Nobody Asked Me, But Here Are My Answers to the National Immigration Forum’s Candidate Questions

It isn’t often that FAIR gives a tip of the hat to the open borders National Immigration Forum (NIF). This is one of those rare occasions.

Ahead of the first of (far too many) Democratic presidential debates scheduled for June 26-27 (two days?), NIF notes that only two candidates, Julián Castro and Beto O’Rourke have offered detailed plans for immigration reform. They both amount to open border and immigration on demand, but at least they are plans. NIF then challenges the remaining candidates (I’ve lost count) to step forward with some answers to questions that might be on the minds of voters.

They’re good questions, and deserve answers. And, while no one has actually asked for my help, here, free of charge, are some shorthand ideas for the remaining Democrats not named Castro or O’Rourke in response to NIF’s five questions:

SECURITY: How will you reduce illegal immigration and increase security along the border, at ports of entry, and in American communities?

First, and foremost, we must end the numerous incentives we provide for people to violate our immigration laws and abuse our humanitarian policies. That means securing the border, including construction of border fencing that most Democrats supported until just a few years ago, and which 55 percent of voters think would be an effective deterrent. We must also stop people from abusing our asylum system and our inclination to protect children. Fully two-thirds of voters believe “people with questionable asylum claims” should be barred from entering the country.

We also need to do things to make it clear to illegal aliens that they won’t benefit from violating our immigration laws. Making E-Verify mandatory, ending sanctuary policies, and ending perpetual talk of amnesty are some other good ideas.

TALENT: President Trump wants more talented workers coming to the U.S. What is your plan to attract and retain the skilled engineer and the skilled farmworker?

The umpteen declared candidates who are currently members of Congress could beat the president to the punch and offer a bill that moves us to a merit-based immigration system that objectively assesses the country’s labor needs and provides those, and only those, workers who fit the description. Heck, they could even point out that it was a Democratic idea in the first place – proposed by a commission chaired by Barbara Jordan (a Democrat).

CENTRAL AMERICAN MIGRANTS: Given the increase in the number of migrants coming to the southern border in recent months, primarily from Central America, what will you do address the challenge both in the near term and long term?

Short-term, see Question 1. We can expedite the termination of meritless asylum claims and require that people who are eligible for asylum request it at a legal port of entry and expect to await a decision on their claim outside the U.S. or in an immigration detention facility.

Long-term, we need to hold the governments of sending countries accountable. The most basic economic and security interests of people in those countries have been systematically neglected by the ruling oligarchs for generations. Those corrupt political leaders are only too happy to have their people come here and send back remittances. The surge of migrants is not just a humanitarian problem. It is a multifaceted social, political and economic crisis that requires a menu of sanctions and rewards based on the willingness of foreign ruling elites to correct longstanding problems in their own countries.

THOSE ALREADY HERE: What is your specific plan, that could win GOP support, for undocumented immigrants already in the U.S., Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status recipients, and those here via the Deferred Enforced Departure program?

Right now the house is on fire. The first responsibility of our government, regardless of which party is in power, is to honor countless past promises to the American people that our borders will be secured and our laws will be enforced. As far as those who are here because they, or their parents, consciously broke our immigration laws, or accepted temporary protection under false pretenses, talk to us after our government has demonstrated an ability and a willingness to enforce laws that have already been enacted and uphold promises that were made to the American people.

DEMOGRAPHICS: Last year immigration accounted for nearly half of population growth in the U.S. And in the face of the administration’s hardline policies, economic growth is starting to outpace growth in the labor force in parts of the country, producing acute labor shortages. How would you address this challenge?

As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” A tight labor market is good for American workers. Democrats are supposed to be the friends of the working people, while the Republicans are supposed to be the party of Wall Street, right? Real wages are rising for the first time in a long time, so why mess with it by importing more labor? And, if there are actual “acute labor shortages,” they’re likely to be very short-lived. According to a recent (Democratic-leaning) Brookings Institution report, “one-quarter of American jobs are at a high risk of automation.” Importing large numbers of foreign workers whose services may very soon be unnecessary is not a good political or economic strategy.

So, there you go, Democratic candidates. Good luck, and if you feel the need to thank me, you know where to find me.

About Author


Ira joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 1986 with experience as a journalist, professor of journalism, special assistant to Gov. Richard Lamm (Colorado), and press secretary of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. His columns have appeared in National Review, LA Times, NY Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, and more. He is an experienced TV and radio commentator.


  1. avatar

    Importing large numbers of foreign “workers” who may or may not even have a job soon, is not a good political policy for the American people, but democrats think its a GREAT policy to import large numbers of people who they believe will be obligated and vote democrat in order to expand their politcal power.

  2. avatar

    Question: Can you give us an answer that is not just “we need comprehensive immigration reform”. What exactly does that mean and isn’t it just a call for amnesty. Didn’t we try that with the “one time” amnesty of 1986 and got no border security just the amnesty. Does Chuck Schumer remember those promises since he pushed for it in the House at the time? When you say that your opponent is “accusing” you of being for a total amnesty, isn’t it true that that is what you actually are proposing?

    Good questions to the “news” networks would be how come you never ask these questions but just allow people to repeat talking points and meaningless generalities? How is it you had time to have Michael Avenatti on over 200 times in 6 months and never once brought up his shady dealings, his fake witnesses at the Kavanaugh hearings, and instead gushed about what a great president he would be.

    Elton John is now attacking the British public for voting for Brexit. You guessed it, they were stupid, misled, didn’t know what they were doing, etc etc. Another guy with loads of money to avoid the consequences of the open border policies he favors.

  3. avatar

    IMO 95% 0f the Open Border Party Think the Mueller Probe Was Fake

    But pretend its real because they hate Trump’s guts…the OBP does things like chain migration and no American Manufacturing because they think its hopeless due to OVERPOPULATION and America’s fall is unavoidable and inevitable anyway…I know, I asked them.