In an Op-Ed for the LA Times, Ariel Armoney, Vice provost for global affairs and director of the University Center for International Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, claims “without a steady supply of immigrants, we are risking our future as a nation” and argues Americans should be grateful for immigrants and compete for them.
Americans need to understand that we are competing for immigrants, and it’s a competition we dare not lose.
Rethinking our relationship with immigration is not only a moral issue, but a practical one. It’s a common refrain that immigrants built the United States. The past tense is deceiving. Immigrants continue to build the United States, and as the Fourth Industrial Revolution shapes our future, our ability to welcome immigrants will define our success.
The country depends on immigrants for highly skilled jobs as well as those requiring few skills, jobs that are often disdained by those born in the country. Immigrants also are a huge part of the skilled blue-collar workforce, performing the backbreaking labor to build our cities and infrastructure.
Since coming to the United States, I have taught and mentored American students who are now making extraordinary contributions to our society. Many of them are children of immigrants who came to this country with very little education but the drive to provide the best future for their families. However, they — and I — are continuously reminded that we have been grudgingly welcomed into the country thanks to the good graces of the U.S. government. Immigrants’ status in this country is still viewed as a “favor” granted to the immigrant.
Understanding that immigrants make a rational choice to come to the United States to invest their future here is crucial to reframing the discourse on immigration. Immigrants are portrayed, even by many good-willed supporters of immigration, as vulnerable supplicants. And critics believe that immigrants are leeches, coming only because this is where opportunity is. They need to understand that many of those opportunities would not exist without a continuing supply of immigrants.
Democrats have a responsibility to articulate a new narrative and stop playing defense on immigration.
They need to help Americans understand that immigration isn’t solely a magnanimous act in which we open our doors to help the downtrodden. It is a mutually beneficial arrangement. Without a steady supply of immigrants, we are risking our future as a nation.
Read more here.