Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Immigration is Recruiting, Not Charity

This is a message that needs to be repeated more. Pithy summaries: Jim Manzi said "we should reconceptualize immigration as recruiting." Reihan Salam adds urgency: "Incredibly, during a time when we’ve come to appreciate the importance of talent agglomerations and intangible assets, we’re reducing rather than increasing the legal influx of skilled migrants." We're only offering one third the skilled visas today that we did in 2001. Limiting skilled visas and granting amnesty to illegals has the same effect as blocking skilled labor and encouraging low-value labor. Not only are you selecting for low-value labor but you're creating an (ethnically defined!) service sector underclass which - progressive white collar Californians don't like to recognize - we already have. This is not good for the economy, and not good if you want a functioning democracy either.

All I can add here is an entreaty to the national Republican Party to include solutions to this issue in their platform. The GOP is really missing a big win here by ignoring this as a campaign issue and focusing instead on anchor baby idiocy. Refocusing the immigration issue in this way will also repair some of the damage to the GOP brand caused by anti-immigration support coming from open racists who taint the party's image - where as if you're for encouraging smart immigration (which will, by the way, largely be from eastern and southern Asia) you're self-evidently not a racist.

It's possible to find a real issue that has substantial economic and national security impact that can also resonate with voters, and this is one. It is tragically being ignored.

No comments: