On Immigration

Immigration is front and center in our political debate right now.

The republicans are split on the issue and from what I can tell the democrats are continuing their lame strategy of sitting on the back bench watching with glee as the republicans flail around on this issue.

I think this is a fundamental issue for our great country to get its arms around.  We are a nation of immigrants.  New blood, new ideas, new energy is what makes america great.

Closing the doors to that is WRONG.

Sure there are national security issues but they pale in comparison to what is really going on.

We live in a flat world now. My kids will compete for good jobs with young people from china, india, israel, russia, brazil, and many other places regardless of where those people live.

They don’t need to come to the US to take our jobs.  They are going to take them anyway.

We cannot compete with that by shutting our borders. We need to open them wide, wide enough to maintain our edge as the best place in the world to think, invent, work, speak, and move society forward.

I banged these thoughts out on my sidekick this morning on the subway.  And then I sent them to my good friend Steve Kane who comments frequently on this blog and generally takes a contrary view to most of my posts of a political nature.

Steve said the following:

As a general matter I am very very in favor of liberal open immigration policies, and simple, clear — though perhaps challenging — paths to citizenship, even for illegal aliens.

Yet I am not a "multi-culturalist" — based on my own and my family’s direct experiences, I am a huge believer in the old "melting pot" model. assimilation. Of course, people can and should — and always will — maintain their ethnic or cultural identities if they want to. (I am a bit of an ancestor worshipper myself — crawling out of russia on your hands and knees is a much more significant accomplishment than going to college and running a software company). But immigrants should assimilate. Master english, pay fees. and taxes. Maybe even compulsory service in national service corps or military (and yes, I am in favor of bringing back the draft for all americans.)

Bottom line, with the exception of native americans and eskimos, every single american is an immigrant or is descended from them. And the "melting pot" nature of american society is every bit as important to what makes america *be* america — maybe more — as is the genius of our country’s founders awesome vision for sustainable republican government.

I don’t agree with everything Steve said. For example I am not in favor of a draft which requires people who oppose war on moral grounds to fight.

But it’s heartening to me that two people who sit on opposite sides of the political spectrum can agree on what makes america great. We are and should always be the MELTING POT. It’s good for our society, our business, and our culture. So let’s praise immigration and figure out how to encourage it in a way that makes sense for America.  To do anything else is wrong for America.