BROOKE BALDWIN (HOST): Mark, here's my question to you because when we were all watching the [attorney general] earlier today, Jeff Sessions, he claimed that DACA quote “denied hundreds of thousands of Americans jobs by allowing those same illegal aliens to take those jobs.” Fact? Do you have research supporting that?
MARK KRIKORIAN: Well, I mean, it's just -- they're in jobs that Americans would be doing. They're not picking tomatoes. For the most part, the DACAs, who have work permits, are working in jobs that Americans would be doing. I mean, that's a legitimate point, but it's not the legal point. The legal point is actually something I agreed with Sen. [Lindsey] Graham [(R-SC)] about: DACA was illegal. And, I also agreed with Sen. Graham that passing a stand-alone measure, a so-called “clean DACA” fix, in other words, where they just give them amnesty, and you don't have any elements that try to limit the harmful fallout of that amnesty, is going to just encourage more illegal immigration. Which is why what Congress needs to do is not pass the DREAM Act on its own, but pass a measure that both amnesties the DACAs -- just give them green cards, rip off the band-aid, and get it over with -- but make sure that the fallout from that amnesty is limited by mandating E-Verify -- that's the system to help turn the magnet of jobs off that attracted the parents of these people in the first place, lo these many years ago, because none of these are kids, they're all adults. And changes in legal immigration so that the parents who did know what they were doing are never able to benefit from this amnesty because the DACA young people are a special and unique case, they are different from all other illegal immigrants, which is why it's a good idea to amnesty them. But what that also means is their parents and their aunts and their uncles and all the rest of the people who knew what they were doing when they came here should not be able to benefit from this amnesty.
BALDWIN: Rana, how do you see it?
RANA FOROOHAR: You know, I think it's really important to step back and look at the big picture here and I want to give you just a couple of facts. Forty percent of the largest companies in America were started by immigrants or children of immigrants. Immigrants have a much higher rate of entrepreneurship in their communities all over the country. These are people that we should be dying to get in this country, you know, one of the reasons that America has historically had a higher growth rate than Europe, for example, is that we have been, traditionally, open to immigrants. You know, I have to come clean and say my father is an immigrant that came to this country, started a business, employed many people. It is amazing to me how quickly the business community has come out, just made blanket statements saying we have to do this, we have to support these people. You see the U.S. Chamber [of Commerce], the Business Roundtable, executives like Mark Zuckerberg and Jamie Dimon saying “we need these people.”
BALDWIN: Tim Cook.
FOROOHAR: Tim Cook, exactly, “we need these people.” I think that that's very telling.
BALDWIN: Mark, what's your response?
KRIKORIAN: That's nonsense. I'm sorry. The idea that big business wants more people to loosen the labor market and keep its labor costs down is hardly an argument for more immigration. You know, of course the Chamber of Commerce agrees with Big Labor and with Sen. [Dick] Durbin [(D-IL)] and with Sen. Graham. We've seen this movie over and over again where all the important institutions of our society, left and right, are pushing, whether it was under President Bush or President Obama, for a both -- an amnesty for all the illegal immigrants who are here and for massive increases in future immigration. Immigration really is not a right-left issue, it's an up-down issue. And what we've seen is all the important institutions of our society pushing for something that ordinary folks are really quite skeptical about.
FOROOHAR: You know, Mark, I just have to completely disagree with you. For starters, I think you know as well as I do, the economic research -- and there's a lot of it -- says that immigration is a net benefit to the country. Both at the high level, engineers coming in, the kind of people that Apple wants to hire, but also at the lower end, people who are doing a variety of jobs, some of which wouldn't be done if there weren't immigrants in the country, others of which would be. Our problem, economically in this country, is that we need to train everybody to have a 21st century skill set. That is the problem you will hear when you go to CEOs, not “there are too many immigrants,” but, “we don't have the skills in this country that we need.” And it's just -- it's an absolute myth to look at immigration as our core economic problem. It just absolutely is.
KRIKORIAN: The point is not that it's a core economic problem. The problem is that mass immigration of a million people a year exacerbates a lot of the other social and economic problems that we have. And immigration is not some economic boon. It creates a small economic surplus, as the National Academy of Sciences showed last year, but that small surplus comes from impoverishing people who are already poor, lowering their wages, and spreading that benefit to the rest of society. So all of us here on this panel benefit. Ordinary people do not.