Immigration Reform

Posed by Javier Méndez of El Mercurio newspaper, in Santiago, Chile.
Answered by Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, president of the Minaret of Freedom Institute.

Q. A lot of immigrant groups consider the immigration reform “discriminatory” and they fear to be expelled. How do you see that point?

A. Immigration laws have been motivated by religious and ethnic discrimination since the beginning. Until 1917 the United States had no immigration quotas. The first laws were directed against Catholics and against the Chinese and Eastern Europeans. Today Latinos and Muslims are the main targeted groups.

Q. Do you think that will be a very strong fight in Senate over this law?

A. Even if the Senate avoids a lengthy fight, one still looms in the House since the differences between the House and Senate versions need to be resolved before any bill can become law.

Q. Is immigration an election issue subject? Why?

A. The immigration issue is expected to have a significant impact on the coming Congressional elections, which accounts for much of the political posturing no taking place on the matter. The main reason is the intense resentment against Latino immigration in the Southern border areas. Also contributing now is the paranoia over Muslim immigration engendered by the polemics of the War in Terrorism. On the other side, the rising strength of the affected immigrant communities, who are becoming increasingly well organized. The Cuban community is especially effective and has reason to be dissatisfied with the way refugees from Castro's Cuba are forced to return.

Q. How is Bush administration managing the immigration problems?

A. The Bush administration is not doing well managing the immigrations problems because the basic approach of strong regulation suffers from the same problems that strong regulation afflicts on any part of the economy. The law of supply and demand must be recognized and accommodated. It is a simple fact that there is a strong demand for less expensive labor in the United States and a strong demand for jobs and for the free society in America from potential immigrant populations from many parts of the world. The best hope for resolving the problems of immigration is not to make illegal immigrants and the charities that help them into felons, but to open up the borders to all law abiding peoples who wish to come and support themselves here by their own labor. The consequent threatened exodus from the other parts of the world can only have a positive effect on reform in those societies, much as the "brain drain" from Britain in the sixties led to the reforms in that country that have helped its economy.

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