San Jose Mercury News Publishes Anti-Immigration Op-Ed Calling For Immigration Moratorium

Yesterday I was taken aback when I turned to the editorial page of the San Jose Mercury News, the primary newspaper of Silicon Valley, and found an Op-Ed by Patrick J. Buchanan calling for a moratorium on ALL LEGAL immigration. He argues that the LEGAL immigrants are taking jobs from U.S. workers, and that by barring all U.S. immigration the economy can recover faster.

Legal immigration is not the same as "illegal" immigration. He is not talking about doing something about the high number of undocumented people living in the U.S. By calling for a halt to legal immigration, he would stop the husbands and wives of U.S. citizens from immigrating to the U.S. He would prevent the children and step-children of U.S. citizens from coming to the U.S. He would stop the parents of U.S. citizens from immigrating. He would stop U.S. citizens from adopting children from abroad. He would prevent those who came as refugees from obtaining permanent residence. He would turn away the brilliant minds who qualify to immigrate by being awarded the equivalent of a Nobel Prize.

As an immigration lawyer who follows both sides of the immigration debate, I would not have been surprised to read a call for a moratorium on all business immigration. After all, he is concerned about jobs, unemployment, and the economy. We all share these concerns. But the answer is not a moratorium on all immigration. Buchanan ignores the economic reality that immigrants start businesses and employ Americans. In an earlier post, I noted statistics from the Wall Street Journal that immigrants, or foreign-born U.S. citizens, comprise over 50% of Silicon Valley company founders. I recently helped two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs obtain business visas so they could continue to build their business. If they were not here on business visas, their business would simply be based in another country. There would not be two U.S. citizens filling their jobs - because the jobs would not exist here. As these two entrepreneurs grow their business, they will create jobs. Furthermore, these two entrepreneurs are creating innovative new technology.

Cutting off all immigration to the U.S. will never be the right answer to helping America's economy. Cutting off all immigration would devastate families, and actually harm U.S. economic growth and innovation.

Immigration Reform / by Michelle Gee