Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Interview: CAPS's Jo Wideman says it is better to resettle "refugees in regions close to their homes", explains why

Editor's note: This interview was originally published in March 2017.

This is the fourth of seven articles spanning my discussion with Jo Wideman. The firstsecond, and third pieces are available. 
Story by Joseph Ford Cotto
After several years on the back burner, serious talk about enforcing immigration law finally returned – thanks to the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. With his election, executive-level action was at long last taken.
Do not expect Congress to follow suit, however. 
The last time a bipartisan consensus formed on immigration policy was in the then-majority-Democratic U.S. Senate. Unfortunately, it was centered around a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens. Mercifully, this legislation did not get through the Republican-led U.S. House.
Among the GOP ranks, opposition to amnesty has solidified since Trump's victory and the 2014 midterm elections. Not long before Trump launched his bid, House GOPers rejected defense legislation because it would have provided for citizenship should an illegal serve in our military.
This move was met with strong criticism, including from center-right voices, which is what made it so commendable. When the rubber met the road, typically spineless politicians chose the more difficult, yet civic-minded, path. "The Honorable" gentlemen and gentlewomen indeed.
Still, kicking the can down the road no longer works. Illegal immigration has grown too vast and far too expensive. The time for legislative action is now, but it must be asked if said action will help or harm the situation.
Before anything else is mentioned, we must realize that the idea of rounding up and deporting illegal aliens en masse is unrealistic. The social consequences of this would surpass imagination, and there simply aren't enough law enforcement officers to do the job.
However, making citizens out of illegal aliens is a plan for abject failure. Not only would unlawful immigration be encouraged, but competition would soar for even the most menial of employment opportunities. 
If one thinks it is difficult to build a good career in post-Great Recession America, just wait and see how hard it will be to make ends meet in post-amnesty America.
All too many illegal aliens have minimal interest in assimilating to our country's cultural norms and earn a substantial – yet illicit – salary through public assistance and/or government-funded private charities. Amnesty is not going to bring the average American any fortune whatsoever. Mitt Romney was onto something when he spoke about self-deportation.
Scores of Democrats support amnesty for building a permanent political majority. No small number of Republicans want a first-class seat on the gravy train as well; especially those whose constituents utilize illegal alien labor.
Few people understand this incredibly complex situation as well as Jo Wideman does. She is the executive director of Californians for Population Stabilization, a group which stands at the forefront of productively dealing with America's immigration quagmire.
"Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) works to formulate and advance policies and programs designed to stabilize the population of California, the U.S. and the world at levels which will preserve the environment and a good quality of life for all," its website declares, later mentioning "that CAPS does not advocate blaming immigrants. We don’t blame people from other countries for wanting to come live here. We are pro immigrant – we strive to meaningfully uphold and nurture the American Dream for people who wants to come to the U.S. through legal channels in numbers that our environment and resources can reasonably accommodate (approximately 300.000 a year). We were founded on and conintue be focused on all aspects of population growth."
Wideman recently spoke with me about many issues relating to American immigration policy. Some of our conversation is included below.


Joseph Ford Cotto: Some believe that America needs mass immigration now more than ever. They say that such a thing will reinvigorate the economy. What would you say to left-leaners who hold this view?

Jo Wideman: With over 7 billion people on the planet, there is no way that America can make any significant dent in suffering by bringing millions or billions of people here. In fact, the dollars spent resettling refugees here would go much further and alleviate more suffering if they were spent on refugees in regions close to their homes.
While the effect of immigration on the economy is subject to debate and conflicting studies, it is clear that our own poor, including previous immigrants suffer from this influx. Corporations gain by accessing a large, compliant, low-wage workforce. Low-skilled workers lose because they lose jobs or they receive lower wages due to increased competition for scarce jobs.
Americans who believe that we need continuing mass immigration are more mistaken than ever. We need to be pursuing a sustainable prosperity, one that does not depend on continually engorging our population with newcomers. Immigration has already engorged our population to 325 million, the third-largest in the world, after only China and India.
Demographers project that if mass immigration continues unchecked there will be some 400 million Americans by about 2050 and more than half a billion by 2100. Perpetual growth inside a fixed space is neither possible nor desirable.  To left-leaners CAPS would say that mass immigration on the scale it is now unfolding threatens our environment, our workers, our welfare state, and our quality of life (from crowding, traffic, pollution, overtaxing facilities and infrastructure, etc.), all values that you cherish. It widens the gap between rich and poor. Don’t fall for the myth and the lie that to limit immigration is anti-immigrant, any more than to control one’s diet and limit food intake is to be anti-food. In fact, immigration control is pro-immigrant, because mass immigration damages the prospects of recent immigrants more than anyone else by making our country more and more like what immigrants thought they were leaving behind by coming here in the first place.
Many left-leaners and right-leaners are particularly short sighted on this issue. Short term economic gains can have a long term cost. Mass immigration is driving U.S. population to double within the lifetimes of children born today. That will mean twice the number of houses, cars, roads, schools, hospitals, and prisons. Twice the demand for scarce farmland, water, forests, and sustaining ecosystems. Twice the demand for oil, which we are already importing from other countries.

If we think we don't have enough people in America with today's 324 million, what will we think with half a billion? That we need even more people to make the economy better?

America is more than just an economy. It is a country whose citizens want and deserve well-being, security, environmental sustainability, and the ability to control their destiny as a nation.