Monday, April 10, 2006

America Needs Legal Immigrants

America needs immigrants not just to do dirty, low wage labor, but to remain competitive in all sectors of the global economy, including high technology. For some time, we have relied on foreign-born researchers, doctors, engineers, and other highly educated, highly valuable workers to meet the needs of American business. Even if more native born Americans took interest in these careers, it would still be a significant challenge to produce the number of highly skilled workers our economy needs to stay ahead of our international rivals.

Historically, America’s productive potential has been restrained by a dearth of labor – with notable exceptions such as during the Great Depression.

Besides filling jobs, immigrants are also needed to supply the next generation of Americans. For a number of reasons, natives simply do not procreate at a rate sufficient to maintain our population. More than an issue of maintaining our numerical standing, this is important because of its implications for such programs as Social Security and Medicare. Without replenishing the ranks of the working, we will have an imbalanced population structure in which we have more retirees taking out of the system than we have workers pumping wealth into it.

Of course, opponents of illegal immigration have valid complaints. First, it is unfair that people who have disregarded our sovereignty and crossed illegally into the United States enjoy the benefits of living and working here while others who go through the legal procedures often must wait for years.

Also, because illegal immigrants must avoid detection or risk deportation, they regularly accept pitifully low wages and poor working conditions, thereby depressing wages and benefits for all workers, but especially low skill, uneducated Americans, and most of all blacks. Without a ready pool of illegal aliens willing to work for very little, employers would be forced to offer legitimate wages to poor blacks and others. The current situation, though, benefits illegals and their families back home while depriving our own poor of the opportunity to begin their climb out of poverty.

Finally, illegal immigration does pose a real threat to our security. If we cannot control our borders or track who comes into the country and what they bring with them, we greatly increase the risk of more terror attacks. There have been reports in the past few years of radical Muslims going to Latin America and learning Spanish. During my service in Kuwait and Iraq in 1991, I saw many Arabs who looked Latino. Imagine the ease with which terrorists could operate in America if we fail to seal our borders.

As for the immigration reform initiatives being discussed now, we should immediately implement strict border security provisions. We should increase the quotas of legal immigrants we allow into the United States, and we should streamline the process to make it work efficiently and quickly for those who play by the rules.

Meanwhile, we should offer illegal aliens already here a one-time opportunity to register with the federal government and apply for residency. Those with children born in the United States should be allowed to remain as long as they violated no other laws. Those without American-born children should be required to return to their home countries and await the opportunity to immigrate legally.

America needs to keep its doors open to immigrants, but we also have a right to expect immigrants to enter through those doors, and not climb through back windows like thieves in the night.


At 8:51 AM, Blogger Len said...

Hey mate,
Wishing you a happy and safe Easter holiday.


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