Quota expansion is not the solution

by Charles Gardner | 4/4/06 5:00am

To the Editor:

Zak Moore '09 makes several good points about the need for better enforcement of our immigration laws with respect to illegal immigrants ("Chances For All, Safety From The Few," April 3), but I take issue with his contention that the United States must significantly expand quotas for legal immigration.

The United States already maintains the most generous immigration policy of any country, admitting more than one million people annually in recent years, and few of these arrivals are admitted according to any standard set to benefit the nation (such as educational attainment).

Remarkably, over two-thirds of immigrants are let in simply because they are immediate or sponsored relatives of U.S. citizens (typically, recent immigrants themselves) and another 10 percent are refugees, leaving only one space in five open for anyone who wishes to become an American yet has no family ties nor claim to refugee status.

Due to this preference for the relatives of those already here, we have created a system of self-perpetuating high immigration levels that effectively squeeze out anyone arriving here unattached or from nations that have not traditionally sent large numbers of immigrants.

Increasing the caps would do little to solve this problem, as the new arrivals would only sponsor correspondingly larger numbers of their own relatives. Instead of expanding quotas, we ought to restrict the policy of so-called family reunification and seek out the highly skilled and independent newcomers who Moore hopes will help raise our standard of living in years to come.