In response to the terrorist attack in Orlando that claimed 49 lives, Donald Trump reiterated his belief that “immigration is a privilege” and called for a suspension of immigration from countries with a history of terrorism. A range of political and media figures immediately criticized the proposal as antithetical to American values of openness and diversity.
There’s certainly no room in America for bigotry or intolerance of different ethnic and religious groups. But it’s perfectly reasonable to expect the immigration system to put the security and economic needs of Americans ahead of foreign interests.
Right now, there’s significant evidence that the system fails to do so.
Consider the repeated terrorist attacks carried out by foreign nationals and their U.S.-born children. The Orlando shooter was the son of an Afghan immigrant who openly supported the Taliban. The Boston Marathon bombers were born in Chechnya. The San Bernardino killers were first and second-generation immigrants, respectively.
The violence isn’t limited to terrorist attacks. An illegal alien infamously murdered Kate Steinle on a California pier last summer. Her death was tragic — but not uncommon. Illegal aliens commit over 30 percent of all murders in California, Texas, Arizona, Florida and New York, despite accounting for less than 6 percent of those states’ populations.
Simply put, the existing immigration system is failing to keep dangerous individuals out of the country.
Current levels of immigration are also harming Americans economically. About 1 million new foreigners receive permanent U.S. residency — and work permits — each year. Tens of thousands of foreigners also illegally journey to the United States each year. These workers compete with Americans for jobs — and drive down wages by $400 billion per year.
Leaders have a responsibility to evaluate whether granting over a million foreign nationals the privilege of moving to America each year is in the nation’s best interests. The evidence currently indicates it is not.
It’s time to design an immigration system that protects citizens’ lives and livelihoods. What could be more American than that?