Immigration Priorities for the 2017 Presidential Transition
REPORT | NOVEMBER 2016 | DOWNLOAD THE PDF
The U.S. immigration system must be reformed to reflect broad national interest, not the narrow special interests that seek cheap labor and increased political influence. This means ending illegal immigration, reducing overall levels of immigration and only admitting immigrants who have the education and skills to succeed in 21st Century America.
Illegal immigration and unchecked legal immigration are detrimental to the quality of life in the United States. The American family is increasingly bearing the costs of urban sprawl, environmental degradation, traffic congestion, increased crime, overburdened health care, overwhelmed public schools and debt-ridden state and municipal governments—all results of uncontrolled immigration. The fiscal costs of immigration, legal and illegal, have always been substantial, but with the recent economic downturn, these costs have become even more burdensome. The social, cultural and political costs are being felt more acutely as we receive immigrants in numbers too large to be successfully incorporated into our way of life and assimilated into our communities.
The Costs of Uncontrolled Mass Migration
The United States currently faces trillions of dollars in national debt. Many state budgets are severely in the red. Unchecked mass migration unnecessarily adds to the fiscal challenges that the federal government and the governments of all 50 states are facing.
There are also significant non-fiscal costs to lax immigration enforcement and vague immigration policies. Our porous borders allow national security threats, gangs, human traffickers, alien smugglers and drug cartels access to the United States, in addition to non-criminal illegal aliens. Sudden, massive population increases place unnecessary strain on the environment, aging power grids and decaying public transportation infrastructure. And rapid infusions of individuals with limited English proficiency stress already burdened schools and social services agencies, discouraging assimilation and undermining the promise of a better life in the United States.
Policymakers are obligated to reduce the fiscal, cultural and environmental burdens of illegal migration and unbridled legal immigration. They must pursue a strategy that discourages future illegal migration and increasingly diminishes the current illegal alien population through attrition — by removing incentives to violate immigration law and deporting violators. Amnesty unfairly rewards those who broke our laws and invites continued illegal immigration. In view of the fiscal, national security and cultural threats it currently faces, the United States cannot afford such an approach.
Given the series of debacles that have shaken confidence in Washington’s ability to act in the public interest, it is imperative that the incoming presidential administration addresses immigration reform from the perspective of its true constituents: the American people.
Re-establishing the Rule of Law in Immigration Policy
After eight years of the Obama administration dismantling our immigration laws, it is imperative that the next president make it a priority to reverse the damage done by a rogue administration. During his two terms in office, President Obama made it clear that he did not feel bound to enforce immigration laws as enacted by Congress. In doing so, he eroded public confidence in the willingness of the Executive Branch to carry out the terms of immigration law. Attacks on federal-state/local cooperation and the assertion of broad discretionary authority to grant de facto amnesty to large classes of illegal aliens made it impossible for the government to retain any credibility regarding the rule of law and its effective execution.5
Unfortunately, his administration was also aligned with organizations and interests that used the issue of immigration for profit and power — groups that have been instrumental in thwarting needed progress over the past 30 years. Industries that exploit illegal labor for profit have been given a pass, while party-aligned ethnic lobbies were rewarded with amnesty after opposing all effective methods of immigration enforcement.
We will not succeed in controlling our borders until elected officials realize that immigration policies must align with America’s national interests. Otherwise they will not protect the economic, social and security interests of the American people.