George Will: Citizenship for Illegal Immigrants Necessary to 'Sustain the Welfare State'
On ABC's This Week Sunday, George Will made a comment about the need for a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants that is likely to raise eyebrows on both sides of the aisle.
"As the baby boomers retire, and as the birthrate declines, we need something to replenish the workforce to sustain the welfare state" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
JONATHAN KARL, SUBSTITUTE HOST: George, right to you. You heard a debate among Republicans on immigration. Which side should the Republican Party come down on?
GEORGE WILL: Every conservative sympathizes with what Jeff Sessions was saying about not rewarding law breaking. However, conservatism begins with facing facts. The facts are that of the 11 million people who are here illegally, two-thirds have been here a decade or more, 30 percent, 15 years or more. They're woven into our society. They're not leaving. And the American people would not tolerate the police measures necessary to extract them from our community. Therefore, the great consensus has to be on the details of a path to citizenship.
The most important thing Rubio said in your interview was, even if the system weren't broken, if you had no illegal immigrants, we'd still need to do something about this because we need the workers. As the baby boomers retire, and as the birthrate declines, we need something to replenish the workforce to sustain the welfare state.
KARL: The framing from Rubio was interesting, saying we really already have amnesty. Nobody's prosecuting the undocumented immigrants here now.
RUTH MARCUS, WASHINGTON POST: Absolutely, I want to say I'm going to really enjoy saying this next sentence. I completely agree with every syllable that George Will just said. And I think that the stars are in alignment for many of the reasons that he said.
"As the baby boomers retire, and as the birthrate declines, we need something to replenish the workforce to sustain the welfare state."
Is this an inconvenient truth or a stretch?
We know that this is a problem that countries such as Japan are already facing. Most of Europe is projected to see a peak in population in the next few decades. When this happens, entitlement programs become impossible to fund if they aren't already.
The velocity of our population growth has been slowing for decades.
As such, does Will have a point or should our future budget woes be irrelevant to this debate?