Republicans Need a New Approach to Immigration

Republicans and conservatives continue to fail to fight the information war on the important issues like immigration despite the fact that plenty of good analysis and policy recommendations are at their disposal. For example, there is this article by Fred Bauer: Integration, 21st-Century Style. Another is the above-titled article by Reihan Salam — here are just two (long) paragraphs from it:

[Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s] emergence as the voice of the anti-immigration Right is a reflection of the failure of the Republican establishment to grapple with lawlessness at the border and half a century of mass immigration. Consider the events of the past two years. Child migrants have surged into the United States from Central America, and working-class cities and towns across the country are struggling to absorb them. Before the federal courts stepped in, President Obama signed an executive order shielding roughly half of all unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. from the threat of deportation, a move he had previously suggested was out of bounds. And now the U.S. is experiencing yet another wave of Central American arrivals. Border Patrol officials report that many unauthorized immigrants believe that the U.S. is going to welcome them with open arms, and who can blame them given the president’s rhetoric? The ongoing crisis in Syria has prompted a fierce debate over Muslim refugees, and the San Bernardino attack has shone a bright light on our immigration bureaucracy’s decision to admit one of the killers, Tashfeen Malik, an Islamic radical from Pakistan.

Conservatives must offer an alternative to clashing ethnic tribalisms. Just as melting-pot nationalism helped forge a common American identity in the middle decades of the last century, we need a new melting-pot nationalism suited to our own time. And this new nationalism must begin with a fresh approach to immigration policy. Anti-immigration rhetoric tends to frame high levels of immigration as a threat to natives, not as a barrier to integration, assimilation, and upward mobility for the tens of millions of immigrant families that have settled here. That needs to change. The ongoing influx of less-skilled immigrant workers puts economic pressure on the less-skilled immigrants who already reside in our country, and it reinforces their cultural separation from Americans who belong to other ethnic groups. Moreover, less-skilled immigration strains the fiscal capacity of government. By reducing less-skilled immigration, we could tighten the market for less-skilled labor and increase the likelihood that immigrants will interact with people outside their own ethnic groups.

Read more: National Review

Image credit: Cartoon by A.F. Branco.