WASHINGTON — Bestselling author and famed political scientist Charles Murray announced his support for a moratorium on low-skilled immigration to the United States on Monday at a panel hosted by the Center for Immigration Studies.
“I want to shut down low-skilled immigration for awhile,” Murray said, explaining it was the only way to find out if it would actually help native low-skilled workers.
CIS’s panel focused on the negative effects immigration has on low-skilled workers in the workforce and also featured CIS researcher Steven Camarota, public policy analyst Jason Richwine — who discussed his new study on the matter — and University of Pennsylvania law professor Amy Wax.
Both Richwine and Wax spoke before Murray and spoke at length on the evidence that immigrants are replacing immigrants in the workforce. Examples included a lower percentage of immigrants with no high school degrees participating in the workforce and working more hours than their native counterparts and evidence of employers preferring immigrants over native workers — no matter if the citizens were white or black.
Murray concurred with their findings and said his views on immigration has changed over time. He recalled a blog he contributed to for National Review 10 years ago where he outlined his views on immigration.
“Even though I am a libertarian, I think one of the functions of a nation-state is to have borders and to enforce those borders. So I would be in favor of enforcing the borders and if that took a wall, so be it,” the policy expert said. “But I didn’t say anything about changing the immigration laws regarded low-skilled immigration.”
But he said he has had a recent change in his way of thinking on the subject.
“I have had to undergo a great deal of re-thinking this year about what I make of all this [concerning immigration]… and the catalyst in the change in my thinking has, in fact, been Donald Trump and I should say the reaction he has aroused,” Murray stated.
“The thing that has gotten to me over the course of this year… has been the idea, the very simple idea, that the citizens of a nation owe something to each other that is over and above our general obligations to our fellow human beings. That there is a sense that we should take care of our own, our own in this case being Americans.”
Murray said he used to reject that way of thinking “pretty much without thinking.” He saw globalization as an undeniable good for all involved and immigration as good for a nation’s economy. But the research, such as that conducted by Richwine and Wax, along with Trump’s campaign have changed his mind on the subject.
The scholar recalled his 2012 book, “Coming Apart,” and how it covered many of the problems which are affecting the working-class in America — from astronomic rates of out-of-wedlock births to large numbers of men who’ve dropped out of the workforce. Murray hopes a moratorium on low-skill immigration would spur economic prosperity in native working-class communities and lift them out of their present woes, but he does understand that it might not work.
However, the author believes that a policy like this should be pursued if Americans want to have a society that looks after its own.
“We need to reconstruct an American society in which people are proud of being part of one brotherhood/sisterhood in the United States. Of a kind that was never perfect in this country, but, by God, we got a lot closer to it than any other society,” he explained in why it was necessary to start rethinking immigration policy.
But while admitting Trump’s candidacy has changed his mind on immigration and how a nation should conduct itself, Murray is fervently opposed to the idea of voting for the Republican nominee.
“I would not, under any circumstances, vote for Donald Trump to be president. I think he is utterly unfit for the office.”