The Heritage Foundation has issued the following statement in response to Senator Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) comments about our new study on the cost of amnesty.
Senator Rubio’s family story is a testament to the American Dream. His parents’ ability to scrimp and save and sacrifice for their children is something in which we all take pride. The story of the Rubios, in fact, makes the point we make with our study. They represent the immigration model that worked for America for centuries and one we need to get back to.
Senator Rubio’s parents came here in 1956, almost a decade before the introduction of the Great Society programs that laid the foundation of the modern welfare state. Over the following four and a half decades, our government has added layer upon layer of government involvement in our lives, creating a dependency that undermines self-respect and self-reliance.
That dependency has been devastating to our society; it has shattered communities, families, and individuals. It is now threatening the American Dream. This is true for all—native and immigrant alike, lawful or unlawful. We do not blame immigrants for being entrapped by that system; we blame the people who created that system. We especially blame people who now seek to expand it.
This is why Heritage has been leading the fight on the need to recreate upward mobility for low-income and middle-income Americans. The current welfare and entitlement systems lower opportunity and make it all but impossible for people to climb the ladder of success.
Heritage has worked with Senator Rubio on numerous issues, and we admire him. He is right: Our study is “an argument for welfare reform and entitlement reform.” He cannot pretend, however, that this already herculean task will be made easier after we have added millions of new people to a failing entitlement system. The time to fix it is now. We are ready to work with him and any man and woman of either party who realizes the urgency of our plight.
As Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, once said:
It is one thing to have free immigration to jobs. It is another thing to have free immigration to welfare. You cannot have both. If you have a welfare state, if you have a state in which a resident is promised certain minimum level of income or a minimum subsistence regardless of whether he works or not produces it or not. Well then it really is an impossibility.