Immigration and Immigrants: The Forest and the Trees
News accounts deliver a steady stream of stories about individual immigrants. They may be class valedictorians, corporate executives, refugees, or parents of U.S.-born children facing deportation. These stories are generally aimed at evoking support for amnesty for the illegal aliens or support for increasing the intake of immigrants.What is missing from these news accounts is the context of the overall impact of immigration on the community and the country. The stories seldom if ever provide context of the immigration-fed growing population or its impact on the environment, or on non-renewable resources, or on job opportunities for native-born workers, or the fiscal impact of illegal immigration, or the impact on the public school system, or on growing income inequality – to name just some of the issues.This production of news stories about immigration is like putting blinders on a horse so that it is not distracted by its surroundings. That may be useful for horseracing, but it is a dangerous and harmful practice for a population that needs to be able to understand the context in which developments occur. The public as well as policymakers need to be able to see the forest as well as the trees.
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