Biden Raises Refugee Cap to 62,500 For the Current Fiscal Year

After pressure from immigration advocates, he decided to honor a promise he had previously backtracked on. This is a positive development, but much more needs to be done.


Yesterday, President Biden belatedly announced he is going to keep his promise to raise the refugee cap for the rest of the current fiscal year to 62,500, after previously having backtracked on it:

President Joe Biden on Monday announced he would move to increase the annual refugee cap set by former President Donald Trump, who had limited admissions to a historically low 15,000 refugees during his time in office.

Biden's announcement came after he received heavy criticism last month when he revealed he would keep Trump's cap in place after promising to expand it by more than 300 percent. Today he said he would reverse course again and attempt to meet that earlier promise, although he said it likely wouldn't happen by September 30, the end of the fiscal year.

"Today, I am revising the United States' annual refugee admissions cap to 62,500 for this fiscal year," he said in a statement. "The sad truth is that we will not achieve [that goal] this year. We are working quickly to undo the damage of the last four years. It will take some time, but that work is already underway. We have reopened the program to new refugees…."

The president's April announcement confused many, not least of which because his purported explanation didn't square with reality. The New York Times reported that his administration cited the influx of unaccompanied migrant children at the border as putting too much of a strain on the refugee system.

"The refugee program and the unaccompanied child program are separate items in the HHS budget," David Bier, a research fellow at the Cato Institute's Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, told me last month. "This is purely about politics."

As I explained in a post last month, the Biden administration has made important progress on reopening America to immigration after the awfulness of the Trump era. But the broken promise on the refugee cap is one of several areas where Biden has fallen seriously short.

Monday's announcement begins to rectify this error. The President also committed to reaching a figure of 125,000 for the next fiscal year. But much more remains to be done. Sadly, as Biden admits, the administration probably won't even be able to reach the 62,500 figure. That is in large part because they dithered for so long.

Biden's plan to raise refugee admissions to 125,000 per year would be a major improvement not only over the record lows reached under Trump, but even over Obama-era figures. But it is still well short of the 208,000 a much smaller and poorer US population admitted in 1980, or the 160,000 admitted under that notorious left-wing radical Ronald Reagan in 1981.

More fundamentally, there is no good reason why the number should be capped or why the cap should be left up to the whims of whoever happens to occupy the White House in any given year. Rather, the federal government should allow private organizations to sponsor as many refugees as they want, thus saving the maximum possible number of people from tyranny and oppression, while minimizing any burden on the public fisc. Private refugee sponsorship has worked well in Canada, and could do the same for the US. Even under the current system, refugees make valuable contributions to the economy and end up adding more to public coffers than they take out.

To his credit, President Biden has actually instructed the State Department to begin working on a private refugee sponsorship program. But it is not yet clear how far this initiative will go.


NEXT: Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Barrett Ask Deputy SG Feigin About Switch in Position for Terry v. U.S.

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  1. Ilya 10000 should include law profs from India. They are much needed so they can fulfill their dreams of making $25000 a year. Also, still need the home address so we can send the illegales to your street. They would love your upstairs bedrooms, 4 to a room would be spacious for them.

    1. If I had a fantasy machine one thing I would really like to see is how Somin would react if it was scientifically proven that illegal migrants were overall future trump support.

      At the borders the next day, personally helping set up machine gun nests is my guess.

      1. The support for immigrants is to make the nation a permanent one party state, as California has become.

        Ilya, I support inviting the 4 million whites of South Africa to move to California, similar in climate and geography. They could avoid the genocidal slaughter headed their way, a compelling reason to move them all to the USA. They would greatly contribute to the wealth and to the greatness of California.

        1. California is a one party state because Republicans have spent the last 20 years doing everything they can to piss off California, knowing that with our anti-democratic institutions there would be no political consequences for doing so.

          Most immigrants and their children vote Democrat because the Republicans have spent the last 20 years doing everything they can to piss off immigrants.

          Your position boils down to there should be no political consequences for pissing people off. In a healthy democracy, that’s not how things work.

          1. So Reagan’s amnesty, Bush’s pro open border stance, and half the Republican party being pro’immigrantion reform’ ie open borders. Is the Republican’s doing ‘everything they can’ to be hostile to illegal immigration? If thats ‘everything they can’ what would the entire Republican party actually being united against open borders instead of wishy washy like they actually are enabling this whole mess in the first place be?

            So you’re saying if Republicans had turned on open borders and flooded California with even more poor immigrants. It would be as red as the deep south and Governor Rush Limbaugh would be signing anti gay marriage bills and instituting school prayer in Sacramento right about now?

            1. Reagan hasn’t been president in over 30 years, and the Bushes were rejected by the GOP grass roots in favor of Trump explicitly on the immigration issues.

              And the thing you’re forgetting about immigrants is that the ones who have the gumption to pack up and leave where they are tend to be people who do well once they get here.

              1. And the ones who follow the rules to get here tend to be extraordinarily law abiding, while the ones who casually break the law to get here tend to be scofflaws at best.

                1. I don’t think the actual data supports that. Most of the ones who come here illegally are happy to work hard at jobs that would otherwise go unfilled.

                  1. Sure, using fake or stolen ID. Both of which are crimes. Taking jobs though it is illegal for them to be employed.

                    Sure, if you made it legal it wouldn’t be a crime. And if banks handed out free money to all comers, there wouldn’t be bank robberies…

                    1. And when Jean Valjean stole a loaf of bread, he really was committing a crime too. People are not going to starve to death because you make it illegal for them to make honest livings.

                    2. They’re not going to starve to death here if you deport them, that’s for sure.

                    3. Oh, OK, as long as they’re not starving here, I guess it’s OK.

                    4. How did they get here if they’d starved to death in their home countries?

                      Yes, economic migrants are financially better off in the US. That doesn’t mean that sending them home is a death sentence.

                2. Plus that’s a “beside the point” issue anyway. Suppose Congress changed the law so that anyone arriving at our Southern border could legally enter, assuming no criminal history or contagious disease. Kinda like Ellis Island 100 years ago.

                  OK, so now they’re all legal; not a scofflaw in the bunch. That issue no longer exists. Would you support that?

                  1. No. Because that’s not in the best interests of our citizens.

                    Very large numbers of low-skilled laborers would effectively drag down wages and employment opportunities for our citizens, especially those with less than a college education.

                    1. So if you could go back 100 years and advise Congress, you’d tell them to close down Ellis Island and shut down the flow of European immigrants for the same reason?

                    2. “100 years and advise Congress, you’d tell them to close down Ellis Island and shut down the flow of European immigrants”

                      Those things happened.

                      Emergency Quota Act of 1921 sharply limited immigration. Immigration Act of 1924 closed Ellis Island and further limited imigration..

                    3. America’s policies between WW-I till FDR are not really something most people want to emulate.

                      The isolationism, the racism/eugenics, the ignoring the rise of the Great Depression…

                      Not all precedents are good.

                    4. Hovering over all of this is that some — not all — of the desperate conditions Central America faces are the result of US foreign policy, including the installation of right-wing dictatorships, and US refusal to do anything about climate change, which is already causing drought and famine in Central America.

                      I actually don’t support open borders, but neither do I think we should ignore the inconvenient fact that some of these people are refugees because of American policies, and so maybe we do owe them something.

                    5. “racism/eugenics”

                      That describes FDR too.

                      Ask the dead Jews he kept out and the blacks denied New Deal benefits.

                    6. “installation of right-wing dictatorships’

                      The 1980s called, they want their “Blame America First” talking points back.

                    7. you’d tell them to close down Ellis Island and shut down the flow of European immigrants for the same reason?

                      You do realize there were some pretty major changes in the past 100 years don’t you ? For one thing, after FDR’s little coup we moved more towards overarching federal powers, the welfare state and started the transformation from a production society to a distribution one.

                      While there are very strong arguments for immigration in a fundamentally free society, those arguments really don’t work out so well with the welfare state. Yes, I am sure we are going to hear the “… but immigrants pay their way” argument, that argument is largely bullshit in a society that taxes progressively. If the top 10% are funding most of the state, and you add more of the bottom 10%, there is simply less to go around.

                      It’s not the immigrants I object to, it’s the theft. Dump the welfare state and you can have all the immigration you want. Probably not the framing you want though. It is easier to claim those evil Republicans hate immigrants rather than those evil Republicans get angry when we steal their property.

                    8. So Bob, are you denying that we did in fact install right wing dictatorships, or do you not care that we installed right wing dictatorships?

                      You’re right that FDR’s record was hardly unblemished, though since you know his history of excluding Jews and the deaths that resulted, I’m a bit surprised your willingness to now exclude Central Americans. What, it’s OK to send Central Americans back to their deaths, but not Jews? I at least am consistent in saying both are disgraceful.

                    9. “So if you could go back 100 years and advise Congress, you’d tell them to close down Ellis Island and shut down the flow of European immigrants for the same reason?”

                      Yes. And in fact, they did. The Immigration Act of 1924 sharply limited immigration.

                      What happened? The % of wealth held by the middle class started to grow again. Almost immediately in 1925, it levelled off from it’s drop. By limiting the supply of “Cheap import labor”, it made labor more valuable, and limited the ability to extract cheap, wage suppressing labor for the rich.


                    10. Is AL extolling the American economy of the mid-1920s? Really?!

                      There were socialist riots all over the nation, dude.

                    11. Leave it to Sarcastro to deliberately misinterpret things.

                      Yes, after decades of high immigration, there were socialist riots in the US. Because of the high immigration and suppression of local wages.

                      After immigration reform, eventually things got better

                    12. Eventually, as in after the New Deal.

                      Your timeline suggest a lot of things other than immigration being salient. Your economics is as screwy as your unsupported causality.

                      Where do you get this stuff?

              2. “Reagan hasn’t been president in over 30 years, and the Bushes were rejected by the GOP grass roots in favor of Trump explicitly on the immigration issues.”

                Nonsense. The republican electorate rejected Jeb, not the Georges, and it wasn’t “explicitly on the immigration issues.”

                1. Make no mistake, Trump ran against the Bushes just as much as against Hillary Clinton.

            2. Bush’s pro open border stance

              Do Trumpkins even think about the words they use, or do they just reflexively spout bumper sticker slogans, mindlessly?

              The words “open border” do not mean “not putting on a white hood and burning crosses on immigrants’ lawns,” the way Trumpkins seem to think. They have a meaning. And said meaning in no way approaches anything resembling George Bush’s positions.

          2. “California is a one party state because Republicans have spent the last 20 years doing everything they can to piss off California”

            That’s not quite true. It’s probably more accurate to say that once they gained power, liberals adopted policies to drive Republicans out of the state.

            The story does begin with a mass of Latino immigration into California, and that is a big part of it. Latino voters tend to vote more Democratic than Caucasian voters…especially when you’re talking about people with less than a Bachelor’s degree.

            But after this, was a massive out-migration of working class Caucasian families (and Latino families) to other states. The high cost of living, restrictive regulations, high taxes, and more did do a lot. New foreign immigrants replaced the out-migrating Latinos. There was no replacement for the out-migrating Caucasian families. This has been observed in the latest Census, with California losing representatives.

            In addition, regulations began to decimate the aerospace and defense industries that were more heavily GOP. The Tech and Entertainment industries brought in more college educated white folks. Middle class jobs began to be hollowed out, until on the public sector really remained, which also went heavily Democratic.

            So, now you have the current situation. A state with one of the largest Gini coefficients in the nation, with an enormous divide between the rich (who tend to be white or Asian liberals) and poor (who tend to be Hispanic), with one of the highest level of poverty, while simultaneously being very rich in certain enclaves. A state where Hispanics make up a plurality of the state (making whites a true minority) yet the leadership continues to be White, and they just got their first Hispanic senator in 2021…And only by appointment.

            Soon, those poor working class Hispanics are going to realize they’re a plurality, and the crap hand the Democrats have dealt them.

          3. That is just masking ideology, fake Dem BS. The real reason is, Dems cheat. They help demented patients fill out ballots. They throw mail in ballots from Republican areas in the trash. They print a ton of unfolded still warm ballots and drop them off at 3 AM.

            Now these agents of the Chinese Commie Party want to take the act national.

            Welcome to Venezuela, my good internet friend.

          4. “Most immigrants and their children vote Democrat because the Republicans have spent the last 20 years doing everything they can to piss off immigrants.”

            This is pretty accurate a more self-interested republican party could have assure R dominance in CA and the entire southwest for decades if they had been vocally hospitable to immigrants from the South.

            1. The big issue was illegal immigration, not legal immigration. One of the key markers was Prop 187. And it was popular.

              Both Democrats (Feinstein) and Republicans came out against illegal immigration.


            2. Yeah Don – it’s been a while since I’ve been in CA, but I still follow the politics a bit.

              It seems to me a CA-tailored GOP asking for less regs and lower taxes could do pretty dang well in over-regulated CA. But the national party drags them to extremism that just doesn’t play.

      2. Telling you cannot help but map Prof. Somin onto a partisan canvas.

        It looks a lot like he doesn’t care who immigrants vote for.

        Is it possible for you (and Ed) to imagine such a person?

  2. Good to see an adult in the White House who is capable of normal human compassion.

    1. The carpet bombing of the achievements of the Trump administration for all Democrat constituents is something to behold. The unemployment rate of females, the surges in the murders of blacks, the attacks on the existence of Israel, empowerment of Iran with $billions when they kill LGBTQ people are all hideous. These people will suffer greatly for their misplaced support.

    2. what about compassion for the 300 million already here that we already cannot take care off according to the same people championing this?

  3. I’m truly bewildered about all the fuss over exactly how many tickets we’re going to sell to the theater when we’ve left the back alley door propped wide open.

    1. “back alley…wide open” classic if only the Rev were here to give his desperate bitter clinger rant this would be Jebus and Mary in the manger.

      1. Jesus, Palestinian, homeless, from unmarried parents, lying about angels to avoid getting executed by stoning, totally fey.

        What a catastrophe. He took down the Roman Empire. They were on the verge of the discoveries of the Renaissance. Imagine where we would be without 1000 years of the Church Dark Ages. These are the same rent seeking Inquisitors that brought us the American lawyer profession.

      2. don’t worry, the Master Clinger will come.

  4. cuckoo for uncontrolled borders

  5. What total nonsense – an outright lie. We have had more than 200,000 cross the border since illegally since January…

  6. Somin will never debate a real expert on immigration like, Spencer Morrison.

  7. Why does the United States always have to be the dumping ground for unwanted illegals from the rest of the world? Oh wait I know the answer…..

    1. Do you know how immigration works? It’s not about dumping anyone.

      And if your answer is Replacement Theory, you don’t know much except for renewed white nationalist conspiracizing.

      1. Nice strawman….

        As usually you have nothing so you have to revert to such a lame rhetorical device…

    2. Because it was when your ancestors and mine came. Why should it be different now?

      1. Because it isn’t 1896….

        1. and because the citizens dont want more immigration.
          and because you cant have open borders and welfare

      2. It must be different now because before, when we essentially had open borders, we didn’t have an enormous welfare state. Now, the benefits immigrants are able to receive are an enormous burden on taxpayers, who are a dwindling proportion of the population.

        1. This is key. In that era the only thing the U.S. was handing out was land, and to keep that you had to personally occupy and improve it. There were no safety nets, so the immigrant population was a lot more self-selected to fully shift for themselves.

          Today, even bottom-tier welfare programs here afford a lot of immigrants a better standard of living than they came from. Wages are gravy on top of that. The motivations, and thus the self-selected population flooding the border, just aren’t even close to the same.

          1. That land was not free, it was taken from the indigenous people. So what is the difference if back then they took peoples land and gave it to others and today they provide people with certain safety nets benefits. Remember that the wages those people earn are taxed to pay for some of those benefits.

            1. That land was not free, it was taken from the indigenous people. So what is the difference if back then they took peoples land and gave it to others and today they provide people with certain safety nets benefits.

              I’m genuinely curious how you go about trying to generate analogies. Do you actually stop and think first, or do you just start typing and see what happens?

              Remember that the wages those people earn are taxed to pay for some of those benefits.

              Well gee golly. Setting aside how much of the wages are paid under the table and thus are not at all subject to tax, how about you give me $100,000 a year, and I’ll give you $10,000 of it back? Pretty spiffy bargain, right?

    3. Because someone has to be paying in to support your kids social security benefits

      1. We’re mildly below replacement rate, but not anywhere close to a fertility crisis yet. The primary issue with Social Security is not indexing retirement to life expectancy. It was never intended to pay benefits for nearly as many years as it does these days. Flooding more people into the country to continue the overdrawn Ponzi scheme doesn’t fix anything.

        1. Actually, it was only originally intended to deal with a tiny fraction of old people, because most people didn’t significantly outlive their capacity to work, they dropped in their tracks.

          1. it was only originally intended to deal with a tiny fraction of old people, because most people didn’t significantly outlive their capacity to work, they dropped in their tracks.

            Which, ironically enough, was because that was the only way they had to make ends meet. Providing an alternative source of income was guaranteed to change that mix. And then overall improvements in life expectancy distorted the original projections even further.

            But here we are. The mathematical side of Social Security is drop-dead simple. The political side is thus far intractable.

    4. the dumping ground for unwanted illegals from the rest of the world?

      As I asked in another thread on the topic, what is it with right-wing anti-immigration zealots who think that immigrants are some sort of organized plot by someone? They’re always talking about conspirators “sending” immigrants here or “dumping” them here, as if immigrants were inanimate objects rather than people.

  8. Yes, allow everyone on the lifeboat to bring in as many people as they like. If we’re going to sink this sucker, no reason to dilly dally. Let’s get to it!

  9. Highly recommend the new, “Mute user,” function. Just tried it out on one commenter. Almost nothing left of the thread. Shows how trolling has been riddling the VC.

    1. Personally, I’m opposed to muting except in the most extreme cases of Hihnsanity. I think I’ve muted two people in my entire life.

      It’s not like we’re all in desperate need of reinforcing the bubbles we live in.

      1. The copy pasta guy is the one and only person I plan to mute. Everyone else is fine, even if I think their arguements have no merit, but copy pastas deeply annoy me, the worst of spam and telling combined.

      2. You certainly cannot read WaPo comments without muting.
        Makes comments here look like a Sunday School session.

        1. VC used to be a WaPo. It was fine then…but that was before Trump. I have not been back since, and I don’t know that I want to.

          1. I drop by once in a while. The political spectrum there starts somewhere to the left of you, I think, and the Rev would fit right in during his bitterest “open wide, clingers!” moments.

            They went nuts when Trump won, and everybody who didn’t go nuts with them jumped ship or was driven away.

    2. Steve, I am on Parler. People are upvoting my Comments. I am getting a lot of Folloowers, many are beautiful women. It is just not the same as here. I am quite bored on Parler.

  10. I kinda agree with Mr. Bier (Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity), and it seems like this announcement is more headline material than an actual, real-world change and the details matter here.

    For example, what’s the difference between an immigrant and a refugee?

    Lot of gnashing of teeth here when this blog (nor the President’s announcement), doesn’t tell us a whole lot.

    1. Most of the time, a “refugee” is just an illegal immigrant who’s been coached on what to say if they get caught.

      1. You do know we don’t take refugees at their word, right?

        Either back up your contention, or quit spouting empty anti-immigrant propaganda.

        1. I do know that if we don’t take ‘refugees’ at their word, we’re accused of refusing to grant refugees asylum. That the asylum claims weren’t valid doesn’t seem to figure into it.

          But, yes, spouting some memorized verbiage doesn’t guarantee you eventual asylum. It just diverts you from prompt deportation, and lets you run out the clock while looking for an opportunity to vanish into the interior of the country.

          1. Asylum applicants and refugees are two different things. The fact that you declaim about this subject from a standpoint of total ignorance is very telling.

          1. Is deportation generally prompt?

            Bottom line, this is hardly the immigration dodge your rhetoric seems to imply. And also there is not much evidence of ‘coaching.’

            1. “Is deportation generally prompt?”


            2. Is deportation generally prompt?

              No. Last I checked, asylum hearings were backed up about 2 years on average. I had a case a while back where the hearing was delayed over 4 years. And for the significant percentage that just don’t show up at that point, INS doesn’t exactly have the resources to engage in a country-wide manhunt unless they’ve done something particularly naughty in the meantime.

              And also there is not much evidence of ‘coaching.’

              Under your standard definition of “evidence,” you sweet summer child. Expand your life experience beyond your daily diet of echo-chamber headlines.

              1. INS doesn’t exactly have the resources to engage in a country-wide manhunt unless they’ve done something particularly naughty in the meantime.

                Especially since they haven’t existed in almost twenty years!

            3. Indeed, AL and LoB. So Brett’s complaint about asylum doesn’t make a lot of sense.

              1. Sorry, Charley, but as you know I was quite explicitly speaking of deportation for people granted an asylum hearing. So don’t twist my words into some refutation of Brett’s quite correct point that immigrants are highly motivated to work themselves onto the asylee track rather than immediately put into deportation proceedings or turned back at the point of crossing (back when we used to do that).

                1. OK then, I read to quick.

                  But I don’t think deportation is generally prompt in general. Do you disagree?

                  People wanting to get acylium is not by itself a good reason to narrow the asylum process.

        2. “we don’t take refugees at their word”

          No, we go thru Potemkin “vetting” first. Ask the Boston Marathon survivors how effective we are.

          1. That you lean on that anecdote shows you have no idea what the vetting process is, you’re just knee-jerk against immigrants and willing to make stuff up to justify your prejudice.

            1. I know what the government claims is involved. You just swallow government and activist claims uncritically.

              There is a thriving refugee industry. No refugees, the activists might have to get productive jobs.

              1. You either don’t know that the Tsarnaevs entered the country on tourist visas before applying for asylum, or (like the apparent majority of people here complaining about this move) don’t know that the asylum and refugee processes are separate from each other, with different standards, different government and international groups involved, etc. So what do you know, exactly?

                1. One thing I know is the guy who died is buried in an unmarked grave near Doswell, VA.

                  The family got approval from the local sheriff who (obviously) didn’t tell anyone – and wasn’t required to notify the community.

                  However, when the locals found out, they went ape shit!

                  Can’t desecrate Virginia’s hallowed soil and all that.

                  BTW, there’s a cool amusement park, King’s Dominion in Doswell, so come on down for a fun time!

      2. Refugees – the sort who are covered by the refugee cap that Biden just raised – are vetted and cleared (first by UNHCR, then by an inter-agency working group in our own government) before they ever set foot on US soil. “Getting caught” has nothing to do with it.

        1. Where did you get that from?

          According to, “Yes, seeking asylum is legal—even during a pandemic. Asylum seekers must be in the U.S. or at a port of entry (an airport or an official land crossing) to apply for, or request the opportunity to apply for, asylum. “There’s no way to ask for a visa or any type of authorization in advance for the purpose of seeking asylum,” says Byrne. “You just have to show up.””

          1. The refugee cap does not apply to asylum, and asylees are not (legally) refugees. Two separate groups of people. By definition, asylees apply inside the US or at a point of entry, refugees apply outside.

            1. Yeah, I bobbled that distinction as well, thanks for making that clear, guys!

        2. Actually, that’s Trump’s “stay in Mexico” policy that Biden just ended. Now they’ll get to wait in the US again, and vanish before their hearings.

          1. No, it’s not. The “stay in Mexico” policy applied to asylees who, again, presented themselves at a border crossing to make their claim, and, again, are separate from (and not counted within the cap that applies to) refugees.

            1. It astounds me how little some people know about this subject. I would think that even a hardcore racist would actually want to learn something about these programs so they can criticize them effectively, but Brett wallows in complete and total ignorance.

              1. Racism makes it easy; one of it’s benefits is it lightens the cognitive load – you don’t need to bother to learn, all your outcomes are already laid out in front of you.

              2. I would think that even a hardcore racist would actually want to learn something


  11. One thing we see is that President Biden can be pressured to do the right thing. Many politician will make promises during the election cycle and its is up to the people to hold them to those promises. If we keep the pressure up we can get some things done and reform immigration.

    1. “President Biden can be pressured”

      Yes, old people are often bullied into submission.

      1. Especially ones with dementia…

  12. It’s interesting when reading comments on this subject in the Washington Post, how many liberal posters seem to think th

    1. Think the 62,500 figure is total yearly immigration.

    2. It’s interesting when reading comments on this subject on Volokh (where people are presumed to have at least a basic familiarity with, or at least interest in, the law), how many conservative posters seem to think that refugees are asylees or illegal immigrants, or that this change has anything at all to do with border controls.

  13. Seems like a lot of fuss over nothing.

    We have 20-30 million illegal aliens in the country right now, mostly having lots of anchor babies. We have an illegal border crossing/trafficking crisis that is somehow worse than ever before after Biden was elected, with the monthly numbers hitting new highs. In legal immigration alone, we are importing 1.2 million in population every year.

    The number of foreign born population in the country is at an all time world-historical high. Even as a percentage of the population, the official figures show we are about tied with record high from 110 years ago, while the reality is that we have likely surpassed that number due to undercounting of illegal immigrants:

    “The Census Bureau may have undercounted the number of illegal immigrants, ensuring the immigrant population now exceeds the 1910 percentage, NBC News reported:

    ‘Illegal immigrants can be more difficult for surveyors to locate due to informal living arrangements, and some may avoid being included in surveys for fear of being reported to the government, researchers say.

    Jeffrey Passel, a demographer at Pew Research Center, has estimated that the actual immigrant population is likely 3 percent to 5 percent higher than the number in the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.'”

    Cite Polls show that while Americans want our immigration policy to be humane and kind, the high levels of immigration and the continued encouragement of further illegal immigration very unpopular. Countless over many years polls show that Black and Hispanic Americans favor lower levels of legal immigration and oppose illegal immigration, more so than any other groups in America. Polls show majorities in excess of 60 and 70 percent take many positions in favor of lower immigration, such as opposition to H-1B visas, and use of immigration to fill jobs that could be taken by Americans. In mid-2020 polls showed the same margins supported a temporary shutdown of all immigration during the pandemic.

    Of course, there are political and economic reasons that the government’s interventionist policy of high immigration levels persists despite its unpopularity. The Chamber of Commerce and like-minded powerful organizations and lobbyists that represent big businesses focus on advocating for high levels of immigration more than any other single issue, because high levels of immigration generally support rising asset prices and lower unskilled labor wages. From the New York Times: “Data from the Federal Reserve show that over the last decade and a half, the proportion of family income from wages has dropped from nearly 70 percent to just under 61 percent. It’s an extraordinary shift, driven largely by the investment profits of the very wealthy. In short, the people who possess tradable assets, especially stocks, have enjoyed a recovery that Americans dependent on savings or income from their weekly paycheck have yet to see. Ten years after the financial crisis, getting ahead by going to work every day seems quaint, akin to using the phone book to find a number or renting a video at Blockbuster” …
    For many, old-fashioned hard work has simply not been a viable path out of this hole. After unemployment peaked in the fall of 2009, it took years for joblessness to return to pre-recession levels. Slack in the labor market left the employed and unemployed alike with little leverage to demand raises, even as corporate profits surged.
    Maybe it was inevitable that when half the population watches its wages stagnate while the other half gets rich in the market, the result is President Donald Trump and Brexit.”

    The political reasons are also obvious.

    “A chart by the Washington Post suggests that this huge wave of migrants has changed politics by giving Democrats’ identity-politics ideology an electoral lock in counties where immigrants comprise more than 20 percent of the population.”

    So all of this is to say, who cares about fiddling with the numbers of refugees? Refugee programs are in theory a good thing. But their use must be limited to the actual purpose that they exist to fulfill. That is, refugees should be limited to verifiable victims of political or religious persecution, by communist governments and the like. Not purported victims of “domestic violence” or general third world malaise, or folks who just want nicer things and have been told that joining a caravan or crossing the US border illegally is the way to do that.

    In conclusion, let’s actually raise the refugee numbers to 100,000. Why not? Provided the program is used as intended, which is not done very well now. All other immigration should be “merit-based” or focused on those who have needed skills etc, and downsized to probably another 100,000.

    1. Thoughtful comment. May I repeat my advocacy of the dose-response curve to all remedies. Too little does not work. Too much is toxic. That implies hard work filling in the curve, no simplistic, reflexive, ideological replies.

      People who helped American soldiers and are in danger should come in. People with unique skills should come in. For the rest, the market should raise the wages of skilled people. Let the tech billionaires pay more and make less profit. Trump did all that. They got rid of him. Let’s visit them at home. To deter.

    2. The number of foreign born population in the country is at an all time world-historical high.

      while Americans want our immigration policy to be humane and kind, the high levels of immigration and the continued encouragement of further illegal immigration very unpopular

      A chart by the Washington Post suggests that this huge wave of migrants

      Conflating these three groups is a tell.

      I mean, you’re into replacement theory, which takes smugly noting demographic changes and turns it into a white nationalist conspiracy.

    3. Odd that this shift of income from wages to investment income has happened during a decade when US population growth was the lowest we’ve seen since the Great Depression.

      It’s almost like “too many people” isn’t the problem.

      1. It’s too many of the wrong kind of people that is perceived as the problem.

        Our latest batch of bigots is little different from those who conducted wave after wave of intolerance and ignorance in America, customarily connected to skin color, nationality, religion, or perceived economic pressure. The targets have been Asians, Jews, blacks, Italians, agnostics, women, eastern Europeans, Hispanics, Catholics, Muslims, other Asians, atheists, other Hispanics — most of America, at one time or another.

        America’s greatness derives from our refusal to let the bigots win, at least over time. America has withstood the cultural onslaught of fettucini, pierogis, bagels, Jameson, collard greens, egg rolls, falafel, burritos, pad thai, sushi . . . and thrived. Pizza, tacos, and hummus sounds like a standard day at a modern American middle school cafeteria.

        America will continue to welcome immigrants and benefit from their contributions and diversity. Bigots will continue to whine about it.

  14. As someone who is in favor of unrestricted movement anywhere someone desires, how many illegal aliens and refugees are you allowing in your home?

    1. “Hi. I’m Harvey Mosley. I don’t understand what private property is, and isn’t.”

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