Immigration and Natural Selection

This video is 9.5 minutes long, but it’s well worth watching. It provides a graphic demonstration of the impact of current immigration policies on our country’s future, from a perspective of resource utilization.

Being a strong proponent of free market solutions, I used to believe the best approach to immigration was to grant anybody citizenship who could pass the necessary background checks. A number of people I respect challenged the wisdom and practicality of that approach. Initially seeking to justify my position, I set out to research the matter, which led me to reevaluate some long held assumptions. Ultimately, the data convinced me that my solution was not practical and that, in fact, we need tighter immigration controls.

I’m not against immigration. Many of the most compelling scientific, industrial, and technological innovations of the 20th century were discovered or invented by immigrants from other places. A lot of people employed in our scientific and high-tech industries are here on work visas and green cards, working their way through the citizenship process. Research and development companies hire many people from other parts of the world, and relocate them here at signficant expense, because the industries are growing so fast there aren’t enough highly qualified Americans to fill the positions. These people obey our laws, respect the principles that form the foundation of our nation, have a strong work ethic, and contribute not only to our economy, but to our world leadership in numerous scientific and technical fields. They are an asset to our nation. We should welcome them and make it easier for them to become citizens.

On the other hand, we can’t afford to thow open our doors to everybody who would like to live here. The reality is, there are a limited number of immigrants our nation can successfully absorb per year. There are a virtually unlimited number of people, particularly in third world countries, who would like to come here if they could. We have no choice but to be selective in our immigration policies.

The question is what selection criteria do we apply? American citizenship is not an entitlement that’s owed to everybody who demands it. As this video graphically demonstrates, it’s a limited and precious commodity. Therefore, by the law of supply and demand, competition will always be high. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. In nature, it’s competition that improves the fitness of a species by selecting the strong over the weak. Allowing the same principle to drive our immigration policies can, likewise, improve the overall “fitness” of our nation’s population.

I do not favor any selection policies based on ethnicity or national origin. Just like applicants for a job or a university, the criteria should be based purely on competitive qualifications. For every applicant to whom we grant citizenship, some other applicant will have to be denied. If we follow the counsel of nature, we will select those who have the highest probability of successful assimilation and contribution to our nation. Some will say that’s elitist and unfair. So is natural selection, but it works.


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Published in: on February 17, 2008 at 7:32 pm  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I completely agree with what you have written here. Maybe I have a fever,,,, :~)

    His figures, however, I think are suspect. Do you have a source for them?

  2. I believe the figures comes from census data. I have not personally verified them.

  3. Of course, he is correct. We need to stop allowing anyone who desires to come to the USA to immigrate, and to start selecting only immigrants who have the skills and education that we need in this country. Chain immigration must be severly cut back, and a merit-based system employed.

  4. Excellent article. I am a legal immigrant and I completely with merit based immigration. It is extremely frustrating to see Joe Shmoe from Chad or Kenya get a green card faster just because of the “country quota” and Juan to bypass the process completely and get amnesty just because his community is a large vote bank.


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