What should free market conservatives think about immigration?
A very recent arrival in America, I believe that immigration can be a tremendous force for good. Ever since Scottish immigrant, Alexander Graham Bell, founded AT&T in the late nineteenth century, recent arrivals to the United States have been innovative and entrepreneurial.
But is the system of immigration we have today working?
Along the southern US border, immigration seems to have become a free-for-all. If news reports are to be believed, anyone arriving seems to be allowed to remain.
Yet at the same time, people with perfectly valid visas from Europe and Asia are prevented from coming to America because of tough Covid restrictions.
It makes a mockery of the immigration system to bar entry to those that play by the rules but allow in those who don’t even pretend to play by them.
It is often said that many of America’s Fortune 500 firms were founded by immigrants – or the children of immigrants. I wonder how many of them would have been allowed in under the current chaotic system.
Ronald Reagan, one of America’s greatest ever presidents, talked of how immigrants ‘continuously renew and enrich our nation’. Today’s immigrants, he recognized, were tomorrow’s Americans.
Immigration has been a source of strength to America because recent arrivals have bought into a common narrative about what it means to be an American. Important though fixing the southern border is, we need to ensure that everyone growing up in the United States today is taught what makes America so exceptional; the Constitution, the Founding Ideals and a shared sense of the Republic’s past.