Global Migration: Open the Doors or Build the Walls?

August 21, 2009

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

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