Monday, May 16, 2005

Why Immigration is Good for America

In reviewing my blog I've noticed that the three most recent posts seem to cast a negative light on immigration into the United States, especially with respect to Hispanic immigration. Let me clear the air: Legal immigration is GREAT for the United States of America. It is only illegal immigration that serves to hinder our economy and undermine our national security.

As our economy becomes more global, it is essential that our industries remain competitive worldwide. This requires a labor pool far greater than than is available in this country. If the United States is to remain an economic super power, clearly we must continue to attract immigrants from all socio-economic backgrounds. We need computer programmers, doctors, and manual laborers. We need professors, athletes, youth ministers, and entrepreneurs. I'm fortunate to know Hispanics who work in each one of these fields, and they are part of what makes America great. Likewise, I know professionals from Lithuania, Pakistan, India, Kuwait, China, Viet Nam and Russia. Each one of them is an important cog in the American economy.

Getting back to Hispanic immigration, specifically, there are several other points to be made as to why their presence is a good thing for America. Most importantly, the Hispanic culture tends to place a high value on the family. Based on U.S. Census Bureau data, 21% of white men over 15 have been divorced at least once. Within the Hispanic community, this figure is only 13%. Secondly, there can be no doubting the work ethic of Hispanic immigrants. While I don't subscribe to the "they'll take jobs others won't" theory, I do believe Hispanics work harder and for longer hours than do non-Hispanics. Part of this is driven by the first point - that is the importance of providing for one's family is a key motivator in working long hours in tough conditions. Finally, Hispanics bring a strong Christian influence to our nation.

To summarize, when Hispanics come to this country, they bring with them strong family bonds, hard work, and their Christian faith - three ingredients always welcome in the American melting pot.

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