June 14, 2001
Unsolicited Political Opinion: Immigration
In the Post Gazette lately, there've been a lot of anti-immigration letters to the editor. Even had a woman write in from California saying how badly the Mexicans had fouled things up by arriving illegally en masse and going on welfare, just to fan the flames.
Keep in mind, this is Pittsburgh. There's a neighborhood called Polish Hill. This place was built by immigrants. Hell, even Andrew Carnegie was from another country. I'd be willing to bet that half the population of this city can trace its roots back fewer than three generations before they have someone getting off the boat in New York and coming here.
But now immigration = bad. Just because California has probems with poor Mexicans walking across the border to have kids and collect welfare. And I doubt that that's even as bad as the anti-immigration groups would have us believe.
Look around and think about this. We're living longer (I think the life expectancy in the US is 72 or 74 now), and having fewer children. Why are there still plenty of people going to work? Because of immigrants. If we shut down immigration, like Japan did/does, we'd be in the same boat as Japan -- mired in a decade-long recession with no sign of an end.
Never mind the cultural and moral diversity newcomers have to offer. Letting people come here from other countries makes sense monetarily. As long as we've got jobs for 'em, keep 'em coming in.