Bill Weld on Immigration
Former Republican Governor; former Senate candidate (MA)
WELD: Sure did.
WELD: I think that the Republican presumptive nominee has succeeded in tapping into the very worst political traditions of the United States and other countries. The amount of fear engendered in Europe with the knock at the door [from the police during WWII], Anne Frank hiding in the attic, hoping no noise will alert the Nazis below, they're directly analogous.
Q: And to liken it to genocide?
WELD: No, no. It's the roundup that he has proposed, the rounding up and deportation of 11 million people. I mean, that's a lot of people. And that's going to engender a lot of fear, pit citizens and noncitizens against the government, breed disrespect for authority. I just think it's not a realistic prescription whatsoever.
Start with the economic arguments, which are overwhelming. Our high-tech visa backlog is driving Microsoft and Facebook jobs to Dublin and Vancouver. Our rules on foreign graduates are sending young people home who would rather stay and work here. Instead of benefiting from our beacon of freedom, we are literally educating our competition, at the expense of US innovation and exports.
We have been just as shortsighted when it comes to attracting foreign entrepreneurs: Our system lacks a start-up visa for those seeking to found companies here.
Meanwhile, our annual caps on the number of all kinds of visas, from H-1B (specialty occupation) visas to permanent resident visas, are unrealistic. Many people become frustrated by the multiyear delays and give up their dream of trying to make a contribution here.
A principal argument against a probationary legal status (a status that has not yet ripened into a permanent right to stay) for millions of currently undocumented workers is that it creates "second-class citizens." But any type of status is better than the shadowy non-status they have now.
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