President Obama in his inauguration speech promises to make immigration a priority in his second term.
It is about time. Immigration holds the key to the U.S. long-term economic growth and prosperity. Ignoring it spells doom to the U.S. future economic standing in the world.
Just consider this: Singapore’s GDP per capita is $48,900 while US lags at $46,000. Singapore has comparatively very little natural resources but has a population density of 18,176 per square mile while U.S. has 84 population density per square mile. Clearly, Singapore GDP advantage is its HUMAN RESOURCES. It is also clear that the U.S. economy can absorb more labor force to fuel economic growth and vitality.
The president and congress will have difficulty passing comprehensive immigration laws because states have varied immigration needs, problems, and unique solutions. Border states tend to be against border crossings while land locked agricultural states would welcome labor migrations. Varied needs prevent interstate legislative compromises. Would Arizona be staunchly against border crossing if the state is awash in wineries, apple orchards, wheatfields, and other agricultural industries? Would states invested in high tech and financial institutions favor open borders for scientists, engineers, and other professionals? Also, it only takes few generations for smart, ambitions, and hardworking non-skilled immigrants to produce highly skilled professional progenies much needed in today’s economy.
Think human resources. Think Ellis Island.
The underlying problem is that when the U.S. Constitution authorized the federal government to establish uniform immigration laws, the country had an open border at the time. This suggests that the scope of the authority is only on who can stay and who can be deported, not on who can come in. Constitutional scholars should study this ingress / egress issue and present it to the Supreme Court for a modern ruling. The federal government can legislate paths to citizenship but individual states would be free to invite who can come in with interstate limitations establish by the federal government.
Immigration by open state invitation will restore the country’s economic vibrancy by bolstering its human resources and insuring long-term economic strategical growth. The U.S. population is aging and diminishing per capita compared with other successful and emerging economies. The U.S. current economic edge cannot be sustained unless it will have more per capita tax payers and consumers.
Think human resources when debating immigration.