Though it has a chapter on immigration history and rightly blames both sides for the failure of comprehensive immigration reform, it gives short shrift to the fact that it was Republicans and conservatives who were more responsible for killing reform during the presidency of Bushs brother due to concerns about too much amnesty and too little border security.
Written by two conservatives, the book leans right.
Despite the media brouhaha over how to legalize an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants, Immigration Wars is about far more.
Bush said the most under-reported concept the book advances: Giving workers, especially high-skilled workers, immigration preference, Right now, the system largely favors whats called family reunification, and the definition of family isnt limited to parents and children.
The eight-hundred-pound gorilla in immigration policy is family reunification. A sizable majority of visas nearly two-thirds are allocated every year for that purpose, they write.
They also advocate for a guest-worker program, scrapping the system that ensures immigrants from no single country can account for more than 7 percent of green cards issued per year.
Immigrants from India, who have started more U.S. companies than immigrants from the next four countries combined are limited to the same 9,800 annual green cards as every other country.
By encouraging more high-skilled labor (which brings in young, productive workers) and discouraging so-called chain migration (which can encourage retirees and children who use social services more), the authors argue immigration reform will improve the economy and shore up programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, which will have net new revenues and slower recipient growth.
"Demography can dictate our destiny unless we change it," they write.
The book weaves back and forth on immigrants and entitlements.
Though immigrants are limited in receiving Medicare and Social Security, the book says, 37 percent receive some welfare benefits, compared to 22.5 percent among the native population.
But a 1997 study seems to contradict that, showing immigrants pay a net $1,800 on average more into government than they receive, or in the case of Arizona in 2004, immigrants paid a net $940 million more than they consumed, the book says.
They point to a 2012 study showing the net flow of Mexican immigrants was at zero or had reversed. But they then note a recent dissent from Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in a case involving Arizonas 2010 immigration law in which he said that citizens feel themselves under siege by large numbers of illegal immigrants.
The book is silent on one reason people feel that way: Republican politicians like Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who campaigned on the law, sometimes exaggerated problems by falsely claiming, for instance, that there were beheadings at the border.
Bolick, the co-author, also noted he had left the Republican Party a decade before over the strident position on immigration in his home state of Arizona.
There is no avalanche of illegal immigration. To emphasize halting illegal immigration as a cornerstone of immigration reform is fighting yesterdays war, they write. An enforcement-only or a secure-the-border-first policy is self-defeating a fence encompassing all the 1,969 miles of our southern border would be enormously costly and not necessarily effective.