BERNARD COLUMN: Immigration — a net positive

Published 10:30 am Tuesday, October 5, 2021

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By Jack Bernard
Bernard is a retired corporate executive

The two political parties must at long last come together and establish a reasonable immigration policy. That policy should be based on what is best for our nation (including securing our Southern border) while being consistent with our illustrious heritage as a safe haven for oppressed people and those seeking a better life.

I’m the son of an immigrant, a refugee.

We are a nation of immigrants. Only indigenous tribes were here before Columbus, something the anti-immigration extremists purposefully forget (see below). 

To me, it’s strange that the anti-immigration extremists forget their own family histories. One of the most obnoxious anti-immigration advocates is Stephen Miller, a Jewish former advisor to Donald Trump. He has forgotten that his maternal great grandparents came to the USA from Belarus, fleeing anti-Semitic pograms. In a 2-3-17 News & Observer article, John Burness, an SVP of Duke, stated that as a college student Miller “assume(d) that if you were in disagreement with him, there was something malevolent or stupid about your thinking—incredibly intolerant.”  And while one of Trump’s closest advisors, Miller continued along those lines in regard to immigration. He pushed policies resulting in separation of undocumented children from their parents (many of them are still seeking their parents, resulting in tremendous mental trauma), barring any immigration from five Islamic nations, and establishing arrest quotas for the undocumented.

I understand that some may be reading this piece and saying to themselves “we don’t need immigrants taking our jobs.” But that sort of thinking is off base…and you are in a minority. Only 21% of Americans agree with you, according to Pew Research. Immigrants take the jobs others don’t want.  As Alex Nowrasteh of the libertarian Cato Institute has stated,  “Immigrants come to the United States primarily because of economic opportunity.” Many of our physicians are foreign born.  Plus, many developed nations including the US are experiencing a crisis due to low birth rates. In the USA, there’s a worry about who will fund Social Security and Medicare as the population ages. Part of the answer is to admit younger immigrants with a longer work life. As it is, the undocumented are already contributing to the stability of these programs. Immigrants compose 13% of all Americans, according to Pew Research.

Of these men, women and children, 25% are from Mexico and another 16% from just 3 Asian nations (China, India and the Philippines). 

As patriotic Americans and Georgians, we should leave the rhetoric and pre-conceived notions behind. Immigration is clearly a net positive for both our nation and our state.