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What kind of immigrants does the GOP want?

Summary:
In recent years, I’ve seen many conservatives argue against illegal immigration, warning darkly of our society being polluted by “rapists and murderers”, despite the fact that immigrants have a lower crime rate than native born Americans. They also seem to worry about the fact that immigrants come from different cultures. This has always struck me as odd, because one of American’s most distinctive features is that for hundreds of years there have been lots of whites, blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans living in this area. There is no single America culture to destroy. If there were, it would have already been destroyed when millions of eastern and southern Europeans joined our mostly northern European population in the late 1800s. Another concern is that

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In recent years, I’ve seen many conservatives argue against illegal immigration, warning darkly of our society being polluted by “rapists and murderers”, despite the fact that immigrants have a lower crime rate than native born Americans.

They also seem to worry about the fact that immigrants come from different cultures. This has always struck me as odd, because one of American’s most distinctive features is that for hundreds of years there have been lots of whites, blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans living in this area. There is no single America culture to destroy. If there were, it would have already been destroyed when millions of eastern and southern Europeans joined our mostly northern European population in the late 1800s.

Another concern is that immigrants will be less productive, and will become a burden on our welfare system. That has not happened in the past, but who knows about the future?

Thus I was very surprised to learn that Republicans now oppose legal immigration precisely because they fear the immigrants will be just like us.  They fear that the new immigrants will be productive, hard-working members of society, and thus take away our jobs.  Here’s the National Review:

In particular, Republicans are pointing at a provision in the House bill that for ten years would exempt certain immigrants, along with their spouses and children, from numerical limits on “family-sponsored preference” and “employer-based” green cards, as established in the Immigration and Nationality Act. Earlier this month, the Republican Study Committee cited the provision as one of the 42 worst parts of the reconciliation bill, because it would create a “hidden pipeline” that would allow employers to flood middle-class careers with foreign workers.

In his letter to Sanders, Hagerty wrote that “no corporate lobby has more consistently and vociferously lobbied for these uncapped foreign worker programs than the technology giants in Silicon Valley.”

I recall a time when Republicans championed dynamic economic change and ridiculed tired old socialist “lump of labor” theories.

I really miss the 20th century.

Scott Sumner
Scott B. Sumner is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, the Director of the Program on Monetary Policy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and an economist who teaches at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. His economics blog, The Money Illusion, popularized the idea of nominal GDP targeting, which says that the Fed should target nominal GDP—i.e., real GDP growth plus the rate of inflation—to better "induce the correct level of business investment". In May 2012, Chicago Fed President Charles L. Evans became the first sitting member of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) to endorse the idea.

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