INTRODUCTION Immigration in the 21st Century: Pros and Cons In light of the recent September 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, there has been a widespread resultant paranoia in the American psyche. Amongst one of the “preventive measures” to curb further terrorist activities, the American immigration policy was scrutinized upon intensely. Long-time skeptics of immigration, including former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan and the Federation for American Immigration Reform, have tried in recent days to turn those legitimate concerns about security into a general argument against openness to immigration. However, what these immigration skeptics failed to see is that terrorist activities and immigration are two different issues altogether and should not be linked under any circumstance. In this essay, this issue will be discussed in addition to the broader topic in this regard: why the United States should keep its traditional policy of open immigration.
REALITY CHECK Amongst the anti-immigration stalwarts, the primary argument is that continual immigration at the present pace would bring economic woes to this country, particularly in the case of labor competition and wages.
However, based on the testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee (Subcommittee on Immigration) on April 4th, 2001, Stephen Moore, Senior Fellow in Economics of Cato Institute, these claims are unjust if not unfounded. Based on the anti-immigration advocates claims, the current level of immigration would lead to such economic problems as: 1) increased unemployment for native born workers; 2) higher poverty rates of native born Americans; 3) lower incomes for American workers; 4) increased economic problems for minority workers; 5) a huge surge in welfare dependency; and 6) lower overall rates of economic growth. Nonetheless, the evidence thus far cannot substantiate such assertions.
Unemployment - In the period 1978-82 the U.S. unemployment rate was between 6 and 8%. Today,