Amnesty Activists Slam CNN’s Fareed Zakaria for Criticizing Joe Biden’s Border Surge

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 18: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Journalist Fareed Zakaria speaks at the 2014 Global Action Summit at Music City Center on November 18, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images)
Terry Wyatt/Getty

Pro-migration advocates are slashing at CNN commentator Fareed Zakaria for his criticism of President Joe Biden’s decision to let many blue collar Latinos surge across the southern border.

The criticism spotlights the fragility of the Democrats’ unstable pro-amnesty coalition, which includes corporate investors, Latino farmworkers, Indian visa workers, subcontractors for Fortune 500 companies, DACA migrants, university groups, and many other groups who have distinct and often rival priorities.

The India-born Zakaria said March 14:

The tragedy is that this border crisis, and Trump’s demagoguery around it, could hinder Biden’s efforts to achieve comprehensive reform of the whole system … [Already] some of the world’s best and brightest are now choosing to go to more hospitable countries, from Canada to Britain to Australia.

“Every couple of years @FareedZakaria writes a really, really bad and factually inaccurate OpEd,” responded Todd Schulte, the president of Mark Zuckerberg’s pro-amnesty group of wealthy investors. Schulte added, “In this one: @FareedZakaria supports a policy that intentionally trapped tens of thousands of children and their moms in inhumane conditions for a year and a half.”

“I’ve learned never to take Zakaria seriously as a foreign policy thinker,” responded immigration advocate Cris Ramos. “‘Relying on other states is never a long-term solution to managing migration.” Ramon is also an advocate for a greater inflow of foreign graduates into Americans’ white-collar jobs.

Zakaria’s comment sparked a hostile reaction because it threatens the unstable alliance among the Democrats’ varied pro-migration groups, said Jessica Vaughan, policy director at the Center for Immigration Studies.

The disparate groups need each other to push their amnesties through Congress, she said. “In the past, they’ve always been able to [gain] by teaming up … But as soon as one side feels that the other is endangering its agenda, then that coalition is going to fracture,” she said.

“Many of [advocates] on the more-skilled migration side of the left may feel that this crisis at the border is threatening their ability to get something done in Congress,” she said, adding Schulte “wants Zakaria to shut up and not threaten their alliance.”

Zakaria’s focus on the claimed “best and brightest” suggests he has gone to bat for India’s very large population of mid-skilled visa workers in the United States, many of whom are waiting for green cards after taking U.S. white-collar jobs via the H-1B program. The Indian population in the United States is growing rapidly, partly because the Indian visa workers who get citizenship often bring over additional Indian via chain migration. The legal community also attracts a stream of low-wage illegals who find jobs in Indian retail outlets, restaurants, and other supporting business sectors.

The surge is now threatening the Biden immigration bill that includes hard-to-understand language that would dramatically increase the inflow of Indian college graduates and visa workers into the white collar jobs needed by American graduates.

The pro-amnesty alliance is already shaky because many opinion polls show the public is opposed to legal immigration and strongly opposed to labor migration — especially during the recession, especially if Biden’s deputies are not trying to control the border migration.

Some Democrats are cloaking their election worries in calls for bipartisanship.

“We have to have bipartisan cooperation if we’re going to tackle these items,” Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) told the Washington Post for a March 13 article. He added:

Immigration has been lingering since I first came to Congress, and that was 16 years ago. . . . We don’t want to pass these with Democratic votes alone. And I’m not talking about one or two Republicans; I’m talking about a significant number of votes from the opposing party.

Politico reported March 4:

Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), a swing-district Democrat, has been making the case to Biden’s Hill team that an e-verify provision should be part of the bill, just as it was in the bipartisan immigration bill in 2013 that fell just short of passage.

“Yes, I support what’s in the bill. I think we would be in a stronger position to get it enacted if we eventually ended up where, I think, the middle ground is,” Malinowski said. “I think for both solid political, practical reasons and moral reasons, those two things should go together.”

Zakaria’s various pro-migration, pro-amnesty critics were more direct.

“Pure crap,” said a tweet from a pro-migration manager at the American Friends Service Committee. “This short-sided & ill-informed opinion piece is pure crap that praises white supremacist policies that disregard international obligations on asylum,” said the tweet from Pedro Rios, manager of the group’s U.S.-Mexico Border Program.

“I was aghast to read this noxious, ignorant ‘opinion’ piece by ⁦@FareedZakaria⁩,” tweeted immigration lawyer Amy Maldonado. “The Trump/Miller policy of sending asylum seekers to ‘apply for asylum’ in Northern Triangle countries as or more dangerous than the ones they fled is an unmitigated human rights disaster.”

The asylum system needs to be expanded, not reduced as Zakaria suggested, tweeted asylum advocate Yael Schacher. “There are also asylum seekers at the border from Mexico and from Africa, Asia, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Cuba, and Haiti … all need to be addressed head on.”

“As if you can enforce your way out of a #migration crisis,” a former Mexican ambassador to the United States responded to Zakaria. “You can’t. Disagree on this occasion with @FareedZakaria’s take on #immigration policy and the reprehensible “Remain in #Mexico”[program].”

“Disturbing gaps, spin in this piece,” tweeted Eleanor Acer, a pro-refugee director at the pro-migration Human Rights First group. “Illegal policies that turn asylum seekers back to rampant kidnappings & attacks are not ‘practical policy’ no knowledge Trump Title 42 ban is expelling to danger, blocking African, Haitian, many other asylum seekers.”

On March 14, Zakaria said:

The truth is the asylum system is out of control. The concept of asylum dates to the years after World War Two, when the United States created a separate path to legal status for those who feared religious, ethnic or political persecution, a noble idea born in the shadow of America’s refusal to take in Jews in the 1930s. It was used sparingly for decades, mostly applying to cases of extreme discrimination.

But the vast majority of people entering the southern border are really traditional migrants fleeing poverty and violence. This is a sad situation, but it does not justify giving them special consideration above others around the world who seek to come to the United States for similar reasons, but go through the normal process.

The decision to allow the border chaos will undermine more important immigration reforms pending in Congress, Zakaria said:

The tragedy is that this border crisis, and Trump’s demagoguery around it, could hinder Biden’s efforts to achieve comprehensive reform of the whole system. Asylum seekers make up a small minority of immigrants. There is a much larger group that includes those who have skills, the United States needs, as well as those entering to reunite with their families. Thanks to Trump’s policies, these immigrants and would be immigrants, now face a more hostile environment than at any point since the United States ended quotas in 1965.

You can see it in the numbers with pandemic restrictions on top of everything else, immigration to the United States has plunged to levels not seen in four decades. Some of the world’s best and brightest are now choosing to go to more hospitable countries, from Canada to Britain to Australia. Census data show that without immigration, the United States faces a dire demographic future. It would mean fewer people and especially fewer young people, which would mean less growth, less dynamism, and less opportunity for everyone. That is the real immigration crisis, not the one at the southern border.

For years, a wide variety of pollsters have shown deep and broad opposition to labor migration and to the inflow of temporary contract workers into jobs sought by young U.S. graduates.

The multiracialcross-sexnon-racistclass-basedintra-Democratic, and solidarity-themed opposition to labor migration coexists with generally favorable personal feelings toward legal immigrants and toward immigration in theory — despite the media magnification of many skewed polls and articles that still push the 1950s corporate “Nation of Immigrants” claim.

The deep public opposition is built on the widespread recognition that migration moves money from employees to employers, from families to investors, from young to old, from children to their parents, from homebuyers to real estate investors, and from the central states to the coastal states.


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