Conversation with HSNWMark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies

Published 23 March 2011

Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, was interviewed by Homeland Security NewsWire’s executive editor, Eugene Chow; Krikorian discusses the Obama administration’s immigration strategy, why mass migration is an outdated phenomenon, and what the government can do to enforce immigration laws effectively; “make E-Verify mandatory,” he says

HSNW: Looking at some of the polls that have come out over the past year, the numbers seem somewhat contradictory in the sense that a majority of Americans support beefed up Arizona-style immigration laws, while those same polls also show a majority of Americans supporting comprehensive immigration reform and a path to citizenship. Can you help explain these somewhat contradictory stances?

Mark Krikorian: Well, they are not as contradictory as they seem. When people are saying they support an Arizona- style immigration law. Really, the question they are answering is “Do you want the immigration laws to be enforced or not” and their answer is yes, we want the immigration law and border to be enforced.

When they answer the comprehensive immigration reform question there are two issues here. One is how the questions are posed. Most surveys give people a kind of Hobson’s choice. Do you want all illegal immigrants deported or do you want them to earn status if they have a job, no criminal record, and call their mothers every Sunday. People opt for the easy alternative.

One of the assumptions of comprehensive immigration reform is that there will not be eleven million more illegal immigrants down the road. That is the underlying assumption of the question that there will be a combination of legalization for some wonderful illegal alien combined with tough enforcement in the future. Usually they do not ask the third part which is huge increases in future immigration. I would even be willing to consider legalization if it would be followed by real enforcement that did not result in eleven million more illegal aliens.


HSNW: On the topic of enforcement, what are your thoughts on the Obama administration’s current strategy of cracking down on employers with I-9 audits? Do you believe that this strategy is effective?

MK: No. But, that is not to say I am against it. I think audits are a good idea because they are a way of increasing immigration enforcement by just using paper pushers, instead of using actual border agents with badges and guns. Unfortunately, it is the border agents that are doing too many of the audits. In an ideal situation you would have audits done just by civil servants, but that would only be part of an enforcement strategy, it would not be the whole thing.

You have to have raids. There is just no way around it. Not so much because raids are