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Tired and Poor


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                               Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor ...

1.     Respond to the charge that immigrants flood the labor market and drive down

        Immigration is a major reason why the United States’ economy is as robust, diverse,
dynamic, and resilient as it is. In fact, immigration benefited America by helping to smooth the
business cycle by increasing the labor supply during expansionary periods and reducing the labor
supply during recessions as people either left America or were discouraged to emigrate. There is
general belief that immigrants can drive down wages but there has not been any proof they this
does, in fact, happen. No conclusive proof has shown that immigrants reduce wages, lower the
living standards of the existing population, or increase unemployment. The studies that have
found these results occurred have been determined to arrived at that conclusion through the use
of insufficient date or through the overstatement of facts.

2.     How does immigration contribute to economic growth?

       During some of the most economically productive periods in American history, the Great
Migration took place. Immigrants at that time helped provide necessary labor to increase
economic growth and helped moderate the business cycle through their arrivals and departures.
Even more importantly, their arrivals and participation in the labor pool did not seem to decrease
wages in the nation. Moreover, the relative welfare of the existing population did not change,
there was significant economic growth, and labor productivity and inflation adjusted wages both
increased. Many of these immigrants were young men, which helped greatly increase the
productivity and growth of the economy. The capital labor ratio rose and those immigrants who
saved money were able to buy homes, which further helped the economy.

3.     What does Scripture say about the policy of limiting immigrants to persons
by their level of education?

        There have been several times in America’s history where immigration was limited to for
“intelligence” purposes. For example, in the 18th and 19th centuries people with certain skills
were greatly wanted and there were times when people from certain countries, deemed to be
more intelligent (which usually coincided with how blue-eyed and blonde they were) were
greatly sought as immigrants and the laws were written to help them and hinder others. Today
there is still discussion over limiting immigration to those with higher levels of education, a
“point system” were persons rated to exceed certain points would be allowed in and other denied,
or to those with family members in the country who would be willing to accept financial
responsibility for them.
        These have remained discussion only, however, and legislators have not passed such
laws. Legislatures have, however, raised the cap on temporary HIB visas, which are given to
immigrants with special skills, degrees, or training, such as those in the technology field.
Legislators have also acted in response to political pressure , as in the case of the Cuban
Readjustment Act of 1966 that allows Cubans to stay in the nation but denies Haitians and others
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the same. However, to be fair, Cuba’s communist rulers have committed terrible atrocities
against the Cuban population (people in Cuba can be imprisoned if the government “thinks” they
are thinking “anti-revolutionary” thoughts). The U.S. has normally been open to those fleeing
repression, as the Chinese who say they have been victimized by the one child policy.
         Considering this issue from a Christian prospective there is a strong conviction that the
state should not have a right to diminish immigration. God’s law is that all deserve to be allowed
to enter where they wish because all persons are His children and made in his image. Education
or skills should not limit entry. Christian principles argue that America’s doors should be open to
all with the desire and ability to leave their native lands and families to seek their future in
America. These immigrants have shown that they do work hard and seek only peace and a better
life or, as said by Thomas Jefferson, “the pursuit of happiness.”

4.     How should immigration laws respond to the threat of terrorism?

        There is no question that times of great fear due to security concerns call on the
government to protect its citizens. Before and after September 11, 2001, the Government
increased spending on guarding American borders and citizens from potential terrorists.
Spending increased border patrols and agents and helped increase the tools available, such as
infrared night vision scopes, low-light TV cameras, ground sensors, all terrain vehicles and
helicopters. Although this was targeted at terrorists, there has been no indication that it has
decreased the number illegal immigrants (who some fear may be terrorists). These actions,
however, were truly politically, not security, driven. Estimates indicate that between 200,000 and
300,000 illegal immigrants cross the Mexican and Canadian borders each year in the United
States. They have not been deterred, although making it more difficult to cross the border has
reduced the number of legal, seasonal immigrants and even encouraged some to increase their
U.S. stay to avoid the hassles of the border crossing.

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