June 28, 2012
President Obama’s recent “do it myself” immigration reform plan, predictably dissed by conservatives and nativists, reveals just how clueless the nation’s leaders are about demographics. Monday’s Supreme Court ruling on Arizona’s immigration crackdown also broke down along predictable lines, with both parties claiming ideological victories. Yet the heated debates are missing the reality of immigration and its role in America’s future. In reality America needs more immigrants, but with a somewhat different mix.
Rather than an issue of “values” or political sentiment, we need to look at immigration as a matter of arbitrage, a process by which rapidly aging countries bid for the skills and energies of newcomers to keep their economies afloat.
Nowhere is this immigration arbitrage clearer than in the world’s most rapidly aging region, Europe.