Immigration Restrictions: Hold Up
What we miss when we attempt to adopt strict immigration standards
Post hoc ergo propter hoc. Loosely, the Latin term means: after this, therefore because of this. Or, since event Y followed event X, event Y must have been caused by event X. Often simply known as post hoc fallacy.
In today’s world of binary linear thinking, there are plenty of examples of a post hoc fallacy, but none more troublesome than the current administration’s views on immigration.
Last week, the President Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, commonly known as DACA, the Obama-era program that protects young undocumented immigrants from being deported. The President cited the need for a systematic framework to deal with incoming immigrants.
Three days ago, former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, argued America’s sturdy foundation was the direct result of native citizen’s productivity, closed borders, and a deep commitment to nationalism.
The decision to potentially deport 800,000 people is arbitrarily cruel and economically nonsensical. Mr. Bannon’s views on this topic are also divorced from reality. Further, the idea that any policy dictating the flow of immigration gives us a known quantifiable monetary outcome with known cultural conditions is logically rubbish.
The broader truth is that many of America’s pillars of exceptionalism — a strong industrial state, culturally and economically rich metropolises, and the ability to put down roots wherever, were all embodied and enhanced by immigrants intelligently improvising their strategy to capture their American dream.
Historians bucket US immigration patterns into four-time periods. It was during the third wave from 1880–1914 where immigrants from China, Japan, and other parts of Asia settled in western states. Despite any established employment program, government financial assistance, or green card visa programs this band of migrants eventually comprised half of the meat packing, steel, and mining labor force.
Today’s immigrants thriving in the technology sector carry a similar story of self-advancement. During the fourth largest wave of US migration, the 1965 Immigration’s Act enacted a skill-blind preference system were three-fourth of admissions, for migrants, were relegated for those with relatives settled in America. Those foreign born residing in the west during this historic legislation lacked higher education opportunities or the ability to seek it. Yet, today’s western immigrants are some of the best educated citizens in America.
The organic and unplanned journey immigrants have taken has also left its mark on the fabric of America’s urban centers. Without question, each major city generates a significant portion of their buzz from the bevy of immigrants who left their fingerprints on these place’s gastronomy scene, cultural landmarks, and fiscal DNA.
New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston, all major immigrant hubs, account for nearly one-fifth of the nations’ gross domestic product. In New York, immigrants made up 44 percent of the city’s workforce in 2011; in the greater LA area, they accounted for a third of the economic output in 2007.
One reason for all this cross coastal economic success: immigrants have long resided in this country with a paltry amount of government support and historically devoid of any political power. This has led many to spontaneously experiment with new opportunities and areas that eventually allow them to cultivate their own melting pot story.
And many do so with a sense of grace and resiliency that exemplifies the American spirit.
And despite six of their fellow believers being killed by a white supremacist five years ago, the Sikh community of Oak Creek, Wisconsin (population of 35,000) have since increased their community outreach programs with scholarships, blood drives, 6K walks and runs, and local education initiatives.
It is the brilliance and boldness of immigrants that have made brilliant and bold things in America and not the other way around. A failure to understand that fact and an unwillingness to embrace those who embody the American ethos of an untethered faith in the human possibility, regardless of origin, can only be deemed a misguidedly nativist and dangerous self-inflicted fallacy.