Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Evolving on Immigration

In National Review Online, I argue that Republicans would be wise to "evolve" on immigration reform.  This evolution would work toward an immigration system that prioritizes opportunity and integration.  The status quo of bad-faith open borders often undermines both aims: illegal immigration and guest-worker programs suppress wages, undermine the civic consensus, and fracture the body politic.  Many immigrant families struggle to gain economic traction, and shifting the immigration system (by both upping enforcement and reforming immigration flows) could help newcomers to the United States better integrate into our republic.

Over at First Things, Pete Spiliakos offers some related points.  Spiliakos argues that we should work toward an immigration system that doesn't pit immigrants against each other or against the native born but instead recognizes that we are all in this together.

Spiliakos's recommendations could be part of a broader trend.  It seems to me that many of those interested in reforming the GOP as a party of opportunity-oriented conservatism are interested in thinking about how to reform immigration in a way that strengthens American communities (and, of course, those who reside in these communities).  Part of this strengthening involves a sense of civic integration.  Republicans have long been the party of integration, so emphasizing themes of integration for immigration has a long Republican tradition.  But the theme of integration could also help the GOP, and the nation as a whole, confront some very contemporary issues--as I explore in the NRO piece mentioned above.

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