Immigration is Just a Game for Cato Institute
Taking its open-borders fetish to new and nonsensical levels, the libertarian Cato Institute has concocted a “Green Card Game” that purports to expose America’s “restrictive immigration system.”
Cato bases its game on the notion that obtaining lawful immigration status in this country is too costly, too time consuming, and just too complicated. Instead, Cato sees immigration as an express-line service with minimal paperwork required or questions asked. In short, they want immigration on the cheap – and lots more of it.
What Cato sees as a design flaw is actually a design feature. The immigration system is (at least in theory) supposed to be selective and restrictive. Perhaps a case could be made for making it less complicated (which would also make it less costly), but it is not supposed to be demand-driven.
While processing times can stretch out years, this is a function of millions of immigrants jamming the system year in and year out. So why play games when the actual immigration numbers – which are large and growing – speak for themselves?
Each year, some 1 million immigrants legally enter the United States. Breaking down that number, 286,000 noncitizens obtained lawful permanent resident (LPR) status in the fourth quarter of Fiscal Year 2022. Nearly 136,000 noncitizens issued immigrant visas by State Department entered the U.S. as new arrivals, a 29 percent increase from the same quarter of 2021.
Despite all the alleged perils purported by Cato, nearly 1 million immigrants became U.S. citizens in 2022, the highest number in almost 15 years. At last count, a backlog of 673,000 applications was snaking its way through the system.
On top of this, the Biden administration has, so far, added another 1 million via its ad-hoc parole program and other invented “legal pathways.” Cato’s game doesn’t bother to feature any of these options, of course.
Given America’s rapidly growing immigrant population, Cato’s game is predicated on a problem that doesn’t exist. Rather, the Washington, D.C., think tank is angling to make matters worse on several fronts. If adopted, its reckless policy prescriptions would further depress the wages of American workers, heighten national security vulnerabilities and devalue U.S. citizenship.
This may be a game to Cato’s ivory tower zealots – they could brand it “Risk 2.0” – but immigration is serious business and needs to be treated as such.