by Jon Guze
Senior Fellow, Legal Studies, John Locke Foundation
In a thoughtful review of a Eric Kaufmann’s Whiteshift: Populism, Immigration, and the Future of White Majorities, National Review’s Robert VerBruggen offers a sensible, middle of the road position on immigration:
The current immigration system is a complete disaster. We hand out a million green cards per year, primarily on the basis of family connections rather than skills. We have a “diversity visa lottery” that hands out green cards literally at random to people from certain areas who have at least a high-school degree — and the degree requirement makes it arguably an improvement over the rest of the system. The process for giving out temporary H-1B work visas also runs on a lottery rather than privileging the most skilled or most highly paid applicants. We have failed to police our borders and to find and deport individuals who overstay visas, and while illegal immigration has generally declined in recent years, Congress seems unwilling to fix the fresh crisis brewing as migrant caravans push upward through Mexico. We make a lot of welfare benefits available to immigrants rather than insist that everyone who comes here must support themselves or leave.
It would be possible to overhaul this system in a way that both addresses a lot of populist concerns and avoids alienating the middle. Award green cards through a point system that prioritizes factors like earning potential and English proficiency, limits family preferences to spouses and minor children, and keeps low-skill immigration to a minimum so that native-born low-skill workers experience as tight of a labor market as is possible. Auction H-1Bs. Tighten up border security and require employers to use E-Verify. Ban welfare use for future immigrants. In other words, make it so that immigrants pay lots in taxes and compete with the richest American workers rather than the poorest, and see if attitudes toward immigration don’t improve. …
I would do all of this long before embarking on a project to normalize openly racial arguments for limiting immigration.