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ICYMI: Catherine Rampell Eviscerates Stephen Miller’s Take on Immigration

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In her newest Washington Post syndicated column, Catherine Rampell writes “Stephen Miller is right about immigration — but not in the way that he means,” analyzing why one quote from his recent Post profile encapsulates Miller’s worldview toward immigrants while underscoring why his anti-immigrant animus is flat-out wrong. 

As Rampell writes: “In a Post profile over the weekend, White House senior policy adviser and de facto immigration czar Stephen Miller explained why he cares so much about immigration policy:

‘Immigration is an issue that affects all others,’ Miller said, speaking in structured paragraphs. ‘Immigration affects our health-care system. Immigration affects our education system. Immigration affects our public safety, it affects our national security, it affects our economy and our financial system. It touches upon everything, but the goal is to create an immigration system that enhances the vibrancy, the unity, the togetherness and the strength of our society.’

Miller is right: Immigration does touch all those realms. Though perhaps not in quite the way he suggests.

Rampell goes on to deconstruct each of Miller’s references to the way immigration affects America, while pointing out why the facts and research show that immigrants and immigration actually strengthen the country. We excerpt key points from Rampell’s column below, with the full version available online here:

…immigration affects our health-care system in many ways — including by supplying it with talent. In fact immigrants are overrepresented in the health industry. About 16.6 percent of the health industry is foreign-born, 13.7 percent of the U.S. population overall. A whopping 29.1 percent of physicians are foreign-born, according to a recent analysis of Census Bureau data published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Immigrants also are overrepresented among dentists (23.7 percent); pharmacists (20.3 percent); registered nurses (16 percent); and nursing, psychiatric and home health aides (23.1 percent).

Immigration also plays an important role in our education system. International students, who generally pay full freight, have helped keep public universities afloat even as state legislatures have slashed their budgets.

… As for the relationship between immigration and public safety, the data suggest you might conclude that greater immigration leads to greater public safety.

… With respect to national security, Miller might do well to remember that immigrants serve in our military. As of 2018, there were 527,000 foreign-born veterans, according to a Migration Policy Institute analysis of Census Bureau data. About 1.9 million veterans are the U.S.-born children of immigrants.

… What about our economy? There’s a lot to be said about how immigrants contribute to the economy, including through high rates of entrepreneurship. For example, immigrants have started more than half of the United States’ start-up companies valued at $1 billion or more, according to a National Foundation for American Policy study. They start lots of smaller companies, too, at much higher rates than native-born Americans, according to data from the Kauffman Foundation. Without immigration, the U.S. working-age population would be falling, which would weigh on economic growth.

… So by all means, Miller, please remind the public that immigration has consequences for the broad policy landscape. But remembering the directionality of those consequences seems pretty important, too.