Welcoming the huddled masses

From the Comments section of an earlier entry that was titled “Say something outrageous” . . .

Old School Grump says:

Here’s an “outrageous” proposition to consider:

The best way to solve our nation’s economic problems? Encourage immigration! I mean legal immigration, and lots of it. And all types–from the smart people who come over here to earn advanced degrees but then aren’t allowed to stay (because of our stupid policies), to the poorest Mexicans who, whatever else you want to say, show a damn sight more initiative, risk-taking, and willingness to work than much of our native talent.

That said, we don’t have to be patsies about it. In fact, we should be pretty ruthless about who we accept and what we require of them. And children should have to speak English in school, sink-or-swim. People get all mushy and sentimental about immigration, as if that “huddled masses yearning to be free” bit were an actual policy. It isn’t, and it never was. Immigration policy can and should be self-serving (in an intelligent way, one can hope).

We need to do this 1) to build our math and science and engineering talent pool, and
2) to build our population. The looming Social Security and Medicare shortfalls are due to the dropping ratio of workers to retirees. Tinkering with pay-in and pay-out formulas is needed too, but it won’t be enough, this is an actuarial problem, we need more people in the system.

What are the odds that this country can have a genuine discussion on The Practical Benefits of Dramatic Immigration Reform? Ha ha. The conservatives get too much mileage out of playing the illegal-immigrants-are-destroying-our-country card; the liberals have too much of their self-image wrapped up in “give us your huddled masses yearning to be free so we can coddle them,” and the Tea Partiers, well, that’s just hopeless.

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3 Responses to Welcoming the huddled masses

  1. Pasted from Comments in a previous entry . . .

    Peg says:

    September 19, 2010 at 12:35 am (Edit)
    I actually agree with most of what Grump has to say. Most of the people I know are the ancestors of immigrants. They came here with little or nothing – worked hard, and prospered. And, as Grump said, they learned English and adapted to our culture – not the other way around.

    If people wish to come here, work hard, obey our laws and be decent citizens, I say, “welcome”! Happy to sell some of these folks a house, too

    Let’s change our immigration laws so that it is easier for people who fit this description and want to come here to come here.

  2. Pasted from Comments in a previous entry . . .

    lastliberalstand says:

    September 19, 2010 at 7:18 am (Edit)
    Grump, about those hard-working Mexicans you admire: I admire them, too, and anyone else who is eager to make a better life by earning it. But maybe the difference between hard-working, low-pay immigrants and non-working, no-pay Americans is that the Americans can’t AFFORD to work for the pittance that immigrants accept. The pay offered to the guys who stand out on the street corner, seeking a job-for-the-day, is not enough to support a family–unless you double up, triple up, or worse, in an overcrowded house or apartment, as many such workers do. Is this “the secret” of a stronger American economy?

    The streets where I live (in SW Connecticut) are crowded at night with cars bearing New York State license plates. My guess is that people are crowding into housing units that aren’t equipped to handle the load, parking-wise, sewer-wise, and otherwise. People can’t afford the homes unless they pack their friends in with them and charge rent. Add in the large numbers of day laborers who don’t have cars but who do need shelter, and you’ve got a whole lot of sardine-packing taking place.

    Do I admire such people for their determination and willingness to adjust? I sure do. But is that any kind of national solution–expanding the labor pool at a time when jobs are scarce? You know there’ll be backlash from unemployed Americans who see the existing jobs paying even LESS because of the increased numbers in the labor pool. What do we do with those folks? (It sounds as if you believe the only problem with them is that they’re lazy. I don’t agree.)

  3. Ray Harris says:

    Saturday (yesterday) I spent the day helping to man a booth at a small town fair in Roopville, GA, supporting a courageous young man, Frank Saunders, who is running against Georgia’s 3rd dist Congressman Lynn Westmoreland. Westmoreland is one of the absolute worst reps in the House. Just Google his name.

    While I took a break to get some additional promo copies at Staples, a redneck from a couple of booths down came over and picked a fight with Frank because he hated Democrats and took exception to Frank’s temerity to challenge Lynn Westmoreland’s ownership of the 3rd district. I’m happy that Frank refrained from decking the A-hole.

    Later on, a single issue redneck asked me if Frank Saunders favored sending all illegal immigrants back to Mexico. He said he would not vote for any candidate that would not promise to deport ALL undocumented aliens. Since we have about 20 million of them, I doubt if that would even be possible, let alone desirable.

    Every day my inbox finds vitriolic anti-Mexican and anti-Muslim e-mails. WTF!

    BTW, if you have some spare change, please send it to Frank Saunders. He really needs our help. http://www.votefrank.net/ Even $10 or $25 will help.

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