Anti-Economic Xenophobia

Due to the possibility of a recession within the American economy, sentiments against immigration have risen, but the issue is that immigration levels are not high enough to achieve the goals of prospering and leading a better life.

The growing possibility of a recession in the economy, combined with the rigid adjustments seen in the lending markets, has raised sentiments against immigration. Also, it is a year of presidential campaigns, where blaming others for internal problems becomes a national sport.

It is a shame that a topic of such high importance, worthy of civilized dialogue and well informed conversation, becomes an object of such visceral emotion and so much deception. This issue happens in other countries as well. This, as suggested by the magazine, The Economist, is worrying because migration benefits the country that provides the human capital as much as the country who receives it. Immigrants regularly are motivated people, dynamic, with a sense of urgency and aspirations.

Mexican immigrants, whether legal or illegal, tend to send home remittances and active valuables such as knowledge, new lifestyles, ideas, and even technology. The remittances themselves present a great benefit, not only because of their financial value, but also because it is the best example of intelligent assistance and completely personalized.

How to neutralize immigration will still be talked about in the presidential debates. Without a doubt, none of the candidates that oppose immigration will notice, as “The Economist” has reminded us, that more than three-fourths of college graduates and PhDs in science or engineering in the U.S. are immigrants. Also, many of the founders of technology enterprises that are based in Silicon Valley, California were immigrants.

However, unfortunately, the reality is that politicians prefer to exploit fears of xenophobia rather than explaining the benefits of immigration and the necessity for a smart change, gradual and organized within migratory boundaries. But, with or without a figurative wall, the American economy will continue depending on immigration, due to both fiscal pressure and labor demand. It would be better to create temporary mechanism, or of amnesty, than to exploit an anti-economic resentment and try to shut doors that will end up falling anyway due to economic realities.

The fact is that a major migratory integration carries superior benefits to the mixed benefit of financial aid to other nations, debt condonation, and also commercial reforms. Bono, Jeffrey Sachs, and other members of the pro-Third World countries group would be more effective in their causes if they add migratory integration into their message. According to Phillippe Legrain, former editor of The Economist, “to try to thwart the migration of people is morally unacceptable and an honest economic stupidity.” Immigration is a mechanism that significantly reduces the misery of the poorest.

Thus, the issue is not that the current levels of immigration are extremely high; it is that they are not high enough to reach the goals to live better and prosper.

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