Representative Mike Honda’s APIs need to take a stronger stance on immigration reform in AsianWeek
Representative Honda gives some solid points, demonstrating that in all of the talk about immigration reform, its been focused has been primarily on just one immigrant group. but often in the same conversations, people talk about how diversity is one thing that makes America great.
one of the commenters called for a stop to H1B-Visas and other similar temporary worker programs until the American unemployment rate decreases, and ‘Americans actually have jobs again’. while he makes a valid point that the unemployment rate in this country has reached a terrifying high and more work needs to be done to create new jobs and put Americans into jobs, this type of rhetoric about stopping the ‘foreign intellectuals’ from coming over to take ‘our jobs’ can quickly slip into ‘anti-foreigner’ xenophobia. as Representative Honda points out, the H1B immigrants coming from China or India are starting new companies here. The new income created is going into the American economy, their companies like all other American companies need to be offered incentives to stay in the country, and to provide employment to people here. According to a UCLA report, by tying a comprehensive immigration reform system to attract these newly formed immigrant companies to stay in the US, that can add 1.5 trillion to the GDP over the next 10 years. considering the deficit we have now, any way we can start to shrink that exorbitant number, the better.
another misconception that Representative Honda corrected was which countries are receiving the largest amount of remittances. With the focus of the immigration reform battle on Latinos and the money being sent back to Latin America, he writes that we are overlooking it is actually Asian countries receiving the most in remittances. this point may be directly refute my previous paragraph that Asian immigrants are starting new companies here and keeping the money in the American economy. But it actually adds another layer to the debate. The American government needs to create incentives for companies to keep their money rolling in this country, but that overlooks how interconnected all the economies in the world are to each other. also, immigrants send back remittances to their families because their situation in the home country is much more dire. that’s why the immigrants chose to come to America, they believe opportunities are here for a better life. a reform of the immigration system must address the backlog in visas, these applications are often of families who have someone already living in the states. The Reuniting Families Act is one piece of legislation that can help address how much in remittances is being sent abroad, more of that money can stay within America to create more jobs and opportunities.
Representative Honda is right that we can’t ignore any immigrant group in the push towards a better immigration system, each has specific distinctions that have deeper class, education, and economic implications. For any sort of immigration reform to be comprehensive, it must also be inclusive.