Immigration Can Be An Opportunity To Reunite America
The need for comprehensive Immigration Reform is real.
The United States today has more immigrants than any other country in the world. In 2017, nearly 50 million people living in the United States were born in other countries, according to the United Nations International migrant data.
A good portion of past national conversations around immigration focused on building a U.S.-Mexico wall, as part of strengthened border security. This has unnecessarily divided people and worsened ethnic tensions. It is time for a paradigm shift.
Every American is shaped by his or her own experience and unique tale that is one family’s “American Story.” This is as true for us at American Immigration Attorneys.
For us, we also have seen first-hand the challenges and complexities of immigration integration, including through past board work at World Education Services, a non-profit focused on credential evaluations, research, and ongoing support for international students and skilled immigrants in the United States and Canada. We immigrants deserve the opportunity to earn a fair and steady wage as they acclimate for a new home.
The question presented: How do we move the immigration discussion forward? We suggest a three-step approach.
First, language matters. We must reshape the immigrant conversation around common incentive-economic empowerment for immigrants. Frequently, existing conversations focus on terms like a crisis, neglect, and economic opportunity. When giving an option, immigrants don’t want to depend on humanitarian aid, they would much rather work.
Second, engagement is critical. We must find dynamic ways to deepen economic exchange for immigrants and local communities. It is not a myth that immigrants are often the hardest workers. In 2018, the labor force participation rate of immigrants was 65.7 percent higher than the 62.3 percent rate for the native-born, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Centering policy around empowering immigrants must involve immigrants themselves and recognize the need for differing programs for differing skill levels. Kinstep’s original early-stage research found that 90 percent of immigrants we surveyed were in a job in which they had no experience, exposure or expertise.
Third, we must incentivize innovation that embraces all human capital, including that of America’s robust immigrant heritage and community. We must explore incentives for companies that complement existing job creation programs with pathways for immigration integration.
Out of adversity, the entrepreneurial muscle and ethos are built to fail fast and rise up.
Wall or no wall, authorized or unauthorized, the number of immigrants in the United States will only increase given global migration trends. Our nation cannot afford to ignore or undermine the importance of integrating the many refugees and immigrants already in the United States, even as debates will go on about the who, why, and how of future immigration.
America’s history proves that its openness towards immigrants has overall enriched its economy and culture and solidified its influence in the world today. In that belief there lies an opportunity for any U.S. president, today or tomorrow, to re-unite and re-build America.
For additional information, and for a free copy of our Newsletter contact:
American Immigration Attorneys, PLLC