In the middle of the night, I woke up, wondering what my country was becoming, and what has has always made America great. In the words of the Hamilton mixtape, it’s Immigrants (We Get The Job Done).
Any cursory view of the history of immigration to the United States will show “huddled masses yearning to be free” yet not always fully welcomed. “Irish need not apply,” and the like.
Yet it was the enslaved, and formerly enslaved people, and poor, dirty, destitute people, traveling thousands of miles, seeking a better life who have made America great, despite the hardship and discrimination.
The current immigration debate, while toxic, isn’t exactly brand-new. The grandchildren and great-grandchildren of immigrants have always wanted to bar the door after “their” kind got in. Still, Almost 13% of the U.S. population is foreign-born, for a total of more than 40 million people.
The immigrant entrepreneurs were not usually “merit-based” people but folks fleeing difficult situations. “The belief that anyone can pull themselves up by their bootstraps in America still resonates today and drives many immigrants to come to the States to try their luck. And while success is rare and never guaranteed, some notable examples have managed to not only get ahead in America, but achieve extraordinary success.”
Native-born Americans are having fewer children, which will eventually shrink our labor force. One has seen in Japan, e.g., that a shrinking population and labor force will cause the economy to contract.
As a business librarian and someone who will be collecting Social Security soon enough, I recognize that more immigrants, of varied skills, are needed to keep the population, labor force, and economy strong and expanding. This will keep America great.
Bloomberg, hardly a bleeding-heart organization, notes that U.S. Farms Can’t Compete Without Foreign Workers.
Meanwhile, because of perceived xenophobic policies in DC – even illegal immigration does not increase violent crime – As Flow of Foreign Students Wanes, U.S. Universities Feel the Sting. And soon enough, the country will feel the loss of the intellectual capital those educated people might have brought.
“Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles.”