Wednesday, August 23, 2023


In an effort to seem like a legitimate news outlet, Breitbart submitted a questionnaire on immigration to the Republican candidates for president. I'm sure it won't surprise you that the questions lean far to the right ("What are the specifics of your plan to handle the astounding number of asylum seekers while their cases are decided?"), as do most of the answers from the candidates who completed the questionnaire (Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, and Ron DeSantis).

Vivek Ramaswamy didn't answer Breitbart's questions, but he did submit a response laying out his immigration policy. It begins:
The sole purpose of immigration policy should be to protect the homeland. The interests of American citizens who live on American soil. That’s it. Not humanitarian.
Well, so much for anyone who looks back on America's rejection of Jewish refugees during the Nazi era and believes that the nation's post-war asylum policy has been an appropriate response to that moral failure.

(This is clearly a mainstream position in the GOP -- Tim Scott says, "All our policies should first and foremost benefit American citizens.")

Later in his response, Ramaswamy says:
Merit-based immigration has to include an element of national identity. Which is to say even if you’re getting a visa, you have to pass the same civics test that is required on the backend of citizenship.
He's really into the idea of the civics test -- he doesn't think you should be able to vote if you're under the age of 25 unless you pass one (with exceptions made for members of the military and first responders) -- which unsurprisingly appeals to many GOP voters because they know young people lean Democratic, even though the idea also feels like a version of the icky elitist-liberal credentialism that David Brooks and Thomas Edsall insist is the reason we got Trump. Get sufficiently high test scores and you can get into Harvard -- and if you pass a different kind of test you can vote! Apparently this idea is okay if you're a Republican, even a Republican with degrees from Harvard and Yale.

(Also, if you're an American and you get a job offer in Canada or England or Dubai, would it be fair to require you to pass a full citizenship test in order to work? That's what Ramaswamy is proposing for America.)

Which brings us to his final proposal:
We need to weed out ingrates like Illan Omar and Rashida Tlaib who come to this country and complain about it. No. It is a privilege to be allowed to live in the United States of America.
Hey, smart guy -- you know that Rashida Tlaib was born in Detroit, right?

Omar, of course, is a naturalized citizen (though as Essence once noted, Omar has been a citizen longer than Melania Trump). It's true that Omar has said some critical things about America. But do you know who else "complains about" the U.S.? Every Republican. Republicans hate the president. They hate most of the laws passed during liberal administrations, and most of the laws passed in liberal cities and states. Republicans hate millions of their fellow citizens. They hate most of the nation's cities. And they have an inalienable right as Americans to feel all this hate and complain that America isn't exactly the way they want it to be. But Ramaswamy doesn't want extend this right -- a right Republicans exercise every single day -- to Omar and Tlaib.

And speaking of Melania Trump: Ramaswamy is both the greatest admirer of Trump in the field of Trump challengers and a fervent opponent of the policies that allowed Trump's wife's family to come to America. He says:
We need to eliminate chain-based migration which is anti-meritocratic because the people who come as family members are not the meritocratic immigrants who can make skills-based contributions to this country.
It would be nice if someone would ask him tonight, or at one of the subsequent debates: You're an admirer of Donald Trump and an advocate for extreme tightening of our immigration laws. Do you think the immigration system should have prevented Melania Trump and her family from settling in America?

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