Immigration reform returned to center stage in Washington last week with a proposal from a bipartisan group of senators that was promptly endorsed in principle by President Barack Obama. One of the lynchpins of the proposal is providing a “path to citizenship" for those who are currently in the country illegally, a concept that opponents were quick to label “amnesty.” Obama of course denies any talk of amnesty, saying instead that he wants illegal immigrants to pay penalties, pay taxes, learn English, and then go “to the back of the line.”
But what's wrong with granting amnesty to hard-working, tax-paying individuals whose only crime is their immigration status? Indeed, amnesty is not only the best solution to our immigration problem, it is the only feasible solution. Here are five reasons to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants now.
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1. Immigration Is Good for the Economy
For all the rhetoric about immigrants stealing jobs, immigration actually provides a benefit to the national economy, whether those immigrants crossed the border legally or not. Why? Because of what economists call the specialization of labor. As Jonathan Hoenig, proprietor of the Capitalist Pig blog, explains: “The fact that foreigners are eager to pick crops, clean houses, bus tables and produce allows more of us to afford cheaper food and better services, affording us even more wealth to enjoy and invest. It’s not the immigrants, but the taxes, spending and entitlements (most of which immigrants don’t even receive) that have drained the economy dry.”
Next: But aren't they dodging the taxman?