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  by  Andrew Good

NumbersUSA exists to push credible immigration enforcement along with less legal immigration to bring our policies in line with what is truly in our national interest. Are we headed more towards that goal, or away from it?

One of my favorite exchanges in Alice In Wonderland features the Cheshire Cat:

Yes. So, what do we want out of our border policy? New(ish) answers are being offered by politicians in the new year.

President Biden recently announced a raft of technical changes – for which we could offer many technical critiques – but the bottom line is that he has promised a massive expansion of "parole" that will issue work permits to an additional 360,000 foreign nationals per year.

Meanwhile, we are hopeful that the House of Representatives will hold a vote in the coming weeks on legislation by Rep. Chip Roy (TX-21) that would take a step towards tightening the border. The bill would require DHS Secretary Mayorkas to prevent illegal entries when the number of illegal migrants is too high to detain them or immediately remove them.

Neither of these measures represents a final policy "destination" for the border. But each of them takes a step in different directions.

The burly bonds between legal and illegal immigration aren't always obvious. But the linkage is inexorable. As former Representative Barbara Jordan pointed out, the failure to regulate our border and allow illegal immigration saps the public's support for legal immigration and pours gasoline on an issue that is more sensitive than most.

There's also very little economic difference whether you flood the labor market with legal immigration, illegal aliens, or unauthorized migrants that have been improperly given work permits without Congressional approval. Lower wages is a feature of immigration policy, not a bug.

Veteran economic reporter Ben Casselman at The New York Times noted just a few days ago: "A smaller pool of workers makes it harder to rein in inflation because companies have to raise pay — and, most likely, prices — as they compete for workers... Increased immigration, if Congress were to allow it, could provide a new pool of potential workers."

Although NumbersUSA's Lisa Irving has debunked the false impression that wage increases are driving U.S. inflation woes, the rest of Casselman's statement is rock solid. Legal, illegal, or quasi-legal, we can either pick worker power or loose borders.


If you're still with me and want to watch a spirited (but still civil) conversation about the latest developments on the border crisis, the Breaking Points debate between Krystal and Saagar was a doozy. Don't be afraid to upvote your favorite comments, either!

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

Updated: Wed, Jan 18th 2023 @ 12:01pm EST

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