The United States has gained an exceptional status as a great nation of immigrants. The country has for centuries been the most preferred destination for most oppressed individuals from totalitarian governments and collectivist economies throughout the world. However, in the recent past, most American citizens who are the descendants and beneficiaries of unregulated and open immigration have passionately been hesitant to embrace free immigration due to the threat that it brings on their wellbeing. This paper seeks to describe advantages, disadvantages, problems, and probable solutions to open immigration challenges.
Advantages of Open Immigration
Open immigration invites competition into the labor markets of the US, which eliminates artificially inflated American labor costs and improves labor efficiency level. Peri (2016) elucidate that it is worthy to note that as American labor costs decrease, producers and entrepreneurs produce efficiently, thereby enabling them to sell their services and products at lower prices. Imperatively, lower prices increase American purchasing power, which in turn improves their living standards. Other than reduced labor costs, open immigration brings diversity to the American workforce, which leads to exchange of technical skills interchange between Americans and immigrants. The ramification for exchange of skills is increased productivity, thus economic growth.
It is also worthy to note that open immigration creates more market for American goods and services which helps to steer economic growth. Also, open immigration allows skilled personnel to enter into America, which then help various sectors of the American economy to grow (Peri, 2016). For instance, it results in an influx of doctors, engineers, researchers, among others who bring relevant experience and know-how in various economic sectors of the US, a situation that spurs economic growth and establishes professional qualification areas. Open immigration also benefits those fleeing their countries due to a civil war outbreak or political intolerance. Normally, when situations that threaten security and lives of people corner them, their innate reaction is fleeing. It is imperative to understand that people fleeing their country for various reasons do not have time for the formal procedure of gaining entry into another country, lest they are pursued and arrested or killed. Thus, open immigration is instrumental in saving the lives of immigrants as well as granting them freedom.
Disadvantages of Open Immigration
Open immigration is detrimental to the American working class as it destroys their ability to earn a decent living. Free and open immigration puts hardworking and decent Americans out of work as immigrants are willing to do a job for less remuneration than American citizens while producing greater or equal output. Another disadvantage of open immigration is that it erodes the American welfare system (Grisworld, 2012). In addition, it is susceptible to abuse from immigrants who come to the US merely to exploit social services of the American public. It is vital to understand that it is the American welfare system and not the potential economic freedom that attracts immigrants into the economy of the US. Moreover, open immigration enables entry of slothful, indigent, and unproductive immigrants who constitute the American economy's deadweight loss. The ramification of deadweight loss is a further tax burden increase on hardworking and productive Americans. In this regard, it is imperative to keep the borders policed to eradicate the undesirables.
Open immigration leads to erosion of the distinct American culture as well as its traditional heritage. Critics of open immigration argue that the immigrant influx would sabotage traditional American culture since they are hostile to the culture's institutional framework as well as being unfamiliar with it. They further elucidate that the modern-day immigrants lack the same ethnic characteristics as earlier immigrants. They, therefore, do not appreciate the culture and traditional heritage of the Americans. For instance, open immigration allows influx of immigrants from despotic countries who do not appreciate the roles that various institutions play in making the US the greatest country.
Problem of Open Immigration
Open immigration has been associated with numerous advantages to both Americans and immigrants. However, it has resulted into unending challenges to Americans as far as their wellbeing is concerned. According to Andreas and Biersteker (2014), the real problem that open immigration presents is security. Essentially, open immigration results in influx of undocumented immigrants into the US, leading to a profound American security problem. Undocumented migrants distract resources, distort the law, and create a ground for the thriving of criminal and terrorist activities. It is worthy to note that undocumented immigrants planned and executed the 9/11 attack on the American soil because open immigration had it impossible to have a record of all immigrants within the US, which made detection and thwarting of their criminal activities difficult (Golash-Boza, 2015). Notably, open immigration encourage smuggling of drugs across the US border because criminals find it easy to seek hard drugs into the country without thorough security checks. Also, open immigration encourages human trafficking into and out of the US, which poses a security threat to the American citizens. It is also notable to highlight that open immigration results into immigrants who are unaware of the United States' prevailing laws. Thus, unbeknownst to immigrants, their activities within the US may be classified as criminal activities. As a result, they may feel intimidated as they may feel that the American law enforcers target them. Consequently, immigrants may organize terrorist activities in a bid to revenge against harsh treatment that the American government imposes on them. For this reason, security issue is a serious problem associated with open immigration that requires urgent and long lasting solution.
Solutions to Open Immigration Problems
Open immigration has advantages, disadvantages, and problems as far as American citizens and immigrants are concerned. There is, therefore, a need to balance between its benefits and national security. As Hing (2012) explains, the US government needs to be sensible and pragmatic in how it approaches immigration to improve the country's national security as well as upholding its role in key national interests. The best way to achieve this is to develop or formulate important immigration systems and policies that will play a pivotal role in enhancing the US's national security agenda. These policies should be such that they allow interdicting of narcotics, apprehending unauthorized immigrants, and preventing entry of terrorists and criminals to the US. Imperatively, there is a need for US immigration agencies to heighten intelligence sharing and cooperate with local, federal, or international security and law enforcement agencies. Hing (2012) further elucidates that the collaboration will enable analysis of pieces of evidence regarding vessels, travelers, and cargo in real time, which allow for monitoring of illegal activities such as human and drug trafficking, planning of terrorist activities, and so on. In fact, the implementation of these policies will result to the much-needed immigration reform that will help to build a strong immigration system that will improve the security of Americans while at the same time preserving its interests in commerce, international relations, and a diversified workforce among others. Moreover, these immigration policies will preserve the influence and the power that the US has on personal, educational, and cultural exchanges.
Generally, the United States has been a beacon example of a nation that thrives on diversity. Most significantly, the greatness of America has been possible due to open migration. Other than diversity, open migration has resulted into a reduced labor cost in America as immigrants have offered their labor at a relatively lower cost compared to native Americans. This situation has led to decreased product prices and consequently improving living standards of Americans. Open immigration has also promoted technical and professional skills interchange between immigrants and American professionals, which has been instrumental in improving various sectors of the economy of the country. However, despite its advantages, open immigration has presented challenges to citizens of the US. For instance, it has denied hardworking Americans a chance to enjoy a decent living, destroyed America's social welfare system, and eroded traditional heritage and culture of the United States among other disadvantages. It is vital to elucidate that open immigration also results in security concern at the American borders and to American citizens at large. It facilitates thriving of harmful activities such as human and drug trafficking, terrorist activities, and so on. In this regard, the US government needs to formulate important immigration policies that will strike a balance between controlling immigration within its borders and preserving its interests, both locally and internationally. Immigration policies, therefore, ensure a crackdown of drug barons, illegal trade, and human traffickers among others, while at the same it avoiding raising alarm about handling of immigrants at the US borders.
Andreas, P., & Biersteker, T. J. (2014). The rebordering of North America: integration and exclusion in a new security context. Routledge.
Golash-Boza, T. M. (2015). Immigration Nation: Raids, detentions, and deportations in post-9/11 America. Routledge.
Grisworld, D. T. (2012). Immigration and the welfare state. Cato J., 32, 159.
Hing, B. O. (2012). Defining America: through immigration policy. Temple University Press.
Peri, G. (2016). Immigrants, productivity, and labor markets. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 30(4), 3-30.
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