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Worrying that immigrants will undermine quality of life

Alistair Bell wrote a great story for Reuters today describing that Americans worry that illegal migrants threaten our way of life. Let’s discuss this topic.

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John Moore, Getty Images

When in the past have Americans worried that migrants would have a negative effect on American quality of life? Oh yes, there were waves of fear.

But first remember that one of America’s first commercial developers, George Washington, had a grand scheme to build a canal system to transport migrant pioneers westward. His idea was to motivate pioneers to beat a fast track to the west to colonize the territory before the Spanish, French, and even the English could claim it. By controlling real estate along the way through strategic acquisitions, he would make a bundle. That idea failed when someone invented the locomotive and bypassed his transportation system.

Anyway, immigrants were welcome at firs to help bolster the population and to develop the nation.

African slaves were imported like a commodity, but eventually, Americans would see and treat them as people. It would take a long time before they would be addressed equally.

“The first significant federal legislation restricting immigration was the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act.”

That is odd for a number of reasons:

  • Chinese (Asian) people were likely the first humans to live in America as that is the root of indigenous people.
  • Chinese laborers were crucial contributors to completing the transcontinental railroad that connected East and West.

Immigration used to be states-based, but in 1892 the first federal immigration stations were established on Ellis Island in New York.

“New laws in 1965 ended the quota system that favored European immigrants, and today, the majority of the country’s immigrants hail from Asia and Latin America.”

With all of the waves of people came moments of resentment by some. Why? It is because people perceive competition. Just as one group begins to assimilate and to advance, another one comes and apparently there are moments when arrivals compete with incumbents for jobs and opportunity. That concern is not a complete fabrication as it may be real.

There is a history of waves brushing against the shores of Lady Liberty who took her good old time getting here from France. The statue was designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886, as a gift to the United States from the people of France.

  • Slave wave
  • Northern and Western Europe wave
  • Irish wave
  • German wave
  • Chinese wave
  • Jews from Eastern Europe wave
  • Asia and Latin America wave

It is true that America needs to manage its population size. It is true that it needs to encourage the population to develop its skill, knowledge, and proficiency in relevant disciplines to sustain competitive advantage. New immigrants are raw material for exciting new development, and a welcome addition to the nation’s diversity.

“Americans worry that illegal migrants threaten way of life, economy


KINGSTON New Hampshire Thu Aug 7, 2014 8:42am EDT

(Reuters) - As President Barack Obama considers sidestepping Congress to loosen U.S. immigration policy, a Reuters/Ipsos poll shows Americans are deeply worried that illegal immigration is threatening the nation's culture and economy.

Seventy percent of Americans - including 86 percent of Republicans - believe undocumented immigrants threaten traditional U.S. beliefs and customs, according to the poll.
The findings suggest immigration could join Obamacare - the healthcare insurance overhaul - and the economy as hot button issues that encourage more Republicans to vote in November's congressional election.

With Congress failing to agree on broad immigration reforms, Obama could act alone in the next few weeks to give work permits to up to 5 million undocumented immigrants and delay some deportations, according to media reports.

Hispanic and liberal voters would welcome that, but the online survey suggests much of the rest of the nation may not.”

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