Second, the bill would dangerously alter our demographics. In short, America needs more workers. With Baby Boomers entering retirement, immigrants will play “the primary role in the future growth of the working-age population,” according to a Pew Research study.
Remarkably, almost 90 percent of the nation’s population growth over the next fifty years will come from immigrants and their children. In order for us to remain competitive in the global economy, and to meet our obligations, we need a younger, more vibrant workforce. This bill would reduce the number of immigrants, just when we need them the most.
Third, the bill betrays America’s core value of diversity. The immigration hawks defend their position by claiming to benefit blue-collar workers born in this country while portraying immigrants as a drag on the economy.
To keep these arguments afloat, a constant stream of distortion is needed, and when economists provide data showing the net economic impact of immigration is positive, immigration hawks fall back on the stereotype of drug dealers and rapists that Trump proclaimed the first day he declared his candidacy.
The bill chips away at America’s historic role as a refuge for “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore,” as it says on the Statue of Liberty. Demonizing the most oppressed is a shameful repudiation of American values – no surprise from this administration.
We are witnessing a familiar cycle in American history, where waves of anti-immigrant feeling overwhelm the basic fact that each of us is a descendant of immigrants. Our attitudes are schizoid, and yet looking back, no previous anti-immigrant outcry has added luster or honor to this country. The immigrant story is the American story.
Commentary by Deepak Chopra and Kabir Sehgal. Chopra is the founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing and a pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation. Sehgal is a New York Times bestselling author. He is a former vice president at JPMorgan Chase, multi-Grammy Award winner and U.S. Navy veteran. Chopra and Sehgal are co-creators (with Paul Avgerinos) of Home: Where Everyone Is Welcome, a book of thirty-four poems and album of twelve songs inspired by American immigrants.
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