PJ Media

Norquist to PJM: 'Robust Guest-Worker Program' More Important Than 'Big Wall'

Addressing the debate over immigration reform in the Senate, Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, told PJ Media that the best way to secure the border is through a “robust” guest-worker program.

PJ Media asked Norquist if he agrees with conservative lawmakers who want the border secure first before a pathway to citizenship is offered to illegal immigrants.

“They’re working out something that answers that question on the Senate side and point of fact, the most important thing is a guest-worker program like Eisenhower had. The way you have a secure border is have people walk through doors with permits to work so you see them all and you know who they are,” Norquist said on Capitol Hill.

“You can tighten border security, but the actual way to control the border is with a robust guest worker program. The other stuff looks nice, ‘oh, it’s a big wall,’ but that’s not what gives you border security. So, we should do both — have border security and fences or whatever and a robust guest-worker program.”

He also said arrests at the border rose after President Lyndon B. Johnson ended the Bracero guest-worker program.

Norquist, known for influencing conservative politicians to take pledges not to increase taxes, said immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship is “good” for economic growth.

“I think it’s good policy. I think it’s good for growth. I think it’s good for the budget and all those sorts of things because people are an asset rather than a liability. I mean, people go, ‘should we have immigration?’ It’s like asking McDonald’s, ‘should we do hamburgers?’” Norquist said.

“It is the secret sauce. It’s what makes us different from everybody else.”

To back up his argument, Norquist compared the U.S. to China.

“China can’t do immigration. We can. We’re the future. They’re not because we do immigration because we can grow. We can grow as much as we want. They can’t. China can’t decide to grow more. They’ve already decided to have not enough women,” he said.

“Immigration is what’s made us economically strong, politically strong, militarily strong, culturally cohesive and strong.”

Norquist rejects the notion that “more people make us poorer.”

“People are assets. People produce as well as consume. More people is good, not bad. So, the answer is immigration historically has made this country a success,” he said.

When the bipartisan group of senators known as the “Gang of 8” first released their immigration reform proposal, Norquist released a statement in support of the plan.

“Immigration reform is one of the most important steps our country can take to grow America’s economy and preserve our leadership status in the world,” he said in January of this year.

“I believe this plan is a meaningful step toward fixing our broken immigration system, and I urge Congress to consider the positive economic ramifications of a vibrant guest worker program, more high-skilled visas, and a pathway to earned legal status and citizenship for those already in the country.”