Republicans Turning Against Legal Immigration

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For the last decade, the immigration debate has centered around those who come to our country illegally and what should be done about them once they’re here. But while that battle rages on, some Republicans have decided that merely limiting illegal immigration is not enough. Both Senator Jeff Sessions and likely 2016 presidential candidate Scott Walker have proposed putting strict limits on legal immigration as well.

“The next president and the next congress,” said Walker, “need to make decisions about a legal immigration system that’s based on, first and foremost, protecting American workers and American wages…we need to have that be at the forefront of our discussion going forward.”

Republicans have conceded the “we’re a nation of immigrants” talking point for so long, it is almost shocking to see politicians talk like this. It’s refreshing for a couple of reasons. One, it uses a strategy liberals have perfected – moving back the line of negotiation. When your starting point is: We should not let illegal immigrants into this country, the compromise becomes: Okay, we’ll let some of them in. When your starting point is: We should not let anyone into this country, the compromise could be: Okay, we’ll only let in the ones who go through the proper steps.

Second, they are right. This country was not made great by loose immigration policies. It was made great by the form of government proposed by the Founding Fathers, an economic system that left wealth in the hands of the people, and the freedoms that have allowed us to make enormous strides in the last 200 years. That’s not to say that immigration is a bad thing; it’s just that it isn’t fundamental to what makes America what it is.

Going forward, we should be willing to pursue policies that make pragmatic, logical sense for the good of the country. Every other country does this, so why is it so evil when Americans decide to look out for ourselves? Why is it our ethical responsibility to open our borders to anyone who might like to come ashore?

According to the latest data, almost all of the job growth we’ve experienced over the last 13 years has been to the exclusive benefit of immigrants. Indeed, taking immigrants out of the equation, there are 1.3 million fewer native citizens working today than there were a decade ago. That number is all the more disturbing because there are even more eligible workers now. But the jobs are not there. Or they are, but they are being done by non-citizens.

We’re not at the point where we need to put an airtight lock on the border, but we are past the point where we need to take a practical look at the situation. We can’t make decisions about what’s best for the future using feel-good, bumper sticker phrases like “we’re a nation of immigrants.” We have to make them using numbers and facts. That, above all, is what we need in our next American president. A man willing to put his head before his heart. If we fail, the immigration crisis will eventually solve itself and we’ll have to turn to the new problem: what to do about this mass exodus?