A patchwork made by Roberto Marquez representing an American flag hangs on a portion of the United States-Mexico border in Playas de Tijuana, Mexico, earlier this month.CreditGuillermo Arias/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
“The Democratic Party no longer has a clear policy on immigration.
It used to, not so long ago. The party’s leaders knew what they favored and felt comfortable saying so. Their platform generally included: 1) a path to citizenship for immigrants who came to this country illegally but had since obeyed the law; 2) deportation of undocumented immigrants who had since broken the law in significant ways; 3) fairly robust border security and investigation of companies employing undocumented immigrants, to hold down current and future levels of illegal immigration.
Besides favoring these policies, Democrats were also willing to talk about the benefits of limiting immigration and of assimilation.”
“My own view is that the country benefits from significant limits on immigration. As David Frum notes in a recent cover story for The Atlantic, immigration levels were quite low for much of the 20th century — from roughly the 1910s through the 1970s.
The slowdown helped many of the immigrants who arrived in the waves before 1910 (including parts of my family). They faced less competition in the labor market. Labor unions were more easily able to grow, because they were organizing an increasingly assimilated workforce. The immigration slowdown played a role in the great income surge of the post-World War II decades.
Today, I’d favor a policy with a lot of similarities to the Democrats’ platform of the Obama years, including humane treatment of immigrants already here plus tight border security. I’d change the mix of immigration, to let in fewer low-skills immigrants and more high-skills immigrants. Doing so has the potential to reduce inequality and lift economic growth.”
“If nothing else, I’d urge Democrats to look at public opinion on immigration with an open mind. The polling isn’t as favorable as some of the recent conversation on the left has suggested. In a recent Gallup poll, 47 percent of Americans called illegal immigration a critical threat and another 30 percent called it an important threat.”
David Lindsay: This is so important. Are the Democrats listening? In a recent Gallup poll, 77% of Americans think that illegal immigration is either a critical or an important threat.