By Jimmy LaSalvia
Our America Initiative Advisory Counsel Member of Civil Liberties
Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
Those words inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty used to welcome the citizens of the world who landed on our shores in their pursuit of the American Dream. Now, amid screams of “secure our border,” many in this country seem to have forgotten what America is all about.
To be sure, I believe our border should absolutely be secure to prevent illegal activity and threats to our national security, but why are we keeping out good people who just want a better life for their families? Our immigration system today is so restrictive that many feel like they have no better option than torisk everything, and immigrate here illegally. Why not just let them immigrate legally?
There’s a lot of talk about what to do about the 11 million or so people who have immigrated here illegally, but not enough discussion about fixing the restrictive immigration system that resulted in so many undocumented immigrants. I say, let’s let everyone in. As long as they are not criminals or terrorists, let everyone who wants to come to the United States come on in – just sign up and do it the right way. That’s what we used to do, and it resulted in the greatest economic success story in world history.
The argument I usually hear against open immigration is that people will come from all over the world to take advantage of welfare and our government provided social services. First, I don’t know of anyone who aspires to that. Nobody’s American Dream is welfare – it’s opportunity. If access to social services is your argument against immigration, then let’s put some rules in place regarding how long you have to have worked in this country before you can access them.
The other argument is that immigrants will take jobs away from American citizens. Bullshit. Increased immigration will only increase our talent pool and increase the demand for housing, consumer goods, services, etc, that will create more jobs. You see, more people means more jobs. Look back at history. It’s true.
So before we get into a fight about undocumented immigrants who are already here, let’s put a stop to the demand for illegal immigration. Let’s let everyone in. Then, we can talk about all those people who came when our system was broken.