Would an Increase of Immigration Quotas Reduce Illegal Immigration?

PRO (yes)

Tamar Jacoby, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, in a July 26, 2005 hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary entitled "Comprehensive Immigration Reform," stated:

"The problem is that our immigration quotas provide so few opportunities for most of them to enter the country legally. ...there are only 5,000 visas available for unskilled foreigners seeking year-round work. A Mexican without family in the U.S. who wants to do something other than farm work has virtually no legal way to enter the country. And even a man with family here must wait from 6 to 22 years for a visa, depending on what kind of relatives he has and what their legal status is.

This is the heart of the current crisis. We need the labor; foreign workers want the jobs. But there are no legal channels – so inevitably people come illegally. And it is this mismatch – the mismatch between the size of the flow and our quotas – that creates most of the problems we associate with immigration."

July 26, 2005 - Tamar Jacoby 

Michael R. Bloomberg, MBA, 108th Mayor of the City of New York, in a July 5, 2006 hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary entitled "Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Examining the Need for a Guest Worker Program," wrote:

"Unless we reduce the incentive to come here illegally, increasing our Border Patrol will have little impact on the number of people who enter illegally... [W]e must increase lawful opportunity for overseas workers. The economics are very simple: We need more workers than we have. That means we must increase the number of visas for overseas manual workers, who help provide the essential muscle and elbow grease we need to keep our economy running."

July 5, 2006 - Michael R. Bloomberg, MBA 

Frank Sharry, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, in an Oct. 18, 2005 hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary entitled "Comprehensive Immigration Reform II," wrote:

"The keys to making the admissions system realistic, controlled, and workable are: ...to provide enough visas for the expected future flow of workers and families; 'Secure America' accomplishes [this] by creating 400,000 worker visas a year and increasing family reunification visas so that the current illegal flow will be funneled into a legal one while being fair to those from around the world."

Oct. 18, 2005 - Frank Sharry 

Michele Waslin, PhD, Senior Policy Analyst at the American Immigration Council's Immigration Policy Center and former Director of Immigration Policy Research at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), in a 2004 NCLR Issue Brief entitled "Immigration Reform: Comprehensive Solutions for Complex Problems," wrote:

"Rather than maintaining the existing chaotic, poorly functioning, unfair system, it is critical to create a reformed immigration system that is safe, orderly, and fair. Perhaps most importantly, the U.S. immigration system should be one that encourage [sic] and allow [sic] for immigration to be legal. Immigrants currently living undocumented in the U.S. should be allowed to earn their legal status; future flows of immigrants should have channels to migrate legally; and those families who are playing by the rules and attempting to enter lawfully must be allowed to do so in a reasonable time frame.

[The] NCLR recognizes that legalizing all of the undocumented immigrants already in the U.S. would not stop future migrants from entering the country without visas. The root causes of undocumented immigration must be addressed in order to control the future flows of migration and deter undocumented immigrants. Since the overwhelming majority of undocumented immigrants come to the U.S. to work, creating legal channels for needed workers is an important pillar of comprehensive immigration reform."

2004 - Michele Waslin, PhD 
National Council of La Raza 

CON (no)

Mark Krikorian, MA, Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies, in a Feb. 16, 1997 New York Post article entitled "The Link: Legal and Illegal Immigration," wrote:

"[A] glaring omission guarantees that the illegal population will continue to grow: Congress and the administration emphasized that illegal immigration should be dealt with separately from legal immigration. Proponents of this approach argue that the two are distinct; that one constitutes lawless behavior, while the other is a lawful process. This view results from a fundamental misunderstanding of how immigration works. In fact, legal and illegal immigration are merely two parts of the same process. And there can be no successful control of illegal immigration without changes and reductions in its legal cousin. Why are they linked? Because the volume of legal immigration has risen together with illegal immigration. Legal immigration increased from 3.3 million in the 1960s to 7.3 million in the 1980s. At the same time, apprehensions of illegal immigrants by the Border Patrol increased from 1.6 million in the 1960s to 11.9 million in the 1980s. It is no coincidence that legal and illegal immigration have risen in tandem. The communities of legal immigrants formed since the mid-60s serve as incubators for illegal immigration by providing housing, jobs and entrée for their compatriots who haven't yet managed to procure a green card."

Feb. 16, 1997 - Mark Krikorian, MA 

Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), in a Dec. 1, 2000 presentation to the 10th Biennial Conference of the Australian Population Association, entitled "Backdoor Immigration to the United States: A Crisis of Conscience," offered:

"We [The Federation for American Immigration Reform] advocate improved methods to deter illegal immigration and a reduction in legal immigration with the primary objective of contributing to population stability in the United States.

Most Americans agree that illegal immigration is a serious national problem, and that legal immigration should be reduced... U.S. immigration policy is complicated by a broad variety of programs and routes to immigrant status. In the process the lines become blurred between legal and illegal immigration.

The starting point for achieving a sustainable immigration policy in the national interest is greater understanding of the magnitude of population increase and the role of immigration in that increase. It is important to communicate that achieving reduced immigration is primarily a function of reducing illegal immigration. Yet, some changes in legal immigration are also necessary."

Dec. 1, 2000 - Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) 

James R. Edwards, Jr., PhD, Adjunct Fellow at the Hudson Institute, in a Feb. 2006 Center for Immigration Studies essay entitled "Two Sides of the Same Coin, The Connection Between Legal and Illegal Immigration," wrote:

"Reduce legal immigration. If illegal immigration is to be curbed or stopped, then legal immigration must decrease. The volume of aliens enticed to immigrate, under the law or against the law, is too great. The system is too open-ended, creating countless opportunities for fraud and abuse. Overall legal immigration quotas should be halved, at least. The statutory capitation is supposed to be about 700,000; about 300,000 a year more closely resembles America's historical average.

About 200,000 to 300,000 immigrants a year must be set with a 'hard' cap; no one should be exempt from the cap. The maximum level should include refugees and asylees, as well as immigrants and their nuclear family members. Every fifth year should be a sabbatical year, in which no new immigrant visas are accepted or processed. Rather, the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security should use this respite to ensure immigrant accountability and to ferret out fraud and abuse."

Feb. 2006 - James R. Edwards Jr., PhD 

The Carrying Capacity Network (CCN), in a Jan. 2007 article from its website entitled "AgJobs Alien Amnesty Bill Threatens to Become the Next McCain-Kennedy Mass Illegal Alien Amnesty! Help Stop it Now!," offered the following:

"[We] must insist that they [Members of Congress] support a zero-net-immigration moratorium. Only pushing a moratorium calls the whole enterprise of mass immigration into question, defeats the Open Borders crowd's argument that '...we can 'solve' the illegal immigration problem by legalizing them all…' and thus puts maximum downward pressure on immigration numbers."

Jan. 2007 - Carrying Capacity Network (CCN)