Global Migration: Open the Doors or Build the Walls?

Aug 21, 2009

Do immigrants help or hurt America? Closed borders cut off the world's best and brightest, while open borders may invite the world's desperate, criminal, and crazy. Should we err on the side of opening doors or building walls?

Do immigrants help or hurt America?

Closed borders cut off the world's best and brightest who are desperately needed by industry, academia, or rural America. Open borders invite the world's desperate, criminal, and crazy to partake of America's abundance and tolerance.

Most Americans have immigrant roots, and being American is based not on ethnicity but on an idea. However, the immigration barrier is politically hard to define when unemployment or nationalism enters the room.

Aliens bring varied languages, cultures, and values that threaten cherished personal preferences and could threaten our shared marketplace. Ironically, these ethnicities also offer freshness, excitement, and diversity, enriching while threatening.

Aliens bring skills. Engineers from China, programmers from India, doctors from Cuba all bring specialties in short supply and vital for economic growth. Ironically, their very visibility may accentuate domestic alienation.

Aliens bring bodies. There is general agreement that this brings some downward pressure on the wages of the lowest-skilled Americans. Ironically, these jobs are the least desirable and often only filled by newcomers.

What do you think? Err on the side of opening the doors or building the walls?

By William Vocke

To post a comment, go to the Global Ethics Corner slideshow.

You may also like

MAY 6, 2022 Podcast

For Companies, Could China Be the Next Russia? with Perth Tolle

After Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the global financial backlash was swift and unprecedented: Dozens of financial institutions cut off their exposure to the Russian market ...

OCT 8, 2021 Podcast

The Promise & Peril of AI & Human Systems Engineering, with Mary "Missy" Cummings

In this episode of the "Artificial Intelligence and Equality Initiative" podcast, Senior Fellows Anja Kaspersen and Wendell Wallach are joined by former U.S. Navy ...

The Javits New York Medical Station, March 31, 2020. CREDIT: <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:JNYMS_Operations_(5).jpg">US Navy/Barry Riley (Public Domain)</a>

FEB 8, 2021 Podcast

Pandemic Ethics: Where Do We Go from Here?

The pandemic has made us all shockingly aware of the way that a highly infectious disease exposes the moral frailties of our social systems. In ...