tags: Press Releases

As We Wrap-Up a Depressing Immigration Policy Week, Positive Reminders Why a Pro-Immigrant America is Essential to America’s Future

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Washington, DC – This has been a depressing week on immigration policy. We witnessed the Biden administration’s announcement of a Trump-like asylum ban alongside of the latest in the GOP’s relentless string of politicized anti-immigrant hearings that platform dangerous conspiracies.

Yet, we also have seen powerful voices make the case for a different, pro-immigrant vision of the country that recognizes that immigrants and immigration are America’s comparative advantage and are sorely needed. 

According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

“Alongside Republicans’ relentless and dangerous nativist obsessions and the Biden administration’s devastating asylum ban, we also have reminders that our nation’s vitality and competitiveness depend on immigration. Instead of letting short-term political incentives drive draconian policy or pretending that immigration policy begins or ends at the border, we need to think bigger and re-embrace a modern immigration system that expands legal pathways and celebrates immigration.”

Key voices weighing in on the need to keep our eye on the bigger picture on immigration include:

In an opinion piece in The Guardian, “When it comes to immigration policy, Biden is increasingly Trump-like,” Moustafa Bayoumi makes a powerful case for a pro-immigrant America. Bayoumi is a professor of English at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. Excerpts include:

“While the number of people seeking help is certainly an issue, the real problem is that Trump-era thinking still frames our debate on immigration. And this is true not just at the level of the imagination. The Trump administration enacted over 400 executive actions on immigration while in office and opportunistically used the racist fear of black and brown immigrants to shape American attitudes about immigration policy.

The Biden administration needs to stop recreating Trump-era policies on the border. Instead, Biden must demonstrate to the American people, loudly and forcefully, how the Republicans continue to block meaningful reform and how our aging nation is in clear need of expanded immigration. In fact, as argued in Foreign Affairs, the Washington Post, the Economist and many other places, the health of our economy depends on it. (By the way, decades of economic research will also tell you that immigrants complement rather than depress the native labor force.)

As a singularly powerful nation, we have the unique opportunity to marshal the resources needed to address today’s border situation correctly. And if we do it right, we can honor our traditions of receiving the needy and strengthen our nation simultaneously. That’s the better option. The worse option caves in to our fears and lets a transit ban become the rule today. But then what will happen to our immigration policies tomorrow? And, more to the point, what exactly is it that we are so afraid of?”

Meanwhile, in contrast to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and his 2024 primary-motivated proposed array of anti-immigrant state bills, several other Republican governors are instead emphasizing the importance of immigrant workers to their states – see the Washington Post op-ed Republican governors Eric Holcomb of Indiana and Spencer Cox of Utah, who noted:

“Indiana has about 220,000 open jobs right now and Utah has 107,000, according to the most recent federal data — more than 6 percent of all jobs in both states. With strong business and tax environments, we like our chances in the competition for job-seekers moving from other states. But they won’t be enough to fill all of those vacancies. We also need immigrants who are ready to work and help build strong communities … The United States became prosperous because many immigrants saw our beacon and seized the freedoms and opportunities offered here. That formula has not changed.”

And read Stuart Anderson in his Forbes column, “Immigrants Make Economies More Dynamic, Increase Employment Growth,” in which he notes:

“It’s often said that immigrants make an economy more dynamic. New research proves it, and comes at a time when the U.S. economy has experienced a significant shortfall in immigration due to government policies. It also comes as policymakers around the world search for ways to make their economies grow faster and become more dynamic.”