What Reihan Salam can't figure out about immigration
Salam lives in a fantasy world where he can spend paragraph after paragraph supporting assimilation, a melting pot, and a form of civic nationalism, and then propose a plan that would dash all that:
What practical steps would make it a reality? For the foreseeable future, the key policy priority has to be integration, as opposed to opening our borders. This would mean, in the first place, an amnesty for the long-settled unauthorized immigrant population. If there is one thing we’ve learned from the Trump era, it is that Americans don’t have the stomach for the mass deportation of people who have established deep roots in this country. The only way to have serious and effective enforcement policies going forward is to grandfather in many of those who have settled in the country unlawfully in years past.
This amnesty must be contingent, however, on the adoption of a more selective, skills-based immigration system. The U.S. needs to give priority to the earning potential of applicants over their family ties, thus breaking with our current approach. Doing so will help to ensure that new arrivals are in a position to thrive in a changing U.S. labor market and that they can provide for their children without relying on programs meant to help the poorest of the American poor, not those who have chosen to make their homes here.
In the first paragraph, he's either deceiving using the deportations false choice canard, or he can't figure out other options. He supports merit-based immigration, which sounds good until you actually think it through (see the link for the downsides).
The major thing Salam can't figure out is that mass immigration and citizenship for illegal aliens equates to more power for Democratic Party leaders and also the far-left. They don't support mass immigration and amnesty because they're nice guys, but because they want more power.
What would they do with the increased power Salam would give them? Exactly: work to undercut his conditions. As soon as the ink was dry, they'd work against assimilation, the melting pot, merit-based immigration, and any other "tough" conditions they agreed to.
And, they'd succeed due to the exact same dynamic that now applies. Corrupt GOP leaders wouldn't fight what the Democrats want because it would be good for their donors and because they think they can get the "Hispanic vote". Donald Trump is pro-amnesty and if he agreed to the plan most of his base and his propagandists like Breitbart News would go along (as they do now with amnesty).
Those like Ann Coulter, NumbersUSA, Mark Krikorian, Mickey Kaus, FAIR Immigration, Jessica Vaughn, etc. etc. would do then what they do now: only use amnesty as a way to bring in donations and get page views. For a tangible example, it'd be possible to quash the DREAM Act (and Trump's interest in it) simply by making the arguments at that link. It'd be very helpful if they pointed out to the Dem base that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez basically agrees with the Koch family on immigration. Do you see any supposed anti-amnesty leaders doing either of those? Of course not: they're only capable of making arguments that appeal to those who already agree with them.
The necessary first step is to make arguments that undercut Dem and far-left leaders to their base. When that happens, the push for amnesty and illegal immigration will be reduced and the supposed "crisis" will be averted.
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