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Tuesday January 23, 2018 @ 03:39:55 AM mt

Endless Distraction vs. Living the Good Life



In a world of endless distraction, it's easy to avoid conscious growth. And, in a world of endless distraction, it's more important than ever to control ourselves. At Catos 40th anniversary celebration, Charles Murray discussed the good life.

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Tuesday January 23, 2018 @ 03:39:40 AM mt

Conservatism on the Rocks



Conservatism has seen better days. Jeff Flake, Republican U.S. Senator from Arizona, discussed what he sees as problems in the conservative movement at Cato Club 200 in Laguna Beach, California.

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Tuesday January 23, 2018 @ 03:39:32 AM mt

The Real Impact of Money on Elections



There's too much money in politics, or so goes the chestnut. Economist Jeff Milyo offers some perspective.

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Tuesday January 23, 2018 @ 03:38:34 AM mt

NSA North Korea and the WannaCry Attack



An exploit known to the NSA was likely used by North Korean hackers to disrupt thousands of computer systems globally. Julian Sanchez discusses the case.

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Tuesday January 23, 2018 @ 03:38:06 AM mt

Still Waiting for Spending Cuts



Republicans' desire to cut spending is sharp as a knife when they're in the minority. But facts don't do what they want them to now that the GOP runs Congress. Jonathan Bydlak of the Coalition to Reduce Spending discusses prime spending cuts their prospects in 2018.

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Monday January 22, 2018 @ 05:33:20 PM mt

Reforming the Diversity Visa Could Pay for the Wall: Here's How



Any bipartisan deal to reopen the federal government and deal with DACA would have to legalize some of the DREAMers, increase border enforcement, amend the diversity immigrant visa program, and fund the construction of a border wall. Democrats have compromised on the border wall but they are still only going to fund about half the lowest estimated cost of about $8 to $10 billion. There is a way to fund construction of the border wall without using taxpayer money or for Congressional Democrats to allocate a penny more than the $8 to $10 billion that they are considering: The Border Wall Investment Visa Program (BWIVP).

As proposed here, this new program would take 10,000 green cards from the 50,000 currently allocated diversity immigrant visa program, or whatever successor program Congress creates to replace it. Congress could then shift those 10,000 green cards to a new immigration category called the Border Wall Investment Visa Program (BWIVP), which would auction them to the highest bidders each year. Under such a system, each green card could sell for at least $100,000 and potentially much more. At that high of a price, the BWIVP would raise $1 billion each year to fund the construction of a border wall without raising taxes. Congress should write into law that all funds raised through the BWIVP should automatically go toward wall construction and maintenance. Of course, Congress could also auction more or fewer than 10,000 green cards a year but this is a nice round number for the purpose of an example.

The $1 billion a year raised through the BWIVP would fund the construction of an additional 46 miles of fencing a year without taxpayers spending a dime, if the recent estimatedcostof replacing the border fence were any guide to the costs of future construction. An extra $1 billion a year raised through a BWIVP would significantly stretch the eventual length of the wall relative to other funding options. Nobel Prize Winning economist Gary Becker proposed a $50,000 price per green card in 2011 but suggested selling a million annually. Prices will have undoubtedly risen since then and the BWIVP would only auction 10,000 green cards a year, so the price for each one would be higher.

A Congressional allocation of $10 billion to build the border wall would only increase its length to 780 miles, assuming construction is finished one year after passage (Table 1). Further extensions of the wall would rely on Congress appropriating funds. Future Congresses might be unwilling to do that, meaning that the wall would not extend beyond 780 miles after the original appropriation. However, a fresh infusion of funds each year from the BWIVP would guarantee that border wall construction would continue each year without Congressional interference. After eight years with a BWIVP that raises $1 billion annually, the border wall would be 370 miles longer than with only the funds from Congress. If the BWIVP raised $1.5 billion a year, after eight years the border wall would be 555 miles longer. If it raised $2 billion a year, it would be 740 miles longer. Under each of the three revenue projections, the border wall would continue to lengthen by 46 miles, 69 miles, and 93 miles a year, respectively.

Table 1

Length of Border Wall, Border Wall Investment Visa Program Revenue Projections

Year

Fencing without BWIVP (Miles)

Fencing with BWIVP

$1 Billion Annually

(Miles)

Fencing with BWIVP

$1.5 Billion Annually

(Miles)

Fencing with BWIVP

$2 Billion Annually

(Miles)

Current

317

317

317

317

1

780

826

849

872

2

780

872

918

965

3

780

918

988

1,057

4

780

965

1,057

1,150

5

780

1,011

1,126

1,242

6

780

1,057

1,196

1,335

7

780

1,103

1,265

1,427

8

780

1,150

1,335

1,520

Sources: DHS, Reuters, CBS News, Authors Calculations.

The percentage of the border with Mexico that would be covered by a fence under the BWIVP would also increase every year (Table 2). Under the BWIVP revenue projections, it would cover 59 percent to 78 percent of the border after 8 years. The BWIVP could also pay for fence maintenance rather than new construction. BWIVP revenue of $1 billion a year would pay for the annual maintenance of about 1,200 miles of border fencing under current estimates.

Table 2

Percent of Border Covered by a Wall under Different Border Wall Investment Visa Program Revenue Projections

Year

Fencing without BWIVP (Miles)

Fencing with BWIVP $1 Billion Annually (Miles)

Fencing with BWIVP $1.5 Billion Annually (Miles)

Fencing with $2 Billion Annually (Miles)

Current

16%

16%

16%

16%

1

40%

42%

43%

45%

2

40%

45%

47%

49%

3

40%

47%

51%

54%

4

40%

49%

54%

59%

5

40%

52%

58%

64%

6

40%

54%

61%

68%

7

40%

56%

65%

73%

8

40%

59%

68%

78%

Sources: DHS, Reuters, CBS News, Authors Calculations.

Immigration restrictionists complain that previous Congresses always amnesty illegal immigrants but they never follow up with border enforcement. Their complaint isnt based on reality, but that doesnt make it any less politically salient. Creating a BWIVP where the revenue directly goes to wall construction is a way for Congress to commit credibly to funding border enforcement in the future. If immigration restrictionist complaints are sincere then this mechanism should alleviate much of their concern.

Auctioning 10,000 visas is not a radical policy idea. In 2016, the United States allocated 3,422 EB-5 green cards to applicants who invested $500,000 to $1 million in the United States. The government charges $4,000 for each H-1B petition submitted by employers that the government deems to be H-1B dependent as well as a whole host of other protectionist fees. In 1882, the government imposed a head tax of $0.50 per immigrant that it then raised to $4.00 in 1907, and then to $8.00 in 1917. In 1959, the U.S. government levied a $12 tariff on farmers for every guest worker they hired under that short-lived Bracero program. Pricing immigration is common in the rest of the world, especially in many merit-based systems. Singapore has a monthly levy for workers based on their skill level and the concentration of foreign workers by economic sector. The United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand all levy substantial fees to defray social service costs. For instance, the fee for the permanent Contributory Parent visa category in Australia is AU$31,555.Antigua allows anybody to qualify for citizenship in exchange for a $250,000 direct payment to the government, a $400,000 real-estate purchase, or a business investment of $1.5 million. The United States is a more desirable location than those other nations so the government could raise more money for border security this way. If the United States wants to have a more merit-based immigration system, a BWIVP auction system is one way to move in that direction.

President Trumps administration wants to raise visa fees to make it appear that immigrants will pay for the wall. Auctioning a small number of green cards through a BWIVP can pay for more border security in a more open, transparent, and publicly obvious way than increasing fees that are generally hidden from the public. The BWIVP would stretch the roughly $8 to $10 billion in wall funding to cover more of the border without increasing the amount of taxpayer dollars that Democrats would have to allocate for such an unpopular construction project. Even better, it would come from an economic liberalization that would more efficiently allocate scarce green cards to the highest bidders. I dislike the wall and have written extensively against it, but if it must be built, this is a better way to make sure it gets constructed than other competing proposals. Auctioning green cards through the BWIVP would raise large sums of money for border security in a way that could help resolve the shutdown, fulfill a major campaign promise by President Trump, legalize the DREAMers, and preserve the number of legal immigrants.

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Monday January 22, 2018 @ 05:33:19 PM mt

The Trump Doctrine and Public Opinion at One Year



In advance of the January 30 conference here at CatoThe Trump Doctrine at One YearI review public attitudes toward Trumps America First vision and his foreign policy handling over his first year in office. Join us for a what will undoubtedly be a spirited conversation with a fantastic group of experts.

Donald Trumps America First rhetoric during the 2016 presidential campaign marked a sharp departure from the fundamental tenets of liberal internationalism that have guided U.S. foreign policy since World War II. Trumps tirades against free trade, NATO allies, immigrants (legal and otherwise), and his general disinterest in engaging with the world unless there was money in it for the United States horrified the foreign policy establishment of both parties.

Beyond concerns about Trump, many observers worried that his success reflected the demise of public support for internationalism. Though the public supported robust internationalist policies after World War II and during the Cold War, Trumps emergence coincided with rising economic insecurity and inequality, intense political polarization, and dropping confidence in government to solve the problems facing the nation. Had the public perhaps decided that internationalisms time had come and gone? Would Trumps presidency usher in rising support for nativist and protectionist policies and calls to turn inward, away from the international arena?

A wide array of poll data from Trumps first year in office strongly suggests the answer is no. A large majority of Americans disapprove of Trumps handling of foreign policy and his America First policies are among the most unpopular elements of his foreign policy.

Trumps fiery attacks on unfair trading practices by China and Japan and his criticism of NAFTA as the worst deal ever made may have energized his base during the campaign, but since taking office Trumps course on trade has not been a popular one. Though Trump pulled the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership as soon as he took office and appears likely to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, Americans remain committed to free trade. A June 2017 survey from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs found that 72% of the public thinks international trade is good for the United States. An October 2017 poll from the Pew Research Center echoed this result, finding that Americans are more likely to believe NAFTA is good for the United States by 56-33%.

Trump is also clearly in the minority camp when it comes to immigration, another key pillar of the America First vision. Only 39% approved of Trumps handling of immigration as of November 2017. Most Americans simply dont share the presidents dim view of immigrants. Trump began his campaign in 2015 complaining of Mexican immigrants that Theyre bringing drugs. Theyre bringing crime. Theyre rapists.

Last week in a meeting about immigration at the White House, Trumps views again stirred debate after he complained about people coming from sh#!2$holes like Haiti and Africa and asked why the United States didnt get more people from Norway. But according to a June 2017 Chicago Council on Global Affairs poll, just 37% of Americans see immigrants and refugees as a critical threat to U.S. interests. Seventy-one percent say that immigration is a good thing for the country today. Poll after poll finds that a majority of Americans think that even illegal immigrants should have the opportunity to stay in the United States68% in a recent Quinnipiac poll say they should be able to apply for citizenship. Unsurprisingly, Trump and the Republicans face the same political headwinds in the debate over DACA reform. Seventy-nine percent thinks the Dreamersundocumented immigrants brought to the United States as childrenshould be allowed to stay and become citizens.

Despite the disconnect on immigration, Trump has found somewhat more support on issues where Americans do sense security threats. During the campaign, Trump argued that refugees fleeing the civil war in Syria should not be allowed to enter the United States, a view that receives majority support. Two-thirds of Americans supported preventing Syrian refugees from coming to the United States in a June 2017 poll, for example. And though poll results have varied widely, it appears that a majority of Americans approves Trumps travel ban temporarily restricting visa applicants from six Muslim-majority countries to those who can show a close family relationship. The most recent poll by Politico/Morning Consult in July 2017 found that 60% of Americans support Trumps travel ban.

On the other hand, most Americans have never been keen on Trumps favorite construction project. Despite his non-stop efforts to frame the southern border wall as a critical security issue, support for building it has remained below 40% since the month after Trump took office and a poll released last week found that Americans oppose building a wall on the Mexican border by 63-34%.

When it comes to dealing with the ultimate threatnuclear weaponsTrumps approach is again clearly at odds with a majority. Trumps hard-line opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, for example, contrasts with the 67% of Americans who think the United States should not withdraw from the deal.

And though Trumps approach to North Korea has involved a good deal of saber rattling, tough talk on Twitter, and warnings that time is running out, a majority of the public believes diplomacy needs more time. Fifty-nine percent of the public believes the U.S. can solve the situation with diplomacy compared to just 27% who think force will be necessary. Further, 54% think it is more important to avoid war with North Korea than to remove its nuclear arsenal, while 39% think the opposite. Overall just 36% of Americans have confidence in Trump to handle the North Korea situation.

At a more general level, many Americans worry about Trumps temperament and his ability to handle crises. A recent poll, for example, found that 69% do not believe Trump is level-headed, while a Pew poll found that public confidence in Trumps ability to handle an international crisis dropped from 48% in April to 39% by October 2017.

And more broadly, Americans are worried about Trumps handling of foreign policy and the effect of the Trump Doctrine on the United States. Public support for Trumps handling of foreign policy during his first yearat just 33% in November 2017has been significantly lower than for other presidents at the same stage of their presidencies going back to Ronald Reagan. Furthermore, 66% of Americans think that Trumps actions have damaged the United States reputation around the world, while 55% believe that Trump has weakened the countrys global leadership position compared to 31% who feel he has strengthened it.

For those who worried what Trumps election meant about the publics foreign policy attitudes, the polls provide a degree of solace. After a year in the White House with all the advantages conferred by his office and the bully pulpit, Donald Trump has utterly failed to increase support for the America First vision. Not only that, public confidence in Trump to manage international affairs has eroded significantly.

At the same time, the fact that even this much support exists in the United States for the illiberal, counterproductive, and dangerous policies espoused by Trump signals to political leaders that public support is not a given. It also reveals that traditional justifications for American foreign policy no longer command such widespread support. To ensure that Trumps combination of nativism and isolationism does not become the doctrine of the future, the United States will need other leaders to articulate a new foreign policy vision that acknowledges public concerns while doing a better job of explaining how and why the nation must engage the rest of the world.

This will not be an easy task. Globalization, automation, populism, and other powerful trends that are reshaping both international and domestic politics will not relent any time soon. To the extent that these forces help explain both Trumps success and public attitudes, we should expect continued debate and division over the future of American foreign policy. If responsible politicians do not address these issues, Americans worried about economic competition from other nations or concerned about terrorism, immigration, and the influence of other cultures on their way of lifemay continue to look to leaders like Trump for answers.

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Monday January 22, 2018 @ 05:33:18 PM mt

When Corruption is a Job Perk



I recall quite vividly the day I first witnessed the potency of the get out of jail free cards issued by Police Benevolent Associations. I was a teenager in the New Jersey suburbs headed to a concert with a car full of friends, and our driver was so caught up in conversation about what a great show it was going to be that, despite our feeble warning shouts, he barrelled through a solid red light going about 40 miles per houra red light with a police car stopped on the opposite side of the intersection. Predictably, the police car immediately flipped on its siren and tore after us. The passengers resigned ourselves to missing the start of the show. At the very least we were going to be stuck waiting through a sobriety test. The driver was surprisingly calm. He explained that he had both a card and a silver shield in the rear window identifying him as a family member of a law enforcement officer. To our astonishment, the stop was the shortest Ive ever sat through before or since. The officer made some small talk with the driver, asked (without checking) whether his record was clean, then apologized for the delay before sending us on our way. As our friend explained on the way to the show, an ordinary paper cardthe sort given to friends of police or folks whove made a donation to a PBAwould have been torn up after such an encounter, providing immunity for only a single minor infraction, while the family versions were permanent.

Since I dont own a car, I hadnt thought about these in years, until a story in the New York Postabout officers livid that the union was cutting their allotment of cards to distributeprovoked a flurry of discussion on social media. Readers whod never heard of the practice before reacted with shock that this form of petty corruption could be so normalized that there would actually be official cards, openly distributed by police departments or their unions, for the explicit purpose of placing friends, family, and donors above the laweven if only for relatively minor infractions. The idea that family of police might get more lenient treatment was not particularly surprising, but many seemed taken aback that the practice could be so shamelessly institutionalized on such a large scale. Is there, after all, any conceivable non-corrupt reason for issuing wallet-sized cards identifying the bearer as a relative of police?

That sense of shock was, I immediately recognized, the correct reaction. As long as laws are enforced by human beings, a bit of small-scale local nepotism in the enforcement of the law is probably unavoidable. But there is something quite toxic about institutionalizing it, to the point where officers feel so entitled to special treatment for themselves and their friends and family that they express open outragewhen the law is applied to them as it would be to any other citizen. Getting out of a speeding ticket may not seem like a dire threat to the rule of lawthough you do have to wonder how many cardholders feel emboldened to drive intoxicatedbut I think one can reasonably draw a link between this sort of petty favoritism and the more serious abuses that leave so many minority communities regarding their local police less as public servants than an occupying force.

Think about the message these cards send to every officer whos expected to honor them. They say that the lawor at least, some ill-defined subset of itisnt a body of rules binding on all of us, but somethingwe impose onotherson the people outside our circle of personal affection. They say that in every interaction with citizens, you must pay special attention to whether they are members of the special class of people who can flout laws, or ordinary peons who deserve no such courtesy.They say that, at least within limits, officers of the law shouldexpect to be able to break the law and not be punished for it. They say that a cop who has the temerity to hold another officer or their family to the same standards as everyone else is a kind of traitor who should expect to suffer dire consequences for the sin of failing to respect that privileged status. Moreover, they say that this is not merely some unspoken understandinga small deviation from impartial justice to be quietly toleratedbut a formalized policy with the explicit support of police leadership.

Can we really be surprised, when a practice like this is open and normalized, that the culture it both reveals and reinforces has consequences beyond a few foregone speeding tickets? Should we wonder that police fail to hold their own accountable for serious misconduct when theyre under what amounts to explicit instructions to make exceptions for smaller infractions on a daily basis?

There is a popular approach to policing known as the broken windows theory. The theory encourages local governments to prioritize enforcement of minor quality of life laws, on the premise that when small violations of the law (such as petty vandalism) are visible in a neighborhood, it encourages more serious forms of lawbreaking. Punishing litterbugs and graffiti artists, on this line of reasoning, is important less because graffiti and litter are inherently great harms, but because they contribute to a sense of social disorder and lawlessness that encourages potential malefactors to think, if only subconsciously, that assaults and robberies are also unlikely to be punished. Criminologists continue to debate the validity of the theory and the magnitude of its effects, but whatever signal a broken window sends, it must surely be weaker than an overt policy that makes some laws applicable only to the little people.

Policies like this survive, of course, because theyre hugely popular with police and their families, while not imposing an obvious burden on everyone else. Nobody likes getting a speeding ticket, but few are going to muster too much outrage that the deputys spousedidnt get one. But beyond being an affront to the ideal of the rule of law in the abstract, it seems plausible that these get out of jail free cards help to reinforce the sort of us-against-them mentality that alienates so many communities from their police forces. Police departments that want to demonstrate theyre serious about the principle of equality under the law shouldnt be debating how many of these cards an average cop gets to hand out; they should be scrapping them entirely.

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Monday January 22, 2018 @ 05:33:18 PM mt

DC Private Schooling: A Portrait in Diversity



Private schools are the preserves of rich, white people, and if they werent around education would be more racially integrated. Thats probably the assumption many people have, and it could be what people reading about a recent Shanker Institute report on segregation in Washington, DC, might have gathered.

Its no secret that the Districts public schools are highly segregated, with a recent analysis showing that nearly three-quarters of black students attend schools where they have virtually no white peers, began a Washington Post story on the Shanker analysis. But a recent report examines the role that enrollment in private schools, which are disproportionately white, plays in the citys segregation woes. Similarly, a story on WAMUa DC NPR affiliateintoned: In a very loose sense, the authors explain, D.C.s private schools serve as the segregation equivalent of a suburb within a city. Thats because white students in D.C. tend to enroll in private schools.

So are the citys private schools really preserves of white people? And are they a big impediment to integration? The answer appears to be no to both questions.

Importantly, the Shanker report, while saying that a disproportionate share of private school students are white, also noted that African-American students in private schools had greater exposure to white students than black children in public schools, an indicator that for African-American kids in private schools the racial mix is less isolating. The typical black student in a DC public school (traditional and charter) goes to an institution in which only 3.5 percent of students are white. For the typical black private schooler, the student body is 24.5 percent white.

Those numbers indicate greater exposure to whites for African American private schoolers, but that the latter is not a much higher number also indicates that many African Americans attend private schools that are predominantly minority, which the WAMU story notes at the very bottom: While there are fewer students of color in private schools, when they do attend private school its usually with students who look like them. 65 percent of an African-American students peers in D.C. private schools are also African-American.

Contrary to what many people likely imagine, DCs private schooling sector is not lily white: private schools serve all sorts of kids. Breaking down the citys 63 private elementary and secondary schools using National Center for Education Statistics and GreatSchools.org data indicates that almost half31 schoolsserve predominantly minority student bodies, defined as more than 50 percent black and Hispanic. Roman Catholic schoolswhich have traditions of serving first dispossessed Catholics, then other poor and marginalized groupsdisproportionately serve such populations, with 58 percent of Catholic schools doing so. Catholic schools, especially diocesan institutions, also tend to be less expensive than non-Catholic schools, making them more affordable to African Americans and Hispanics, who tend to have lower incomes.

This brings us to a powerful, underlying factor in school selection: where one lives. People typically do not want their children traveling long distances or durations to get to school, and will tend to choose schoolspublic, private, or charterfairly close to home.

The map below plots the percent white in each DC private school on top of median household income by census tract. (It also indicates Catholic or non-Catholic). What is seen pretty clearly is that the predominantly white private schools are largely found in the wealthier parts of the city, the less white in the poorer. Racial stratification in DC private schools, then, does not appear to be a private school problem, but a wealth and housing issue.

There is one other, even deeper possibility to consider, and the Shanker report notes it: absent predominantly white private schools, many white families might not even be in DC, or they might move to catchment areas with predominantly white public schools. It could be that the ultimate factor in segregation, then, is neither public nor private, wealth, nor housing, but that white people tend to prefer to live with other white people, and for that matter African Americans with other African Americans, and Hispanics with other Hispanics.

That said, private schools may actually have the key ingredient, at least within education, to erode those tendencies. They are free to espouse strong, coherent values and offer unique communities, which could attract diverse students and, via their shared values and school cultures, create new, lasting identities that bridge racial divides. Of course, price would still be a major obstacle, but not if public policy were to move in the direction it should: attach education funds to students and empower families to choose.

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Monday January 22, 2018 @ 05:33:18 PM mt

House GOP Proposes Largest Restriction on Legal Immigrants Since the 1920s



Key House Republicans with the support of the White House have introduced the Securing Americas Future Act (H.R. 4760) as their solution to the immigration impasse in Congress. But the bill would have far-reaching negative effects on economic and labor force growth in the United States, instituting the most severe restriction on legal immigrants since the 1920s.

H.R. 4760 would reduce the number of legal immigrants by more than 420,000, or 38 percent, in 2019. This is far larger than the 260,000, or 25 percent, cut advertised by the bills authors. In fact, the bill has far more in common with a Trump-endorsed bill in the Senatethe RAISE Act (S. 1720)that would reduce the entry of legal immigrants by more than 470,000, or 43 percent, in 2019. Each would further reduce legal immigration over time.

Both bills would end the diversity green card lottery and ban the entry of all legal immigrants sponsored by U.S. family members, except for spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens. The RAISE Act would also reduce the age at which U.S. citizens can sponsor minor children from 21 to 18, while the House bill would, in effect, roughly halve the number of asylees. The House bill modestly increases the employment-based quota. Shockingly, both bills immediately cancel applications for millions of people who have waited years to become legal immigrants.

Table: Existing Laws and Proposed Changes to Legal Immigration

*Based on FY 2016 figures, accounting for the FY 2018 cut in refugees

The authors of H.R. 4760 calculated a much smaller reduction in legal immigration by using the average flow of parents from 2006 to 2015 rather than the most recent level in 2016. They also ignore that the bill aims to reduce grants of asylum by, among other changes, imposing a much higher evidentiary standard even to apply (p. 233), which will likely reduce the number of new asylees by at least 50 percent.

Finally, the House Republicans assume that spouses and children of legal permanent residents will continue to receive green cards. But their bill reduces this category by the number of parolees who live here for longer than a year (p. 6). Based on available data and analysis, this number is likely larger than the quota. The authors of the RAISE Act appear to implicitly recognize this fact, which explains why their calculation of the new level under their bill is about the same as ours. House authors would have to amend the bill if they did intend to keep this category.

The RAISE Act authors also recognize that the cut will grow over time as fewer immigrants are able to obtain citizenship and sponsor new spouses and children. They estimate that after 10 years, it will have further decreased legal immigration by 100,000, leading to a 50 percent reduction. Based on this estimate, H.R. 4760 would also almost halve the number of legal immigrants by 2028. Fewer U.S. births to immigrants would further compound the damage.

In the entire history of the United States, the only policy-driven cuts in legal immigration that rival the effects of these bills were the Emergency Quota Act of 1921 and the Quota Act of 1924, which cut the number of legal immigrants by 496,000 in 1922 and 413,000 in 1925, respectively. Congress enacted these laws to keep out Italians and Eastern Europeans, specifically Jews, and were used throughout the 1930s to prevent the entry of German Jews.

These cuts lack any reasonable justification. Labor force growth is an essential component of economic growth. Immigrants already increase U.S. Gross Domestic Product by roughly $2 trillion annually. For the United States to remain competitive internationally, it needs an expanding workforce. These proposals will harm domestic growth and make it more difficult for U.S. businesses to out-produce their competitors around the world.

U.S. immigrants who primarily enter under the family sponsorship and diversity categories are the most highly educated in American history. True merit-based immigration reform would give these immigrants more opportunities to immigrate, not fewer. In any case, America needs workers at both ends of the skills spectrum to grow job opportunities for all Americans. There is simply no economic justification for banning so many legal immigrants.

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