Immigration, Yes

Commentary by Pete du Pont

Host intro: Some conservatives want to close the door on legal immigration. Commentator Pete du Pont of the National Center for Policy Analysis believes we should keep it open -- with one important qualifier.

According to restrictionists, our borders are swarming with foreigners. In fact, immigration rates haven't increased in decades.

Restrictionists argue that immigrants come to America for welfare -- curious, since they also argue immigrants come here to steal jobs. In fact, working age newcomers use the welfare system no more than the native born.

Even though 30 percent of immigrants are college graduates, restrictionists argue their skills are slipping. But the drop's illusory; it's only because more native-born people now go college. Calling it a decline is like bashing conservatives for "cutting" Medicaid, when all they want is to slow its growth.

Sure, we need reforms. The immigration and naturalization service should concentrate on legal immigrants, and turn policing illegals over to customs.

Congress should repeal policies that retard Americanization: bi-lingual education, foreign language voting rights, racial preferences. Too often immigrants assimilate in spite of the government, rather than because of it.

Finally, maintain immigrant ineligibility for non-emergency assistance. When president Clinton signed the welfare bill, he said he'd ask congress this year to repeal that provision. We shouldn't, thereby sending a message to present restrictionists and future Americans: immigration yes, welfare no.

Those are my ideas. And at the NCPA, we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you tomorrow.

Host outro: President Clinton wants to spend billions on education. Tomorrow, Pete du Pont warns about spending it on the wrong thing.

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