When the annual ceiling on high-skilled visas America granted for 2014 is hit in a matter of days, we know something is wrong. Likewise, when Alabama and Georgia lose billions of dollars in agricultural output after their laws chased away illegal immigrant workers, something is wrong.
The question posed in this inaugural issue of Peregrine is deceptively simple and profoundly misleading. What it asks us to do as legal and economic analysts is to make some empirical judgment as to the number and composition the immigration population.
It’s hard to define the right number of green cards precisely, but with millions of individuals waiting in line in other countries to get one, it seems fair to say that the current number of approximately one million per year is too low.
As the drive for US immigration reform becomes bogged down in election-year politics, one facet of the issue seems indisputable: An overhaul of the country’s immigration policy would be a boon to the world’s biggest economy.
Peregrine is an online journal with a unique mission. Each issue will address one topic out of the many elements related to immigration in the US. This inaugural issue, in fact, asks the most basic question of all: What is the right amount of legal immigration?
1 out of every 8 people in the United States is a first-generation immigrant. 45 percent of them are American citizens, which means that 1 in 20 of the current American population acquired citizenship after coming to the States. America remains a nation of immigrants. It relies on them to be sources of entrepreneurship and population growth – and, ultimately, proof to the rest of the world that America is still the land of opportunity.