The essential point of this book is that immigration is power, and the USA became big and powerful to a significant extent due to the massive immigration in the XIX century when waves of European immigrants settled the territory between two oceans. This history extends to the present time when after some 60 years of hiatus from the 1920s to 1980, the mass inflow of immigrants resumed, this time from Latin America and Asia. Here is an excellent graphic presentation of this process based on the percentage of foreign-born:
In addition to providing an excellent and detailed narrative of emigration history and its economic, political, and technological impacts, the book reviews the current political struggle around the issue of immigration, both legal and illegal. Here is how the author defines the objective of this book: “I hope this book has made an effective case for the strategic advantages of immigration—brains, brawn, and bravery—in addition to its centrality to the national creed.” The author also offers five strategies that should improve the situation:
- Utilize immigration as a foreign policy tool.
- Develop immigration alliance agreements.
- Redefine the refugee program to promote human rights.
- Set standards, not ceilings.
- Executive action: overhaul work visas
MY TAKE ON IT:
As a legal immigrant from the former USSR, I find a typical framework of immigration discussion somewhat meaningless and sometimes even hilarious. For example, complaints that illegal immigrants violate immigration laws, which American bureaucracies routinely ignore. Similarly, the funny expectation that businesses would comply with laws violation of which never punished while generating significant profit.
I also find it curious that democrats believe that legal and illegal immigrants could become their reliable voting bloc in the long run. Immigrants, by definition, are people with higher-than-average energy, ambition, and entrepreneurship levels. Otherwise, they would not leave their habitual environment for the vagaries of immigrant life. Sure, in the short run, they use all give aways and free staff they can get, supporting democrats. But a few years later, when these higher-than-average qualities bring immigrants success and quality of life unachievable in their old countries, democrats would not find worse enemies than these people.
The final point I’d like to make. With a minor exception when some Muslims with fundamentalist religions or quite a few people with nationalistic beliefs put these beliefs ahead of the American creed, the immigrants are more patriotic than native-born mainly because native-born have no clue how lucky they are to be Americans. The table below shows that ability to compare America with other nations, inherent to the immigrant experience, makes people significantly more patriotic than natives.