May 2016 Brief: Volume 23, Number 14
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It's Time to Reform Our Immigration Policy
by John Hendrickson
It is clear that all sides of the American political spectrum agree that our national immigration policy is failing. Any attempt at immigration reform must focus on protecting and securing our borders, putting the interests of American workers first, reforming the visa process to prevent further overstays, and enforcing the current immigration laws. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) wrote that “the immigration debate can be reduced to three essential questions;”
Senator Sessions is taking the lead on a pro-American approach to immigration reform, and his Immigration Handbook for the New Republican Majority provides a solid policy blueprint to reform our broken immigration system. One area that needs to be reformed is not only securing more border enforcement guards and agents, but also giving them the tools to do their jobs effectively. President Barack Obama has not only gone around Congress with his executive amnesty, but also, as Senator Sessions argues, “Since entering office, [President Obama] has engaged in a sustained campaign to collapse immigration enforcement.” As Senator Sessions wrote:
Sessions notes that “interior deportations have fallen 23 percent since 2015 alone, and have been halved since 2011…” The result of non-enforcement of our immigration laws simply encourages further disregard:
From an economic standpoint, immigration reform must also benefit the American worker first, regardless of the occupation. For example, “Nearly half of all illegal aliens in the country have violated the terms of their short-term visitor or work visa.” Oftentimes, the immigration debate focuses on those jobs that advocates of amnesty and liberalized immigration argue that Americans will not do — such as agricultural work — but often, the visa (such as an H-1B visa) overstays also are impacting highly skilled and high-earning occupations.
As middle-class Americans struggle with declining and stagnant wages and unemployment, the level of immigration has been increasing. Senator Sessions notes that “From 2000 through 2014 … 14 million new permanent legal immigrants were admitted to the U.S. in addition to the illegal immigration flow…,” which does not include the large number of guest workers, foreign students, and refugees who enter the nation on a regular basis. “From 1980 through 2013, the immigrant population tripled from 14 million to more than 41 million, according to government data,” and this is expected to increase to an average of over one million immigrants per year. As Senator Sessions wrote:
It is clear that any immigration reform must include actually securing the border and strengthening border security, enforcing immigration laws and punishing businesses that violate those laws, and enforcing visas. Senator Sessions’ immigration policy blueprint is one that will protect our national borders, place American workers first, and protect our sovereignty. A nation without borders cannot exist for very long, and policy makers should learn from Europe’s mistake of allowing open borders, which only results in loss of sovereignty, swamps the social welfare system, and creates serious security concerns. In addition, we must emphasize assimilation in immigration rather than multiculturalism.
In writing about the upcoming 2016 election, Senator Sessions wrote that “this election will decide, perhaps once and for all, whether we continue the slide into open borders globalism, or begin to emerge again as a nation-state that defends its people’s interests.” This is also what is at stake in the debate over immigration.
John Hendrickson is a Research Analyst with Public Interest Institute, Mount Pleasant, Iowa.Contact him at Public.Interest.Institute@LimitedGovernment.org.
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