Why We Immigrate

People who hold anti-immigrant views lack a fundamental understanding of the reason why immigrants migrate to their country, whether it is the United States, the United Kingdom or any other country in the East or West. It is not to “steal your jobs”. It is not to spread their beliefs or values, like many Muslims are accused of doing so.

Choosing to immigrate involves a very difficult calculation about whether to stay or go. There are so many factors one has to take into account before uprooting their life to another country, sometimes another continent. A person does not take such a drastic step unless they are sure that they will be provided a better life as a result. Immigrants choose to migrate because they see hope in the country they’ve chosen, that it can provide them a better and more peaceful life than their current country of citizenship or residence.

People who choose to demonize immigrants do not understand this struggle. Choosing to immigrate is like diving into the deep end of a pool. It’s a gamble, because you don’t know what you’ll find at the end of that gamble. The immigration decision is not taken lightly and it’s most definitely taken in the self-interest of the immigrants themselves. That said, immigrants can become so well-adjusted in the migrated country, they can love that country more than their own, and they can contribute more than they could before due to the opportunity they’ve received.

Countries set their immigration policies to attract the best and the brightest for a reason, to fill the holes that cannot be filled by their own citizens. As a result, legal immigrants are usually more highly educated than citizens of that country, either the US, Canada, etc…

People like Donald Trump refuse to take into account any of the above. First, they choose to rail on illegal immigration, then subtly, they increase the barrier to legal immigration. Western countries need immigration to survive. Even if a person does not care about the moral factor of providing a home to people who want to make a better life for themselves and their families or providing a refuge to people fleeing from war-torn areas, consider the economic benefit. Immigrants are more likely to contribute more to the economic system than take from it, over their lifetimes.

With an aging Baby Boomer population, the US should be accepting more highly-skilled workers, not less. Too bad Donald Trump is not well versed in the details enough to know better. The country cannot stay static in this increasingly inter-connected world. One needs to adapt. Just ask an immigrant.



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