Yes to immigration, no to welfare
By Stephen Moore
During the presidential campaign, when Donald Trump recited his favorite riff: “Build the wall,” I would always advise him, “Make sure that wall has big gates for immigrants to enter legally.”
Over the next few weeks, Congress has some big decisions to make on immigration, and this comes at a time when both parties seem to be leaning in the wrong direction.
Democrats are, well, for lack of a better word, stonewalling on building the wall. They say it’s an ineffective way to stop illegal crossings, and they may be right. But they miss the point. For millions of Americans, the wall is seen as the fulfillment of a promise: Washington will take border security seriously for the first time in decades.
On some of their stances, they risk the possibility that voters will think they care more about undocumented immigrants than American workers. That’s not a winning position with voters.
Some Democrats also are in favor of allowing immigrants to get broad use of public benefits — food stamps, public housing, free college tuition, Medicaid and the like (although undocumented immigrants currently aren’t able to qualify for welfare or food stamps).
For 200 years, immigrants have been coming to the United States without receiving welfare. In fact, they could be denied entry if the immigration officials believed they would become a “public charge.” Wave after wave of the foreign-born has done magnificently well by pulling themselves up by their bootstraps.
Many Republicans are also making a mistaken plea to reduce not just illegal immigration but also to lower the number of legal immigrant visas.
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