"The United States is in the midst of the greatest immigration wave in history," declares Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies. "We grant permanent residence to 800,000 to 900,000 immigrants each year (half of whom are already here) and permit the settlement of 400,000 illegal immigrants. The total foreign-born population," Krikorian reports, "stands at about 28 million (6 million of them illegal), accounting for 10 percent of our country's population. Given the scale of immigration and the breadth and depth of its impact on America, one would expect our immigration policy to be the result of careful analysis and sober deliberation," he affirms. "Nothing could be further from the truth."
In a chapter he contributed to a new report called Blueprints for an Ideal Legal Immigration Policy, published by the Center for Immigration Studies, Krikorian laments that U.S. immigration policy "has developed in a remarkably haphazard, politicized, and aimless fashion. A ground-up re-examination is warranted," he concludes, beginning with the enunciation of first principles. "The purpose of immigration is to create Americans," Krikorian asserts. "Whatever the costs and benefits of immigration, we need to remember that strangers should be admitted to live among us only if we intend for them, after adequate preparation, to become members of the American people. The alternative," he says, "is fundamentally anti-republican: a country with two classes of people, one group consisting of citizens (and citizens-to-be), the other a permanent class of servants."
According to Krikorian, "Immigration must serve the national interest. Today's immigration is not doing this," he concludes, "since the level is too high and the educational attainment of immigrants is too low, exacerbating serious economic, fiscal, demographic, political, and social problems."
In a separate chapter of Blueprints, Alan Reynolds of the Hudson Institute points out that "at least 85 percent of legal immigration is reserved for those who come from only the most horrible countries; those whose relatives recently arrived in the U.S.; and those who happen to win the annual diversity lottery. None of these three admissions criteria is derived from the slightest consideration of the economic and social impact on the U.S. public at large," Reynolds complains. "The issue is not merely a matter of who gets in," he emphasizes, "but also of who is kept out. Family unification, refugees, and diversity use up so many spaces that there is little room left for anyone else."
Reynolds notes that U.S. immigration is characterized by "huge numbers of poor people with little schooling or skill. Many immigrants have, of course, made enormous contributions," he acknowledges, but the continued importation of "hundreds of thousands of undereducated poor people every year" will inevitably "dilute the nation's average skill, productivity, and real wage, and make poverty a much more intractable problem than otherwise." Reynolds calls for the establishment of "priorities that distinguish between prospective immigrants on the basis of their probable ability to participate constructively in the American society and economy."