tv George Washington University Immigration Debate CSPAN December 30, 2018 11:37am-1:16pm EST
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with senators, farewell speeches with senators, and took a tour inside the senate chamber. the old senate chamber. other exclusive locations. >> now, writers and editors from the american conservative emanation take part in a debate on immigration at george washington university. this is one hour and 40 minutes. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] judy: hello, everyone. i'm judy woodruff with the pbs news hour. i'm pleased to be here to participate in this event. i think we have a real treat in store. invigorating and thoughtful discussion of the subject we
know is so important to all of us. the resolution the two sides are going to be debating is america needs more immigrants. we have an excellent quartet if you will to do the debating. i will introduce them now, starting with the two who are representing the nation. they are sasha, seated right here, he is a frequent contributor to the nation, the author of several books including inside obama's brain. his most recent book looks at the role of irrational fear into issues like gun control, health care, and immigration. next to sasha is michelle chen, she is a contributing writer to "the nation," contributor editor at dissent magazine and also a co-producer of asia pacific forum on pacifica's wbai and dissent's belabored podcast. she studies history at the city university of new york graduate center. representing the opposition from "the american conservative," on my left, on your right, please welcome and i want to get this in correct order, jim is editor
of "the american conservative." previously he was the politics editor for "the washington examiner." he was managing editor of "the daily caller" and associate editor of "the american spectator." he's the author of "devouring freedom: can big government ever be stopped." seated next to him is helen andrews. she is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in many areas. "spectator u.s.a.," the claremont review and many others. 2017 robert novak journalism fellow. so we welcome all four of them. as i say it's going to be a lively discussion. just a few words before we begin. we want to get a sense of what you in the audience and any of you who are following beyond this room. about whether america needs more
immigrants. we are going to ask you to cast a vote, you have two ways to do that. one is to text. take out -- normally people tell you to put away your smartphone. we're asking you to take it out. and to text the numbers 22333 and i think this is behind me and once you do, if you believe in the position that america needs more immigrants, type in nation. if you think america does not -- if you disagree that america
needs more -- does not need more immigrants then time in amcon for american conservatives. the second what you can vote if you don't want to text is to go to the website. i will spell this out. pollev.com/podiusdebate. once you get to that website you can vote for or against the resolution. can vote for or agaie resolution. that will give us a sense of where people are coming from on this question as we begin tonight. ado, i will say go and we will start with our opening statements. those will last 25 minutes approximately. we will divide them as evenly as we can. we will divide them, starting with the nation.
it will be 12 minutes on each side. have at it. actually go to that microphone. the clock will tell you where we are. >> first of all thank you george washington university for hosting us. thank you for moderating it judy. thank you most of all for coming out here tonight to invest to some of your time and intellectual energy. this vital question about whether america needs more immigrants. statements like that never occur in a vacuum. to a is always a context policy question about immigration or any other issue of the day. the context this question is occurring in is trump's united states of america. from the time trump declared his
candidacy in 2015, came down the elevator at trump tower and declared that mexicans were from thed criminals, get-go the trump para has been defined as a xenophobia. by a hatred and suspicion of people who are different. who look different, who speak differently, who come from different places. trump's016 campaign shaped byn policy was the nationalism of steve bannon. in the year since, his immigration policy has been shaped and the bureaucracy changed by the ideas of people like stephen miller. trump's modus operandi is essentially to say immigrants.r especially few are immigrants , who come certain way
from certain countries. the idea is we need fewer immigrants from a muslim background. during the campaign he said he admit no muslims to america and he partially succeeded in implementing a travel ban. he has decided we need fewer immigrants from what he determines and the french from shithole countries. he has decided we need fewer immigrants getting visas as a cityt of a diverse lottery. it would predominantly allow in from countries in africa. he has decided that those one million people who for all intents and purposes are americans and were given daca status, he has decided their status should be cast into
doubt. trump administration has decided that if you are an immigrant with tech did status, if you come from el salvador or beduras, your status will revoked. if you're one of the half-million u.s. citizen children of those immigrants, you face the prospect of being de facto orphaned by trump's immigration policy. trump has announced that he wants more immigrants from some other countries. in particular he has decided he wanted in his public statements, more immigrants from norway. the problem, norway has one of the highest standards of living on earth. norway has some of the most progressive environmental policies on earth. year in and year out norway
finishes either at the top or near the top of global happiness indexes. that is not the way immigration flows at work. it is not the way they work today, yesterday, it is not the way they are going to work tomorrow. pick and choose who you allow into a country and say we will only allow in the most affluent and educated. quite honestly, if you were an educated norwegian looking at trump's america in 2018 you would have precious incentive to come over here. here's the problem, if we go down that road of fewer immigrants, if we except it is a pipe dream that we will get more norwegian immigrants but it is not a pipe dream that we can to curtail the flow of other immigrants. if we embrace trump's anti-integration -- immigration policy.
we face fewer workers coming into this country willing to do for varioust reasons homegrown americans have a long shunned. we face if you are international students coming in with all of the cultural and intellectual benefits that this brings. we face fewer archer norsk willing to dream and their dreams here in the united states. we face fewer cutting-edge scientists coming into this country, as seen by the recent handwringing over the lack of quantam computer experts coming into the united states. one of them is the cultural and economic dynamism that immigration has always brought. the second is the moral imperative. if we turn our back on the refugees, if we turn our back on asylum, if we turn our back on
the vulnerable, the dispossessed, and the persecuted, we are throwing away america's unique role on the global stage. for all of those reasons i urge to back our motion that america is a better place when we have more immigrants. thank you. [applause] >> the american conservative, you have six minutes. i want to thank you all for coming. i want to thank the panelists on both sides and thank judy for moderating. i want to thank george washington university. i want to start by framing what exactly we are saying no to. or wantse do we need more immigrants could mean a variety of things. i would envision that yes, we will have more immigrants come to the united states. what i object to is increasing
current levelsve of one million admitted per year. i think a lot of that have to do as a country are right now. at the moment, we are admitting immigrants on a self-selected basis. all of the undocumented immigration is self-selected. a good bit of our legal immigration is based on who you are related to and a relatively small percentage of it is based on what kind of skills, what your prospects for economic success are in the united states. to have been times in our history where that would have been less problematic than it is today. we are living in an economy where there is less upward mobility then we have seen in the past. where there is a great deal of competition for low skilled labor. it is difficult for the economic
prospects of people who do not have a high school diploma. for people with some college. they are seeing wages decline, they are seeing jobs disappear. quite frankly, we are admitting people to do jobs that because of the pace of technological innovation may not even exist within our lifetimes. a of political upheaval over that. we have seen obviously a lot of trump.us on donald it is hillary clinton who recently noted that migration issue in europe have inflamed what she described as right-wing populism. currently it has introduced some of that into our own political climate here in the united states. i would argue that you should side with our motion if you do not like the current political climate of the united states under president trump. president trump would not have been possible if we were not mismanaging our immigration policy.
a country i have think that is very divided. where people are angry. read ale have to magazine articles to teach them how to talk to family members during thanksgiving. perhaps some of those articles were helpful to you this year. a lot of that is separate from immigration. not the leading cause for our income inequality, our political divide, our cultural divide, it is something that is a legitimate government functioned to control. it is something that we could quite easily regulate. benefitshere would be to moving our immigration flow to being more skilled. to be somewhat more modest numbers but still be allowing numbers larger than immigration of thef most of the rest
world. welcoming people is a huge part of the american experience. it is a huge of the american tradition. it is only one part. the welcoming has to come in a context of us all coming together. there is nothing to welcome someone to if we don't in the end have a commonality around which we unite. the united states has had a greater success at doing that with people from all over the world than any other country that has ever existed. i think our current climate, keeping immigration flows at our current level or so much lower would be the best policy for us coming together. whogrant, native, americans come from a variety of backgrounds, a variety of races, and a variety of income levels. that is why i think yes, we need more immigrants will we do not need more immigration levels kind our current admission levels annually. thank you. [applause]
judy: back to the nation. i think we are using your lapel mics. it is a good omen. >> the gig is up, sorry guys. thank you all for coming and hosting us. and it fellow teammate seems also my opponents. i struggled with this open-ended debate question. first of all strikes me as counterproductive. second of all strikes me as a little redundant. also, kind of racist. say is a question of what exactly are we counting and why. to me, migration has never been about numbers.
to think of migration in finite terms, in terms of rules of law, policing checkpoints, visas, beginnings and endings. contrary to popular stereotypes. i think we should think of human movement is a continual process. it is a historical phenomenon with new york -- no beginning or end. it is who we are. nationalt of our identity. to shun migration is problematic, if not impossible prospect. whether you are nativeborn, a member of one of the indigenous peoples of this continent, or just crossed the border yesterday, we should be debating it is not something that is a threat, nor is it universally a good thing. debating immigration is basically debating part of our existence. it is integral to our national existence.
it is part of who we all are as individuals. unavoidable. the question of more or fewer to me is kind of moveot. do thist up to us to anyway. it is not fiscal policy, it is of human condition. our ability or will to move ideas ofe borders for justice, the love we feel for friends and family members, it should not only have more migration for people that want to live in a society that is increasingly human and embracing of the human condition. we must have more migration because it is part of an inevitable process that has been going on. it predates the whole concept of nations. people move.st as
one might argue national sovereignty is existential. that is part of the right-wing rhetoric that is currently taking over much of europe and probably this country as well. the argument we need less migration is curious. any group of newcomers will have needs because they are human and newcomers. they need food, shelter, housing, they want jobs, right? even people coming across the trump team'som criminals. all they are asking for is one sanctuary. they want refuge. the idea of wanting to limit these newcomers to protect threat, itn some big may be justifiable from a perspective of individual scarcity. i agree some people in this
country may feel they are in serious crisis and have nothing to share. as a matter of governance. our currentnder laws, unilateral power to control borders. that is fundamental conflict of national sovereignty. because there's so few moreuards for these laws, often than not, the borders themselves lead to a maldistribution of resources that is antithetical to human welfare. antithetical to human welfare on both sides of the border, people in this country and outside of it who want to get in. the results for us policy wise is distorted now in terms of what borders are trying to do. you have dealt with the product as essentialion, to us as water, air, democratic humanitarianism as a conflict.
what are the prices -- one of the types of enforcements? that cannot be morally justified. conservatives reject the notion of identity politics. they say people should be justified on their individual merits and conflict of their character. how can any society prevent ctople based on thefa they were born on the wrong side between arbitrarily draw lines between nationstates, particularly when they are seeking asylum. fundamentally denying not only the rights that fax of human nature. as i said before, we are also somewhere else. we artificially divide nations, but at what cost? susu say which human being does not belong on one side of the wall versus another. there's a basic argument for justice. to deny people the right to move
in order to better their circumstances i would argue is cruel and unjust as denying someone because you deem them for taking up more than they need for food or air. to deny them freedom and basic, isent living conditions logical only if your goal is to eliminate a certain population of people in this country, but what is the social cost? that is why i urge you to vote in favor of our proposition. >> thank you. >> that's what they said last time. that's the argument i always hear from proponents of higher immigration. they say immigrants are lowering our wages and not assimilating to our culture, that's what they said about irish and italian, that worked out fine. it might just be nativist paranoia.
the fact that an argument was made 100 years ago doesn't prove it was wrong, it may mean there is something to it. 19th-century baughman -- boston brahmans said they were in and on release roles, and they were correct. we can set those kinds of negative effects to the side. they were temporary. one third of immigrants who arrived in the second half of the 19th century were illiterate in any language, but their children learned to read and write, and their grandchildren went to college. what didn't change was those immigrants and their descendents remained a solid voting block for the democratic party. thebiggest consequence of ellis island great wave of immigration was to shift american politics permanently and drastically to the left. it started from the moment they arrived. every city in america in the 19 century that had a large immigrant population immediately developed it's on tammany hall with its corrupt urban bosses.
that was completely revolutionary. the ideas that you could simply bribe somebody into voting for you, not bypassing policies favorable to their interests, but literally giving them stuff, was unprecedented in the american political tradition. it was thought to be a corruption of democracy, which was supposed to be about deliberation among citizens, not the tissue lesions of largess from patient to client. one who took note of this first american welfare state during his political apprenticeship as a new york state legislator was franklin roosevelt. when he became president, he took family hall methods national -- tammany hall methods national. he would not have been nominated or elected without the votes of the urban ethics. they were a crucial part of the new deal coalition. catholics voted for him, up to 80%. the consequence was the transformation of the american state into something the framers
of the constitution would not have recognized, but what boss tweed would have found familiar. then we were moved another standard deviation to the left with the great society. jfk would not have been elected without the votes of those same people. it took 100 years for the ofocratic walk on the votes those immigrants and their descendents to be broken with the rise of democrats. after 100 years, it was too late, the transformation of our effected. had been when you talk about whether we need another great wave of immigrants now, one of the things to consider is whether or not you think we need another huge and permanent transformation in our state into something more leftist. just asimmigrants are solid for the democrats as the irish and italian, not just hispanics, but asian americans vote for democratic raises. california has effectively become a one-party state, not
because the liberals were so persuasive, but due to demographic changes. think if i were a liberal, i would disdain to such a victory on underhanded method of overwhelming the votes of people who disagree with me with millions of voters from the third world. even if you are committed and would like to see the rest of the country go the way of the point ofhat is achieving permanent political power for the left-wing party if you then have a left-wing party that stands up for the interest of employers and not workers? liberalism is supposed to be about taking care of the least among us, there's no one that unlimited immigration hurts more. it hurts the high school dropout, or the ex-convict trying to get a foot on the letter of employment, if they do get a job, it keeps wages low and makes it harder to find housing.
the greatest beneficiaries now are the sons and daughters of the third world wealthiest families sending their kids to elite american universities. republican,ho is a i have experience with belonging to a party that is sometimes to o. let me tell you something from the heart. to achieve power by selling out in the interests of ordinary americans in favor of people whose only priority is keeping wages lower and workers powerless. devil,bargain with the and it's certainly not very progressive. >> now we are going to have a round of rebuttals. let's go to the nation, for minutes each -- four minutes each. there are so many ways to get
into this, it's hard to know where to start. political corruption is as good a place as any. you just heard if we let immigrants into this country, we're seeding the groundwork for endemic political corruption. on? planet are we has nobody heard of scott pruitt? has nobody heard of donald trump? andnobody heard of zinke all the other avatars of corruption who are doing perfectly fine without any votes from "immigrants from third world countries." problem, but not a problem triggered by the rise of mass immigration. then we heard that immigrants were responsible for terrible things like the new deal, social security, unemployment assurance, eight hour work week, awful things like that, and they were also responsible for the great society, which brought up medicare, medicaid, and the war on policy.
god forbid if we let more immigrants in, we may actually get health care, we may get a sensible environmental policy, and really awful things like that. my other opponent mentioned that we can't have mass immigration because it impacts people at the bottom of the economy. it is certainly true that in the post-world war ii years, during the period of sick immigration coders, there was indeed lower inequality. people at the bottom of the butomy did fairly well, call does not equal causation. the reagan -- the reason inequality shrink is because of the most progressive tax system we had ever had. its the fact that we had things like social security, the fact that we used a tax dollars to invest in affordable housing and
the g.i. bill, and medicaid, medicare, higher education institutions, and it's the fact that during those years, trade unions had more power than they had since, then they have had before. if you want to look for reasons for the lack of inequality in the decades, those are the reason. correlation does not equal causation. the fact that they were immigration quotas is no more responsible for the falling that inty than the fact those same decades, there were atmospheric nuclear tests releasing radiation into the atmosphere. it's a red herring. what we really heard tonight is the argument that the culture is undermined by third world immigrants, with different ways of looking at the world. thankfully, that's the same argument made by neofascist political movements in europe.
it stinks in europe, and it stinks here. is no coincidence that one of my opponents told the sydney morning herald last year that one of her favorite political figures on the global stage was marine le pen, the leader of the national rally in france. of thetionalist politics worst for writing. country, weerous are a country that is historically welcomed -- has historically welcomed immigrants. most recently, welcomed in the refugees. where up until recently, abided international law in welcoming in asylum-seekers. our national emblem is the statue of liberty, which has the famous words carved on the base about welcoming the poor and vulnerable, and displaced. that is who america is, that is what america is. this, ifn our backs on
we say we no longer have room to be generous, we are turning our backs on everything decent and moral in this country and its history. thank you. [applause] conservative rebuttal time. i was always taught that it was not polite to argue religion in public. i think when you are talking about these questions in such moral absolutes, are we welcoming or not, is it just for society to have borders, is it just for countries to have a sense of national sovereignty? we are not talking about public policy. at that point, we are getting into things that are theological. rightt dispute anybody's to have whatever theological commitments they have some, might find -- some of my own strange.
in the era of globalization, we are dealing with the inevitability through technology and act on an exchange -- economic change from people coming together, but also the reality that differences in values, differences in how people want to live, and differences in ideology, differences that have led to war and conflict and ugly political climates throughout human history, those still processed. i think most human societies have been trying to find ways to balance the inevitability of a more globalized world with how to tackle the fact that some people find it difficult to live with one another, and the fact that immigration in the u.s. has inflows, waves of large numbers of immigrants, then followed by pauses where there are lower numbers of
immigrants, during which time we have seen greater integration of previous immigrant communities into american society. i think that's what we are calling for, to see something more along the lines of that happening today. don't think it's purely a coincidence that many of the advances of the welfare state that my opponents have mentioned it did occur during a period of relatively low immigration. since, we have had higher levels of immigration. these issues have become more contentious. i don't think bringing in people to pay for the retirements of maga hat wearing white old people is linked to be a less contentious society. i think many members of the immigrant community who will be paying for said retirement may become somewhat resentful of that fiscal reality, as well. what we need is an a simulation
of -- assimilation policy. and those who are not fans of labor unions largely agreed of the policy of mass immigration, bringing in more immigrants who are not competing with them for their jobs, but competing with people from the lower level of the income stream. labor unions did not seek benefits for their workers by having the most open labor markets you could possibly have and by having a global race to the bottom in wage rates. it's simply not the case historically. for those who would like to see us have a more robust welfare state, and who would like to see us move back to something closer to the constitutionally limited federal government, the current patterns and numbers of immigration are overwhelming both political goals and are easily controllable things that are making these debates much
uglier and less pleasant than they need to be. we all need to come together as americans, regardless of where we came from, what we look like, what our actions are. there our times, just as in food consumption, you need a diet, there are times where lower levels of immigration actually further the goals of assimilation and integration, rather than undermine it. thank you. [applause] >> it sounded like my opponents were sort of arguing against themselves. ofuing that a policy immigration restriction is a good thing universally because it will keep democrats out seems argument.irly weak not only because a few years
ago, republicans were championing hispanics as natural republicans, that's before course, but also because they also argue against inviting and more muslims because they have these horrific hyper conservative religious views. these arguments against it immigration are quite malleable, and driven by emotion and perception. it's interesting, because that is what they accuse us sappy liberals of falling prey to. just to go back to the side of reason, arguing for more immigration restriction because having more immigrants, as they inevitably will is going to make racist people racist more. it also doesn't make sense to me. if the problem is their racist reactions to immigration, it is racism, not the immigrants. the opposite of that for arguing for more liberal border policy or liberal immigration, laws inviting in thechy, chaos, you look at
language and rhetoric conservatives often put forward when they are talking about immigration, which is typically you are talking about loads of people coming over the border. that isthis human mass festering at our borders like an invasion of parasitic human beings. is not say this inviting chaos, it's letting a flow of people from a place that my opponents may call the third world, i will call it the developing world. people from coming places with less resources want to better their economic status. it may call them refugees, they are fleeing state persecution or unlivable conditions in their countries. they have a justifiable claim to want a better life for themselves.
arbitrarilyeve in drawn national boundaries getting in the way of that. a basic precept of humanity is when it comes to the duties of state, is the government's responsibility to govern fairly and ensure the welfare of these people, the people in their jurisdiction. ,he people within our borders and perhaps the people at our borders legitimately seeking asylum under the geneva convention. in any case, it is not up to us to only care about our own citizens. we have a variety of tears of legitimacy of different people. i wish it weren't that way, but we have people who are green card holders, who have temporary protective status, people who are daca holders, so we have all sorts of different ways of credentialing legitimacy in this country, which are all fundamentally unjust, in the sense t that they sort ofier -- they sort of tier humanity.
we should move to a system where there's more access to resources, benefits of the bill of rights, the equal protection of laws, to our constitutional values. it is basically who we are, not .ho the image people argue them going the right way. immigration in this country and still treat them poorly. that's a product of our failed policy, our failed labor law, a failed of every american, not just immigrants. >> both of our opponents told us they are concerned about inequality, i am, too. that's why i wouldn't like to see the rest of america go like california, one of the unequal states in the union. onood rule of thumb estimating the effects of immigration is always converges,
that the immigrants would become more like us, and would become more like the countries they came from. of latin america that california is converging towards his massive inequality. there is no country in latin america where the middle class makes up a majority. their distribution is and has always been more lopsided. a tiny elite, about 15% of the population, a massive toiling underclass, and a little middle-class sandwich between them. that's the social structure of honduras. these days, it's san francisco. i don't think the oligarchs of san francisco have thought through the social consequences of embracing brazil style inequality. were always happens is as the underclass gets further him is did and conditions deteriorate, and your one-party government inefficient, you reach the point where the government can no longer provide
basic public services like keeping the streets free of needles and human feces. if you have been to san francisco, you know it's not a metaphor. what happens when you reach that point is the oligarchs withdraw behind walls. they pay for their privatized versions of government services, private security like you find in sao palo. the have their own bus lines to substitute. the people who get sandwiched are the formerly middle-class. anybody who can't afford the privatized version of government services. they suddenly wake up to discover that their set -- middle class living is not available to them. that's where the middle class is fleeing california in droves. if the rest of the country goes the way of california and converges on that style of inequality, the rest of us won't have anywhere to flee to. both of our opponents repeated that restriction rests are motivated by xenophobia and hate. hate, want to look for
you want to look at the other side of this debate. i hear so often from the left about the coalition and the emerging democratic majority. and we don't need to court the votes of the white working class. soon enough, due to demographic changes, they will not matter, implications the that all the white working class needs to do is hurry up and died. they are dying. they are the reason why, as we just learned this morning, life expectancy in america has declined another year in a row. like expenses the in a first world -- life expectancy in the first world isn't supposed to drop at all. the levels we saw in world war i and the spanish influenza. they are dying for things like suicide, theyon, are getting right on that. i don't think that's a thing to celebrate or gloat about. >> thank you. [applause]
>> now, we have time to -- i'm going to ask a couple of questions of each side, then we will open it up to the audience. we have a microphone stand where you can line up. if you have a question i will try to get you. we have about 24 minutes for this phase of the debate. themes.ked up several when it comes to the nation side -- i want to come back to the question of inequality. the basic question they raised seems to be from several different points, if you let in so many people who need assistance, which so many immigrants do, not all, but many do. what does that do to the economic fabric of this country? can the u.s. afford to continue to take people who need government assistance? >> it's a great question, and they talked about inequality.
the last speaker said we didn't care about the white working class and we were telling them to hurry up and die, neither of which we said. we care very much about the white working class and every other segment of society. poor people coming into america to work has been the dynamic driving force economically in this country for centuries. we need workers to come in to keep the economy vibrant. if you are worried about better off you do protecting trade union rights. you'd be far better off creating universal health care. health care is the single biggest trigger into bankruptcy in this country. if you cared about inequality, you would support an anticorporate agenda. everything about what we have heard ignores the fundamental reasons for cascading inequality in this country and seeks to do a bait and switch and blaming impoverished immigrants for the inequality. that's not the case.
it's trying to get the poorest of the poor divided and fighting over crumbs. this country has always thrived at its best when we welcome in people regardless of color, religion, of their economic status, and if they come into this country, they make it better. when we have that optimism, the economy flourishes. >> i will turn that around, what about that? is that there is nothing that is a more pro-corporate position than arguing for unlimited immigration, or virtually on immigrated -- unlimited immigration of lower wage workers. work byact labor unions restricting labor, not by having the most free-flowing labor market you can possibly have. some immigration restrictionist are in fact to mouth as he and in how they talk about immigration.
they do talk about it as more of a zero-sum game than it is. that supply and demand does exist, and it applies to your label market -- labor market. people on the lower end of the income scale are more responsive to those blows of supply and demand and increase in labor supply than are people in the middle and upper economic years. tiers.omic >> let's keep going. >> even by the narrowest measure, undocumented immigrants, the immigrants who are here who do not have proper work authorizations, the folks you say are not paying their fair share, by any measure, they contribute far more, simply in terms of taxation, than they take in the welfare state. this argument that immigration invites inequality is curious, given that they tend to be can
to bidders to society. there is an actual estimate that says there are at least $12 billion missing from the economy were it not for undocumented laborers who are economic agents and pay taxes in this country. you would get an extra $3 billion in our gdp if we simply gave them legal status. that is a sheer economic argument. let's look at the cost of immigration enforcement. our current hyper enforcement regime. in fiscal year 2018, we sent more than $3 billion in homeland security money on operations. 8.4 $3 million per day on immigration detention alone. it's the incarceration of people who if they are simply allowed to go home to their communities and care for their families,
they can be helping their children in school, they can be working, taxpaying members of .ociety and the economy instead, we incarcerate them for no other reason than they have committed a civil, not a criminal, immigration violation. if you are worried immigrants are undercutting the conditions of u.s. workers, the idea is not to limit the number of workers we have, otherwise we can argue women. unemployment for the solution is to treat them equally to american workers. we need equal enforcement of labor laws across immigrants, not just creating a two tier workforce, which is what we have now. even conservative economists should be arguing that more immigration is ultimately good. beyond that, it's a question of social justice. it shouldn't matter what these people bring in to our economy, though it is certainly a benefit of immigration if you will think in those terms.
i would argue that we have a fundamental humanitarian and human obligation to care for people who have a legitimate claim to want to enter our country. >> i want to ask helen to respond. >> let's talk numbers, that's music to my years. there's a lot of academic and scholarly debate about the effect of massive immigration on but a most recent finding was between 1980 and 2000, immigration increased the size of the u.s. workforce by 11%. that has a consequence of natives byges for 3%. for people without a high school education, more like 9%. that's a serious chunk of change. i don't see why american workers should be asked out of some sense of solidarity to welcome an infinite supply -- supply of cheap labor that only has the effect of diminishing their own
take-home pay. >> let's take questions from you. brief,ur question because there are only 17 minutes. >> thank you for having this debate to our civilization. here is the situation. it is partly flawed in favor of immigration due to the political correctness from the media, from intellectuals, politicians, and the education system and that is one ugly reality. despite the subterfuges, we know the democrats want immigration to boost their voting power. thehe republican side, chamber of commerce wants to put pressure down on wages by immigration, as well. that's a big problem. french, i grew up in france, as we speak, the globalization
process is falling flat in its ise as macron self-destructing beautifully. i wanted to comment on that. what you are watching in europe is coming here. andk goodness the u.s. british were ahead of the current and voted for brexit and trump. [applause] debate is flawed in favor of immigration, the whole discourse is meaningless. the policies that result from flawed politics will be disruptive to our nation. i moved here from france 38 years ago, i'm wearing my yellow vests. explain in two minutes what i can't really clarify very nicely. >> thank you very much. it's time for you to stop,
sir. >> you don't like the truth. >> you are wasting our time. he just said the discussion is pointless, we can all go home now. >> if we can have a brief question. >> i think we welcome immigrants . i'm in favor of the nation. i would like you to consider conservative side, you underestimate the productivity of immigrants. as you put all of your problems yoummigrants, i can contest crime is committed by our native
americans that we are unfairly targeting immigrants. appreciates immigrants, i think we should. if there is one aspect of president trump's rhetoric on immigration that i would like to see him drop, it's about crime. immigrants have lower rates of crime. that's a fair point. tonight, we heard some very helpful and sometimes passionate views expressed. dimension that we have not heard discussed, and that is our population policy in this country. we know that we are living in a finite world, we have had a population commission that gave a report to us 20 years ago that we have not considered, and it
>> my question is simply this, to both sides of the aisle. with roughly 22 million americans that are underemployed, about 4.8% of our population that is unemployed there discouraged. which recommendation of immigration for lifting that kind of suffering -- where would you recommend these millions of americans in the rate to? i'm curious.
norway? >> i don't not. >> they had a great health-care system. >> right. for moredvocating emigration from the united states. immigration is this cure. i was in los angeles two weeks ago, i lived there for 20 years. the size of skid row has doubled and i used to live in downtown los angeles. there are homeless encampments going into all the underpasses. i'm just saying, where should these discouraged, displaced, overboard americans immigrate to immigration is the cure? >> nowhere, i don't think anyone on the side or the other side has said immigration is a global problem. it's part of our globalize reality. been properlways
flows. people go from one country to another to another and they go because they are being persecuted or for economic opportunity. but it's not for me to say all right, impoverished americans, there are millions of impoverished americans, i've written articles on it, i know the scale of american poverty. but is not for me to say to those impoverished immigrants, you need to integrate somewhere else. if they want to integrate and if they want to seek their fortune or will be border security, it's their right to do so. it's not for me to order them to do that and to leave this country. immigration >> but we didn't say it was. >> no one is arguing that. it is a strawman argument that is going to lead the disappointed. >> answer the question. >> why should we? what country will allow immigrant without any kind of regulation or limitations?
show me a country on the planet that will do that and think it's in their best interests. >> the issue here is that a more liberal immigration policy is not a zero-sum game, it does not come of the offense -- expense of american. we have policies that they'll made of four americans and many unemployed people, many of those impoverished people are immigrants themselves. under way.hat >> i suggest you go to skid row in los angeles. i've gone to los angeles many times and i've interviewed people on skid row and an interview homeless people and i'm well aware that there is an extra nerve problem of poverty. that, nornot saying are we are we arguing for absolutism at the border. neither of us for the last hour and a half have said anything about completely open borders. the debate topic is whether immigration is good and whether more or less immigration is good. and we argued more immigration is good. >> that's not my concern.
sir, give other people a chance questions. thank you. >> next. >> hello. questions. number one, can you please describe the effect of warmer governor pete wilson's policies and what that had in terms of california politics and also what is the role of u.s. intervention in central america, particularly in honduras and how that generates immigration? would just gracias. >> we are now down to one minute and 50 seconds. debate overa big whether pete wilson, by supporting proposition 187 which fans money from going to undocumented immigrants, whether that is responsible for the leftward shift of california politically. i would argue that it ignores the fact that democrats took
both senate seat two years before that happened in 1992. if feinstein were elected and you saw george h.w. bush lose california by an overwhelming margin after richard nixon and ronald reagan, each carried it twice. amnesty cohort did play its own role in the leftward movement of california. nasty to them, that's not going to be good for that political parties electoral fortune. but i think that it's unmistakably the case that a political shift in california happened before. wilson switched on immigration and before proposition 187 past. >> we have time for another question. >> i promise i will not make a speech, i just want to ask a quick question and i would like a response from each side. on a proposal that i would have.
which would be to end the so-called diversity lottery. 50,000 slotshe that are associated with that and apply it to increasing the number of refugees that we accept in the united states. have the ceiling on refugee missions, more than have it. we have reduced it by about three quarters since trump took office. there's no way that the 50,000 will make up for what we have lost, besides which we are not number ofg up that refugees, so we are falling far short of even that dealing. is unjustlypolicy enforced. almosteening is impossible to get through, it asks impossible tasks of people in terms of producing paperwork that is necessary to get through this awful bureaucracy.
it is a violation of their human rights and it is in no way in compliance with the geneva conventions, if you're going to go that route. the diversity lottery is a bit of a diverse and, i think, because trump is fixated on it, it's actually an incredibly small part of the immigration system. but i do think that things like the diversity lottery, they are just these arbitrary categories that we carve out of our immigration system which our communities have no basis in rational policymaking or human needs. i think we could have a much more equitable distribution of immigrants if you will, we must go that route, across the board. it should not be reduced to a bean counting exercise. because going back to my teammates arguments, frankly, we're not going to get all of our wages no matter how hard we try. >> and the conservatives on the
proposal? >> 4 million refugees from syria, global refugee population in the tens of millions, another 50,000 that we took and we are when he took three quarters of the total people resettled. that might help, but it's a drop in the bucket. >> i would like to move to a more meritocratic system, more like canada's system rather than have things like the diversity visa lottery. i do think the question of refugees, while it is a subset of the immigration debate, is a somewhat different question than who we are admitting to become permanent members of american society. refugee status obviously is for people in particular cases of hardship. i'm not in all terribly opposed to increasing those numbers while reducing immigration in other categories. >> next question. >> hi.
we are hearing, i think, two very different debates. i'm sure everyone figure that out. but on the site we are hearing a question of how many we should let in. maintain a you don't completely open borders policy, what is your line on that? i know you mentioned a meritocratic system, but on what basis would we determine who those people are? [applause] >> let's start with the question, where do you draw the line? >> anybody who is being honest about this issue know that at some point there is a line.
i know that there is debate on the left and there may be debate at this table and this probably debate about where that line should be drawn. i don't have a problem with a country setting a border policy. and i don't have a problem with some reasonable enforcement on that border. i do have a vast problem with militarizing borders and with tear gasasing asylum-seekers including's children. but to a problem with the principles of having some border policy in place? no. the reason we have so many undocumented immigrants coming in is not because people choose to the undocumented, it's because we have a vast problem a desperation and we have failed immigration policy that people on the left and on the right agree needs to be fixed, but we can't work out how to fix it. so it pushes people into the shadows. here's my problem with saying everything is about enforcement.
if you say everything's about enforcement, you don't stop immigration because as long as there are people hungry and desperate, you're going to have immigration. all you do is you push people out into more dangerous places so they die of overheating in or they get forced into smuggling operations of the end up as sexual prey, and you take in an awful lot of people who are already vulnerable and even more vulnerable human beings. that's the problem i have with militarizing the border. do i have a problem with enforcing the border? no. setting a problem with boundaries? no. i never said we should have tens of millions of people coming in. that was not the debate. the debate was more or less, and we said moore. >> was turn the question to the american conservatives. you talk about who we should let in and her question is, let's define that a little bit. when you talk about meritocratic, what you need?
>> first of all, i would say how many is very important and that's why i don't favor increases. i don't think that we really would arrive at -- i don't think to government is competent make these merit-based decisions if the numbers are too large. i also think that any immigrant group with the right amount of time or numbers can assimilate and be successful in the united states but i do think numbers of people matter. having said that, yes, i would like to have a point system where number one, at a broad level before we get to the point system, i would like to see some of our composition of immigration shift a little less from family reunification and a little bit more employment-based. so, on the employment-based side, i would like to see points awarded to people on the basis of certain technical skills, things that are needed for jobs in the united states, in which proficiency, likelihood to become a public charge at some
point. those things would be evaluated before we admit people and we would admit a larger number of ,eople within our overall immigrants that we admit each year, who are coming here to not just do the lowest wage jobs, and are coming here not just because they are related to a legal, permanent resident was already here. >> thank you very much. unfortunately, we run out of time for questions. we have now spent even more time than planned, but we thank each one of you for coming forward and asking your questions. i will make one personal observation, it seems to me the two sides have come closer together than we realize, maybe at the beginning of evening. now is the time for closing statements, we have 16 minutes, that's four minutes per person, eight minutes on each side. we are going to start with the american conservatives. these are closing statements. >> there are a lot of problems in america right now more
pressing than immigration. there's the opioid crisis which is killing more americans per year then died in the entire vietnam war. there's the retreat of men from 12% of thece, primate workforce are not even looking for a job. there's the collapse of marriage. we are now in the unprecedented situation where 58% of millennials now reached the age of 36 never having been married. the first generation where a majority hit middle-age without tying the knot and the collapse of birthrights and all of the policies that go along with declining fertility. all of those problems are more important than immigration. but what they all have in common is that they would all get better if we had an immigration laws. -- immigration pause/ if we did not have a constant supply of cheap labor, maybe those employers would have to hire some of those marginal men were out of the work was. put the money and effort in training, into making the good
employees again. and if those men had jobs, maybe on byouldn't he so preyed the opioids killing american. the reason millennials are putting up marriages because they want to wait until they can settle down, and that means having a good, well paying job with unlimited immigration makes harder. and it means finding a house. integration pushes up housing costs. that is why california has one of the highest housing prices in the nation. 30% of californians spend more than half of their income on housing. that is one reason why the united states has the lowest birthrate it has had in 30 years but california has the lowest it has had in 100 years. the birth rate and teleport is lower than it was during the great depression. 1070 and thepassed operation of illegal immigrant went down, vacancies went up, and rent went down. housing in phoenix is now affordable for young families starting out. just think what would happen to
the marriage rate or to the birth rate if something like that happened with the rest of the country. we have for it from the other side tonight that trump and stroke -- trumpet voters are motivated by fear, but i think they are motivated by hope. american voters have been ignored and lied to on the issue of immigration for more than 50 years. it was always the case that no matter who they voted for, nothing was going to happen, because neither side, either party was going to do anything to antagonize the special interest that benefit from low wages. and trump is the first politician in this century that has finally listens to what the people keep saying they want. lower levels of immigration. and it's already working, even just in the last year. which is her up, but they are upmost for people who lack a high school education. unemployment among people without a high school degree is down 40% from its historical average.
so i think that finally, after 50 years of being lied to and betrayed by their politicians, they finally have a sense of hope that something like it accomplished. and at some of the benefits from closing the borders might finally be coming to them, and i think that's a hope that we should all do our best to satisfy. [applause] >> it seems that most of those arguments were about things other than immigration, but fundamental argument was that even though these things are not caused by immigration, somehow having less immigration will improve on these problems. i'm not sure how you can largely make that argument -- logically make that argument, but i would argue that all these problems, they might actually involve immigrants, but they don't actually involve the issue of guarding our borders, policing our borders, limiting the number of people who come here, it that are a that just because races and amplifies and equality
problems in this country, does unemployment amplified the failures of our welfare state, every single social crisis is a signal of some other social crisis but i would argue that immigration is the least of these problems and if anything, we have not yet benefited from immigration. ultimately, i just want to say i'm may differ because i'm -- i do not believe we should throw up in the borders. i do argue that under our current system, we need a better system, a much more fair system of enforcement if we are to have enforcement at all. the idea of open borders to chaos but rather, people who advocate for open borders on the they arey believe that also in favor of mitigating the crises that reduce migration into our borders. they are also in favor of creating more humane and just
societies across the world. if yout is the one thing are going to talk about limiting immigration, that is going to limit this drive for these people to want to mobilize. freedom of movement is often driven by human needs. horrificduce the levels of global inequality in this country and across the inevitably you would produce not only the drive to migrate, but the levels of inequality within this country. but none of those things have to do with who we let in. none of those things have to do with how many we let in, fundamentally. because all those things have to do with what we are in terms of a nation of laws, how we set up our social policies. these -- we of how not only welcome newcomers, but also care for the people within our borders, regardless of their citizenship, what color they are, or who they were born to or what side of the border they were born on.
i would argue that migrants, they are workers, they are students, they are families, they are partners, and they care for us in our old age. we cannot live without them. in that sense we do need more. we will inevitably have more no matter how hard you try to shut the border. i argue for genuine social equity, and it means we need more immigration because it makes our society more humane. we have a moral duty to accept fleeing justice. josh -- injustice. not just in the sense of the geneva conventions definition, but in terms of the higher level of social justice to which we should aspire as the wealthiest nation in the world. anti-immigrant sentiment is driven by many things -- fear, racism, desperation, and most of all ignorance. the way to fix ignorance is not to dig down deeper into it, and shut people away from us, is to face enlightenment and the problems that immigration signifies, but have nothing to
do with immigrants themselves. i believe in a humane immigration policy. that any just law that honors humanity first and foremost. to move is to be human, when you reject migration, you reject your own humanity as well as theirs. [applause] >> there are many people on the other side of this debate who have good intentions. there are people on my side who have bad intentions. i think well-intentioned people have allowed themselves to support an immigration policy that is at this point doing more to import a servant class, for a white affluent group of people at the expense of an american working class that is itself disproportionately black and latino. and the strongest economic research is on the question of
what it does to wages of recent immigrants themselves. i categorically reject the idea that opposing this policy or raising skeptical questions about it is somehow inherently racist, it is not. [applause] there was a time during this debate where there were more people on the left who were on our side in this debate, labor unions, environmental groups, civil rights leaders. there was a time when there was the recognition that having an immigration policy that serves the interest of the bosses and not the workers was a compassionate and humane thing to do. no one is talking about no migration or calling migration illegitimate, but immigration has a lot of reaches into a number of other areas of public policy in the united states at a time where jobs are
disappearing, where low-skill work is becoming more scarce. where we are talking about having self driving cars that could lead to 10 million truck drivers not having any work in the near future. there are no obvious and easy answers to those problems. you cannot legislate away technological advances. we face serious problems that do not have anything directly to do with immigration, but the first thing we could do is have an immigration policy that does not worsen these problems. when you find yourself in a hole, you can stop digging. we can do things that will lower the immigration rate and shift the composition of the immigration we are admitting each year, less than family reunification and more in the direction of employment-based immigration, and you still will have a lot more migration into the united states than most countries in the world accept.
what i reject is the composition of immigration that serves the interest of those who already have a great deal and are privileged, and does not lead to greater unity in this country. i think we have seen in our past where we brought groups of immigrants together, sometimes during periods after an immigrant wave, where we have had a bit of an immigrant pause. the civil rights movement, it many accomplishments, happened during the 40-year immigration pause. i think we can do something like that again, and will serve the interests of those who want a more robust american welfare state, and those who would like to see a limited government and more vibrant communities. i think this policy would be best for america and the immigrants themselves. that is what immigration is about, it is not about who will take a job at the lowest wage, it is about who the next
americans will be that we will all together be americans. thank you. [applause] >> you have heard a lot tonight about how immigrants are responsible for everything from the opioid crisis to automation to political corruption to overreach of big government. what you have not heard in the background is the demagoguery of the current conversation around immigration, a conversation which will have you believe that immigrants are invaders, in that -- investors, that they are terrorists, that they are a pestilence, that they are criminals. it is a shameless and violent demagoguery and it is cheapening who we are as a community. this country has roughly 43 million immigrants. they are hardworking. they are community buildings. they are taxpaying, and they are striving. u.n. dykema we live -- you and i
i, we liveou and amongst them, we work with them, our kids play with them, and go to school with them. those immigrants are the modern-day versions of my great grandparents who fled a settlement in russia under persecution and poverty, and some went to the united kingdom and some to the u.s. they reinvented themselves. they came as generations before them as have generations after them. because they want economic opportunity, and they want freedom from persecution. they long for better world for themselves and their children. they came because they heard america's siren call. make no mistake, that siren call is every bit as beautiful as a work of art like beethoven's "ode to joy" or billie holiday's "god bless the child." those immigrants pay more in taxes than they take in social services. one study after another shows
that. they move into struggling neighborhoods and rejuvenate them. they invent things. they discover things. they start businesses. i will give you some numbers because numbers are important. the american migration counsel has found one quarter of a million doctors in the united states are immigrants. the migration policy institute has found that 17% of the 12 million health-care workers in this country are immigrants. brookings institute has found that 8% of teachers are immigrants. forbes has found 25% of businesses started in this country are started by immigrants. in california, that state we have been told is floundering and flailing because of high immigration, 40% of business start-ups are started by immigrants. make no mistake, throughout american history, immigration has been a rocket fuel to our
success, our cultural success, our economic success, our political success, to our moral imagination. our status as a place where immigrants come to dream their dreams is every bit as important to our preeminence on the global stage as is the fact that the dollar is the global reserve currency. let me return to the question at hand, more immigrants or less? i would beg you tonight to vote in favor of more immigrants. not because the winner gets $5,000 to give to charity of choice. that's peanuts. but because all around the country, when c-span gets around to broadcasting it, at least two or three dozen people will be watching it and it's going to help shape public opinion. what you vote tonight matters, because it sends a message. are we a country the well of
generosity of which has run dry? or are we a country that has room to dream and welcome? to open our hearts and minds to people who come here because they believe this country offer something better. i beg of you, do not shut the door on america's role on the global stage tonight. vote in favor of the resolution that we are a better country when we welcome more immigrants. thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much to the nation, the american conservative for a vigorous debate. over the last hour and a half. what we want to do now, it is really important, we just it heard referred to, we want you to vote because that is going to determine which side won. here is what we are asking you to do. if you believe now having heard this debate that america needs more immigrants, or if you do
not, we ask you to text your response to 2233. if you believe america needs more immigrants, type in "the nation", but if you do not believe the answer to the question is does america need more immigrants, if you disagree, 2233, but type in "amconmag." that is what we are asking you to do do right now, to text that. or go to the website. the website is polleasy.com/podiusdebate you can vote by texting or going online.
it is important to do this because otherwise we do not know who is the winner. that's the way we'll decide, understand which side was swayed. we will compare these votes these numbers to what we saw earlier. where do we stand now? i have folks standing by to tell me when we have some sense of the response. when we do -- so, that is the before or after, i am trying to understand. >> real-time right now. >> this is a response now. 33-67. >> how do we make sure everyone is only voting once? [applause] >> i have not thought of that. >> the answer is much more no, 2-1 at this point, votes are still coming in.
this is a real-time number, and we want to compare it to what we had before. there is a lot of suspense. a lot of suspense. the clock is ticking. i think we are giving people a little more time. they have gotten closer together. 65-35. so suspenseful. now this is the before response, i believe. if that was 65-35. let's see. this is the before poll. it was 54, yes. 46, no.
and this is the after. [applause] >> recount! >> so it does appear to be a victory for the american conservative. am i understanding this correctly? that is what i think. yes. america need more immigrants. i just want to check my numbers counters to make sure we are reading it correctly. is that right? where are you? behind the stage. i don't want to declare the winner until you tell me those are the final numbers. >> could you ask amil to give a thumbs up? >> thumbs up or not. that american conservative wins, is that correct? ok. we got it. the winner is the american conservatives. [applause]
and what the winning team gets to do is identify the charity which will receive the $5,000 prize. so american conservatives, jim and helen. >> we are giving the money to the red cross. >> all right. very well. a good cause. so we know who the winner is but we want to congratulate all of our debaters. we want to congratulate michelle and sasha as well as jim and helen because they have given it their all. we have had a great debate. you have been a great audience and wonderful questions from all of you and appreciate that. on behalf of george washington university, thank you very much for being here. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]