Immigration is a hot topic right now in America, and pundits on both sides of the aisle speak out often through the media. The rhetoric surrounding the debate increasingly includes words like “low-skilled” and “high-skilled” to differentiate between the types of immigrants. These terms are used to discuss what type of immigrant we want to let into this country. According to at least one expert, using these labels can lead us down a dangerous path.

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In an article posted in the Huffington Post, James Witte argues that placing labels on people based on skill isn’t in our country’s best interest. Too often, he says, these labels are based on much more than just skill level. “High-skilled” becomes a synonym for desired; “low-skilled” becomes a synonym for undesired. These labels are assessing the economic value of a person to our country and shifting our immigration priorities toward recruitment of global talent.

He clarifies that he doesn’t advocate that we should stop assessing immigrants in terms of skills but that we should realize that potential for economic contribution is not the only measure of a person’s value. Immigrants can help contribute to America’s cultural, social and political prosperity.

He cautions that if Congress was to pass an immigration reform bill, it would be risking the implementation of a system that equates the inherent value of a person with his or her earning potential. He also points out that our economic market dynamic, and the types of skills we need now may change in the near future.

America is built on individuality and diversity. Technological, scientific and social breakthroughs routinely spring from the unlikeliest of places, from people who may not be traditionally thought of as strong economic contributors. More and more of America’s rich are entrepreneurs that started from nothing, amassed little education and proceeded to revolutionize the world.

Witte concluded by pointing to the motto that is proudly displayed on the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…” He asks if that is an ideal we really want to change.

While the debate rages on in Washington, D.C. and across the country, we realize that there are many people that are navigating through the current immigration process. At O’ Brien Law Group, we want to help you through that process, regardless of your age, education level or earning potential. Contact us today at 502-400-7890.

 

 

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