Jim DeMint, president of the Heritage Foundation, comments on a study that shows immigration legislation would cost taxpayers $6.3 trillion to provide government benefits for millions of people now living in the U.S. illegally....
Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint prefaced his condemnation of immigration legislation Monday with the same form of inoculation conservatives often use on such occasions: He quoted Emma Lazarus.
"There's a statement at the bottom of the Statue of Liberty," said the former Republican senator who just took over as chief of the powerful think tank. "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses ... ."
He and his colleagues then went on to outline their version of immigration reform: No poor and huddled need apply.
"We feel that the best immigration system is one that focuses on bringing high school [graduate] immigrants in," said Robert Rector, the Heritage scholar seated beside DeMint for the rollout of a new study on the costs of immigration. "We think the proper policy is that you shouldn't be bringing immigrants into the U.S. that by and large are going to impose additional costs on U.S. taxpayers by getting more benefits than they pay in taxes."
DeMint called this a "merit-based" system in which those who are skilled and can pay their way are admitted. "A properly structured, merit-based lawful immigration system holds the potential to drive positive economic growth and increase the standard of living of American citizens," he said. "We need an immigration system that attracts workers our economy needs and encourages patriotic assimilation."
Latinos have been suspicious of Republicans in part because they assume that conservatives' desire to crack down on illegal immigration may extend to legal immigration as well. Republicans invariably proclaim that they are big fans of legal immigration. But the Heritage doctrine undermines that, because it would sharply curtail Hispanic immigration — legal and illegal alike.
Of the Mexican-born people in the United States age 25 and older, nearly 60 percent didn't graduate from high school ...
The Statue of Liberty was erected in 1886, when world population was little more than one billion and the U.S. population was 60 million. Many do not realize that the Statue of Liberty was a gift to the U.S. from France, with the title, "Liberty Enlightening the World". The statue and its symbolism had nothing to do with immigration, but rather hope that the rest of the world would adopt Democracy. The Emma Lazurus plaque (it is not chiseled in the base), "send me your huddled masses" was added ten years later during the immigration peak of that age.
The sonnet, "New Colossus", was written by Emma Lazarus in 1883 as part of a literary campaign to raise funds for the completion of the Statue's pedestal. Not much attention was paid to it until the tide of immigration surged at the turn of the century. Proceeds that were raised from its auction were used to complete the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. This plaque memorialized the sonnet in 1903 and was placed on the inner wallof the Statue's pedestal. It currently is displayed inside the Statue of Liberty museum.
Since then, U.S. population has expanded by 4 1/2 times. The U.S. is the world's highest-consuming (and most wasteful) nation, and is no longer in need of settlement.
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