Institutional Immigrant Assimilation

Ala Don Boudreaux’s style at Cafehayek, below is a letter I sent to the Wall Street Journal last week:

Jason L. Riley’s “Keep the Immigrants, Deport the Multiculturalists” (May 15) expertly describes the optimistic reality of immigration while castigating multiculturalists who wish to destroy the American assimilation machine. To aid in assimilation and increase the economic benefits of immigration many millions more should be admitted.

According to the 2006 census, 43% of the U.S. foreign born population has at least some college education. Generally, the more educated and wealthy an immigrant is, the faster he will assimilate. But the present immigration system severely restricts the entry of educated foreigners through the labyrinthine H-1B visa system.

Uneducated immigrants should be welcomed, but the institutionalized masochistic insanity of our present immigration system which incentivizes illegality while punishing the educated and law-abiding, needs desperate reform. Multiculturalism is a social cancer which could erode the benefits of immigration. However, the only cure to this cancer is not closed borders, but to liberalize, simplify, and dramatically increase legal immigration.

Alex Nowrasteh

Policy Analyst

Competitive Enterprise Institute

Americans will be made poorer if immigration is further restricted, but one of the greatest casualties of more restrictive immigration policy will be our institutions which assimilate new comers.