Longer Shorter Brooks: David Brooks likes some immigrants (talented Asians!). Doesn’t seem to like others (Mexicans!). But if Amnesty-First “immigration reform” passes he won’t get to pick next wave. That’s the crucial point he seems to miss. The current debate is not so much about which immigrants are good for the country or how many. It’s about whether we have enough control to be able to decide which immigrants (or how many). We could want high-skilled. We could want low-skilled. But if we don’t have control we’ll actually get whoever and how many decide to sneak in — in recent decades, low-skilled.
If you want to amnesty the existing illegal population — after amnestying the previous wave, in 1986 — then you are buying the U.S. a credibility problem at the border. (“We really mean it .. OK, this time we really mean it … No, this time we really mean it.”) Why would any would-be illegal immigrant not try to sneak in, and wait for the next time? Millions of people may decide to come. (See the crises now in Asia and Europe.) The only hope of retaining credibility — and control — is to implement new, effective enforcement measures (like a fence and a national E-verify and visa control system) that can stop any new illegal wave. And that will never happen if the illegals are legalized first, as in last year’s Senate Bill. Once they’re legalized, their advocates will lose virtually all interest in measures to prevent further waves, while actually supporting campaigns to sabotage them by lawsuits and regulations (as in 1986) or by new legislation. The enforcement won’t happen (again). We won’t have control. And it won’t matter which varieties of immigrants David Brooks prefers.
P.S.: Brooks concludes that
“Hillary Clinton’s daring approach to immigration, supporting a “path to citizenship” for undocumented immigrants already in the United States, is clearly the right one.”
Never mind that the “undocumented immigrants already in the United States” are, overwhelmingly, not Brooks’ beloved Asian “university graduates.” I urge the Clinton campaign to base its 2016 Hispanic outreach effort on firm Brooksian grounds: “Don’t worry. Those undesirable Mexicans won’t be coming anymore!”