Histrionic Response to A Candidate Pledge

Open borders self-styled conservatives have been provoked into action by the FAIR Congressional Task Force pledge for political candidates calling on them to foreswear amnesty for illegal aliens and increases in immigration and guest workers. One of the first to attack the pledge was Grover Norquist, who apparently thinks he holds a patent on pledges because of his anti-tax increase pledge. Another salvo was aimed at the Task Force pledge on May 14 by Alex Nowrasteh.

The desperation of opponents to discredit of the pledge is obvious in this latest attack. Rather than arguing the pledge on its merit, the attack is an effort to confuse the issue by deliberately mischaracterizing it. Nowrasteh writes, “The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) has sponsored a pledge for political candidates to oppose legal immigration as well as amnesty for unauthorized immigrants.” That is false. You do not have to be a rocket scientist to understand the difference between opposing legal immigration and opposing an increase to legal immigration, which currently is at a level of more than one million new immigrants per year.

Having mischaracterized the pledge, Nowrasteh, rambles on about U.S. immigration history. But all of his rambling is meaningless because it is based on his mischaracterization of the pledge against an increase.

Anyone who wants to understand better the issue of the level of immigration should revisit the recommendations of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform led by the distinguished legislator and law school professor, Barbara Jordan. The USCIR recommended near unanimously that legal immigration should be restructured and reduced to a base level of 550,000 per year. No one at the time of that recommendation had the temerity to use that recommendation to challenge Jordan’s adherence to the nation’s openness to immigration the way that FAIR Congressional Task Force’s more modest pledge is being attacked.

About Author


Jack, who joined FAIR’s National Board of Advisors in 2017, is a retired U.S. diplomat with consular experience. He has testified before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and has authored studies of immigration issues. His national and international print, TV, and talk radio experience is extensive (including in Spanish).


  1. Pingback: Good News and Bad News, and more Histrionics

      • avatar

        It’s nothing special. Nowrasteh wrote that FAIR’s pledge required candidates to “oppose legal immigration”. It doesn’t. They want legal immigration reduced, especially extended family based. Which is not the same as opposing all legal immigration, as the reference to Barbara Jordan and her commission made clear.

    • avatar

      First, the pledge does not ask candidates if they support FAIR’s TRUE immigration principles, nor does it ask them to support a reduction in any category of legal immigration. Yet you misleadingly imply that it it does and that the pledge is therefore anti-legal immigration. Second, support for a reduction in one category of legal immigration, such as family chain migration, does not imply support for a reduction in overall legal immigration because other categories, such as doctors, could be expanded. So for both these reasons, your charge that the pledge is anti-legal immigration is completely false, as Jack correctly observed.

    • avatar

      I think we need an H-1B program for out of touch members of Washington think tanks. Hey Alex, no other major industrialized country would be dumb enough to bring in over 1 million citizens of foreign countries a year if they had millions of their own citizens who are unemployed and underemployed. The responsibility of our government is to represent the best interests of the citizens of the US, not citizens of foreign countries who want to live here. We are a sovereign nation that has the right to decide what level of legal immigration is in the best interests of our citizens.

  2. avatar

    Very Good FAIR

    You’re being attacked by the open border “Flat Earthers” who see America unscientifically as an endless supply of food and water for an endless supply of overpopulation allowance…..when the cold hard scientific facts are we can’t grow food in much of American farm areas today, we’re ALREADY simply out of water.

  3. avatar

    Nowrasteh and others can wax poetic all they want with their romantic visions of 19th century immigration, but the FACT is that there was no incentive to come here, legally or illegally, because the taxpayers were not required to pick up the costs of the large families some immigrants have.

    Among Barbara Jordan’s recommendations were an end to family based immigration, which is now the biggest group of people who come here, and most have no higher education. A PHD is an asset. Someone’s brother with a high school education, if that, is not. Nor were the numbers in the 19th century even close to the masses of people coming now.

    Marco Rubio proposed a couple days ago that we raise the retirement age for Social Security. Uh, yeah, but a lot of people 50 and over are having a very hard time finding jobs once they have been laid off. Let’s just ignore the fact that Rubio supported the Senate reform bill that will bring in over a million guest workers a year and they will compete for those same jobs that older workers will need. Nor are most of the boomers “ready to retire”. Do the math. The youngest are only 50 this year, born in 1964.