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Ten years hence

Ten Points about Immigration

April 20, 2007

On April 20, 2007, Romano L. Mazzoli ('54), former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, presented "Immigration Reform: The New Face of America," which contained the following excerpts:

  • It is important to address immigration issues because America is a nation of immigrants. Also, the projected growth of the immigrant population to as many as 50 million people living in the United States by 2017 makes it an important monetary and policy issue.
  • With the current American fertility rates at barely replacement levels, growth in the prime-age labor pool of workers largely will come from the immigrant population.
  • In the early 1900s, there was only one Ellis Island, the place where immigrants gained entrance into America. Today, there are scores of new " Ellis Islands" across the nation, which means immigrant populations are more widely dispersed rather than concentrated in the major cities.
  • In the next decade, organized efforts to help immigrants assimilate into American culture will increase, with programs providing job, finance and language training.
  • There will be more "majority minority" areas like Los Angeles, where no single race or nationality makes up the majority.
  • It's not necessary to make English the official language by law, since it is the language of international commerce.
  • Some parts of the U.S. border need to be fenced for security, but it is possible to make a fence too long and formidable. Very strict border control makes getting into the country more difficult, but it also makes leaving difficult. Therefore, an immigrant is likely to bring the whole family when he or she enters America because returning home is uncertain.
  • We need to take measures to prevent employers from "gaming the system"—hiring immigrants without proper documentation and paying them very low wages. A strong guest worker program provides the needed labor while paying a living wage.
  • There are positive signs that Congress will enact laws addressing immigration reform in the coming years. Ironically, Pres. Bush has a better chance of passing reform with a Democratic Congress than a Republican one.
  • Negative signs that reform will happen also abound. Many Americans seem ambivalent on the issue, which tends to put members of Congress at odds among themselves as to what to do.


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