Our body politic is incapable of having a substantive debate on immigration because the issue immediately gets hijacked by the clamor for amnesty for illegal immigrants.
The entire discussion of orienting our legal immigration system to work for Americans is lost because the forgotten American doesn’t wield the power of the special interests.
And sadly, what should be a consensus view following two terror attacks perpetrated by products of the inane visa lottery and chain migration, is lost in the rancor of personalities and WWE-style political fisticuffs burying good policies.
Immigration, like every other major issue, is caught up in the polarization between two parties that ironically think alike and operate from the same premise, seeking to appease much of the same class of special interests.
However, most non-political Americans agree on some basic commonsense premises: that immigration should work, first and foremost, for Americans; that we should only admit people who love America and its values; and that we should admit only those who will be a net benefit – economically and culturally – to America, not a net liability.
On Monday, we observed that mass migration from countries like Bangladesh started randomly – literally from a lottery – but then self-perpetuated and multiplied as a result of chain migration. In other words, it’s entirely driven by the immigrants themselves. And as it turns out, the accused attempted suicide bomber in New York City, Akayed Ullah, was a byproduct of both the diversity visa lottery and chain migration.
At Tuesday’s press briefing, Francis Cissna, director at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, confirmed that the individual who sponsored Ullah in 2011 was a citizen aunt or uncle and beneficiary of the visa lottery. That relative then brought in a sibling on an F-41 visa and Akayed Ullah — as an adult child of the naturalized citizen’s sibling — on an F-43 visa.
This category is the fourth (most distant) category of family-based chain migration. Thus, we brought in a terrorist into this country from a family member who should have never been here and was only brought in as a result of being a nephew of the lottery winner.
This is the fundamental problem with chain migration and the lottery: Once we get random individuals who don’t serve our interests — or worse, hate our country — future immigrants will be more of the same. There is no effort to vet individuals on merit because they are all coming in based on family ties.
Want to keep up with what’s going on in Washington without the liberal media slant, establishment spin, and politician-ese?
Sign up to get CRTV’s Capitol Hill Brief in your inbox every evening! It’s free!
Ullah’s family put out a statement through the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), bashing law enforcement rather than being apologetic about Akayed’s actions. Moreover, the bomber attended a mosque with members who went on to fight for al Qaeda and whose former leader was, at the very least, a terrorist sympathizer being surveilled by the FBI.
Clearly, this is a broader problem within the family and parts of the community, all brought to us through stolen sovereignty.
In 1835, James Madison wrote an essay explaining the meaning of republicanism and used immigration as the quintessential example of how major policy has to flow from the people through their representatives: “[I]n the case of naturalization a new member is added to the Social compact … by a majority of the governing body deriving its powers from a majority of the individual parties to the social compact.”
Yet, due to poorly written statutes, a runaway bureaucracy, crazy courts, special interests, corporations, and foreign countries, we have stolen sovereignty – whereby the immigrants and unelected branches of government control who comes here.
On any given year, only 6 percent of the million green cards issued are allocated based on any skill or merit, and even most of those are through crony visa programs for corporations.
Millions more in the chain pipeline, including from the Middle East
This is not just a problem in the past; this is an urgent issue that must be dealt with now. There is a pipeline of 4.3 million people on the visa waiting list. As of last year, more than 97 percent of those applicants were based on family-sponsored preferences. Fifty-eight percent of those applications, or 2.5 million, are from the fourth family preference category, the most distant relatives (like Akayed Ullah).
Only 310,000 of the applicants are from the first family preference category. Thus, by merely cutting the extended family categories, as called by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., we can trim annual immigration in half.
Where are they coming from?
By far, Mexico is the most frequent country of origin. There are 1.3 million Mexican nationals on the waiting list, with the number two country being the Philippines at 387,000. Out of the 1.3 million Mexican applicants, 99.9 percent are from the chain migration categories.
Numbers seven and eight on the list? Bangladesh (around 180,000) and Pakistan (over 127,000). Almost every single individual from those countries is applying through chain migration.
According to Pew, 84 percent of people from Pakistan and 82 percent from Bangladesh want sharia as the law of the land and only 5 percent of Pakistanis have a positive opinion of Jews. That is an awful lot of people we are bringing in who will subvert our values, simply because of family ties.
Sadly, we live in such a time of political paralysis that no commonsense proposal, such as the RAISE Act, can gain any traction, no matter the stakes for our future. We have Republicans like Sens. Lindsey Graham, S.C., and Thom Tillis, N.C., and Virginia Rep. Scott Taylor, maniacally focused on amnesty for illegal immigrants over the needs of Americans.
We have politicians who want to pursue failed gun control policies every time there is a domestic shooting, but refuse to address immigration every time a terrorist carries out an attack, even though the Second Amendment is mandatory and immigration is elective.
According to a recent poll, 62 percent of voters want cuts to immigration, while just 9 percent share the political class’ view of increasing it. The RAISE Act and the concept of merit-based immigration is broadly popular. But without a united party and movement running on this issue, Trump’s support for the broad idea will not be enough to punch through the political dust clouds that are enveloping the entire party.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.