Thursday, August 16, 2012

Immigration and the Olympics

I'm becoming more interested in the issue of immigration, so will be posting more often on the subject.  Here's a good editorial by Ira Stoll using the Olympics to concretize the effects of immigration policy.  I particularly like the ending, but read the whole thing:
Winning Olympic medals is nice for patriotic spirit and national prestige, but there’s a bigger point here that goes beyond the world of sports. It's easy to count medals and see how much immigrants have added to American athletics. The contributions in science, business, art, music and cuisine can be harder to quantify, but they are there, too. Close the immigration door tighter, as restrictionists recommend, and we’d have fewer Olympic medals, but also fewer scientific discoveries, fewer successful high-tech startups and fewer worldwide hit songs. Open it wider, and we’ll have more.
Impossible to count are the medals that would have been won, or jobs created, by immigrants who would have liked to come here but have been shut out by border guards or immigration laws that create long waiting lists and bureaucratic obstacles. America’s history has long been one where citizenship is available not only by bloodline or birthplace but by willingness to commit to the Constitution. Critics tend to see immigration as a zero-sum game, in which immigrants take jobs away from native-born Americans. But the Olympics are a wonderful example of the way in which immigration is a win-win, with immigrants working together with other Americans to create achievements of which all Americans can be proud.


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