œlawfully presentâ€ in the country in order to award them Social Security numbers and work permits. The courts have temporarily blocked some of these maneuvers, but the administration does not include these illegal aliens in its official estimates. Illegal immigration may have slowed from its peak before the recession in 2007, but it is certainly continuing with the encouragement of the president and the leaders of both parties in Congress.
Debunking Common Fallacies and Misconceptions (Top)
The advocates for amnesty and mass immigration are very good at coining slogans to promote their cause â€” while failing to take truth or reason into account. The media does a poor job of separating spin from facts, and many Americans have difficulty cutting through the rhetoric.
Yes, America is a nation of immigrants, and of course immigration has benefited the nation. But that does not mean Americans do not have the right to limit immigration; that all immigration is good; or that the history of immigration has not been skewed to fit a modern political agenda.
In this section, you will find some common fallacies perpetrated in favor of mass immigration, and ways to counter attacks against those of us who understand that the current immigration system is unsustainable.
People who want immigration reform and do not support amnesty are anti-immigrant and racist.
Americans who do not support amnesty and/or are in favor of immigration reduction and the strict enforcement of immigration laws are neither anti-immigrant nor racist. They are simply defending the national interest, and their own self-interest, the latter of which we praise immigrants for pursuing (i.e., seeking a better life for themselves and their children.) What to do about the estimated 12 million illegal aliens living in the United States does divide public opinion, but most Americans oppose blanket amnesty, and very few support any form of amnesty before the border is secured and effective interior enforcement in place.
A decisive majority of U.S. voters want the overall level of immigration to be reduced. One would be hard pressed to find another political issue on which so many Americans agree. This is why the elites who push for expanded immigration want to intimidate and marginalize the average American by calling those who speak up for a sensible immigration policy xenophobic or racist. This argument is designed to shut down debate because the facts are on the side of those who support less immigration.
Todayâ€™s immigration levels are harming the American worker (while providing important gains for American employers of immigrants as well as immigrants themselves). The American people have the right to self-determination and, through their elected representatives, should be able to admit or refuse entry to immigrants according to their needs, wishes, traditions, etc. In fact, those who support increased levels of immigration are the ones who often argue their case along racial or ethnic lines (La Raza, anyone?) while those who want to reduce immigration believe that our immigration policy should be non- discriminatory.
Isnâ€™t the term â€œillegal alienâ€ outdated...offensive... racist?
According to the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) that laid the ground for our current immigration enforcement code, an alien in the country in violation of immigration law is an â€œillegal alien.â€ In Title V of IRCA, there are five references to â€œillegal alienâ€ while the terms â€œunauthorizedâ€ or â€œundocumentedâ€ are not mentioned once. The U.S. government has referred to non-citizens as aliens for over two centuries. This correct terminology has come under attack recently for political reasons. This does not render it inaccurate or derogatory.
Aliens who have entered the United States without permission, or who have violated the terms of their admission and overstayed their visas, are identified under the law as illegal aliens. It is true that most violations of immigration law are dealt with in a civil proceeding and not in a criminal court. This is designed to speed up the process of deportation, since it would be much more time-consuming and expensive to give each illegal alien a criminal trial prior to deportation.
Certainly no human being is illegal, but an individual can be an illegal alien. To call someone undocumented or unauthorized, or a future American, or a NAFTA refugee, or any other such contrivance is an attempt to draw attention away from the fact that laws, democratically enacted and popularly supported, have been willfully violated by foreign nationals.
By the way, the correct term for a creature from outer space is â€œextraterrestrial.â€
Enforcing immigration law breaks up families.
This is an emotional argument designed to tug at the heartstrings and it defies all logic and legal precedent. Enforcing laws does not break up families. It is the breaking of laws that often results in separation or other hardships to families. In every other circumstance, we hold the people who break the law accountable for the harm that is caused to innocent family members when laws are enforced. To do otherwise essentially turns children and other family members into human shields protecting lawbreakers from the consequences of their actions.
As a corollary, the IRS would not hesitate to impose significant penalties against an individual who fails to pay taxes because he â€œwants his family to have a better life.â€ These penalties are administered with the full understanding that children and other innocent family members may suffer along with the person who violated the law.
Unlike a citizen who is separated from his family as a result of having broken the law, an illegal alien who is removed from the United States can choose to take his spouse and children with him. Thus, in almost all cases, family separation as a result of deportation is a conscious choice on the part of the illegal alien.
America is a nation of immigrants, therefore it is un-American to limit immigration.
Every country is a â€œnation of immigrants.â€ Americaâ€™s immigrant experience is just more recent. America is a nation with a history of many things. Public policies or laws in place over a century ago do not bind us today; and the immigration â€œmelting potâ€ should be understood within the context of history. We have romanticized our immigration history at the expense of accuracy.
Hereâ€™s how things are different: The numbers are not normal. Immigration data began to be collected by the federal government in 1820. The average annual immigration to the United States since then is 409,709, less than half of todayâ€™s number. Skyrocketing levels of immigration since 1965 have greatly increased the historical average. From 1820 to 1965, the average annual total was 296,500. We are admitting more immigrants today than at any other time in our history. The only other comparable time was during the Industrial Revolution, when millions of immigrants came from Europe to work in factories.
Mass immigration has always displaced black natives. Black civil rights leaders from Frederick Douglass to Barbara Jordan have opposed mass immigration. So, too, did union officials, such as A. Philip Randolph, the man who led the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963 at which Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his â€œI Have a Dreamâ€ speech.
Black Americans were denied employment opportunities during the Industrial Revolution, opportunities that instead went to Europeans who passed through Ellis Island (the Statue of Liberty was a gift from France that had nothing to do with immigration.) Today, the unemployment rate for black workers is almost double the national average, while politicians talk incessantly about â€œjobs Americans wonâ€™t do.â€ Not once has a politician ever explained which Americans donâ€™t want to work.
Legal Hispanic immigrants also suffer from the oversupply of low-skilled labor exacerbated by our immigration policies. That is why Cesar Chavez, the revered leader of the United Farm Workers, dedicated himself to fighting illegal immigration, even offering to organize patrols along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Change in origin. In the 1890s Europeans accounted for 97 percent of immigrants. In the last decade, the number of immigrants coming from Europe is right around 10 percent. Today, the majority of immigrants come from Latin America (67%), with 12 million, or 29 percent of all immigrants in the United States, from Mexico.
One can argue whether this demographic transformation is good, bad, or indifferent, but one canâ€™t deny that it is happening; or that it is necessary to discuss the implications. Culture does matter, and immigration is changing American culture. The most obvious change is linguistic. English is not the primary language of about one-fifth of the U.S. population. This is a 50 percent increase in just a generation.
Change in integration. Sustained large-scale immigration from Mexico to the United States resulted in integration failures. Ten percent of people born in Mexico now reside in the United States. Immigration from Mexico has started to slow, but most foreign nationals entering the U.S. every year still come from Central America with growing numbers from Asia and the Middle East. Large immigrant groups are known to experience a slowdown in their economic assimilation, largely tied to their slow acculturation. The linguistic and economic enclaves are persisting over time, even as some immigrants do successfully assimilate.
Change in times. We live in an increasingly interconnected world. Todayâ€™s immigrants can and do retain contact with their homeland on regular basis (this is particularly true for Mexicans in view of their geographical proximity to the U.S.). Cheap and fast travel, internet, phone, television, and modern tools of connection affect todayâ€™s migratory experiences and allow immigrants to shut themselves in a cultural bubble instead of embracing the practices and traditions of their new home.
Integration patterns today are different because our society is different from what it was 150 years ago. We now have a public school system, a national health care system, and an enormous welfare apparatusâ€”all things that did not exist in the 19th Century when European immigrants came through Ellis Island. Allowing in tens of millions of foreigners today is putting strains on our schools, our health care system, our public benefits programs. We live in a post-industrial society. We do not need a 19th Century immigration system in the 21st Century.
Immigrants grow the economy.
How one views the economic contribution of immigrants depends on oneâ€™s perspective of how an economy is supposed to operate. It is true that immigration â€œgrows the economyâ€ simply by adding more people to the population. More people means more workers and more consumers. However, economic growth is not the same as economic prosperity. The benefits of increased immigration go to immigrants and the employers of immigrants. The average American is cut out of the equation. In fact, our immigration system operates as a way of diverting money from the middle class (who see depressed earnings and higher taxes) to subsidize a cheaper foreign labor source for the benefit of employers. These employers (especially large corporations) spend a lot of money lobbying members of Congress to ensure that sensible immigration restrictions are stymied.
The effect of immigration on the U.S. economy follows the law of supply and demand. A large supply of foreign workers entering the U.S. each year means that workers here have less bargaining power when it comes to wages and working conditions. Immigration is a reason that wages have remained stagnant for the last 35 years. The effect has been most pronounced in lower-skilled professions, but guest worker programs have kept wages suppressed in computer science professions, as well.
Of course an economy is complex, and it is true that not every immigrant working in the U.S. has displaced a native worker. Some immigrants are complementary to native workers, meaning that they have certain skills or traits that result in a mutually beneficial economic relationship. In order to pursue complementarity, the U.S. would admit far fewer immigrants and most of the ones we did admit would be highly-skilled. Todayâ€™s immigrants are mostly low-skilled, a situation made worse by illegal immigration. Of the one million immigrants we admit each year, only about 7 percent come based on their work skills.
Immigrants are a plus to the economy because they contribute to an increase in the Gross Domestic Product, but the GDP tells us nothing about the economy other than its size. No one who is honestly appraising the economic conditions in the U.S. can claim that immigration has not led to unfavorable labor conditions for U.S. natives.
We need immigrants to do the jobs Americans wonâ€™t do.
There is no job Americans are not currently doing, and doing in large numbers, whether in construction, agriculture, or service professions. One- third of crop laborers are American citizens, despite the fact that due to the failure of the government to enforce immigration law, real wages for these workers have declined since the 1980s. Moreover, most low-skilled immigrant workers live in six states: California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Texas. Does that mean that in other states where the immigrant population is lower, jobs that require manual labor remain vacant? Of course not. Americans are doing these jobs.
The more immigrants that take jobs in a particular sector the less attractive it becomes to native workers. Such â€œcompetitionâ€ can drive many native- born American workers to give up on looking for a job altogether while settling for unemployment, disability payments, or other benefits. If we need immigration because tens of millions of Americans arenâ€™t in the workforce, then shouldnâ€™t we be addressing the underlying problem of why tens of millions of Americans are unemployed?
The â€œsystem is broken.â€
Most Americans agree, but the â€œfixesâ€ offered by politicians in the form of comprehensive immigration reform would make the system much worse. When politicians say the system is broken, they usually understand that to mean we need to let more people in. Opening the borders is not the way to reduce illegal immigration. Illegal immigration can be effectively controlled by rational enforcement of reasonable laws.
When Americans say the system is broken, they understand it to mean that our political system is failing â€” that the president refuses to fulfill his constitutional duty to enforce our existing laws and Congress has failed to hold him to account. America has both the right and the responsibility to limit immigration and control its borders.
Deporting 12 million people is not only impossible, but inhumane.
Deporting 12 million people is indeed unrealistic. That is not what true immigration reform calls for. The real issue at hand is taking away the â€œincentiveâ€ to come or stay here. Most immigrants come to the United States to work; if they cannot secure jobs (because no one will hire them), many will return to their home countries. This can be accomplished by the use of the E-Verify program, and holding employers accountable for hiring illegal aliens. It also means taking away amnesty promises (whether explicit or implied) and enforcing immigration laws in full. Under todayâ€™s prevailing political conditions, illegal aliens count on the fact that, once in the United States and unless they commit serious crimes, they will never be deported.
What do we do with illegal aliens already here? When someone is identified as an illegal alien according to the law, that individual must be placed in removal proceedings. If the federal government took enforcement seriously, many people would choose not to come illegally and many here illegally would leave voluntarily. We donâ€™t need mass amnesty nor mass deportation, neither of which has wide support.
We donâ€™t have a problem with illegal immigration because we arenâ€™t generous enough, or because illegal aliens had no choice but to flee their home countries. Most illegal aliens who come to the U.S. were employed in their home countries and were better off financially compared to their fellow citizens. The poorest of the poor stay at home since they donâ€™t have the means to travel or the initiative to come to the U.S. Illegal aliens come to the U.S. because there is a great incentive for them to do so. If that incentive were taken away, effective border control would be a lot easier to achieve.
We have a moral obligation to admit the worldâ€™s refugees.
The U.S. has a very generous refugee and asylee program. The problem is that our generosity is too often taken advantage of. A 2009 internal report by the Department of Homeland Security found that 70 percent of asylum cases contained proven or probable fraud.
Furthermore, this argument again assumes that the U.S. immigration system exists for the benefit of foreigners. Sadly, we cannot accept all of those who claim asylum, or even all legitimate refugees. Decisions to admit refugees or grant asylum are not extensions of foreign policy. Even if we admit people based on humanitarian impulses, immigration policy is domestic policy and the interests of local communities are paramount.
When taking in refugees from places where religious or political violence is endemic, we need to consider the strong possibility that terrorists and other radical ideologues will be admitted as well if we do not exercise strict scrutiny. We should not feel morally compelled to admit as refugees people who pose a significant threat to this country.
Many organizations that assist in refugee resettlement receive funds from the federal government and have a financial stake in enlarging the flow of refugees who permanently resettle in the U.S., which contravenes the recommendation of the United Nations Refugee Agency. There is a movement to greatly expand refugee admissions and redefine the laws governing asylum through the court system. This will lead to chaos, like Europe is already beginning to experience.
Demographics is destiny.
The argument is often put forward that the United States has no choice but to admit millions of immigrants each year, and to grant all illegal aliens amnesty because it is inevitable that we do so. The march of history demands it.
Americans have a choice about what our society is going to be like, and a responsibility to posterity to plan for the future. We donâ€™t have control over the policies of other countries, but we do have control over our immigration system. It is our responsibility to ask how immigration affects our economy, our environment, our political system, our civil society.
If we continue to allow immigration to rapidly transform the demographic makeup of our country, then transformational change is inevitable. But that choice is ours to make.
"We should strengthen our immigration laws to prevent the importation of foreign wages and working conditions. We should make it illegal for employers to lay off Americans and then fill their jobs by bringing in workers from overseas...And we should end the unskilled immigration that competes with young Americans just entering the job market."
â€” Edward Kennedy, former Massachusetts Senator
- ★ U.S. Census Bureau (census.gov) American Community Survey Data on the Foreign-Born Population
- ★ Department of Homeland Security (dhs.gov) Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2013
- ★ Department of Homeland Security (dhs.gov) Estimates of the Unauthorized Immigrant Population Residing in the United States: January 2012
- ★ Center for Immigration Studies (cis.org) â€œWages, Jobs, and Povertyâ€
- ★ Federation for American Immigration Reform (fairus.org) â€œImmigration Factsâ€
- ★ Pew Research Center (pewhispanic.org) Hispanic Trends: Immigration
Immigration Impacts (Top)
Immigration into the United States fluctuated throughout the 20th century because of varying economic conditions. But the changes made by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 drastically increased the number of immigrants allowed into the United States. This in turn has had a negative impact on the quality of life of many Americans today due to the mass increase in population.
Worse, the United States has mass illegal immigration because successive Congresses and Presidents have decided they want it. In one action after another over the last decade, they have declined to approve measures known to be effective to slow the flow of illegal immigrants, they have decided to end various kinds of enforcement that had been effective, and they have approved a series of rewards to those who violate immigration laws.
succession of scientific and governmental commissions for three decades have come to the same conclusion - that there is a scientific rationale for stabilizing the U.S. population in order to meet environmental goals. While national environmental groups have dramatically changed their stance on U.S. population stabilization, government and scientific bodies have not.
Sprawl, Congestion, and Farmland
The Census Bureau estimates the population of the United States to be 459 million by the year 2050. That's more than a 33% increase over the next 40 years. Experts say the average American needs 1 acre of farmland to produce the food necessary for a sustainable diet. The United States has more than 2 billion acres, but much of the land cannot be farmed. For instance, Alaska has more than 300 million acres under ice. So, unless we can control our population growth by reducing immigration numbers, our sustainability will soon be threatened.
â€œSprawlâ€ refers to the rural acres lost as an Urbanized Area spreads outward over a period of time.
An â€œUrbanized Areaâ€ is a central city and its contiguously developed suburbs, as calculated by the Census Bureau.
â€œPercent Sprawlâ€ is the percentage increase of total acres of land in an Urbanized Area over a period of time.
U.S. population growth is a key factor in paving the worldâ€™s breadbasket. Economic, cultural, demographic and political forces between 1982 and 1997 converted approximately 39,000 square miles (or 25 million acres) of rural land into subdivisions, malls, workplaces, roads, parking lots, resorts, and the like.
Amnesty for illegal workers is not just a slap in the face to black Americans. It's an economic disaster. I see illegal immigration and the adverse impact that it has on the political empowerment of African Americans, and the impact it has on the job market.
â€” T. Willard Fair, President of the Urban League of Greater Miami, Fla.
Most illegal aliens are unskilled or low-skilled. The Nobel Prize-winning, liberal economist Paul Krugman has written, "Unfortunately, low-skill immigrants don't pay enough taxes to cover the cost of the benefits they receive.â€ That means American taxpayers must heavily subsidize the costs of services to newcomers. The financial burden on taxpayers occurs in many ways, including those noted below.
The H-1B visa program allows skilled immigrants to work in the United States on a supposedly temporary basis. The tech industry says the foreign workers are needed to remedy a tech labor shortage, but for most employers the attraction of H-1Bs visa holders is simply cheap labor.
Government data from its Current Population Survey (and compiled by the Center for Immigration Studies) demonstrate that millions of Americans of all ages and education levels are currently unemployed, while the number of immigrant workers in the United States continues to increase. Other work by CIS has shown that this is the result of a long-term trend where immigrants are being hired at a faster rate than U.S.-born workers.
While the economy is performing better than it was during the depth of the Great Recession of 2008-2009, many millions more Americans are now out of work than in 2007, and millions more who have returned to work have had to take lower paying jobs, or are only working part-time.
The relatively low "official unemployment rate" is masking a far greater problem. The percentage of the working-age population who are employed is the lowest it has been in over 35 years, and as of September 2015 there were 57 million men and women between the ages of 16 and 64 who were unemployed yet classified by the government as "not in the labor force," so they were not included in the calculation of the official unemployment rate.
The federal government does have a broader measure of unemployment which gives a better picture of how many Americans want full-time work. U-6 unemployment rates by age and/or educational attainment for the second quarter of 2015 are listed below (U-6 rate includes individuals who want a full-time job but are unemployed, have given up their job search, or have settled for part-time employment in the interim).
U-6 UNEMPLOYMENT RATES:
|All American Citizens|
|★ 9.4%||ages 16+||(12.4 million)|
|★21.3%||for those with less than a high school education||(1.5 million)|
|★13.1%||for those with a high school degree only||(4.6 million)|
|★ 4.8%||for all college graduates (2.2 million) and 7.7% for college graduates under age 30||(522,000)|
|★15.8%||ages 16+||(2.5 million)|
|★30.3%||for those with less than a high school education||(352,000)|
|★20.2%||for those with a high school degree||(1.1 million)|
|★ 7.6%||for all college graduates||(304,000)|
|12.5%||for college graduates under age 30||(76,000)|
|★13.2%||ages 16+||(1.8 million)|
|★22.2%||for those with less than a high school education||(303,000)|
|★16.8%||for those with a high school degree||(735,000)|
|★ 6.2%||for all college graduates||(175,000)|
|★ 8.8%||for college graduates under age 30||(51,000)|
Foreign workers compete with the laid-off and underemployed highly-skilled Americans in some professions and occupations, primarily in the tech industry, but most foreign workers compete directly in the construction, service, and manufacturing industries where unemployment is the highest and where Americans have the least margin of financial security.
U.S. immigration policy does not automatically adjust to changing economic conditions, and is not a function of U.S. labor market conditions.
Traditionally, the union movement strongly supported every legislative initiative in Congress to restrict immigration enforce existing immigration laws. Movement leaders knew that fluctuations in union membership were inversely related to prevailing immigration trends. Today, the AFL-CIO has turned its back on U.S. workers by endorsing illegal immigration & open borders.
In general, Religious Globalists believe that the needs of people in the Third World have priority over the needs of people in more advanced nations when it comes to questions of whether migrants should cross borders. Underlying this is the assessment that most would-be immigrants come from conditions that are worse than those for the Americans who may be hurt by their entry.
Powerful appeals for a version of open borders have come in recent years from some high-profile religious leaders who say that although a country has a right to control its borders, workers without jobs have a higher right to cross the borders in search of work. That would qualify hundreds of millions of people around the world to immigrate. Many open-immigration globalists contend that borders and communities are barriers to a just world; any person anywhere in the world should be allowed to go anywhere else in the world if that will advance that person's well-being -- even if it creates a decline of the well-being of residents of the receiving community. The justice of this is based primarily on the assumption that migrants would not move into a community unless the conditions there were better. Therefore, residents of that community can lose some of their standard of living and still not be worse off than the arriving migrant. Global egalitarianism appears to be the goal.
In the end in a democracy, a decision on immigration ought to be made in answer to the question, "What is the right thing to do?"
The ethics of closed-immigration are based primarily on the belief that a country's ethical priority is to its own citizens. To the extent it has ethical obligations to other people, a country should help those people where they reside, not by bringing them into the country and posing harm to its own citizens. Some closed-immigration advocates feel little obligation to helping impoverished peoples in other countries, while other closed-immigration advocates are extremely active in international religious ministries and relief and development efforts in poor countries. But people of this philosophy do not see immigration as being necessary for individuals or nations to show compassion for people in other lands.
Closed-immigration advocates note that the same religions with teachings about the brotherhood and sisterhood of all humankind also include teachings about the creation of just societies based on mutually held responsibilities within the family, tribe or nation. Supporters of closed borders point to what they see as substantial agreement among history's philosophers that a person's moral obligations are greatest for those persons who are closest to them, and to their own descendants. Vanderbilt University philosopher John Lachs has noted that, "Throughout history, acting in self-interest for one's own people generally has not been considered morally selfish."
The Big Business Lobbyists apparently got nearly everything they wanted from Pres. Obama when it came to favoring cheap foreign labor over unemployed Americans. However, republicans are no better.
According to a 2009 Obama executive order, government contractors and subcontractors will no longer be obliged to verify all employees working on the government contract. Instead, they will only have to verify those employees who are hired specifically for the contract and are hired after the company receives the government contract. This change will allow illegal aliens to easily acquire government-funded jobs. This, however, looks like a total surrender to the Lobbyists of Greed.
Senator Sessions defends the American worker and criticizes fellow Republicans who are only interested in catering to big business.
Some Democrats and Republicans will argue that immigration reform must â€œserve the needs of businesses.â€ What about the needs of workers? Since when did we did we accept the idea that the immigration policy for our entire nation â€” with all its lasting social, economic, and moral implications â€” should be tailored to suit the financial interests of a few CEOs?
U.S. citizens comprise 25 percent of all domestic crop laborers. Another 21 percent are legal immigrants. Together, they make up nearly half of the agricultural workers that provide the nation's food supply. Yet the media is conspicuously silent on these legal farm workers, while devoting copious copy to the interests of their illegal competitors and their employers.
The Agricultural lobby is a powerful opponent of state legislatures who want to verify the legal status of workers or reduce illegal immigration through interior enforcement, both of which the Ag lobby views as a threat to its illegal labor supply. Through the press, they warn readers and legislators of the dire consequences they say will result from the government taking away their illegal workers without giving them expanded access to legal workers. They are particularly active in Florida and Georgia, and most of the local press is unwilling to challenge them. The news coverage from the the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Miami Herald (via News Service of Florida), the Palm Beach Post, and WOKV (Jacksonville) is remarkably similar to the Ag lobby's talking points.
Those outlets rarely, if ever, mention the federal H-2a visa program that provides farmers with unlimited foreign workers for seasonal work. I've seen only one article (from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution) this year that quotes a farmer begrudgingly admitting that he uses the H-2a program.
But the reporter immediately dismisses the program by quoting the same farmer describing H-2a as "cumbersome." Indeed, employer advocates frequently insist that the Obama administration's H-2a regulations - which include minimum wage and working standards - pose an unrealistic burden on farmers. They may have a point, but I have yet to find a story that quotes an H-2a official or H-2a worker on the question of whether the visa holders are too pampered or overpaid. Presumably, none of the reporters I've read have thought to ask.
While the Ag lobby whispers sweet nothings into reporters' ears, the media sends a clear message to legal farm workers: We're just not that into you.
Of course, the press isn't in the sweets and flowers business, but theirs is a harsh Valentine for legal farm workers and their families who have much more at stake than broken hearts.
A February 13 article in the Naples Daily News is illustrative. The reporters showcase numerous "business owners, economic experts, and tourist officials" who weigh in on the E-Verify and interior enforcement proposals before the Florida legislature. Seven sources are cited who are critical of the enforcement proposals, while only one pro-enforcement group is briefly mentioned in support.
None of the sources challenge the claims that taking away farmers' illegal workforce would be "catastrophic," or that farmers "wouldn't have the potential pool of employees to hire from." The H-2a visa program is never mentioned. And anti-enforcement advocates are given carte blanch to blame American workers for illegal immigration: "You're not going to get people in the Facebook generation to go out and pick tomatoes," says a University of Florida history professor, "It ain't going to happen."
And what about the legal workers who are picking our crops? The Editor's Note says the article "is part of a series examining the upcoming legislative session, several proposed immigration bills, and how they will affect business, law enforcement and the people who could face scrutiny." Those are all viewpoints that deserve to be heard.
Tellingly, however, the series will not examine how the bills would effect the citizens and legal workers who stand to benefit. Like so many of their colleagues throughout the fourth estate, the Naples Daily News isn't interested.
Sensible Solutions (Top)
The Socialist Party promotes the immigration recommendations of the bipartisan U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform. It recommended that annual legal immigration numbers be cut to around a half-million (compared to current totals of more than one million a year) and called for policy changes that would eliminate most illegal immigration.
In line with the commission's pro-immigration stances, the Socialist Party backs continued permanent immigration in three categories: nuclear family of spouse and minor children including overseas adoptions and marriages by U.S. citizens, our fair share of internationally recognized special needs refugees, and foreign workers with truly extraordinary skills that serve in the national interest. Therefore, sensible solutions would include eliminating the visa lottery, ending chain migration, reforming the outdated practice of birthright citizenship, eliminating visas for unnecessary foreign workers, and reducing fraud in the asylum and refugee programs.
On illegal immigration, the Socialist Party favors removing jobs, public benefits and other incentives that encourage people to become illegal aliens and remain in the U.S. This includes requiring employers to verify the eligibility of all employees through the E-Verify system, completing the Congressionally - approved biometric entry/exit system, enforcing existing immigration laws in the interior, and making improvements to border security.
End Chain Migration
Chain Migration refers to the endless chains of foreign nationals who are allowed to immigrate to the United States because citizens and lawful permanent residents are allowed to sponsor their non-nuclear family members.
It is the primary mechanism that has caused legal immigration in the U.S. to quadruple from about 250,000 per year in the 1950s and 1960s to more than 1 million annually since 1990. As such, it is one of the chief culprits in America's current record-breaking population boom and all the attendant sprawl, congestion, and school overcrowding that damage Americansâ€™ quality of life.
HOW CHAIN MIGRATION WORKS
Chain Migration starts with a foreign citizen chosen by our government to be admitted on the basis of what he/she is supposed to offer in our national interest. The Original Immigrant is allowed to bring in his/her nuclear family consisting of a spouse and minor children. After that, the chain begins. Once the Original Immigrant and his/her spouse becomes a U.S. citizen, they can petition for their parents, adult sons/daughters and their spouses and children, and their adult siblings.
The Family-Chain categories are divided into four separate preferences:
- ★ 1st Preference: Unmarried sons/daughters of U.S. citizens and their children (capped at 23,400/year)
- ★ 2nd Preference: Spouses, children, and unmarried sons/daughters of green card holders (capped at 114,000/year)
- ★ 3rd Preference: Married sons/daughters of U.S. citizens and their spouses and children (capped at 23,400/year
- ★ 4th Preference: Brothers/sisters of U.S. citizens (at least 21 years of age) and their spouses and children (capped at (65,000/year)
CHAIN MIGRATION LEADS TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION
Due to Chain Migration, distant relatives of original immigrants may come to see immigration as a right or entitlement. When they realize that they may, in fact, have to wait years for a visa to become available because of annual caps and per-country limits on several of the family-based immigration categories, many decide to come illegally while they wait for their turn.
According to recent Visa Bulletins prepared by the U.S. Department of State, green cards are currently being issued to Philippino-born adult brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens (the fourth preference under the family-sponsored categories) who first filed their green card applications in the early-1990s. While these adult family members are guaranteed green cards under current law, the wait time is so long, these family members instead choose to come to the United States and remain here illegally until their green card becomes available. In fact, the long wait times created by Chain Migration was one factor leading to Congress' decision to increase the annual caps on legal immigration in 1990.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF CHAIN MIGRATION
Immigration Act of 1924 -- Congress exempted spouses and unmarried adult children between 18-21 from per-country quotas
Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 -- Congress created chain categories for parents, adult children, and adult siblings in a limited number of countries. Highly-educated or skilled immigrants, however, received priority.
Immigration Act of 1965 (Hart-Celler Act) -- Congress extended the chains to every country of the world and reversed the priority so that the chain categories had preference over skill categories.
Immigration Act of 1990 -- Congress raised the caps on chain categories.
The 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act established a four-category selection system for countries in the Eastern Hemisphere (Northern and Western Europe were heavily favored). As in the past, the Western Hemisphere was not subject to numerical limitations. The first preference, accounting for 50 percent of all green cards issues, went to skilled immigrants. The next three categories were divided among specified relatives of U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens.
- ★ 30 percent were made available to parents of U.S. citizens aged 21 or older.
- ★ 20 percent were made available to the spouses and children of lawful permanent residents.
- ★ Unused visas (capped at 25 percent per country) were made available to adult siblings and adult children of U.S. citizens.
From "A Brief History of U.S. Immigration Policy" by Joyce Vialet, Congressional Research Service, December 22, 1980:
â€œAlthough U.S. immigration policy incorporated family relationships as a basis for admitting immigrants as early as the 1920s, the promotion of family reunification found in current law originated with the passage of the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act (INA, P.L. 82-414). While the 1952 act largely retained the national origins quota system established in the Immigration Act of 1924, it also established a hierarchy of family-based preferences that continues to govern contemporary U.S. immigration policy today, including prioritizing spouses and minor children over other relatives and relatives of U.S. citizens over those of lawful permanent residents (LPRs).
Immigration numbers soared during the second half of the 1950s and early-1960s, with more than half of all immigration coming from the Western Hemisphere which was not subject to numerical limitations. According to the Congressional Research Service:
â€œThe gradual recognition that the national origins quota system was not functioning effectively as a means of regulating immigration was an important factor leading to the major policy revision which came in 1965.
The 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act made two significant changes that, in combination with the chain categories, doubled immigration over the next 25 years.
- ★ Revised the means by which immigration was regulated by replacing the national origin quotas with annual limits:
- ★ 170,000 annual limit for the Eastern Hemisphere
- ★ 20,000 per country
- ★ 120,000 annual limit for the Western Hemisphere
- ★ 20,000 per country (added in 1976)
- ★ 170,000 annual limit for the Eastern Hemisphere
- ★ Reversed the priority system for the Eastern Hemisphere so the chain categories gained preference over education and skills.
- ★ Amendments in 1976 applied the preference system to the Western Hemisphere as well.
In 1976, Congress amended the 1965 bill by reversing the priority system -- family-sponsored then employment-based -- for both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. Then, In 1978, Congress ended the per-county limits and replaced them with a single worldwide cap of 290,000. Through passage of the Refugee Act of 1980, Congress reduced the worldwide cap to 270,000, but removed Refugees as a preference.
The 1990 Immigration Act raised the annual caps on these chain categories in bold (P.L. 101-649, Section 111):
- ★ unlimited for parents of adult U.S. citizens
- ★ 23,400 for unmarried adult children of citizens
- ★ 114,200 for spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents; and unmarried adult children of LPRs (with 77% reserved for spouses and minor children)
- ★ 23,400 for married children of citizens
- ★ 65,000 for adult siblings of citizens age 21 and over
THE SOLUTION: RAISE ACT
The Immigration Act of 1990 called for a bi-partisan commission to "review and evaluate the impact of this Act and the amendments made by this Act" and to issue findings and recommendations on (among other things) the "impact of immigration...on labor needs, employment, and other economic and domestic conditions in the United States."
The commission, chaired by Barbara Jordan, recommended the elimination of the chain migration categories.
Unless there is a compelling national interest to do otherwise, immigrants should be chosen on the basis of the skills they contribute to the U.S. economy. The Commission believes that admission of nuclear family members and refugees provide such a compelling national interest, even if they are low-skilled. Reunification of adult children and siblings of adult citizens solely because of their family relationship is not as compelling.
â€“ Barbara Jordan, June 28, 1995
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) introduced legislation that would end Chain Migration based on the Jordan Commission's recommendations â€“ the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act (S. 354). The bill would reduce legal immigration by up to 50% by ending future chain migration and the diversity visa lottery.
Reduce Unnecessary Worker Visas
The Department of Labor released disturbing numbers, stating that more than 2 million Americans lost their job in 2008. To help the American worker, the Socialist Party proposes an immigration freeze on most legal forms of immigration. All immigration, with the exception of refugees and nuclear families, should be halted while the job market continues to struggle.
Reduce Refugee and Visa Fraud
The United States signed the 1967 U.N. refugee protocol relating to our obligation to provide sanctuary for defined refugees. The Socialist Party has always supported this country taking our fair share of the worldâ€™s internationally recognized special-needs refugees.
In many years, the United States, with less than 5 percent of the worldâ€™s population, has been taking in more than half of the "special-needs refugees" identified by international bodies and resettled in third-party countries.
Unfortunately, American generosity in this area has long been abused. Well-intentioned programs have been damaged by fraud and mismanagement, with U.S. government officials and the "refugees" themselves sharing the blame.
ABC News reported that several dozen suspected terrorist bombmakers -- some of whom may have targeted American troops -- were apparently allowed to move to the United States by claiming to be war refugees. FBI agents reportedly found the fingerprints of some of the purported refugees on the remnants of roadside bombs recovered in Iraq.
At a February 2014 hearing, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security released a document produced by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services entitled "Asylum Benefit Fraud and Compliance Report". It found that just 30% of asylum cases surveyed were fraud-free -- in other words, 70% bore some indication of fraud.
At the same hearing, the Judiciary Committee released a report which showed that the Obama Administration has been releasing asylum seekers into the United States while their claims are pending -- a violation of U.S. law, which requires that they be held in custody. The report showed that in many cases, authorities lose track of these applicants. Research by the Center for Immigration Studies has shown that many of these people fail to show up for their hearings.
These problems in the U.S. refugee admissions systems have been festering for many years.
Two decades ago, the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform headed by former Rep. Barbara Jordan (D-Texas) heard testimony from refugee experts who noted that the United States takes in many people from refugee camps who still have a reasonable opportunity to return to their home countries. Refugee experts note that when the United States accepts refugees who are capable of returning home, it encourages millions more to balk at going back in the hope that if they hold out long enough, they too will be allowed to enter and remain in the United States.
Refugees, once given permission to live here, may bring or send for family members. But large numbers of refugees engage in fraud through this process. Because of the rampant nature of this fraud, the State Department in October 2008 suspended all family reunification applications (P-3 Visas) from U.S.-based refugees. The State Department reported that DNA matches were found in fewer than 20 percent of all cases tested -- suggesting that the fraud rate may be close to 80 percent.
The suggestion of an 80 percent fraud rate is deeply troubling. Refugee advocates have challenged relying solely on DNA testing to validate the relationship between refugees and their family members, claiming that kinship in these communities goes well beyond blood ties.
But if blood ties cannot be verified, how do U.S. immigration officials know that people claiming to be "family" are not simply attempting to pull off a scam?
In February congressional testimony, Temple University Law professor Jan Ting -- formerly a senior official handling refugee issues at the Justice Department and the Immigration and Naturalization Service -- emphasized that the fraud problem shows no signs of abating.
He pointed to a New Yorker article detailing how illegal immigrants educate themselves on how to construct bogus stories making them sound like victims of persecution. The article features an African asylum claimant falsely claiming to have been raped. To bolster her story, "she attends group therapy sessions for rape victims at a public hospital and receives taxpayer-funded medications for her supposed depression, which she throws away," Ting observed.
Ten Steps to Fix the Broken Immigration Enforcement System (Top)
Politicians who push for increasing legal immigration levels will often make reference to the "Broken Immigration System". By fixing the "broken system" what they really want is to dismantle enforcement and make it easier for employers to access cheap, foreign labor. But they often ignore the real broken pieces within our immigration system that drive more illegal immigration and harm national security and public safety.
The following list of Ten Steps to Re-establish the Integrity of the Immigration System would make great strides toward ending illegal immigration, assisting struggling American workers, and making our communities more safe. Many of these items are already federal law, but simply ignored by the current and past Administrations. Legislation has been introduced to repair much of the rest.
- 1. Make E-Verify mandatory for all U.S. employers to eliminate the jobs magnet.
- 2. Complete the Congressionally-mandated biometric entry/exit system to track non-immigrant visitors to the U.S.
- 3. End the practice of birthright citizenship for illegal aliens and foreign visitors.
- 4. Require state and local law enforcement to report affirmatively all non-citizens in custody to ICE, make ICE detainers mandatory, and require ICE to pick up and remove deportable aliens.
- 5. Expand expedited removal to include all illegal aliens with criminal convictions.
- 6. End catch-and-release of illegal aliens by requiring that they be detained until removal.
- 7. Deny immigrant and nonimmigrant visas to nations that refuse to repatriate their citizens.
- 8. Reform the judicial process in immigration courts, including restricting relief from removal, to expedite the process and reduce the backlog of cases.
- 9. Restrict asylum to the internationally recognized definition of those who are unable to be returned to the home country due to a well-founded fear of (state) persecution due to race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
- 10. Allow Border Patrol access to all federal lands.