Jonah Goldberg: Hillary Clinton Is Right (and Wrong) About Immigration, Populism

For many on the left, this was simply an argument for concession. Eskinder Negash, the head of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, told The New York Times he was shocked by her comments. “If she's simply saying you need to cut down on refugees coming to Europe to ask for asylum because they have a well-founded fear of persecution, just to appease some right-wing political leaders, it's just not the right thing to do,” Negash said.

He's right. Clinton's remarks were too transparently political and self-serving. (They also appeared with Clinton's impeccably poor timing, right as the United States was dealing with a serious refugee challenge at the southern border.)

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who was interviewed for the same series in which Clinton's interview appeared, had a better take. “You've got to deal with the legitimate grievances and answer them, which is why today in Europe you cannot possibly stand for election unless you've got a strong position on immigration because people are worried about it. If you don't … you leave a large space into which the populists can march.”

This has been the argument for reasonable immigration restrictions for decades. The basic position of National Review, where I am a senior editor, has been that if responsible politicians do not address legitimate immigration concerns, it will create a political vacuum for unreasonable politicians to exploit. If you don't like how President Trump talks about immigration, you can appreciate the point.

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Hillary Clinton is right (and wrong) about immigration, populism, says Jonah Goldberg