I’ve been baffled by this for the last couple days.
I’m not sure I follow their numbers, but I’ll accept them on faith for the moment. The thing that baffles me is the source: a very conservative think-tank.
Political conservatives have railed against anyone who was different practically since the ink was dry on the Declaration of Independence, if not before. Blacks, Italians, Jews, Chinese, Mexicans, Irish, or most recently, Muslims. When they get bored fearing and hating Muslims, they’ll inevitably find some other “different” group to fear and hate. Just about the only thing uniting all those groups is that they come from Somewhere Else. (The only hated home-grown groups that I know of have been hippies and gays, or when all else fails, the ever-useful generic label of “liberals” — the conservative definition literally being “anyone who doesn’t look, think, and act like us.”)
So when conservatives publicly announce that the US needs more immigrants, despite both their hundreds of years of ideology and rhetoric against the whole concept and the ascendant frothing-at-the-mouth Tea Party movement… well, either we’ve entered some kind of bizarre mirror-universe, or things have gotten so bad that reality is starting to penetrate even the well-protected innermost enclaves of willful ignorance.
Things are bad, but conservative will is strong, so I haven’t decided which it is yet.