The Better for America Podcast

Immigration, Assimilation, The Wall, and the Election | Art Arthur | EP 278

Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2024
by Rebecca Weber
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The Complexity of Immigration Policies

Low Immigration, Pro Immigrant: Art Arthur and Rebecca Weber discuss the Center for Immigration Studies’ stance, emphasizing that advocating for low levels of immigration while being pro-immigrant is not contradictory. Arthur highlights historical perspectives, including President Clinton’s 1996 address and Barbara Jordan’s contributions, to argue for credible, limited immigration that benefits the U.S. economy and society without compromising on America’s generous stance towards immigrants.


Impact of Immigration Under Current Policies

Surge and its Consequences: They explore the dramatic increase in the immigrant population under the Biden administration, with Arthur citing that about 15% of the U.S. population is now foreign-born. He raises concerns about the ability to assimilate immigrants effectively, noting the strain on public services and the legal challenges facing the Biden administration’s use of border funds. Arthur criticizes the administration for diverting funds intended for border wall construction to other uses, highlighting a recent court decision that mandates the use of funds as appropriated by Congress.


Immigration as a Central Election Issue

2024 Election and Immigration Concerns: Arthur predicts that immigration will be a central issue in the upcoming presidential election, surpassing other concerns like the economy. He attributes this shift to public dissatisfaction with current immigration policies and their implications for public safety, healthcare, and housing. Despite this, he notes a political divide, with Democratic voters less concerned about immigration issues compared to Republicans and Independents.


Biden Administration’s Approach to Immigration

Questioning the Biden Administration’s Motives: The discussion questions President Biden’s handling of the border crisis, with Arthur suggesting that the administration views leniency in immigration laws as a means to promote equity, comparing immigration rights to civil rights issues. He criticizes this approach as harmful to the country’s well being and counterproductive to the administration’s own goals.


The Possibility of Change

They conclude by discussing the potential for change in immigration policy, with Arthur asserting that a new administration could enforce existing laws more strictly to control the border and immigration more effectively. He emphasizes the need for policies that balance America’s generosity with practical limitations to ensure immigration remains beneficial to the country.

Please leave any questions or suggestions for future BFA episodes in the comments below!

Full Episode Transcript:

Rebecca Weber: Hello everyone. I’m Rebecca Weber. You’re watching Better for America presented by AMAC, the Association of Mature American Citizens.

Now, joining me now to talk all things immigration is Art Arthur, a resident fellow in law and policy at the Center for Immigration Studies. Art will be joining me in just a moment, so don’t go anywhere. Art, Arthur, thank you so much for joining me on Better for America.

It’s a joy to have you with me today.

Andrew Arthur: Thank you so much for having me, Rebecca.

Rebecca Weber: This is really great, sir. I want to talk a little bit about the Center for Immigration. This is an independent, non partisan, non profit research organization, and you provide concerned citizens with reliable information about the social, the economic, environmental security, and fiscal consequences of Legal and illegal immigration in the United States.

Now, the Center for Immigration Studies has testified before Congress over 150 times, and it considers itself low immigration, pro immigrant. And I thought that was really interesting, sir, because the perception is that these two things are really mutually exclusive. Tell us why that’s not the case, and how it’s possible to be both low immigration and pro immigrant.

Andrew Arthur: Yeah, no, absolutely. And quite frankly, there’s no, no better time in American history to talk about those two things. If you go back as recently as president Clinton’s 1996 state of the union address, he talked about the impact that illegal immigration in particular can have on disadvantaged Americans, people who are struggling people who are at the lower end of the economic spectrum.

And in doing that, he echoed the words of Barbara Jordan, for those of your listeners who don’t remember Ms. Jordan. She was the first African American woman ever elected to Congress in the South. She represented Houston in the House of Representatives. She was a Democrat and she was appointed by President Clinton to be the chairman of the Commission on Immigration Reform.

She’s a civil rights icon, hardly the sort of person that you’d think would be an immigration hawk. But in the course of her research into the topic, talking to people, reviewing studies, She determined that some, core concepts. One is that in order to be credible three things had to be true.

Those who should be let in or let in. Those who should be kept out or kept out. And those who are here illegally should be forced to leave. And those are very much concepts that have been lost, particularly on many members of Ms. Jordan’s own party in the last four years. But in order to, continue.

America’s status as a nation of immigrants in order to continue those things that have, made this a very unique and blessed nation. We need to bring in, people who have new ideas, people who have energy, a different way of viewing things, but we also have to make sure.

That’s our immigration system is credible. If it’s not credible, it’s going to lose the support of the American people, which is another point that Miss Jordan made. For that reason, we call on Congress. We call on the executive branch to stick to the limits that Congress has said. We’re probably 1 of the most.

In fact, we are the most generous nation as it relates to. Immigration in the history of the world, not simply in the world as it exists today, about a million people come in with green cards every year, about 180 million people come in as non immigrants, as we call it, people coming here to study to, do business, to be tourists.

We have lives abroad that they’re going to return to. This is probably our strongest. Public security are, biggest diplomatic initiative that we run to, help people understand the United States. But one of the things that we’ve seen in polling of late, Rebecca, and this has been going on for the last 3 years.

Is that the American people are calling for lower levels of immigration. In fact, many of them simply want to cut off immigration entirely and give our system a breather, give our society a breather in order to assimilate all of these folks. Assimilation really is the key and for that reason, limits on the number of people who are allowed to come to the United States legally.

But, that’s a troubling that’s a troubling statistic. The plurality of Americans today, in fact, want to see immigration cuts. They don’t want to see it increase and they don’t want to see it stay the same. We need to reverse that trend and the way that we reverse that trend is by actually enforcing our laws, enforcing Congress’s limits putting a priority on individuals who, bring the skills that can help not only support themselves and their families, but to grow the American economy.

That really is the ethos and the credo of the Center for Immigration Studies.

Rebecca Weber: Yeah, no, this makes a lot of sense. And I do think our listeners certainly agree. Most people watching are seeing that we certainly have a crisis at the border. I want to ask you about the numbers, really the size and the growth of the immigrant population.

We know that has grown substantially, but under Joe Biden, millions more have entered illegally. How does this impact really overall, the size and growth of the United States. And why do these numbers matter?

Andrew Arthur: So right now, about 15 percent of the U. S. Population is foreign born. That’s a huge number in a country of 335 million people.

But, more significantly, Rebecca, we’ve never run an experiment like this before we think of, immigration in terms of The 1880s to about 1910 when, you know, large numbers of immigrants came to the United States, certainly the 1840s and 1850s when the famine and Irish came here and when, Germans who were fleeing crackdowns.

Following the 1848 revolution came here, but even then we never exceeded 15%. We’ve exceeded 15 percent now, and we’re on an upward trajectory of people. And, it’s absolutely crucial to assimilate them. To our values to our civic institution to our way of life, there is no official language in the United States, but if you’re going to be successful here, Rebecca, this and this Jordan actually said that you need to speak our, what has become our common tongue American English.

so much. We do people no favors when, we balkanize our communities we need to integrate everybody. But under the Biden administration, about 3. 4 million people who were apprehended entering illegally at the southwest border have been allowed, nonetheless, to go in, to come into the United States.

Now, keep in mind, the law says all of those people were supposed to be detained. But the Biden administration hasn’t applied with that standard. Our border patrol agents, and we only have about 18, 000 of them at the southwest border. It’s 1, 954 miles long to put it into context. Are so overwhelmed dealing with all of the folks who have shown up who they have to not only, round up, apprehend, provide for transport process.

That they’ve also allowed about 1. 8 million other illegal migrants to enter the United States, evade apprehension, and to move into our country. So you’re talking about 5. 1 million people who have no visas and no rights to come into the United States. The Biden administration on top of that is running various programs that allow about 525, 000 people per year to show up at the ports of entry.

And about 95 percent of those people. are allowed into the country and then a separate program that allows 360, 000 people per year up to, to come to the United States from four countries, Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, Venezuela. So the Biden administration basically has no interest whatsoever in complying with the limits the Congress has set.

It’s running a massive experiment right now in the United States and Quite frankly, the results haven’t been that great.

Rebecca Weber: Yes. And, a lot of people understand that this election is very important. And we know that elections, the presidential upcoming presidential election is really going to be defined by a few key issues.

You wrote this year that it’s shaping up to be an immigration election. Tell us why you believe immigration will really Trump all of the other issues, including the economy, foreign affairs. And are you concerned about illegals voting in our elections? So two questions there.

Andrew Arthur: So with respect to this particular election, I myself am a mature American citizen.

I have been involved in immigration now for 32 years. And, over the course of that, I’ve constantly aware of the polling and, Americans concerns about immigration. For the first time in my life, immigration has shot to the top of concerns of American voters, of registered voters, and likely voters.

It’s now overshadowing even inflation in the economy in terms of the biggest issues that Americans believe this country is facing. In fact, about 55 percent of Americans in a recent poll said that immigration is going to be the most crucial issue that is going to adversely affect the United States in the next decade.

That’s horrible. We shouldn’t be in a situation like that. Americans should embrace immigration, they see the facts on the ground, they see what’s being done. And for that reason, a significant number of them are concerned about our country’s future. And that has. Not only law enforcement implications as economic implications, plainly, we already have a housing shortage in the United States, Rebecca.

And as I’m sure your viewers know, we have an emergency room crisis. We, right now we don’t have enough beds in our emergency rooms. To, take care of Americans who have acute conditions. When you bring in 5 million new people who don’t have health insurance, who don’t have the money to house themselves, we put strains on that entire system.

If you don’t have health insurance, as your viewers probably know, you can always go to the emergency room to get treatment. If your kid has an earache or, you have pain in the stomach, you And you don’t have insurance, you can go to the emergency room and get treatment, which, unfortunately makes it harder for individuals who have true emergency needs to get care.

We’ve seen wait times and emergency rooms expand with respect to housing, Americans, especially younger Americans are having trouble, even renting apartments because the prices have gone up. You can’t bring in 5 billion new people. And not expect that’s going to have an impact on housing.

We’ve certainly seen that in New York, Chicago, Boston, in fact even Portland, Maine right now is having a problem housing the migrants that it has. Yeah, these are implications and, they touch each of these issues. But, it’s curious, Rebecca, when you look deep into the polling, that, Republicans and Independents are very concerned about immigration as an issue.

Unfortunately, Democratic voters, the president’s base, don’t share those concerns. In the most recent economist poll, only about 2 percent of Democrats put immigration at the top of their biggest concerns. Yeah, there, there definitely is a divide in this party between Republicans and Independents on the one side and Democrats on the other.

Right now, the president is running a policy at the border and a policy in the interior of the United States that very much is approved of by his base. It’s just not approved of by many other Americans.

Rebecca Weber: Yeah, that sure is the case. Now you also wrote, sir, about a little known yet, I think, very important decision handed down by the U.

S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, and this would prevent the Biden administration from using border funds for other projects. That sounds like common sense to me, but evidently the Biden administration had other plans for the funds. Can you tell us what you know? What exactly do you believe that they would plan to spend that money?

How would they divert those funds?

Andrew Arthur: Sure, absolutely. This is, it truly amazes me that nobody that there hasn’t been much talk about this, but going back to FY 2020 and FY 2021, Congress appropriated in each of those years, 1. 375 billion for construction of a border wall, barriers along the Southwest border.

When President Biden took office, one of his first acts was to issue an executive order that put a pause. On border wall construction. Now, keep in mind, we’re not just talking about that 2020 and 2021 money. There’s still money left over from 2019 and in fact your viewers probably remember last October DHS secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was forced to actually build wall in places in the Rio Grande Valley and in Yuma, Arizona.

Because the executive branch is under an obligation to spend money for the purpose that Congress has appropriated for its failure to do so with something called impoundment. And Republican senators, a couple of months after this order was issued actually asked the comptroller general, the head of the government accountability office, for an opinion.

As to whether or not this was legal. And at the time, the comptroller general said they are, they have to consider environmental reasons. So sure. For the time being, this is legal. Fast forward 3 years, none of that money from 2020 or 2021 has been spent. And the administration had proposed using the money that had been appropriated more than 2Billion dollars.

To remediate damage that had been created when The Department of Defense and DHS actually started building the wall and then were forced to stop it. If anyone’s been to South Arizona, you’ll see miles and miles of fencing panels that are laid along the side of the road. You’ll see border roads.

that they’d begun to construct that got washed out in the monsoons that they have down there annually. This is just a waste, and it’s a waste of hundreds of millions of dollars. So the government land office sued the Biden administration to say, no, you can’t use that money for cameras, for lights, for anything other than border barriers, because that’s what Congress said it’s for.

And District Court Judge Drew Tipton, in a decision that he issued in March, said, Yeah, I don’t. The government land office is absolutely correct. In fact, George P. Bush is the plaintiff the named plaintiff in that case. He was the head of the government land office, Texas at the time, and agreed with Mr.

Bush and the land office that the president has to put up or shut up. He either has to put up walls or he has to put up walls or he’ll be found in a violation of the impoundment control act, which was a Nixon era. Okay. A law that was passed by a heavily Democratic Congress to force the President’s hand.

On such spending. So yeah, expect to see that we’re going to see more border barriers go up along the Southwest border because the president has to spend the money, even though he doesn’t want to, by the way, Rebecca, it’s important to note that when Joe Biden ran for president back in 2008, he ran as the pro wall candidate.

He was the guy who talked about the effectiveness of walls. In fact, there was a speech that he gave in Winterset, Iowa during that campaign, I think it was in 2007, in which he, tried to explain to a rotary crowd that, this was, absolutely crucial to our national security.

That same guy today, Says that, walls don’t work and that, they shouldn’t be used. And quite frankly, the only difference between that Joe Biden and this Joe Biden is Donald Trump. Because Donald Trump recognized the effectiveness of walls in our national security. It’s important to understand what walls do and what walls don’t.

Walls aren’t going to stop anybody from entering the United States because the wall is actually built, anywhere between 100 yards and, about a half mile into the United States. But what it will do is. It will slow down the smugglers who are trying to bring drugs and people illegally to the United States.

President Biden always talks about you can, cut a wall or climb over it. Yeah. And if, the time that it takes you to do that, it’s going to slow up people from entering illegally. Let me just give you one data point to prove this. Under the George W. Bush administration we erected miles of, hundreds of miles of border walls in western Arizona, around Yuma, Arizona.

Prior to the time that wall went up, there were 2, 500 drive throughs, people bringing drugs and migrants and vehicles into the United States. After that wall went up, that dropped to two. Not 200, not 2, 000. One more than one. So yeah, these really, the other really, crucial aspect of those border barriers is they send a message to people who would come to the United States illegally and to the smugglers that we’re serious about our immigration laws and quite frankly, unfortunately, right now, we’re just not serious about our immigration laws and all of those rusting fence panels in the Arizona desert are proof of that.

Rebecca Weber: Yeah. And so here, Joe Biden has the money, the material he’s got a lot of power and control, but he continues to blame Republicans for the border crisis and we know that he has the authority to get things under control. Why, in your view, is the current administration allowing this? I’m calling it an invasion.

They’re flying in illegals in the dead of night. How could they misunderstand the stakes?

Andrew Arthur: It’s very interesting, Rebecca, because this is one of those things, it’s probably the biggest question that I get the why of Joe Biden and there is a document that the administration issued in fact, Secretary Mayorkas issued back in September of 2021 that explained it.

And get ready for this, because most people don’t believe what I’m about to tell them. They say that allowing migrants to remain in the United States, to enter the United States, notwithstanding the fact they have no right to be here, is necessary in order to promote the President’s dedication to equity.

They equate the immigration laws of the United States to discriminatory laws in the past to Jim Crow or the color bar, they don’t see any difference between, somebody who was born in the state of Maryland as I was, and someone who was born in Honduras with respect to their right to live and work in the United States.

It’s an exceptional paragraph and. I think I, I even call it the exceptional paragraph that explains Joe Biden’s immigration policies in a piece that I did, but it’s the considerations memo of September 30th, 2021, literally says exactly that. Now, people will say that this is an attempt to bolster Democratic districts, because most of these people are going to places that have seen a decline in population in recent years.

California, which lost the congressional seat in the last apportionment New York, which I think lost too. And that it will, provide more people to live in those districts. And I’m sure that, that is a happy consequence from the White House’s perspective, but I don’t think that’s the driving force really what it comes down to.

They just don’t believe that the immigration laws are fair. And for that reason, the administration has to put its heavy thumb on the scale to make them more fair.

Rebecca Weber: Yeah. Time is really short, I think, to properly assess the enormity. Because we are pro immigration. And America has always been, and you mentioned earlier, we are the most generous in that area.

We want people to come to America legally. And the reason for that is we want to protect the citizens of the United States from these gangs, from people who are coming over and committing crime, from illegal trafficking of children. We know that there’s so much sex trafficking occurring. We to little Children.

People are dying of fentanyl. The streets of San Francisco. You can’t walk down those streets anymore because to your right and to your left is someone in very bad shape, addicted to drugs. People recognize that it’s not sustainable. It’s not fair, and it’s not good for the people for the hundreds of thousands of unaccompanied Children that are coming over.

This is heartbreaking. So while time is very short, And we do believe that Biden’s planned chaos at the border is hurting everyone. Do we still have the power and the time to put this right? If, assuming that Joe Biden is not reelected.

Andrew Arthur: Sure, if, Joe Biden could wake up tomorrow and shut down the border.

Completely. He could end this crisis tomorrow. And, for proof of that, I not only have to turn to President Trump, but I could turn to President Obama. When Barack Obama was president of the United States, only about 400, 000 people entered this country illegally. By the end of, by the time that the numbers come out for March, about a million people will have entered illegally in just the first six months of FY 2024.

The president has the power. He has the authority. He keeps claiming he wants to do it. He hasn’t done it. President Trump if he gets elected, he will almost definitely implement the same policies that he had before. The ones that were so effective at shutting down the border. Remain in Mexico, which is formally called the migrant protection protocols in which migrants have to wait in Mexico for their asylum applications to be adjudicated.

If you can’t immediately live and work in the United States, Rebecca, you’re not going to come here. That’s what he understood. He’ll also expand detention. You will complete the the border wall. He will actually provide the real support that our Border Patrol agents need. We’re still going to have a huge population of people in the United States.

And as I understand it, the president has plans to address that too. We’re not talking about a mass roundup of a million people, but the president, has a lot of power. Congress has given him to, bring immigration under control. It’s incumbent on the next administration, be it the current president or, you Mr.

Trump or, Mr. Kennedy or Mr. West to actually take the steps that are needed in order to secure our border in order to do exactly what AMAC and the Center for Immigration Studies both stand for, and that is to return. The American people to a position in which they see immigration is an unalloyed good because it is an unalloyed good because it focuses on the most disadvantaged members of our society because it grows our economy.

And because, it continues to make this the most blessed and the strongest nation in the history of man.

Rebecca Weber: Thank you so much. This has been just a real interesting conversation. Art, Arthur, thank you for joining me today. We appreciate you. How can our great listeners learn more about what you’re writing and who you’re talking to?

Can they follow you on social media?

Andrew Arthur: They should, I don’t tweet. I certainly follow Twitter, but the Center for Immigration Studies does tweet cis. org. In fact, if you go to our website, cis. org, I generally write at least once a day on immigration issues. Todd Bensman, my colleague goes on the other side of the border and he actually confronts the cartels and the smugglers and talks to the migrants themselves to get the real story that you’re not going to read in the New York Times.

And again, we are a 501 C3. We’re a small think tank, but, we’ve been, it’s been said that, we are one of the more powerful think tanks in the United States, notwithstanding our small size, and I’m grateful for, all the support. But really come and read what’s really going on at the Southwest border.

I’m going to, it’s not really a complex topic. It’s only complex because people make it complex. Thanks. I’ll explain it to you and I’ll tell you exactly what’s going on. I don’t write anything. I don’t believe

Rebecca Weber: Thank you art arthur. Keep up the great work God bless you and to everyone out there listening when you get your amac magazine Make sure you check out the qr code here.

We’ve got a great call to action To stop illegal aliens from voting in our elections, we encourage you. Over 30, 000 messages have been sent to members of Congress. We want them to act. We need to take this seriously. We need to protect our country and put American citizens first. Thank you so much for joining me.

I’m Rebecca Weber. I look forward to having you back with me again next day next time. Have a great day, everyone.

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Terry Brinker
Terry Brinker
1 month ago

These border barriers must continue. I don’t believe for a minute that Joe is wanting equity for all the illegals coming in. These are future voters.

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