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Free Minds & Free Markets

Stop Scapegoating Immigrants: New at Reason

It shouldn't be government's prerogative to define and ensure immigrants' "success" and assimilation, argues Sheldon Richman.

Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/NewscomErik McGregor/Pacific Press/Newscom

"If you have immigrant visa programs where the eligibility criteria are low to nonexistent or even an outright lottery, you're not selecting for the types of people that we want in this country, " said U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director L. Francis Cissna at a press briefing last week. Cissna worried that these polices didn't target people that "will assimilate well" or find "success" here.

But it should not be the government's prerogative to define and ensure immigrants' "success" and assimilation, argues Sheldon Richman. We have zero reason to be confident in the ability of politicians and bureaucrats to predict success, however defined. And whether people assimilate is not the government's business. The last thing we should want is politicians and bureaucrats managing the culture. We are all immeasurably richer—in all kinds of ways—because many past immigrants did not assimilate, despite bigoted pressure, official and private.

Photo Credit: Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/Newscom

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