A Young Illinois Reader Says That Americans Should Stop Basing Immigration Policy On What Was Good For Their Ancestors, And Consider What’s Good For Their Descendants, Instead
September 24, 2012, 04:08 AM
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Re: James Fulford’s blog post Howard Foster:"Why Are The Two Parties Still Celebrating Immigration?"

A Young Illinois Reader [Email him]

Howard Foster writes:

"To him [Rubio] the US is a great country because he has thrived here."

Indeed. For all the talk of the Treason Lobby or the Cheap Labor Lobby, the greatest impediment to immigration restrictionism may lie in the fact that no other policy issue lends itself so readily to a kind of solipsism.

I think it is perfectly natural, however irrational, for people to think, "Any immigration policy that admitted me/my ancestors must be a good policy." Scaled up, the result is a Panglossian consensus that we live in the greatest of all demographically possible Americas.

There is, of course, no reason to believe that, but it`s hard to fault people for feeling that way. My father came from India just after the 1965 immigration reform. I suppose, in a sense, I owe my existence to it! But I`m not so self-centered as to think that a policy that was beneficial to me must have been beneficial to the country as it was constituted in 1965.

And that`s the key. People need to realize that immigration, like any other policy issue, is a forward-looking matter, not an exercise in retroactively justifying our family trees.

See previous letters from this writer here and here.