The menace of skilled immigrants

There are two reasonable concerns that lead people to oppose massive amounts of immigration into their country:  its potential to drive down wages by increasing the supply of low-skill labor, and its tendency to erode the cultural distinctiveness of one’s country.  Usually, these two concerns coincide, but not always.  Suppose, for example, you had a choice between two sets of immigrants, and you had to accept one.  The first group consists of one million illiterate Mexicans with no marketable skills.  The second group consists of a million Mexicans with PhDs, each one of them a brilliant artist, scientist, inventor, or entrepeneur.  Which do you take?  If your concerns are economic, this is a no-brainer:  you take the second group.  Not only will they not compete for low-wage jobs, their energy and creativity will create more jobs for Americans.  If your main concern is culture, though, you see things entirely differently.  Accepting the first group would have a minor affect on American culture.  Accepting the second would effectively mean replacing the entire native elite class with an imported one.  Given a million Mexican geniuses, within a generation, elite culture in the U.S would be predominantly Mexican.  The residual Anglo-Protestant culture would be replaced by Hispanic anti-clerical culture, with the former only surviving among the uneducated, and only as a marker of low social status.  For someone wanting to preserve the current American culture, this would be intolerable.  Much better to have a million unskilled, non-culturally-creative immigrants living off welfare.

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