“Entering the USA is not a right, it is a privilege," says Vivek Ramaswamy

"We need immigration policies that protect U.S. national security, preserve national identity, and promote economic growth," he said.

Vivek Ramaswamy addressing NATCON4. / New India Abroad

Indian American Republican Vivek Ramaswamy said the United States is facing a national identity crisis that stems largely from “sloppy immigration policies.” 

“We are in the middle of a national identity crisis. We have lost our sense of who we are as citizens of this nation, and sloppy immigration policies have only worsened that crisis,” Ramaswamy said during his speech at the National Conservatism Conference 2024 in Washington DC.

Stricter legal immigration policies

While he called for stricter border policies to curb illegal immigration, he also emphasized the need for stringent legal immigration policies including screening measures such as enhanced civics exams for immigrants and the elimination of dual and birthright citizenship.
"Entering the United States of America is not a right. It is a privilege,” he said. “Screen not just for their ability to make economic contributions, but also for their willingness and readiness to adopt and share American values during their time here, values that are enshrined in the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution,” he said.

Describing himself as a national libertarian, Ramaswamy said that according to him, “The top objectives here of U.S. Immigration policy are to protect U.S. national security, to preserve U.S. national identity, and to promote U.S. economic growth in that order.”

Shifting Consensus on Immigration and Trade Policies

Ramaswamy also highlighted a significant shift in Republican Party views on immigration and trade policies and lasting influence of former President Donald Trump. He noted that while Republicans have long opposed illegal immigration, there has been a deeper divide regarding legal immigration. 

"We have sloppily used the vehemence of our opposition to illegal immigration to actually obfuscate a deeper divide on our views on the quantity and quality of illegal or legal immigration," Ramaswamy stated.

Ramaswamy discussed the pre-Trump consensus among Republican elites, which viewed immigration as an extension of economic policy aimed at maximizing the economic pie. This perspective favored high-quality skilled labor to reduce marginal costs for companies. However, he contrasted this with the post-Trump nationalist view, which considers immigration policy as labor policy, prioritizing the well-being of American workers over merely expanding the economy.

Looking ahead, Ramaswamy urged Republicans to avoid complacency and intellectual laziness, warning against repeating the mistakes of the past.  “The historical neoliberal consensus on immigration sees legal immigration as inherently good for reducing production costs and increasing economic output. The national protectionist view, however, focuses on protecting American workers from being undercut by cheaper foreign labor,” he said.

Dependence on China

Ramaswamy also urged a re-evaluation of the traditional neoliberal consensus on trade and its implications for U.S. national security. He criticized the belief that increased international trade automatically benefits the global economy and spreads democracy, particularly targeting the failed strategy of "democratic capitalism" aimed at transforming China through economic engagement.

"The theory was that we could use international trade to spread democracy to places like China. It turns out that idea was wrong on at least three levels," Ramaswamy stated. He pointed out that U.S. dependence on China for critical sectors like pharmaceuticals and military components poses significant risks. 

"Over 95 percent of the ibuprofen in our medicine cabinets comes from China, the same country responsible for a man-made virus and exporting precursors to synthetic fentanyl," he said. He also highlighted the fact that over 40 percent of semiconductors used in Department of Defense weapons systems are imported from China.

"The neoliberal consensus was wrong because it ignored the national security implications of increasing U.S. dependence on China. We need to be serious about reducing that dependence, which means more trade with allies," he asserted.

America First Movement 

In conclusion, Ramaswamy said that the major question in the upcoming election is not about who wins or loses but where the America First Movement is headed under what he believes will be a successful second Trump term.

“Just as Trump reframed foreign policy through the lens of what advanced American interests, just as he reframed immigration policy through the lens of what advanced American workers’ interests, just as he reframed trade policy through the lens of what advanced our manufacturers’ interests, that’s what actually made him a true leader in 2016, is that he challenged an existing status quo, an entire existing system. He offered a new vision,” Ramaswamy said referring to Trump.









E Paper