New poll suggests Missourians favor legal immigration reductions
WASHINGTON – A poll Missouri voters indicates the state that voted for President Donald Trump by a larger margin than any presidential candidate since World War II favors less legal immigration.
The findings from NumbersUSA indicated that 63 percent of Missourians favor reducing the number of immigrants into the country to roughly 500,000 per year from the current figure of 1 million. Fifty-six percent of Missouri respondents also supported the elimination of the visa lottery that gives 50,000 people from around the world the chance to legally immigrate, regardless of national quotas.
However, these results should be taken with a grain of salt as NumbersUSA calls itself an “immigration reduction advocacy group.” The full poll can be seen here.
Eric Ruark, research director of NumbersUSA, says a primary reason the organization focuses on a holistic reduction in immigration, legal and illegal, is to ensure an already depressed labor market does not become oversaturated. While the unemployment rate shrank to just 4.1 percent in May 2017, the underemployment rate, noted as the “U6” number, still hovers at around 8 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“When we look at legal immigration, we’re thinking long term,” Ruark said. “What’s the benefit of having over 1 million people a year come legally because everyone who comes legally gets a lifetime work permit, and children who are born to immigrants, they’re automatically a U.S. citizen.”
Legal immigrants, then have all the access to American institutions, like public infrastructure and education, that could go towards disadvantaged parts of the population. NumbersUSA is quick to say they don’t oppose immigration, and reject animus towards those trying to immigrate into society. They simply want lower the quota of immigrants allowed to come into the country in a given year. The group shuns nativism, even though critics argue the group practices that ideology.
Ruark says the organization supports the RAISE Act, which would end chain migration – a policy that gives a boost to immigrants with family members already living in the country – end the visa lottery program and cap the number of green cards for refugees at 50,000 per year. Ruark added the organization would look to Sen. Claire McCaskill to potentially co-sponsor or support such legislation as she had a relatively high grade from NumbersUSA for a Democrat. She currently holds a C for her Senate career on their scorecard system.
Other organizations dispute the negative impact of immigrants. The George W. Bush Institute has repeatedly favored more immigration to the United States, saying it raises the overall economic value of the country by raising its productive capacity, amounting up to $70 billion in gains every year.