The Coming Debate on Immigration Reform (It's already here)
How to Argue with the Right on Immigration Reform
As the Senate begins to deliberate on President Obama’s 4-point plan for immigration reform, it is time we brace ourselves for the inevitable debate with the far-right over our support for desperately needed progressive rehabilitation of our policies on immigration. Though the GOP may be forced against their will to cooperate, we can still expect a fight from the usual suspects of tea-partiers and minutemen. Here are some common lines you may hear from right-wingers, along with rebuttals taken straight from Obama’s plan:
They’ll say: “We are making our borders weak with this bill.”
This couldn’t be further from the truth. President Obama’s proposal
strengthens our borders by increasing funding and resources for border
security while cracking down on groups that participate in human
trafficking. And by cutting out the excess red tape in our immigration
laws, the bill removes incentives to enter the country through illegal
means. A two-pronged approach that incorporates aggressive security
measures with common-sense reforms in the immigration bureaucracy will
ultimately do more for our national security than would another decade
of wrongheaded isolationism and hypocritical dependence on illegal
They’ll say: “We’re just giving amnesty to everyone that broke the law.”
Actually, people who are in the country illegally will be fined and
placed at the back of the line for citizenship. Then, they’ll have to
go through the process of obtaining legal residency, just like
everybody else – this means passing a background check, learning the
language, and paying tax on earned income. Immigration reform isn’t
about giving amnesty to anyone – it’s about leveling the playing field
and giving everyone a fair shot at the American Dream.
They’ll say: “They’re gonna take our jobs!”
This one almost has the ring of a running gag – you will hear it a
lot. Here are 3 points you can have in your arsenal for when the time
• We will issue “startup visas” for foreign-born entrepreneurs:
Immigrants living in the US who found startups and maintain a minimum
level of financing and staff will get visas. This makes perfect sense
– our doors should never be closed to entrepreneurship and innovation.
The proposed law fosters innovation that will lead to economic growth.
• Green Cards will be “stapled to diplomas”: Any student with a
graduate-level degree in science or technology from an American
university will get a green card, as long as they meet other minimum
requirements. Again, it only makes sense to give bright young people
the chance to put their much needed degrees to use here in America,
instead of overseas.
• We will reduce restrictions on tourism: People want to visit the US.
Sadly, travelling to America is so difficult that our economy misses
out on tens of millions of dollars that tourism could be adding to the
GDP each year. Removing draconian, unreasonable restriction on travel
will increase the GDP and strengthen our economy.
They’ll say: “It’s going to add to the deficit”
Immigration reform will cost taxpayers $23 billion in increased
services, but this cost will be offset by $48 billion by increased tax
revenues. This adds up to new revenues of $25 billion. And that’s only
in the immediate term – the long-term effects of adding 11 million
taxpayer to the economy are much larger, and will include reduced
healthcare costs and a stronger social-security net.
Want to get past the spin and see what the new proposal actually says?
Check it out in full here!