While most Americans were bracing themselves for Donald Trump’s first State of the Union Address (which turned out reasonably,) I got myself into a Facebook argument with the most bilious person I know about immigration policy. During that dialogue I stated my preference for a Canadian (the Aussies use a similar system) immigration system which uses points to favour immigrants which, in the opinion of the government, would contribute most to the betterment of the country. This usually means those with more education and income potential, as opposed to the “Emma Lazarus” dream we usually see in the US.
There was a time when such a proposal would have gone down well with progressives in the US, for two main reasons.
First, it’s Canadian. Our elites have been holding up places like Canada and Western Europe as a model for us as long as I can remember. They have universal health care; we don’t. They have strict gun control, we don’t. They have lots of paid family leave and holiday; we don’t. And so on…remoulding this country in the image and likeness of places like this has been a long-time dream for many progressives, at least up to now.
The second is that it would skew our immigration towards more educated people. Our elites constantly hold up people with high intelligence and as many degrees as Dr. Fahrenheit as the ideal; the more people like this we can attract, the happier they should be.
It would make sense that the left should then be the first to propose such a system. But they haven’t: Donald Trump did, and reiterated that proposal in his SOTU address. Personally I’m surprised that he did this; I would think his base would react badly to it, having been pummeled by legions of “pointy-headed,” overeducated elites and with little stomach for more. Donald Trump, however, not only knows how to play to his base; he knows when they’re not paying attention, and this is one of those times.
My bilious opponent was unreceptive to such an idea; she changed the subject and then blasted me for my disinterest in DACA (I am fine with the legalisation on the table, actually.) I think her idea on this exemplifies the apparent volte-face of the left on the subject, which has its roots in more recent history.
First, the obvious: they’re thinking, if Donald Trump proposed it, it must be bad. For people who style themselves as reason- and reality-based, this is pretty stupid. Everything they look at is through the lens of Trump even though the law passed (if the opposite of progress gets moving) will be in place after he is gone (kinda like the ACA and BHO, and we see how that’s come out.)
Second, it would dilute the large numbers of unskilled people coming in who, in their mind, would automatically vote Democrat if they achieved citizenship (and, in some places, before then.) In addition to an abuse of the electoral system, this is a monument to their inability to “close the deal” with the American people. If the ten trillion in debt the illustrious BHO borrowed couldn’t buy off the population, how can they expect to hold new people?
Third, I think the traditional Europhile nature of our “knowledge classes” has been diluted by years of multiculturalism. About the only countries that get that treatment any more on a routine basis are the Scandinavian ones, and honestly Canada, Australia and the UK are better comparisons for many reasons. Conservative people decry the fact that people in the West don’t believe in Christendom any more, but really they don’t believe in the secular replacement either!
I said that I’m surprised that Trump proposed this. But if he believes he’ll get more immigration from Norway, he’s badly mistaken; he’s likely to get more from India, China and Iran than any place in Western Europe. Perhaps, in this case, ignorance is bliss.
It’s also bliss for his base: what will happen with more merit-base immigration is the importation of a new elite which will crowd his base into an underclass. As David “Spengler” Goldman put it a long time ago, the children of the soccer moms will be serving tea to the children of the tiger moms.
At this point I’m not prepared to predict how or whether this “critical moment” will come to a legislative resolution. I wasn’t optimistic about a new tax law but we got one anyway. Maybe we’ll take a cue from our neighbour to the north and maybe we won’t. On this topic we could do a lot worse, and given the current state of our political system, one can never count worse out.