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The Importance of Open Immigration

Posted on August 19, 2011
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Manila, Philippines — There is a wave of anti-immigrant bias sweeping Europe and parts of the United States today that was most shockingly displayed by the incident in Norway when a Norwegian national shot 76 of his fellow countrymen, who had gathered for a summer outing on an island near Oslo, simply because they favored open immigration.

Taking nationalism and xenophobia to the extreme, he feared that opening Norway to immigrants would result in a “Muslim colonization” of his country.

In actual fact, historically, immigration has played a major constructive role in the successful development of many nations. The United States, for a prime example, was founded by immigrants. An open continent, with scattered, indigenous Indian tribes as its only human occupants, America offered a “promised land” to immigrants fleeing Europe and Asia, for religious or financial reasons.

Today it is a successful melting pot for a wide variety of cultures and ethnic backgrounds. If you ask an American about his background, you are likely to hear a story that may go back several centuries, to someone who left his own country and came to America seeking a fresh start, an opportunity for a better life for himself and his family.

This is what gives America its unique vitality and talent for innovation, the “can do” pioneer spirit that results in economic development. Immigrants in the US have contributed over half of all the new patents and start-up companies in the past decade. Research indicates that far from being a social burden, this movement of people from one country to another actually stimulates economic growth and reduces poverty.

In addition, immigrants have provided an answer to labor shortages. In a developed country like the US, the rise in educational attainment has meant a shrinking labor force and fewer people willing to take low-paying, unskilled jobs, which immigrants can fill. They also meet the need for younger workers in a rapidly aging population, and they pay more in taxes than they receive in social security benefits.

Above all, America can take pride in its egalitarianism. We are brought up to believe that no one is better than anyone else or entitled to special treatment. In a democratic society, all men are supposed to be created equal.

Because of this inherent conviction, Americans often take the side of people who have been robbed of their equality by tyrants. Today we see it in the America presence with NATO in Libya, and its commitment that Col. Khadafy, who has ruled the country for 40 years, in the words of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, “must go.”

Beth Day Romulo

18 Aug 2011

http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/331083/the-importance-open-immigration

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