Tucker Carlson vs. Reason Editor: If DACA Is So Great, Why Isn't California Richer?


On Wednesday's broadcast of his FOX News Channel program, Tucker Carlson debated Katherine Mangu-Ward, editor-in chief of Reason Magazine, and CEO of Nexus Services Mike Donavan on DACA immigrants.

"The idea that the more immigrants we have the better off we are, if that's true, then why isn't California richer?" Carlson asked.

"You notice that our economy has become less impressive over the past 40 years, but the main thing that's happened is the massive change due to immigration, but you don't see any connection?" he said.

Transcript, via FOX News:

CARLSON: Big swabs of America's media and corporate elite have condemned the administration's announcement yesterday suspending DACA. They really hated. President Obama's program providing work permits to illegal aliens who arrived in this country as minors. Some of the strongest backlash is intact, Microsoft has already announced it will fight as hard as possible to block the deportation of illegal immigrants hired at the expense of American citizens because of course Microsoft is now its own country. But what drives all this anger?

Mike Donovan is a CEO of Nexus Services which provides bail bonds for illegal immigrants. Katherine Mangu-Ward is the editor-in-chief of Reason, the libertarian publication. Welcome to you both.

So, Katherine, since you are a libertarian, let me ask a philosophical question, do we have an obligation to put the interest of American citizens ahead of the interests of immigrants?

KATHERINE MANGU-WARD, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, REASON: No, I don't think so. And in particular I think in this case --

CARLSON: American citizens don't get priority.

MANGU-WARD: In this case, I just don't buy at all that those things were in conflict.

CARLSON: But I mean, it's fair to ask the question though. In general, you don't think that American citizens ought to get meaningful priority over aliens.

MANGU-WARD: I don't know if this means to say meaningful priority over aliens. I mean, American citizens benefit when people come here, work here and raise families here. And it is absolutely the case that these dreamers in particular are going to add to our economy, add to our culture, make America a better place.

CARLSON: None of that is necessarily true. I mean, those are massive assumptions that in some cases are true in some cases are false. But if you could determine in a specific case if there's one job and you have a choice between someone who came here illegally and someone who was an American citizen, you wouldn't automatically go for the American citizen?

MANGU-WARD: Well, I mean, I think you could ask similarly, do I feel favor protectionist policies, right? Do I think if a job could be here or a job could be in China, is it morally better for the job to be here? I think the answer is no in the case too. I mean --

CARLSON: Good. I mean, I vehemently disagree with you. But I want our viewers to know what your position is on that. So, this is not an abstract question because there are a ton of unemployed Americans. Almost a hundred million actually. Not all of them want to go to work. But I think we could all agree a lot more of them ought to be working than art. Why would we be issuing any work permits to anybody from outside the country until those people have jobs?

MIKE DONOVAN, CEO, NEXUS SERVICES: I think I have more faith in the American people maybe than folks who think they need a hand up or a special place at the front of the line. I think Americans are exceptional. I think we produce exceptional people who can compete with folks that are coming into the country.

CARLSON: They are unemployed right now is what I'm saying. I thought liberals were care about that.

DONOVAN: And some folks obviously, you know, what is to say should we favor people who were unemployed over people who currently have a job. I Mean, I think that you get to a place where, you know, when we are trying to create classes of people that when we permit that to happen that ultimately swings away from our favor.

CARLSON: No, no, it's really simple. We have a lot of people around the world who want to come here and work in the United States for a bunch of different reasons. We also have a bunch of American citizens who were born here who do not have jobs, who were not working. That's bad. Why would we give any work permits to people from other countries while we still have Americans who aren't working, I don't understand?

DONOVAN: Well, I think that in this case Tucker, we've already done it. Right? So, we have 800,000 kids who only known this country, who have these work authorizations and we are about taking them away. And that's what -- you want to talk about what drives my anger.

CARLSON: We are talking about continuing it. I mean, look, no one disputes, it's a tough question. I mean, I agree and I don't want to oversimplify it.

DONOVAN: And I know that you are a caring person. So, I know that you have the --

CARLSON: Yes. I actually care about Americans more than I care about illegal aliens. Call me crazy. Does this make me racist or something?


CARLSON: It makes me pro-American and I just don't understand why nobody seems to care. So, the idea that the more immigrants we have, the better off we are. If that's true, then why isn't California richer? California is poor than it was 40 years ago before it was totally overwhelmed by immigration. Why is that?

MANGU-WARD: Surely you know that the only thing happening in California in the last many decades was not immigration. Regulations have gone up there. The entitlement state has gone up there massively but --

CARLSON: Because of immigration by the way.

MANGU-WARD: When we think about --

CARLSON: It swung the legislature to the left.

MANGU-WARD: When we think about the dreamers in particular, we are talking about mostly Mexicans, right? Eighty percent Mexicans. We are talking about say, 500,000 Mexicans who want to come here, they have lower rates of incarceration, they have higher rates of education. They contribute, they are a typical dreamer.

CARLSON: That's not true. That's not true.

MANGU-WARD: We have to have a high school education to qualify for the program.

DONOVAN: We are talking about DACA here. That's absolutely true.


CARLSON: But in general, that's totally false.

MANGU-WARD: What's more is also the case that again, we're just talking about the Dreamers here. There is an absolute very, very clear situation here in which these people are the kind of immigrants that even people like you who are essentially restrictionists should like. They've already been assimilated.

CARLSON: I don't know. Some not, actually they are individuals. People are nervous because of chain immigration. You let one person and all of those relatives, too. That's a real thing, by the way. What's an appropriate level of immigration into this country, like, how many people should we let in?

DONOVAN: I think, you know, call me crazy but I believe in the American ideal that we are a place for people who are downtrodden and abused can come --

CARLSON: So, everybody wants to come? What's the limit?

DONOVAN: I think that they're -- we have systems that are broken, an asylum system for example. We need to focus on fixing those things. So, we can determine --

CARLSON: I mean, how many should we let in? I mean, it's not a hard question. Like how many? Well, we could get to a billion people by the end of the century really easily.

MANGU-WARD: If we had a billion people in America, America would be unstoppable. That would be amazing.

DONOVAN: Well, think about the economy, think about the driving force behind.

CARLSON: So, you noticed that our economy has become less impressive over the past 40 years. The main thing that has happened is the massive change due to immigration. But you don't see the connection.

MANGU-WARD: Do you really think that's even remotely, possibly true that a bunch of people who came here, brought by their parents, median age six years who are now 22-years-old and have jobs that pay, I don't know --

CARLSON: Eighteen dollars an hour.

MANGU-WARD: Eighteen dollars an hour --


MANGU-WARD: That's the problem with America?

CARLSON: I don't. I don't think that's the problem. But I think our broader immigration service doesn't serve America's interests.

DONOVAN: But in this case --

CARLSON: I'm sorry. We are out of time.

DONOVAN: I understand.

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