According to the article (and I've heard many other globalization experts say the same thing) immigration is actually a good thing economically, both for the sending and the receiving countries. In fact, immigration is one of the factors that has kept the economy in both America and Europe strong over the past few decades, despite declining birthrates. So why keep people out at all? Why not have an open immigration policy and let anyone who wants to come to the United States come?
The benefits of open immigration are manifold in my opinion. Besides the boost to our economy through the presence of more workers (and therefore more consumers), we would also benefit from the following:
1) We could more effectively prevent employers from taking advantage of low-wage migrant workers, and thereby protect American jobs by eliminating the cheap illegal labor that undercuts wages, while at the same time ensuring that immigrants are afforded the same labor protections that any other American citizen receives.
2) The current drain on public resources by illegal immigrants would be offset once millions of currently illegal immigrants start paying taxes into the system.
3) We will be able to keep tighter security over our ports and borders from potential terrorists since there would no longer be any reason for honest, law-abiding immigrants to enter illegally. Fewer people trying to come here illegally makes it easier to catch the ones who are, and makes it more likely that those who do are coming for more nefarious purposes than simple employment.
And besides all of this, the most important reason for open immigration is simply the fact that we would be able to help hundreds of thousands of people living in desperation and poverty achieve a better life for themselves and their families by sharing with them some of the wealth and opportunities of this nation. We'd be able to live up to the words of the poem found at the base of the Statue of Liberty:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
The article also pointed out that number of illegal immigrants is already far less than the number who do come here legally each year. America let's in around 1 million legal immigrants every year, and according to best estimates, another 500,000 enter illegally. That's only 50% more. And even if total immigration doubled under an open policy, we're still only talking about 2 million people a year: two million more tax-payers, two million more consumers, two million more workers to help grow our economy.
So why not? If it's good for them and it's good for us, then why not let them come? Instead of obsessing over how to keep illegal immigrants out and what to do about the ones that are already here, why not simply get rid of the concept of "illegal" immigration altogether?
Links to this post