An Aging America - Yet Another Reason Why We Need Immigration Reform

Pew Research Aging Labor ForceThere are many reason why we need to address our national immigration policy. The current system is broken. It is a national security problem. It creates and encourages lawless behavior. But in addition to these problems that need to be addressed, there is an even bigger issue. We are an ageing society, and we simply need more young workers to serve as taxpayers. Yes, we don't need more taxes, we need more taxpayers!

Recently this issue was addresed in a blog post on The Washington Examiner by Shikha Dalmia, where she claims America's future problem will not be too many immigrants, but too few. She claims a "gray tsunami" is coming and we better get ready for it.

Shikha DalmiaUntil recently, America had escaped the population decline engulfing Europe and other countries, largely because it has been an attractive destination for immigrants. And their higher fertility rates have compensated for the declining native ones.

But this is no longer the case. According to a Pew Research Center report last month, immigrant births in the United States have fallen in the last five years from 102 to 87.8 per 1,000 women. This has reduced America's overall birthrate to a mere 64 per 1,000 women -- far below replacement levels.

Our historic immigration policy has been centered around an outdated concept of family reunification. Now we need to look at a different model - economic need. We need a redesign that takes into account our growing need for high technology workers and unskilled laborers. We need to create a policy that serves businesses' growing need for labor that we are not supplying through natural population growth or through our current "college prep" education system.

Dalmia claims, "Immigrants, unlike children, start working and paying taxes the moment they set foot on American soil, without requiring expensive schooling and health care. They typically come in their peak working years, when they are young and healthy, and hence contribute to Social Security and Medicare for years before collecting. Even as immigrants bestow this windfall, their energy and inventiveness drive economic vitality and growth."

She concludes by saying, "Unfortunately, neither President Obama nor Senate reformers seem to appreciate any of this. Otherwise, they wouldn't be talking about handing the task of determining annual visa quotas to a commission -- with union representatives, to boot. They are paying lip service to immigration. But they act as if America's immigration challenge still consists in turning away foreigners flocking to its doorstep -- not courting them from near and far."

Let's have a real discussion about immigration reform. The discussion needs to be not just about our southern border and what to do with the millions of illegal immigrants in this country today. It should rather be about what are our needs as a nation and who can best provide for those needs.

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