Robert Samuelson on Amnesty: ‘Build the Wall

Economic and syndicated columnist Robert Samuelson is urging Democrats and liberals to build a southern border wall as part of a national amnesty deal.

Samuelson is regarded a middle-ground economist who challenges progressives’ and conservatives’ assumptions. For example, he has noted that immigration drives upnational poverty levels.

Under the Washington Post headline, “Yes, Build the Wall,” he writes:

It’s time to build the wall — and, in doing so, prevent an estimated 690,000 DACA “dreamers” from being deported from the United States. It’s a fair deal that could be scuttled only by intense and self-serving partisanship from the White House and the Republican and Democratic congressional leadership.

However, Samuelson seems to understate the scalecost and growth of the proposed amnesty for young illegals, and the cheap-labor agenda behind the apparent support for migrants.

Also, Democrats want to include millions of young illegals, grant them full access to welfare programs — such as Obamacare — and then allow them to vote, and to import their foreign relatives via unrestrained chain-migration. That migration of more than 10 million mostly unskilled immigrants would have a huge impact on poverty levels, government spending and the political balance of power, as the nation struggles to transform today’s two-tier economy into a shared high-wage, high-tech economy.

Samuelson offers three reasons for Democrats to accept a wall, which they now hate because it is a popular concrete-and-steel declaration of opposition to globalization and imposed diversity:

First, I think it would reduce — though not eliminate — illegal immigration. It would be harder to cross the border; some wouldn’t try. Controlling our border is vital, even if, as the Pew Research Center estimates, there is now some net migration back to Mexico. This could change, and the gross flows in both directions remain large.

Second, the wall would symbolize a major shift in U.S. immigration policy — a tougher attitude — that would deter some from crossing the border illegally and, more important, justify legislation requiring employers to verify workers’ immigration status before being hired. If we were to increase border security but not require proof of legal status, much of the wall’s benefit would be lost. Workers would still come.

Finally, the wall is required as a political act of good faith to immigration opponents. They believe the wall would be effective, and the only way to prove — or disprove — these claims would be to try it. I know and respect many critics of the wall who believe it would be a waste of time and money. They could be right, and I could be wrong, but the only way to find out is to build it.

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