“This will be our last chance, there will never be another opportunity!” to protect Dreamers, President Trump tweeted as the U.S. Senate plunged into a debate in February about immigration policy. The Left simply wants amnesty for all Dreamers — who are illegal aliens who entered our country many as teenagers.
But President Trump was absolutely right to insist on funding for the border wall, which would cost less than 1% of our national budget. He also insisted on an end to chain migration, whereby relatives of immigrants are brought in with little or no screening. President Trump’s approach is welcome relief to the failed, open-door immigration policies of prior Republican leadership.
Around this same time, an unexpected voice weighed in from the other side of the world. In Abu Dhabi, an oil-rich emirate in the Persian Gulf, former President George W. Bush was speaking at a conference organized by Michael Milken, the junk bond king of the 1980s.
“Americans don’t want to pick cotton at 105 degrees,” Bush said in response to a question, “but there are people who want to put food on their family’s tables and are willing to do that. We ought to say thank you and welcome them.”
Bush was right that Americans don’t want to pick cotton at 105 degrees. But he was wrong to say we ought to welcome people from other lands so poor that they are willing to do that kind of work to put food on their family’s tables. Thanks to a legal and economic system that rewards invention and innovation, our high standard of living means that no American of any race has to chop or pick cotton at 105 degrees anymore. Bush grew up in Texas, which grows more cotton than any other state, and he should know that.
Bush’s foolish comment combined two of the worst slogans of the pro-amnesty movement, the myth of “jobs Americans won’t do” and the myth of “crops rotting in the fields.” On the contrary, the enormous growth of computer-aided automation, robots, artificial intelligence, and driverless vehicles is eliminating whatever opportunity there used to be for poor people from other countries to earn a living here.