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The Rank Dishonesty of Immigration Restrictionists

Those who claim to support legal immigration are often shown to be in favor of drastically restricting legal entrance by immigrants to the U.S.

by
Ruben Navarrette Jr.

Bio

February 24, 2011 - 12:08 am
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Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), isn’t shy about acknowledging that his organization wants to end illegal immigration but also limit legal immigration. Krikorian’s book is titled The Case against Immigration, Legal and Illegal.

Steven Camarota, director of research for CIS and Krikorian’s top deputy, recently told Politico that congressional leaders could expect to receive pressure to look beyond illegal immigrants because “there is a lot of public support for reducing legal immigration.”

CIS is just one of a web of anti-immigrant groups started or supported by the notorious eugenicist John Tanton. Two other Tanton groups, the Federation for American Immigration Reform and NUMBERSUSA, also support limiting legal immigration to ridiculously low levels — as few as a couple hundred thousands legal immigrants per year.

Some members of Congress have consumed the Kool-Aid and proposed a national moratorium on all immigration, including the legal kind. The leader of this chorus used to be former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO). But now you’re likely to hear the same song from immigration hardliners like Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Rep. Steve King (R-IA), both of whom support limiting legal immigration.

And now that the immigration debate has moved back to the state and local level, it’s no surprise that state and local officials are coming out against legal immigration.

Most notably, State Sen. Russell Pearce (R-AZ) — the author of Arizona’s dreadful and dysfunctional immigration law SB-1070 — made clear that he doesn’t just have a problem with illegal immigrants but with all immigrants. During a recent panel discussion in Washington, D.C., hosted by the conservative group Judicial Watch, Pearce declared:

I do think there ought to be a moratorium, maybe, until we get our act together. …We’re allowing people to come through without complete background checks, you know, we’re letting people overstay their visas. … Um, there ought to be a timeout all the way around until we get our arms around national security.

Pearce is partly right. The immigration debate does need a timeout — on dishonesty. We need to pull the plug on the lies, including the absurd claim that immigration restrictionists aren’t going after legal immigrants.

Of course, they are. And that leads me to ask: what part of legal don’t these people understand?

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Ruben Navarrette Jr. is a member of the editorial board of the San Diego Union Tribune, a nationally syndicated columnist, a frequent lecturer, and a regular contributor to CNN.com.
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