Dear Next President:
They say that we should all send our politicians up into space, and the reasoning is not to get rid of the root of society's evils, but rather to show our world leaders what our planet actually looks like. You will see a watery world in patches of green and brown with no borders, no boundaries, and no walls. Humanity is not defined by nations or states with competing agendas or different viewpoints. We are all citizens of one race - the human race - and all of humanity should be able to move freely around the Earth. The United States needs to become a country that is open to migration if it intends to maintain its economic prestige in the 21st century and if it intends to stay true to its founding values.
The U.S. population is becoming an aging population, and the only way to resolve this demographic danger is to increase immigration. The demographic of those who are over the age of 65 represented 14.5% of the overall population in 2014. This percentage is expected to grow to 21.7% by the year 2040. It is an issue facing every developed economy where the government will have to contribute more of its public expenditure towards social programs like Medicare and Social Security just to take care of a larger and aging population. Our national fertility rate of 1.86 can no longer make up for that deficit. The only way for the U.S. to support the $546 billion and counting in Medicare expenditure is to bring in new taxpayers in the form of migrants.
Immigration is the very essence of the American identity. Nearly all of us here in this country can trace our roots back to different continents, and as our families and ancestors moved here, we’ve brought that diversity of backgrounds and experiences which now enhances the American democratic process. Immigration can also enhance the economic process as well. Contrary to popular beliefs, when migrants come to a new country, they do not create a depression in the job market where competition would drive local wages down. According to economist Michael Clemens from the Center for Global Development, “the overall effect on wages of workers in the countries that migrants go to is very low, and typically measured around zero.” Migrants have such a negligible effect on wages in their new country that it almost has no effect. Some economics research has even shown that migrants make non-migrants more productive in their work performance. The impact of migrants in our economy go greater than just productivity. About 40% of Fortune 500 companies have been founded by migrants or their children.
Migration to the United States not only results in an economic boost for us but also a boost for the global economy as well. The advantage of labor mobility is that it brings people from around the world who are held back from making a meaningful economic contribution due to poor economic conditions and low wages. A person who moves to the United States from a developing country would immediately see the rise in their wages, and that results in a rise in quality of life. And the country that they will be leaving will have a labor shortage to cover, meaning a rise in wages over there as well. The migrants who come to the United States can even send money back to their families to help support the overall economy over there, which would be much more beneficial than if they were restricted over there. We could even be more selective to the point where we only take the top talent, the upper 10% of the most innovative and productive people who will contribute to our great economy.
There are those who are skeptics of this plan, citing that we have the potential of letting in terrorists from the Middle East who have the intent to harm this great country of ours. The basis behind this reasoning is fear. Our fear has resulted in a much greater backlash of protectionist and nativist sentiment that persecutes different waves of immigrants over the history of the United States. We can be more selective in our admissions process of migrants into the United States to screen for any potential risks, but completely barring them would deprive us of their talent and deprive them of the opportunity to prove themselves.
The United States is special. Whereas the likes of India and China can tap into the ingenuity of over a billion people respectively, this country can draw upon the full talents of the world's 7.3 billion and counting. This ability for people to move to the United States freely has greatly contributed towards our national growth and identity over the course of this nation. We must not turn back from the long held belief that America is the place that has open doors that welcome all the immigrants of the world. Our diversity in our ethnicities, cultures, skills, and backgrounds are our strengths. Open migration has served America wonderfully before and there’s no reason that it can’t do the same now.