Immigration Executive Order: Stephen Miller Touts Long-Term Changes to Society

Policy

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The Washington Post reports:

Trump senior policy adviser Stephen Miller told White House supporters in a private call this week that the president’s new executive order curbing immigration will usher in the kind of broader long-term changes to American society he has advocated for years, even though the 60-day measures were publicly characterized as a “pause” during the coronavirus pandemic.

How is the executive order supposedly going to change the U.S. over the long term? As far as I can tell from the story, here’s the explanation:

“As a numerical proposition, when you suspend the entry of a new immigrant from abroad, you’re also reducing immigration further because the chains of follow-on migration that are disrupted,” said Miller, one of the executive order’s main authors. “So the benefit to American workers compounds with time.”

It’s true that the effect will compound. But what we’re talking about is a small reduction over a 60-day period, given that immigration has already slowed down due to the collapse of international travel, federal workers’ being under lockdown, etc. And some of that reduction might be given back later, after the order has expired. A very small short-run reduction will, at most, compound to a small reduction over the long run.

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This report shouldn’t mollify the immigration restrictionists who think that the order is just for show, and it shouldn’t alarm immigration expansionists who are upset about the order — except to the extent that their alarm, too, is for show.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.




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