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"More Is Better" Oversimplifies the Immigration Issue

"More Is Better" Oversimplifies the Immigration Issue

The letter by Christopher P. Hanson '80 ["Immigrants Do Create Jobs," May 5] points out that studies have shown immigrants create jobs for the economy. He then makes the error of extrapolating these results into the illegal immigrant issue - that if some immigration is good, a lot of immigration must be better.

If we were to plot the economic effect of immigrants versus number of immigrants admitted each year, we would find (as the studies have shown) that in small numbers they produce a net benefit to the economy. Say we were to admit 100 million immigrants this year - it would throw our economic infrastructure into chaos. Connect these two points and somewhere in between there is a point where additional immigration starts to become bad for the economy.

The question is not whether immigration is good or bad - it can be both. The questions are: At what point does immigration become bad? Are we able to determine this point accurately enough to make good immigration policy? Can we do so in an unbiased manner? Have we exceeded this point? And if so, to what lengths should we go to discourage immigration beyond this point (i.e., illegal immigration)?

I don't know the answers to these questions. But pointing to studies that show our current limited immigration creates jobs oversimplifies the issue.

John H. Kim G

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This story was published on .
Volume 115, Number 24.
This story appeared on page 7.

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