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What Exactly Is The Problem With “Chain Migration?”

by David Teitelbaum (Principles: It all begins with Respect. ) - 4 month ago

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We owe it to our future to gather hard data on what immigration system would best serve our national interest. Until we do, there are no answers to the important questions.

Sadly, the debate over what Republicans dismissively refer to as “chain migration” and Democrats reverently call “family reunification” has become little more than another skirmish in America's zero-sum political game. Democrats want to increase quotas in the current system because immigrants come primarily from groups which tend to vote for Democrats while Republicans want to reduce overall immigration and change the rules so that more Republicans and fewer Democrats come into the country.  

Rather than having a serious debate about immigration, we are reduced to anecdotes and hyperbole. Republicans trumpet any story about immigrants committing crimes or collecting welfare while Democrats talk about the Statue of Liberty and immigrant success stories. Missing, of course is hard evidence and expert analysis of what is best for our country.  

 Let’s take a look at the issues:  

Are legal immigrants more likely to commit crimes than native born Americans? We don’t know. The internet is filled with competing statistics about the number of  immigrants in prisons compared to the number of incarcerated native born Americans but few, if any, of those statistics separate out crimes committed by legal immigrants from those committed by illegal immigrants. Or, to put it another way, the statistics are useless for determining whether legal immigrants commit more crimes than the general population. The prevailing opinion among experts is that there is no evidence to support any claim that legal immigrants are more prone to criminal activity than native born Americans. 

Are legal immigrants receiving more government aid than native born Americans? On this issue, there is evidence that more benefits are given to families headed by legal immigrants than are given to families headed by native born Americans. However, these statistics are not adjusted based on size of family. They also do not look at what happens to the next generation. As a nation, we commit tens of thousands of dollars a year to the education of every child. It is an investment in our future. Couldn’t the extra welfare paid to first generation immigrants also be considered as an investment in the future? Without good statistics, we have no idea if that investment is paying off.

What is the ideal number of immigrants we should admit each year? A serious study on this has not been done since the “Jordan Commission” chaired by Barbara Jordan, Democrat of Texas, submitted its final report in 1996. The Jordan Commission argued for admitting only immigrants who advance the national interest, a concept that everyone should agree with. Our national interests, though, have changed since 1996. We now have a severe and growing shortage of home health care aids and construction workers and our Social Security and Medicare systems are in dire financial straits. Wouldn’t it be in our national interest then to bring in people to fill these lower paying jobs and shore up our entitlement programs?  

Should “chain migration” be replaced by a merit-based system? We’d all love to see the plan but until we do, it’s nothing but talk. Just as a sidelight though, what about all those American born college graduates with huge student loan debt?  Do we really want an influx of foreign born college graduates competing with them for jobs?

Bottom line is that this issue is of critical importance not only to the people directly affected but to the future of our country. We owe it to ourselves, our children and future generations of Americans to take the time to obtain real data and make decisions that are in the best long term interest of the country, rather than in the best interest of our political parties. 

Comments and Responses (2)

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By  Facebook Commenter - 4 month ago
The above article is merely another addition to hyperbole and posturing. Of course, if one emigrates one is leaving behind kith and kin and one's native language. There is no obligation for a foreign country to accept the families of immigrants. Even less to accept people born here for no reason but to gain citizenship for the benefits instead of making a life here. But there is far less justification for merit immigration which just suppresses wages to levels that foreigners are willing to accept. Do we want thirty million more people by 2050? Eighty million more by 2100?
Discussion Leader's Response : This comment is relevant to the discussion. (Commenter's rating is increased.)
Discussion Leader's Explanation : Thanks for the comment but if I'm following you, I think we are in complete agreement on the main issue covered by this article. The U.S. needs to make a rational, fact-based decision on how many and what type of immigrants are in the best interests of our country. Instead, however, we have two political parties using meaningless slogans as they jockey to gain the political upper hand through immigration. We must consider the negative short term impact of depressing wages and increasing demands on our social safety net, the positive short term impact of improving high-tech competitiveness and reducing the cost of health care, and the long term benefits of increasing GDP and improving funding for Social Security and Medicare. And I'm just scratching the surface of everything that should be considered in developing an immigration policy that "puts America, and Americans, first."
General Comments
By  Ville Finland - 4 month ago
I am born in 1944. Finland was in war that ended 1944. Russia, victor, never occupied land but Finland had to handover much of its land. 400.000 person, the finns,resettled Inside our new borders. The population was about ca 4.000.000 and everyone accepted this. We paid "war damages" to Russia to the worth of 800.000.000 USD,.The last installment was I 1952. Finlands closest neighbor Sweden, was not engaged in the second world war and its economy and Industry grew rapidly during and after the world war, From 1945 till 1970 more than 500.000 Finns has emigrated to Sweden. Finland has about 5.500.00 inhabitants of which 370.000 are "foreign born" No big political group yet is "flat against imigration"
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