Re-opening America

Wednesday, 29 October 2014 00:00

In 1974 when I moved from Massachusetts to California I didn't have to ask permission from either Massachusetts or California.  Compare that to a story I read this morning about people from Cuba who went to Ecuador on tourist visas and then made their way overland to the USA.  Cuba would not give them permission to move to the USA but the USA gives all Cubans permission to stay if they can get here. Twenty thousand people followed this tortuous path last year.


Today if I wanted to move to Mexico I would have to get permission from Mexico in the form of a visa but the USA would let me leave. The same is true for a Mexican who wants to move to the United States. He or she has to have permission from the USA to move here or ignore the law that requires permission and move into a form of legal purgatory.

Worldwide laws about migration are a mess of self interest, geopolitics and nationalism. We seem to accept these requirements for permission to move between countries as the natural way that things are. But we don't have to. Bad policies and laws can be changed.

First we have to accept that we have very little influence over the rest of the world but we can slowly change America policy. The settled peoples have to feel that it is in their best interests economically and politically. They have to feel unthreatened by the new immigrants. And the change has to be evolutionary not revolutionary.

We need to increase the number of people we allow into the United States at the same time we are encouraging the new immigrants to acculturate. This can be accomplished by correcting the mistake of the past twenty years that allowed about eleven million undocumented people to start lives here in the shadows without acculturating. It is time to have an earned amnesty for these new Americans contingent upon acculturation.

After that we can talk about increasing immigration across the board to about one percent per year with planned absorption of the new American so this doesn't happen again.