The question is if US Senator hopefuls former Solicitor General Ted Cruz and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst views on immigration are productive ones. Clashing in a TV debate Friday they both dogged specific questions related to President Obama's new policy that clears the way for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children to live and work in the US without fear of deportation. Instead they called for border security, opposed amnesty and disagreed with the Texas Republican Party's call for a national guest-worker program.
"We have a crisis in illegal immigration, and the federal government must get serious about securing our borders", said Ted Cruz. "This latest Obama policy is nothing more than an attempt to enact back-door amnesty, and I categorically oppose amnesty".
But President Obama's recent policy does not confer any kind of permanent residence or amnesty, and is not a road to citizenship. Instead the Department of Homeland Security under a June 15 memo would grant eligible immigrant youth a two year work authorization that then would be renewable.
"It's a sensible thing to do", said Audrey Singer senior fellow at Brookings Institute, a center-right think tank based in Washington DC. "This is a group that just for human reasons and economic reasons it makes a lot of sense to provide legal status. With baby boomers retiring most of our new labor supply is going to come from immigrants".
Still, immigration is not only important to help offset the impending fiscal effects of the retirement of baby boomers, according to Robert D. Putnam, professor of Public Policy at Harvard, immigration is also associated with more rapid economic growth and enhanced creativity.
However, many Americans are uncomfortable with diversity, and in the short run immigration and ethnic diversity tend to reduce social solidarity and social capital. A study by Putnam finds, for example, that people living in diverse communities tend to withdraw from collective life, distrust their neighbors, and show a lower frequency of registering to vote, at the same time as they have more interest and knowledge about politics and more participation in protest marches and social reform groups.