A recent op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal notes that Immigration Reform might be just the medicine that the economy needs to get back on its feet. Immigrants have always been a driving force for the American economy. Here in New Hampshire, immigrants came by the thousands to work in the mills producing textiles and many other goods during the Industrial Revolution. Immigrants built the railroads that connected this country and opened up the west. Immigrants have worked on our skyscrapers and in our shipyards as well as in our fields and orchards; contributing to every aspect of what makes America great. As the article points out, immigrants have also been largely responsible for the innovation of the United States economy, holding many patents and creating many of today's best known American high-tech firms.
There are many ways that immigration reform can help revive our economy. When Asian and South Asian engineering students come to the United States to earn their degrees (which they do in far larger numbers than U.S. citizens) shouldn't we try to employ them here so they can buy houses and goods and services here rather than send them home to create tech companies that compete with our firms? If you want an economic shot in the arm...how many millions of immigrants that currently have no legal status do you suppose would be willing to pay a hefty fine for violating the immigration laws if they could gain legal residency and remain in their jobs and with their family without fear? Those same millions of immigrants who currently are part of the underground economy could then become taxpayers and could have the security, the legal status, and the credit to buy a home and perhaps a even a new car.
The time for trying to find someone to blame for the bad economy is over; now is the time to find pragmatic solutions for getting the country working again. Immigration reform is one of those solutions; hard working and entrepreneurial immigrants have always been one of this country's great economic advantages -- and should be in the future.
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