Alex Nowrasteh is the immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity. His popular publications have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Washington Post, the Houston Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Post, and elsewhere. His academic publications have appeared in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, the Fletcher Security Review, and Public Choice. Alex has appeared on Fox News, Bloomberg, and numerous television and radio stations across the United States. He is the coauthor, with Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies, of the booklet Open Immigration: Yea and Nay (Encounter Broadsides, 2014).
He is a native of Southern California and received a BA in economics from George Mason University and a Master of Science in economic history from the London School of Economics.
The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, adopted 149 years ago on July 9, provides for the grant of birthright citizenship to the American-born children of immigrants, regardless of their legal status. Troublingly, many have criticized this constitutional right lately. But critics need to know how valuable it is. Perhaps most importantly, one major unintentional benefit of the Fourteenth Amendment is that it speeds assimilation for children of immigrants. Immigrants to the United States assimilate very quickly. Speaking of America’s openness to immigrants, former President Ronald
President Trump earlier this week issued a revised version of his infamous executive order to temporarily ban the issuance of new green cards and visas for nationals from Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and Sudan. The new order dropped Iraq, which eviscerated Trump’s argument that the list of banned countries is based on an existing list in U.S. law. The order also cuts the number of refugee admissions by about 37 percent compared to the post-1975 average number of annual refugees admitted—from 79,329 per year to just 50,000. However, there were 110,000 refugees scheduled to be admitted
The reason for President Trump’s reissued executive order is to “protect the Nation from terrorist activities by foreign nationals admitted to the United States.” A further justification buried in the executive order is that “[s]ince 2001, hundreds of persons born abroad have been convicted of terrorism-related crimes in the United States.” What exactly is a “terrorism-related crime”? There is no definition in U.S. statutes. The phrase “terrorism-related” does appear but mostly in reference to actions of government officials in response to terrorism such as a terrorism-related
Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) recently introduced the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act. If it were to become law, RAISE would cut legal immigration by 50 percent over the next ten years by reducing green cards for family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, slashing refugees, and eliminating the diversity visa lottery. These goals are in line with President Trump’s stated objective to cut legal immigration in most categories. The RAISE Act’s goal is to increase wages for lower-skilled Americans by reducing
All of my political predictions about Donald Trump were wrong. I predicted that he wouldn’t get the Republican Party nomination despite all of the polls to the contrary. I followed the polls closely during the election and thought Trump would lose. I was wrong again. While certainly no mandate, Trump won the election. Now the policies his administration will implement and push for are what matters. We have very little to go on when it comes to predicting his actions. Trump has no voting record on this and other issues. His statements, actions, a policy
News stories are now reporting that the Minnesota stabber Dahir Adan entered the United States as a Somali refugee when he was 2 years old. Ahmad Khan Rahami, the suspected bomber in New York and New Jersey, entered as an Afghan asylum-seeker with his parents when he was 7 years old. The asylum and refugee systems are the bedrocks of the humanitarian immigration system and they are under intense scrutiny already because of fears over Syrian refugees. The vetting procedure for refugees, especially Syrians, is necessarily intense because they are overseas while they are being processed.
Donald Trump Jr. tweeted out this meme yesterday: Social media immediately took up arms to attack him. I think the Skittles meme is actually a valuable and useful way to understand the foreign-born terrorist threat but size of the bowl is way too small. This is the proper Skittles analogy: Imagine a bowl full of 3.25 million Skittles that has been accumulated from 1975 to the end of 2015. We know that 20 of the Skittles in that bowl intended to do harm but only three of those 20 are actually fatal. That means that one in 1.08 million of them is deadly. It gets even
One of the most sophisticated arguments against liberalizing immigration is that it would hurt economic growth in developing countries. If skilled, intelligent, or ambitious people leave their home countries and come to the United States then that will deprive their local economies of their skill. This argument is frequently called the “brain drain,” and it ignores some basic economics. Allowing skills to flow to where they’re most productive benefits everyone The term “brain drain” was invented by Europeans who were concerned about scientists leaving their
Editor’s Note: This post was first published on the Cato at Liberty blog. The Syrian Civil War has produced about 5.8 million Syrians seeking refuge or asylum elsewhere–a scale of population displacement unseen since World War II. Although the flow into Europe dominates the news, most of the registered Syrian refugees remain in the Middle East. Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan are the main recipients of the immigration wave, receiving roughly 1.1 million, 2.7 million, and 640,000 Syrians, respectively. The Gulf States are hosting about 1.2 million Syrians on work visas but they are not legally
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