Millions of people are fleeing Ukraine.
Where will they go?
Some want to come to America. But doing it legally is difficult. A complex system is supposed to determine which people are worth queuing for entry.
“The line is broken,” says Matt Welch, editor of Reason Magazine, in my new video.
For example, America has a shortage of nurses, but immigration authorities refuse foreign nurses. A Mexican teenager who wants to help build houses could be admitted, but he would have to wait 100 years. No wonder people are sneaking across the border.
This month, President Joe Biden announced that the United States would welcome 100,000 Ukrainian refugees.
“He could snap his fingers and make 250,000 if he wanted to,” Welch says, and he should, because “we’re a country of refugees, and the people who come here tend to be the best.”
“But they might be the worst,” I point out.
Even the supposed “worst of the worst,” Welch replies, made America better.
It’s a reference to 1980, when Fidel Castro freed 100,000 people from prison and encouraged them to go to America. Some were his political adversaries, but most were, as one Miami television presenter put it, “bums on the streets of Havana – murderers, thieves, perverts, prostitutes.”
Castro assumed they would cause trouble in America.
But “it was wrong,” Welch says. Despite their past problems, “they made Miami rich. They added to the economy and didn’t hurt the people who lived there.” A study showed that the Cuban exodus (SET ITAL) increased (END ITAL) the wages of low-skilled Miamians.
Immigrants made America better even when we took in people who had tried to kill us, and whom we had tried to kill. Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter eagerly welcomed refugees from Vietnam and Cambodia. Reagan, campaigning for the presidency, said immigrants make us better. “They share the same values, the same dream.”
“He bragged about it as a conservative, American value,” Welch says. “It’s no longer a conservative value.”
Today, conservatives are more likely to oppose the admission of refugees, arguing, as Ann Coulter put it, “things can change overnight when you bring in these masses of people from very , very different. Then she joked, “And make it a hate crime asking them to assimilate.”
It wasn’t entirely a joke. Some leftists call asking Latinos to equate “racist repression.”
More reasonably, many Americans worry that crime will increase if we let in more immigrants. But that’s unlikely.
“They commit far fewer crimes than native Americans,” Welch points out. He is right. Native Americans were 11.6 times more likely to be imprisoned than Afghan immigrants.
“It’s difficult for us to process that fact,” Welch says. “It sounds like it should be wrong, but it’s not. People who go to great lengths to get to this country tend to be less criminal than the native-born population.”
“What if they were just feeding on welfare? ” I ask.
“Then they would be the exception,” he replies. Immigrants, on the whole, receive less welfare than native Americans.
Yet people feel threatened when large numbers of foreigners arrive. Poles protested when Syrian refugees arrived in Poland.
But now the Poles welcome the Ukrainians.
Some call it racism.
“Maybe it’s racism,” Welch replies. “But maybe when someone you speak a common language with and have a common history with… lives next door, it’s just a different story…. Can we take a moment and to say that they have just assimilated an astonishing number of refugees. And they are not in tents in camps, shivering. They are in people’s homes in their apartments!”
It seems like a good thing.
Soon more refugees will come to America. Welch argues that we should let more in.
“America is an assimilation machine,” he says. “It’s something we should do more because we’re really good at it!”
I am okay.
As long as people are peaceful, let them come.
John Stossel is the creator of Stossel TV and the author of “Give Me a Break: How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media”.