The mainstream media have had a field day reporting on President Trump’s alleged use of coarse language in a closed-door meeting at the White House last week. According to one tally, CNN repeated the offensive word 195 times in a single day last week, including 22 times in a single hour, not including its display on the chyron at the bottom of the screen.
The initial report was denied by President, and his denial was corroborated by two U.S. Senators and a cabinet secretary who (unlike the media) were present in the meeting. But all the fuss over coarse language has reinforced the point that Trump was making, that we should be much more selective about the immigrants and others we allow to enter the United States.
Whether or not Trump used a bad word to describe impoverished countries, which have been plagued by political systems that do not reward hard work, Trump is right that most of the people living there are not prepared to immigrate here without imposing a burden on Americans. Most of the people in the rest of the world just don’t have the skills to support themselves in our high-tech society.
Too many Americans have been misled by the sentimental myth that our immigration policy is (or should be) based on a poem that includes the lines “give me your tired, your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” In fact, that poem does not reflect the purpose of the Statue of Liberty and it was only hung in the visitor’s lounge many years after the statue was erected and dedicated.
In 1883, when Emma Lazarus wrote her famous poem, America could accommodate millions of poor immigrants willing and able to work at low wages, but that’s not true anymore. Such jobs are disappearing fast in our economy, and we’ve built a vast safety net so that our own low-skilled citizens can live in dignity without working.
On the day Donald Trump announced he was running for president, he vowed to change the way our immigrants are selected and screened. “When Mexico sends its people,” he said about the country that has sent about 50% of our immigrants, both legal and illegal, “they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us.”
As Trump himself conceded in that June 16, 2015 speech, there are of course some “good people” coming from Mexico and other poor countries. His point, then and now, is that we’re not selecting the best candidates for immigration from among the much larger number of people who do not share our values.
More than three-quarters of the 1.2 million people who legally settle in the United States each year never pass any qualifying test for their fitness to live and work here. Their average level of education is well below that of American citizens, which means those immigrants are doomed to a life of near-poverty supplemented by food stamps and other taxpayer-funded benefits.
Numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau tell the story. Immigrants from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador have the least education (many never attended high school), the least command of English (most are “functionally illiterate” in our language), and live in households that depend on at least one major welfare program.
This is what happens under a system of chain migration under which immigrants are allowed to sponsor their unscreened, unvetted distant relatives for a green card. In effect, this year’s immigrants are selected by last year’s immigrants instead of by the American people as a whole.
President Trump said that any deal for DACA must include an end to chain migration, tweeting over the weekend: “I, as President, want people coming into our Country who are going to help us become strong and great again, people coming in through a system based on MERIT. No more Lotteries! #AMERICA FIRST.”
A group of leading House Republicans has just unveiled a bill to do just that. Called the Securing America’s Future Act (H.R. 4760), the bill has support from all factions of the conference including two committee chairmen (Goodlatte and McCaul), the Puerto Rican-born Raul Labrador and the moderate Martha McSally, who’s running to succeed Jeff Flake in the Senate.
The House bill extends DACA benefits while meeting the president’s proper demand to end chain migration and the diversity visa lottery. It requires employers to use E-Verify, and it cracks down on sanctuary cities and those who overstay their visas or reenter after being previously deported.
In an effort to attract support from rural states, the bill unwisely allows more low-skilled agricultural guest workers, and the bill’s definition of high-skilled work may not be high enough to protect our own engineering graduates from foreign competition. But Securing America’s Future Act would help Make America Great Again.
John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) whose 27th book, The Conservative Case for Trump, was published posthumously in 2016.