Land of opportunity and immigration

Punitive programs will do more harm than good for the situation as it stands.

America is the land of opportunity, and the immigration situation today is proof positive that the old adage still holds true. Our wealth has increased fourfold in the past 25 years, from a $3 trillion gross domestic product in 1980 to a $12 trillion GDP today, and such wealth brings unprecedented opportunities for common entrepreneurs at every level of global society. Hispanic immigrants, legal and illegal, are all pure exemplars of the American condition, their languages notwithstanding, and it is incumbent on us the established citizen body of the United States to uphold the ideals of openness and common prosperity in which they desire to participate, and which are the driving forces behind the ultimate goals of world peace and prosperity.

Unfortunately, such a recognition of the proper place for new immigrants in society has been markedly absent from our federal congress over this latest period of national prosperity, and that has resulted in an outdated national immigration standard that is completely out of touch with the real economic conditions of our society today. Many sectors of our economy now are unable to function legally without causing massive unacceptable market shocks, and many people are lured to cross the borders as fugitives for unprecedented economic opportunities. 

An increase in legal immigration will not cause greater hordes of foreigners to penetrate America’s borders, but rather it is the recent exponential increase in economic opportunity within our lands that draws them en masse already, regardless of the official levels of immigration acceptability.  We must redesign our immigration policies more accordantly with the economic realities of our society, which means that we need to increase the number of work visas in concert with the number of positions currently employing immigrants. The current immigration solution to go under review by the House of Representatives, HR4437, seems to be more outdated protectionist dogma, aiming simply for more punishment of ostensible “lawbreaker” immigrants without actually dealing with the underlying economic pressures that will continue to draw them for the foreseeable future. Such punitive programs will do more harm than good, and instead there needs to be more discussion of ways to accept these productive individuals into our land of opportunity.

Joseph Schaedler is a University alumnus. Please send comments to [email protected].