Dissent Of The Day

by Patrick Appel

A reader writes:

This argument really gets under my skin. 

How is it more sane to prefer "skilled" immigrants to the ones currently here?  The first supposition is that by "skilled" they really mean educated and therefore more desirable.  So people like my husband – who has built his own moving labor company, helped employ Americans, and the many, MANY other hard working immigrants that would not fit into Frum's category – are less desirables.  And even though we employ legal immigrants and citizens, the work we have seen done by illegal immigrants is vastly superior.  I am not against more people with different skills coming to make this country their home, but to imply that they are better candidates for immigration demeans the many, including my ancestors, who came over with no education and built a life for themselves and their families and built businesses.

Matt Yglesias makes my point better when he says:

I do agree with Frum that America would do well to increase the number of high-skill immigrants that we permit to enter the country. I’m not a supporter of reducing the volume of low-skill immigration (indeed, wouldn’t mind seeing more of it) but the purely economic case is even [clearer] that more immigration by educated people would be beneficial to most native-born Americans as well as to most low-skill immigrants to the USA. It seems particularly silly that people who come to the US on student visas and successfully obtain degrees here don’t automatically garner permission to work in America. 

Frum seems to have a lot on his mind and not all of it makes sense- like this passage:

 Imagine if your kid's classroom went from zero non-English-speakers to 10 in just a couple of years. Then you are told that this turmoil is adding just fractions of a penny to the national income? Surely you'd ask: Why are we doing this?

 What?!? Turmoil?!?   Imagine if your kids had to learn along with non-native speakers and actually had to grow and learn to communicate better?  The horror!  How dare are kids have to deal with this – he seems to be saying, and then supports his argument by showing that this type of immigration isn't adding more than 1% to the national income.  Huh?!?  What does your kid having to learn beside non-native speakers directly have to do with future earnings of the parents of these non-native speakers?  American kids are taught they are victims from childhood, that they shouldn't have to bend or stretch or learn outside of their comfort zone.  I personally think it is great for kids of many languages to mix and learn together.  

America isn't Canada, Mr Frum.  "Their immigration systems are race-neutral and favor prospective immigrants who arrive with language skills, advanced degrees or capital to invest"– America is a place where regardless of your class, or place of birth you can make something of yourself.  His qualifications would mean that the poor in every single country of the world would NEVER have an opportunity to come here and make a future for themselves or their families.  Only the rich could come here because in much of the world only the rich get educated.  My husband made it through public school in Pakistan and he learned so very little academically.  Yet here he is, a citizen as of July 23rd, with a successful business adding to the economy.  Whether driving a cab (something we city folks need), running a 7-11 or gas station, or being a doctor- all types of immigrants contribute.  Frum seems to think that only one type truly matter but last time I checked it is the store owners and business owners of America, not the doctors and engineers, that employ more Americans.  That give them jobs.