Bill Clinton: ‘There Is a Limit’ to How Many Migrants U.S. Can Take Without Causing ‘Disruption’

by PAM KEY 30 Sep 2022

Former President Bill Clinton said on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” podcast that “there is a limit” to how many migrants the United States can accept before it causes disruption.

Partial transcript as follows:

ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about another issue you guys are going to take up at CGI, refugees. And one of the things that I think the right has hammered at, with regard to the Democratic Party and President Biden, is this issue of refugees coming into the United States. And I think it’s fair to say that the asylum system seems to be broken. This was meant to be a system that allowed people who were in desperate circumstances, and now what you have is a lot of people who are essentially economic migrants coming in, essentially gaming the system, using the asylum way to get in. Isn’t it — isn’t it true that there has to be some order placed on this, some control on this?

CLINTON: I agree with that. There is a limit to how many migrants any society can take without severe disruption and assistance. And our system is based much more on an assumption that things would be more normal.

For example, as long as I can remember, we’ve had an immigration system, we’ve given green cards to people from other countries who had valuable skills that we needed. And it generally had a lot of support until somebody felt their economic interests were threatened.

When I was a boy, when I was a young man even, Mexican citizens moved freely back and forth across the Rio Grande River and did agricultural work. And it worked for people. NAFTA happened at a time when there was increasing industrialization. Everybody knew that was going to happen, but it did displace jobs.

El Paso lost 6,600 jobs when the manufacturing of jeans went across the border. But they supported it, because they knew that over the long run, they had to find a way to live together and work together. So this is an old story. But now you just got the largest number of refugees since World War II because of Syria and now Ukraine. And other problems in the middle.

Bill Clinton: 'There Is a Limit' to How Many Migrants U.S. Can Take Without Causing 'Disruption' (