Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Backbone of America

One of the major issues of this season in American politics is the issue of immigration. My position is this, the only problem with immigration is that it is too hard for willing foreign workers to enter the United States, legally. The interesting thing about this issue is that it is not new. Many Americans were worried about the giant wave of immigrants entering from 1890-1910 (a wave that was bigger than today). They had fears that these people from other lands would disrupt their way of life and in the end, hurt America. A century later, we can see they were wrong.

First off, let me state my point (or my bias as some might call it). I support the simplification of the immigration process. So simple in fact, that there is no incentive to come illegally. The only limitations on entering would be registration and a minor criminal background check (allowing for those who have been living here the ability to register freely as well).

In an attempt to subdivide the opposition of immigration, I divided it into three categories: 1) racism, 2) psychological fears and 3) economic fears.

Now people rarely admit in the open that their policies are racially driven, but we cannot deny that many are. I have personally witnessed much more racism against Hispanics than any other subgroup, not to say that of course the other kinds do not exist. The fact is, people identify with people like themselves, and in this broken world, racism arises. I don’t have to tell you that this isn’t a legitimate opposition to immigration.

Complaints that fall in the psychological category are things like: a struggle with another language, over population, and a fear of losing national identity. Struggling to learn and interact with another language is something that I can sympathize with. I have always struggled in this area, but it is not reason to deny people the right to a higher quality of life. Moreover, I am willing to bet it is more of a pain (thereby more incentive to change) for the minority to not speak the majority’s language than the other way around. Now for our fear of losing our national identity. These words are scribed on the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” That is America’s national identity. We are and always have been a nation of immigrants. As for overpopulation, look at Wyoming.

But it is this last division, the economic fears, that are most prevalent, and most interesting to me. Usual complaint is American job competition. When an immigrant goes anywhere, we can assume they are moving from a place of a lower quality of life to a place of higher. If this were not true then they would never leave home in the first place. Therefore, we can assume immigration makes the immigrant better off. As for the Americans, there is a large demand for cheaper labor (cheaper than Americans are willing to work anyways) and this has caused the in flow of people. They are meeting a need and we are receiving better price for it.

And finally, immigration allows for “regulatory competition.” This is an interesting pair of words with a very interesting result. By allowing people from all nations to easily flow into the United States, we create global competition for labor and resources. This governing competition (much like competition in the private sector) forces government of other nations to work for the good of their people. If the people of North Korea were easily able to come to America if they desired, then North Korea would have to radically change their policies before their population dwindled.

America at its heart and at its strength is a nation of newcomers. No other country to the extent of America is a place of hope and opportunity. There is no such thing as a France dream, because people do not go there for refuge. They do, and should continue to, come to America.

For a more humorous and detailed discussion of this, check this video out.


  1. I think "look at Wyoming" is too simple of an answer to the overpopulation question. Do you know how many immigrants have moved to Wyoming? I'm guessing not a lot. They go to big cities where cheap labor can be found - which incidentally already have overpopulation problems.

  2. Good point Justin. It was kind of an over simplification. I guess I was thinking that as long as there is space to go, then those who don't want to be "over crowded" can go there. Cities are crammed full of people because they all want to be there.
    Also, in most cases America follows European trends. Whether it’s increasing size of government, secularizing of religion, or in this case, dwindling population. As people get wealthier they have fewer children. I'm betting as the world becomes wealthier, nations will face under population, not over. Immigration from poorer nations is an easy fix to that problem.


You are the reason why I do not write privately. I would love to hear your thoughts, whether you agree or not.