What Is the Silver Lining with The Immigration Debate?


U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) stated that the rights and protections of the Constitution don’t “apply to people who have not yet come to our country,” when he was on Andrew Wilkow’s show, Wilkow Majority. There, Senator Paul stated that “if you want to be an immigrant into our country, the Constitution doesn’t apply to you, and we have every right to make any immigration law we want.”

With that, President Donald Trump’s recent immigration ban has opened up a Pandora’s box of legal action and political fallout to question whether or not he is making the right decision, or not. Facing the music, so to speak, places the Administration in a precarious position with regard to immigration policy and whether is a legal claim to bar people from entering our country.

Essentially, we all need to examine some key factors that go into all sides of the immigration ban debate. To begin, one of the overarching sentiments that must derive from this is that immigration law must be enforced instead of gathering dust.

Getting past the emotionally charged debates that come from immigration policies, examining some problems that Trump’s Administration has targeted should be viewed with some clarity. In this respect, the executive action has called for a temporary and indefinite stay on preventing refugees from Syria and other refugees and asylum seekers, in general. From this, the cost of supporting refugees and asylum seekers is exorbitant per person, despite the low cost it has on the overall federal budget.

Simply put, the refugee and asylum stay pushed by the Trump action can take the hammer to the cost of supporting and transferring these types of people in transitional statuses. It is valued that it costs over $60,000 per refugee, according to a highly cited 2015 study from the Center for Immigration Studies, just for covering basic living expenses and transitional health care models.

A savings aren’t a bad trade-off in the end. However, the overall push on banning immigration for ninety days from countries with Muslim majorities can be centered on how temporary reductions on incoming people can provide an excellent opportunity to begin testing Trump’s new immigration regime.

In the coming weeks, though, we will face several hard truths to hard questions. For example, “will our economy tank, slightly?” Or even, “what is the international implication, if any?”

On the economy, the effect will not be that apparent or reactionary; however, one thing that we will see change slightly is that some of the best-talented labor in our free market economy comes from the international community. Even some of the most important startup companies turned major players were born from the hard work of immigrants. This is only the soft truth, though.

The hard truth, on the other hand, is faced with the fact that many of these talented immigrants coming here to learn and work are legally residing in the United States through work and education visas. The economic impact of illegal immigration will also be radically reshaped, in the end, especially if and when the immigration law will begin to be enforced once again.

On the international repercussions, one of the major problems that could arise will be felt in the debate of properly applying t constitutional rights to people residing outside of the United States and, chiefly, how this isn’t necessarily a “Muslim” ban.

First, it is hard to argue that Trump’s action is a Muslim ban when countries like Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and Turkey aren’t on the short list of “travel blocks.” Though many people question this, taking the verbatim argument that this is a measure to counter terrorism seems more likely, especially from the logic that Trump has when it comes to pushing forth such things.

All in the end, though, is that the common argument that the ban goes against freedom of faith and what not and it denies a person the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is an overstatement. In our current state of affairs, we need to reform and streamline the process for citizenship and to obtain legal residency for foreigners while maintaining a secure country. Moving further, we also need to ensure that we need to that any immigration policy making from now on respects individual rights of citizens and legally residing noncitizens while illegal immigration is dealt with.

McGrady is the executive director of McGrady Policy Research and is a freelance writer and commentator. Follow him on Twitter (@mikemcgrady2).