Last updated on: 1/19/2017 | Author:

Jason L. Riley Biography

Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute
Con to the question "Should the Government Allow a Path to Citizenship for Undocumented Immigrants?"

“If we want to reduce the number of illegal entries, the most sensible course is to provide more legal ways for people to come. This could be done through some sort of guest-worker program or by lifting the quota on green cards or both. The means matter less than the end, which should be to give US businesses legal access to foreign workers going forward…

After the [last] amnesty took effect, our economy continued to grow and hungered for more foreign workers. But since the legal channels available were not sufficiently expanded, migrants once again began coming illegally, which is how today’s illegal population grew to its current size. Another amnesty, by itself, will do no more to ‘solve’ this problem in the long run than the first one did…

[F]rom a public policy perspective, the fate of the 12 million illegals already here is largely a side issue, a problem that will take care of itself in time if we get the other reforms right… These foreigners are helping to expand our economy by filling (and creating) jobs, not pinching them from natives. They’re working hard, starting businesses, marrying, having children, and assimilating. If their presence here is a problem, then it is a self-correcting one…

Policy makers would do better to focus less on whether to amnesty or deport them and more on how to stop feeding their numbers going forward. And history, in addition to economics, suggests that the best way to do that is by providing more legal ways for foreign workers to come.”

Let Them In: The Case for Open Borders, 2008

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute
  • Editorial Board Member and Columnist, Wall Street Journal, 2005-present
  • Senior Editorial Page Writer, Wall Street Journal, 2000-2005
  • Copyreader, Wall Street Journal, 1994-2000
  • BA, English, State University of New York at Buffalo
  • Twitter handle: @jasonrileywsj
Quoted in:
  1. Does Illegal Immigration Relate to Higher Crime Incidence?