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Mention the word “immigration” in certain company, and certain folks will immediately start yelling about how the nation’s top priority needs to be “securing our borders.”If you’re one of those folks, we have a question for you:
We understand that our borders are pretty porous and that, ideally, they shouldn’t be. But we don’t understand why some folks are so obsessed with this issue when there are so many other pressing things to worry about.
(And we’re not talking about securing the borders to prevent terrorists from killing people and blowing up stuff. THAT we get. What we’re talking about here is immigration).
When pressed, many secure-the-borders folks protest that what they’re obsessed with is not “immigration” but ILLEGAL immigration.
But even that doesn’t really explain it. Even today, with our porous borders, illegal immigrants count for a tiny percentage of the population.
(And, frankly, this explanation doesn’t really ring true. The distinct impression we get when we listen to some secure-the-borders folks is that what they really want to do is CLOSE the borders, and not let anyone else in. Because the people here now, they seem to be saying, are AMERICANS and the people who want to get in are MEXICANS, or MUSLIMS, or AFRICANS, or ASIANS, which we take as code for they’re not white people of European origin who have some variant of Christian faith. Is that really what’s going on here? Or would the secure-the-borders folks be fine if we allowed tens of millions of Mexicans, Muslims, Africans, and Asians move here every year as long as they have the right paperwork?)
Some secure-the-borders folks will say that the reason they’re obsessed with immigration is that “immigrants are stealing our jobs.”
And, sure, that’s true to some extent. Some immigrants are indeed willing to do the same work for less, which is an appealing attribute to many employers. And, so some immigrants take some jobs that might otherwise be done by people who already live here.
But immigrants will also help us bail ourselves out of our current economic woes. They’ll help the economy grow (GDP growth = population + productivity gains). They’ll also help reduce the monumental worker-to-retiree ratio that is beginning to cripple our entitlement plans. They’ll help us found new companies, and they’ll buy stuff from existing ones. And they’ll help keep American business more competitive.
Aren’t those good things?
And here’s the part we really don’t get.
Don’t the secure-the-borders folks realise that we ALL immigrated here at one point or another (or our parents or grandparents or great-grandparents or whoever did)? Don’t they understand that that’s what America is (or at least used to be)–a place that people immigrate to when they want a shot at a better life? Aren’t they kind of saying, “Yes, maybe that’s what America was once, but we’re here now, and we like it the way it is, so we don’t want anyone else coming”?
So, readers, we ask again, why are so many Americans obsessed with “securing our borders”? Please help us understand.
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