In a New York Times op-ed entitled “Fix Immigration. It’s What Voters Want” Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., argues President-elect Trump “has a clear mandate not only to stop illegal immigration, but also to finally cut the generation-long influx of low-skilled immigrants that undermines American workers.” He says the nation needs an immigration policy that focuses less on powerful special interests and more on everyone else.
Below are excerpts from his op-ed.
[P]owerful industries [that] benefit from [high] immigration…contend that stricter immigration enforcement will further shrink the pool of workers and raise their wages. They argue that closing our borders to inexpensive foreign labor will force employers to add benefits and improve workplace conditions to attract and keep workers already here. I have an answer to these charges: Exactly."
Higher wages, better benefits and more security for American workers are features, not bugs, of sound immigration reform. For too long, our immigration policy has skewed toward the interests of the wealthy and powerful: Employers get cheaper labor, and professionals get cheaper personal services like housekeeping…[But in] a tight labor market, bosses cannot set low wages and still attract workers."
Americans see cheap immigrant labor as a way to enrich the wealthy while creating a near permanent underclass for whom the American dream is always just out of reach. Yet, as if Mr. Trump’s campaign never happened, companies in labor-intensive industries want to sustain or even increase current immigration flows…The short-term interest of businesses isn’t the same as the long-term national interest."
Our country, like any country, needs borders and must decide who and how many can cross those borders. We must make this decision with the well-being of all our citizens in mind. Today, that means a large reduction in legal immigration and a reorientation toward ultra-high-skill immigrants. This policy would resemble the immigration systems of Canada and Australia, countries with similar advanced economies. While our system gives priority to reuniting extended families and low-skilled labor, their systems prize nuclear-family reunification and attributes like language skills, education and work experience. "
We have an immigration policy today that few Americans support or voted for…But in this election, Americans finally demanded an end to this unthinking immigration system. President-elect Trump and Congress should take that mandate and act on it promptly in the new year.”
Writing about Sen. Cotton’s op-ed, the Center for Immigration Studies’ Mark Krikorian said it “hits all the right themes, without rancor but also without the pussyfooting so common on this issue. He’s been critiquing mass immigration for some time now, and without the “legal good/illegal bad” fallacy put forth by so many Republicans, whose calls for tough border enforcement are accompanied by support for huge increases in immigration. “
Krikorian continues “[He is not] simply following the lead of some Republicans, like Sen. Rubio, who support the current high level of immigration, but want a reallocation away from cheap labor for fast-food restaurants toward cheap labor for tech firms. Instead Sen. Cotton prefaces his desire for ‘a reorientation toward ultra-high-skill immigrants’ with a call for “a large reduction in legal immigration…[He] is sending the important message that the problem is mass immigration as policy, not immigrants as people…It’s good news that Sen. Cotton will be a leading voice in that process.
Read Sen. Cotton’s full op-ed.
Updated: Thu, Jan 12th 2017 @ 3:45pm EST