Retired U.S. ambassador Nicholas Burns gave a lecture on “Why America Matters” at the School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C., on April 9, in which he traced the rise of the U.S. to a world leadership role after World War II, and what he described as the Trump administration’s dismantling of that role. Unfortunately, his reasoning for his attack on the Trump administration’s policies contained disinformation on current immigration policy developments which marred his message.
Burns said, “…Trump has also reversed the half-century American consensus since the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 that we can afford to accept tens of thousands of legal immigrants and refugees annually.”
Burns based that assertion on the comment by Trump the previous week near the border with Mexico that the U.S. was “full up.” That remark, in context, was clearly aimed at illegal immigration. Conflating legal immigration with illegal immigration is often a hallmark of those who favor open borders.
The fact is that the country is still admitting tens of thousands of refugees despite a major reduction under the current administration. In addition, we are still admitting hundreds of thousands of other immigrants based on our policy adopted in 1965. The administration has proposed changes that would change and rationalize that flow in the national interest, but would still leave the door open to hundreds of thousands of immigrant annually.