Fareed Zakaria's GPS Road Map for immigration (CNN, Bloomberg, globalism, Kobach)

On Sunday, June 10th, CNN will be broadcasting a Fareed Zakaria show [1] called "Global Lessons: The GPS Road Map for Making Immigration Work". One guest is Kris Kobach, and having someone who's good on immigration on is definitely a step up from how things normally work.

However, other guests aren't good at all on immigration, including Michael Bloomberg. Based on the press release alone, it's obvious this is going to be an immigration booster extravaganza, with Zakaria bringing on those who are on the wrong side and then allowing them to make fallacious arguments or mislead. Let's take a look:

Zakaria begins by taking viewers to Japan, a nation with a shrinking and aging population – and one of the world’s most restrictive immigration policies. Author and Economist editor Robert Guest (Borderless Economics, 2011), describes Japan’s extraordinarily strict immigration policy and its voluntary deportation program for foreign-born workers – a reversal of a 1990s repatriation policy for ethnic Japanese born in Brazil. Japan maintains a strong national cultural identity: less than two percent of their population is foreign-born, much less than the thirteen percent of foreign-born residents in the United States. Japan’s government incentives to families to have more children have not proven successful. Zakaria points out that nationalism has come at an economic cost to Japan: a shrinking economy and an aging population that is less innovative and productive than it would be with a younger workforce.

I'm no expert on Japan, but there seem to be other explanations [2], and increased immigration probably wouldn't make those go away or would have a negative impact.

If Japan opened its doors wide (for the first time in at least 2000 years), imagine the opportunities leaders of countries like China would see (search for "china expansionism" for examples). Some large part of Japan's population would be Chinese citizens or ethnic Chinese, and they'd form a power base for their country inside Japan. That would pose a non-financial cost for Japan: a foreign country would have some amount of political power inside their country.

Would Robert Guest (also known as "Lexington" of The Economist) or Fareed Zakaria be around to pick up the tab? Of course not: they want to promote plans that stand a good chance of having very large costs and then skedaddle when it's time to pay the bill.

Zakaria then turns to Germany and Canada for additional global lessons from immigration policies that appear to be working – and those that do not. Germany’s Turkish minority and other ethnic minorities in European countries have experienced tense relationships with EU and country government authorities. Recent economic crises have fanned the rise of nationalist political parties which advocate more restrictions on immigration. Canada, on the other hand, encourages high-skilled foreign-born worker relocation and has focused on offering cultural training programs for its skilled foreign-born workers.

The problems associated with Gastarbeiter are ones that many politicians would impose on the U.S. with major guest workers programs or with variants of the DREAM Act. Note that whoever wrote the press release switches from discussing low-skilled immigration (the majority of those in the groups referred to in the last sentence) to discussing skilled immigration. Those "nationalist political parties" are to some degree a response to bad immigration policies, and the partial solution to those groups that are actually extremist would have been to not have bad immigration policies in the first place. And, no doubt those in Germany who reaped the benefits of Gastarbeiter have not been forced to pay the associated long-term costs.

Zakaria points out that 73 percent of Americans feel the federal government is doing a poor job of managing immigration. Opponents to more immigration feel foreign workers take jobs that could employ Americans, the growth in population of immigrants threatens America’s national identity, and specifically that illegal immigrants unfairly use health, welfare, and civic services that they do not pay for. Advocates for more immigration point out that foreign-born students account for more than half of advanced technical degrees in the sciences, and American companies lose access to highly-trained workers when those graduates leave the U.S. after receiving their degrees.

As a result, a lot of that “brain drain” ends up in Canada, where high-skilled workers unable to get American visas are encouraged to work, start companies, and pay taxes, according to New York City Mayor Bloomberg. Zakaria points out that the current cap on H-1B visas for high-skilled workers who wish to emigrate to the U.S. is 85,000 per annum – a figure that is less than half it was just a decade ago. And, more than 200 of the Fortune 500 companies in America were founded by immigrants or the children of immigrants. Bloomberg says a failure of leadership in Washington is to blame for American immigration policies that he describes as approaching “national suicide.” “[U.S. immigration policy] is the biggest economic issue facing this country,” says Bloomberg.

You can access the "73 percent of Americans" survey at trends.gmfus.org/immigration, and the "poor job" was almost certainly meant by respondents to mean not being restrictive enough. The opponents of more immigration are rarely heard from except in such surveys, and there are many more reasons to oppose illegal and massive immigration than those listed.

The issue of many illegal aliens taking jobs Americans could be doing is an undeniable fact; here's my 3+ year old plan to do something about it. As for "America's identity", see assimilation and multiculturalism for starters. Regarding costs, see immigration welfare and immigration economics for starters.

But, there's much more, such as how illegal immigration is an indicator of political corruption and how massive immigration from one country gives that country political power inside the U.S.

Note that, as was done before, whoever wrote that switches from discussing all immigration to just discussing the skilled variety. Regarding the "brain drain" and similar factors, see skilled immigration.

See Michael Bloomberg for responses to his ideas, especially the misleading Partnership for a New American Economy study.

After a discussion with Kobach, it's back to the immigration boosting:

Allie Devine, an attorney and a former Republican state agriculture secretary who currently leads a Kansas coalition of mostly politically conservative farm and other business advocates, says that her constituents need access to immigrant labor to remain competitive.

See immigration agriculture and crops rotting in the fields.


In his analysis, Zakaria argues that time is past due for comprehensive immigration reform and the political focus on illegal immigration may be holding America back from progress – and it may also be misplaced. The Pew Hispanic Center recently issued a report that net migration flow from Mexico to the U.S. has stopped, prompting Zakaria to say, “we may be fighting the last war…and the one we need to tackle is the skills war with the rest of the world – and it’s one we’re losing.”

That, obviously, does not comport with reality. Illegal immigration will pick up when the economy picks up, especially if those like Zakaria have his way. And, most of those covered by the comprehensive immigration reform he's promoting would be lower-skilled workers, not the higher-skilled workers Zakaria keeps trying to distract his viewers with.

Who's responsible for this show?

Maite Amorebieta and Dan Logan produced this edition of Global Lessons. Tom Goldstone is the executive producer for the FAREED ZAKARIA GPS unit and for the 2012 Global Lessons series, including this special.

None of them appear to be on Twitter, but you're encouraged to contact @FareedZakaria and his senior producer @RaviAgrawalCNN.

UPDATE: You can also tweet @JRCookson (John Richard Cookson), who's some sort of researcher/assistant to Zakaria.

UPDATE 2: Here are some ways Michael Bloomberg will promote very bad policy on the show.

[1] cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/2012/06/06/
CNN is broadcasting a series of specials from Zakaria covering various topics; it appears there will only be one show on immigration.

[2] blog.american.com/2012/03/