November 27, 2012- Bulldog opened with question, “what are the perils of immigration?” I told him that what we’re getting is not what we bargained for – magnitudes more immigrants than we expected, not the kinds we expected, and maybe not contributing to the extent we expected. Host then asked “why would we have thought we’d get only the immigrants we wanted”? I referred to the proceedings leading up the 1965 Hart-Celler Act. Proponents argued that immigration numbers would never exceed 270,000/year (we’re now getting more than a million/year), they assured us that immigration would not change the demographics of the country (it certainly has), and the immigrants would add to the economy (there’s a huge argument about that).
Bulldog asked “How do we make immigration work?” My suggestion was to first stop talking just about illegal immigration; that’s not the root problem. More than 60% of immigrants who come here do so because of family, for which there’s no legal limitation. Instead, begin to discuss what national interests we want immigration to serve – economy, demography, national identity, among others. But nobody’s talking about these things. Once we gain some consensus on that we can formulate laws to support it.
Host argued that blame lies more with us than illegal immigrants; we don’t enforce our laws. He wants legal action against enablers – employers of illegal aliens, those who provide sanctuary, etc. What should we do? I argued that the right policy could solve a lot of it, and I cited the Bracero programs as an example that helped keep illegal immigration from Mexico down because it let workers come and return legally to perform jobs most Americans won’t do. Host speculated that our many entitlement programs may be part of that problem because they allow for more income from not working, in many cases, than from working.
Segment concluded with “what would you do?” I said start not with specific fringe issues like illegal immigration, but rather with the basics. I’d set a clear limit to the number of immigrants that would vary according to our needs, probably including a streamlined guest worker component. This would reduce pressure at the border and let agents more effectively control the border. Then I’d enforce the laws. Listen to the Interview:Podcast - November 27, 2012
Check out general information on Bruce Thatcher, award-winning author of Rise and Decline: Where We Are and What We Can Do About It, Immigration: How to Avoid its Perils and Make it Work, and Adamant Aggressors: How to Recognize and Deal With Them.
You can also read a more detailed biography of him here, 'In His Words'.