Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses Yearning …
This nation is a dynamic nation. This continent has been the source for intellectual and industrial ingenuity for the better part of 150 years. No other nation has gone from colonial subjectivity to world superpower as fast and as vigorous as America has. The only true testament to this phenomenon is the roots of American liberty. America is still the only influential nation that would founded on an idea; other historic and present nations were founded on a creed, a religion, a bloodline, a people, a region, etc. There is no doubt that this country’s greatness is a direct result of its people – and America’s people are from all over the world. Why?
This country has always offers the greatest expression of human freedom ever given to man by man. This country is rooted in the concept that it is the individual’s soul that is sovereign, not a government or an elite. This is distinctly different than other countries whom perpetuate the Caste System in some manner or form. This system restricts your prosperity and upward mobility, regardless of personal motivation and drive to pursue happiness. This system retards the human soul and closes the mind to a realm of irrational constraint. The stewards of our great country understood that America would become the hope of the world. Georg Washington spoke in an address to members of the Volunteer Association of Ireland on 2 Dec 1783 and said:
“The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to the participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment.”
Here Washington precisely addresses the virtue of immigration. America was intended, from the start, to be a nation of open arms and a nation of strong backs. A nation that would accept another that was willing to pursue the American Dream and pursuit the self-evident truths expressed in the Declaration of Independence. Conversely, America was never intended to be a nation acceptant of any migrant worker that sought the hallows of its compassionate people. The debate over Comprehensive Immigration Reform currently underway in Congress is maligned to the spirit of America. The objective of this current political fog is all about future control of the electoral process. Both sides of the political isle see immigration as a magnetic to pull votes one way or the other to benefit their agendas. It is disgraceful to watch the pander and political cheerleading being displayed to achieve public support. As is all too common in today’s Federal Government, we have lost sight of the purpose. Any immigration system should overwhelming work to strengthen the host country – not tear it apart along philosophical lines. Let us explore briefly the history of immigration in the United States.
It can be said that there was a wave of immigrants from say 1880 to the early 20th Century; this is the acclaimed era of immigrants witnessing Lady Liberty as they entered America via Ellis Island. Many of these people are our ancestors. So why are we so hostile to future generations and their aspirations for individual success? It is simple – because a vast majority of aforementioned immigrants came to America with the spirit of George Washington’s remarks in warranting the enjoyment of all of America’s rights and privileges. That can surely still be said for many immigrants today, do not misunderstand. However in the aggregate, the intentions of many immigrants today are purely different than those of yesteryear. What prompted this inflection of heart? History is clear that this time coincided with the created of the modern administrative state: This state manufactured the need for government security and spark the flame of the current social welfare system. It should be no question that this magnet altered the intentions of many interested in American opportunity. Worthy or unworthy of merit.
Despite the reality of current climate of governmental involvement, it is still in America’s best interest to attract immigrants of all skill levels from all regions. Here is why! Migrant workers compliment American workers, when the free market is allowed to adjust accordingly. This splicing of labor from both domestic and immigrant sources allows the creative engine of capitalism to draw on the best from all. The graphic below is a good illustration of the dynamics of the labor skill spectrum in relation to immigration. This data was based on a 2007 television program titled “Immigration Calculations”. This portrays the classic immigration “hourglass”. Skill is the vertical axis and the red diamond shape is the domestic labor skill distribution.
It stands to reason that a free society should have an open boarder and allow the natural labor market to function, but we know this is not the tendency of the administrative state that wishes to deem quotas and micro-manage the volatility of the labor market through oppressive unions and bureaucratic largess. Perhaps the main myths about immigration can possibly be cleared up by the following video.
Dr. Ben Powell’s analysis of the opportunity benefit of immigration. However, what is of concern is the motive of those in governmental institutions to expand the power and control of government to disrupt the positive aspects of free immigration. This sentiment was also shared by the American economic icon Dr. Milton Friedman by his short explanation of sense of immigration in the modern American polity in the video below.
Perhaps the intuition used by Dr. Friedman is too blunt, but it is obvious that the modern American migrant’s hope does not warrant the enjoyment of the American Dream if that immigrant is seeking the protections and securities of the welfare state. The two simple cannot function in parallel – one must give way. And if the last century is any indication we have evidence that immigration, as an aggregate, has sought the safety net.
A wise question that we should ask ourselves is what do current immigrants yearn for? How should we structure our public policy to ensure that America is better off with an immigration policy that incentivizes individual merit and draws from them the best of themselves – not the minimum to maintain dependency? The poem “The New Colossus” inscribed on a bronze plaque mounted inside the lower level of the Statue of Liberty exposés the same merit of opportunity. An excerpt,
“… ‘Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe FREE,’ …”
Is it still true that immigrants to the United States today yearn to breathe FREE in the context of the poem? Can it also be said that more yearn to breathe COMFORTABLE today under the security blanket of government benefits paid for through America’s fleecing of our finances. There is no question that EVEN more would breathe with a victorious scorn if amnesty were to be granted to them. It would certainly be incredibly foolish for those who wish for a smaller government to not consider the influential power the State would have to draw loyal future voters.