Aliens, foreigners, dreamers, immigrants, whatever you call them they’re the same thing. As of the last few decades, immigration has become a very controversial and popular topic. Conversations about immigration often lead to ideological polarization between two very distinct groups: one group being the liberals, often Democrats, who want open borders and the other group being conservatives, often Republicans, who want very strict immigration policy and closed borders. People tend to take a stance towards immigration which often coincides with what their preferred political party prefers. That’s a mistake, it is important to educate yourself and choose a policy based on what you want for your country. Here’s a short analysis of some options.

Open Borders

The name of this system is self-explanatory. Open borders, free movement of people between jurisdictions with no limited restrictions on movement. Up until the Raegan, Bush and Clinton administrations, that’s the kind of immigration policy that the US had.  Douglass Massey, professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University, calls it a circular flow. Immigrants would come in the country, work for a bit and then go home to their families. This system has many benefits. An increase in the amount of immigrants naturally coincides with more ethnic diversity and cultural diversity. According to an article written by Patrick Sturgin,  a professor in the Department of Social Statistics at South-Hampton University, ethnic diversity increases the social cohesion within neighborhoods [1].  As reported by a new study conducted by economists Ashraf of Willems College and Oded Galor of Brown University, cultural diversity stimulates economic development [2]. Then again this system also has disadvantages. The biggest and clearest disadvantage that comes with this system is the loss of cultural identity. Central Americans, often the problem child of immigration, don’t assimilate well. They keep their own culture when coming to the US, which makes the US lose part of their identity. At least that’s what most people think. This however is not true. According to an article published by the Cato University Central Americans assimilate very well [3]. Over time most Central American immigrants end up learning English. It’s difficult to measure whether a group of immigrants has assimilated well to a society, but one way you could do it is by seeing how many of them take part in an activity that is very representative of their new country’s culture. For the US it would be joining the army. Americans of Central American descent are twice as likely to be active duty members as any other US-born natives[3]. This shows that Central Americans do indeed become well integrated members of the American Society.

Closed borders/ Strict border control

This system of border control is relatively new. The aforementioned administrations were the ones who heavily increased border enforcement. This disrupted the circular flow, but it didn’t keep people out, it kept them in. Because it was harder to go between countries people decided to just stay in the US. The Trump administration only added fuel to the flame. Even harsher immigration laws a lot of which were directed at countries with populations that are overwhelmingly Muslim. This Muslim ban was enforced for national security or at least a feeling of national security. It is true that not all Muslims are members of ISIS, but all members of ISIS are Muslims. Even though the Muslim ban was retracted by the Supreme Court, the immigration policies brought by Trump have not made the US particularly safer, in fact, they have worsened the border crisis [4] and have led to more nationalistic and racist feelings under white Americans. This is shown for example in the recent rise of the Ku Klux Klan [5]. Immigrants do however come with a big disadvantage. Taxes. Even though working immigrants do pay taxes they do end up costing America a lot of money [6]. According to a survey done by the Center of Immigration Studies(CIS), illegal immigrants have a poverty rate of 26 percent which is much higher than that of American natives. The CIS says that in both Texas and California more than half of illegal households use some kind of welfare. Taxpayers spend approximately $40 billion per year on education for illegal immigrants or their children, that’s almost twice as much as NASA’s annual budget. A huge majority of illegal immigrants don’t have health insurance, which means they also advantage take of public services. Even though illegal immigrants (generally) come to America seeking work, a decent amount don’t get jobs and the ones that do still end up costing America more than they make America in taxes due to them often reaping benefits of a lot of social services and their low wage jobs not giving a lot in taxes.
At the end of the day, both systems have advantages and disadvantages. It is up to you to choose the system that you think is the best suits your beliefs and needs. Don’t follow the herd, educate yourself, vote and choose consciously.

Links

1: Patrick Sturgis, Ian Brunton-Smith, Jouni Kuha & Jonathan Jackson (2014) Ethnic diversity, segregation and the social cohesion of neighbourhoods in London, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 37:8, 1286-1309, DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2013.831932 2: Quamral Ashuf & Oded Galor(2011): Cultural Diversity, Geographical isolation and the origin of the wealth of nations 3: Published by Cato Institute, written by  David Bier(2018): Central Americans Assimilate very well 4: Ana Campoy(2019):  The many ways Trump has made the situation at the US-mexico border worse 5: Associated press(2016):  The Klu Klux Klan is slowly rising again 6: R. Cort Kirkwood(2012: Illegal Aliens a Drain on U.S. taxpayers, Report Says
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