Door Open or Closed? A Discussion on Immigration

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On Tuesday evening, The King's Council office hosted a faculty forum to discuss immigration. Student Body President Reese Evans, Debate Coach Josiah Peterson, as well as members of the debate team, among other interested students, filled the room to hear perspectives from Drs. Paul Mueller, Jared Pincin, David Innes and Robert Carle. As the discussion's moderator, Dr. Mueller provided background on immigration’s progression as a current issue, and then posed a question to the panel: Should we restrict immigration?

Dr. Pincin took a stab at the question first by analyzing the economic effect of immigration on the U.S. He explained how economists are largely divided into two camps on the issue, one leaning towards open borders and the other leaning towards more restriction. This division is highlighted since roughly 50 percent of economists favor an increase in immigration.

Immigrants to the U.S, legal and illegal, account for "1.6 trillion dollars in economic output;" however, 98 percent of that returns to the immigrants in the form of wages and payment. On the flip side, many immigrants are low-skilled workers, competing with domestic low-skilled workers, and driving wages down in the short-term. However, in the long-term, wages are unaffected by immigrant workers. Immigration, then, presents no disadvantage in terms of wages in the long run and holds the potential to increase productivity in the short term by decreasing low-skilled labor costs. From a global perspective, Dr. Pincin cited a study claiming that "complete labor mobility" would increase world GDP anywhere from 50 percent to 150 percent. The conclusion: increased immigration has little economic cost and huge growth potential.

Facing the theological side of the issue, Dr. Innes referred to his co-authored book Left Right and Christ, in which he rejects that Levitical instructions regarding the foreigner translate into a positive right to immigration, but sympathizes with the sentiment of hospitality to the sojourner. The primary responsibility of government, he said, is to protect and secure its citizens, but qualified that responsibility with the need for hospitality. He illustrated by explaining that as you wouldn't shun all visitors from your home, you also wouldn't let all inside: "so too with a country." Emergencies abroad may call for "extraordinary" hospitality, but a nation must maintain a certain political identity among its members.

Dr. Carle focused on the logistics and effects of countries’ immigration policies concerning Syrian refugees. He critiqued German Chancellor Angela Merkel's acceptance of nearly 1 million refugees, many of which were posers and over 75 percent were single men. Dr. Carle explained that the prospects of these men were bleak, while female refugees in general procure better employment. He contrasted Germany’s approach with Canada's, which only accepts refugees from camps and from households with at least one female. This approach decreases the number of refugee imposters and avoids the "demographic time bomb" of a male-dominated refugee population.

With the exception of Dr. Innes, a Canadian immigrant himself, the professors are all married to immigrants to the United States. Dr. Carle "cannot imagine New York without immigrants." Dr. Pincin insisted, "We're talking about human lives here, not numbers." Dr. Innes enjoined, "we need much more generous intake" of immigrants. While differing on the specific means and scope, the whole panel favored easing immigration restrictions.

Following the professors' statements, Dr. Mueller presented his own questions and facilitated a lively Q&A with the audience. The school is looking forward to facilitating a forum regarding the war on drugs, which is set to take place sometime in March.

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