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  by  Andrew Good

Have you ever noticed that politicians who support ending local control of zoning restrictions ("YIMBYs") also tend to support mass immigration through unspecified or insincere limits? So those who go to bat for landlords, developers, and real estate speculators instead of prioritizing neighborhoods and county planners also don't say 'no' to business lobbyist demands for more foreign workers... who are, of course, also renters. It makes sense, but it's still jarring to see it be so brazen.

Demand Better Immigration Policy

Last week, I saw coverage in Slate about an interview they did with Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz. Activists who see Sen. Schatz as an "OG YIMBY" lauded his comments, which were both extensive and revealing.

I encourage you to read the entire interview, as well as additional fawning coverage in new media such as the Real Deal. But when you do, make sure you are doing it from the perspective of demand being a creation of the very same people pushing supply increases across the board. Nobody's even pretending that if you like your neighborhood, you can keep your neighborhood.

Let's just take a moment to note that housing developments are "illegal" in the same way that immigration is illegal: there are duly approved legal channels and processes with limits set at the behest of those who live under the American system of governance. Obviously, neither is illegal, just regulated — hopefully well, and in our interests.

If not our interests, then whose?

Well, one of the very largest campaign contributing industries is the real estate industry.

So how does Senator Schatz fare on credible immigration enforcement and sensible immigration limits?

Just to review, we know that future demand for housing is driven almost entirely by immigration. We know that record housing starts have been no match for the increased migration under the Biden administration. And we are seeing strong evidence that housing prices are driving inflation.

So why push unpopular supply-side positions when popular demand-side policies would more readily and realistically address the housing price appreciation spiral?

Only Senator Schatz and his political allies who push these two intertwined stances can tell us.

ANDREW GOOD is the Director of the Media Standards Program for NumbersUSA

Updated: Thu, May 11th 2023 @ 3:23pm EDT

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