I spent a good part of the Laura Ingraham show today talking about immigration. I read portions of Jeff Sessions’ op-ed in the Washington Post titled “America needs to curb immigration flows.” Senator Sessions makes several basic points in a clear and persuasive manner:
The first “great wave” of U.S. immigration took place from roughly 1880 to 1930. During this time, according to the Census Bureau, the foreign-born population doubled from about 6.7 million to 14.2 million people. Changes were then made to immigration law to reduce admissions, decreasing the foreign-born population until it fell to about 9.6 million by 1970. Meanwhile, during this low-immigration period, real median compensation for U.S. workers surged, increasing more than 90 percent from 1948 to 1973….
In the 1960s, Congress lifted immigration caps and ushered in a “second great wave.” The foreign-born population more than quadrupled, to more than 40 million today.
This ongoing wave coincides with a period of middle-class contraction. The Pew Research Center reports: “The share of adults who live in middle-income households has eroded over time, from 61% in 1970 to 51% in 2013.” Harvard economist George Borjas has estimated that high immigration from 1980 to 2000 reduced the wages of lower-skilled U.S. workers by 7.4 percent — a stunning drop — with particularly painful reductions for African American workers. Weekly earnings today are lower than they were in 1973.
There are, course, multiple reasons for stagnating wages, but excessive immigration is certainly on the list. Most people don’t realize that today’s flow of immigrants in unprecedented. Moreover, skyrocketing numbers of immigrants are accompanied by diminished pressure for assimilation.
Yet each year, the United States adds another million mostly low-wage permanent legal immigrants who can work, draw benefits and become voting citizens. Legal immigration is the primary source of low-wage immigration into the United States.
Illegal immigration is a serious problem, of course. But it is important to recognize that the principal problem is legal immigration.
The percentage of the country that is foreign-born is on track to rapidly eclipse any previous historical peak and to continue rising. Imagine the pressure this will put on wages, as well as schools, hospitals and many other community resources.
It is not mainstream, but extreme, to continue surging immigration beyond any historical precedent and to do so at a time when almost 1 in 4 Americans age 25 to 54 does not have a job. What we need now is immigration moderation: slowing the pace of new arrivals so that wages can rise, welfare rolls can shrink and the forces of assimilation can knit us all more closely together.
Sessions closes with a populist touch that Republican presidential candidates should emulate:
But high immigration rates help the financial elite (and the political elite who receive their contributions) by keeping wages down and profits up. For them, what’s not to like? That is why they have tried to enforce silence in the face of public desire for immigration reductions. They have sought to intimidate good and decent Americans into avoiding honest discussion of how uncontrolled immigration impacts their lives.
I also welcomed as a guest Daily Caller reporter Rachel Stoltzfoos, who confirmed that everything you suspected about the Left’s immigration strategy is true:
A coalition of immigration activists, community organizers and unions are rallying around a comprehensive strategy to create millions of new Democratic voters by defending President Obama’s executive orders on immigration and helping illegal immigrants.
The Committee for Immigration Reform Implementation is training “navigators” and volunteers to connect and educate legal and illegal immigrants, and to register as many voters as possible who will support President Obama’s immigration policies.
In a series of power point presentations obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation, the coalition outlines their strategy to train volunteers who will then register voters, help illegal immigrants determine the best path to what could eventually be citizenship, and work to defend Obama’s executive orders on immigration.
A slide titled “Path To Power” breaks down the number of illegal immigrants, legal immigrants, naturalized citizens and citizens with foreign-born parents, and the percentage of each eligible for citizenship or who qualify for benefits under Obama’s executive orders:
“Path to Power” for whom? The Democratic Party and the Left.
There is more at the link; read it all.