Adverse immigrant selection & social conflict

Early European immigrants to Americas (so-called ‘settlers ‘who followed ‘explorers’) such as Spanish, French and English immigrants brought their culture which the nation of immigrants branded as American culture.

First wave of immigrants comprised enterprising traders wanting to make quick profit from tobacco cultivation and those who wanted to escape religious and political prosecution. Subsequently, reasons changed from entrepreneurial & ideological to down to earth objectives such as dream of securing life by owning land. Securing life was subsequently repackaged as “American dream” a goal post for those who seek better life and achievement orientation which was missing in developing world.

Modern American Universities qualitatively changed immigration. University student recruitment (admissions) requirements such as potential for academic success and competitive test scores tilted likely immigrants in favor of those who confirm to standards than those who are entrepreneurial. US businesses needed professional work force in technical and managerial functions. Policy makers endorsed a loosely held scheme of student non-immigrant visa holders upgrading themselves to guest workers and then becoming potential immigrants.

Jewish and Asian immigrants excelled in the current immigration game. And so are many others who aspire for American middle-class life. Immigration game today favors confirming types rather than enterprising & risk taking types. I don’t think today’s immigrants would have braved the rough sea to achieve. In a way, if terror and way of life aspects are removed from discussion, boat people have better risk takers than those who go through all that I said in previous post.

Stock of enterprising immigrants in USA is dwindling due to inadequate replacement. On the other hands fresh immigrants and descendants of early European immigrants compete for the successful middle-class life. Immigrants once tested at the University admissions process outsmart locals in this game. Asian & Jewish immigrants typically have university degrees, higher median salaries and threaten to influence political discourse. This is a perfect recipe for the social conflict of us v/s them.

The problem is larger than any single legislation item such as H-1B, Dreamer’s law etc. Goal of replacing entrepreneurial stock and priming country’s job creation engine requires comprehensive reform in higher education and immigration policies.