She walked by with freshly colored silvery lavender hair and a Michael Kors bag; I almost didn’t recognize her. A refugee of a few years, she’d already shed the fresh-off-an-Iraqi-village look. This is a common evolution. After moving to the United states, other creative women sport Kim Kardashian styles and call it assimilation—freedom and Amreeka and all that.
Please don’t misunderstand me—these are observations of my fellow immigrants, not insults. I’ve been thinking about these women while reading Reihan Salam’s book, Melting Pot or Civil War? A Son of Immigrants Makes the Case Against Open Borders. What follows is my rumination as an immigrant, which, I think, creates a fundamental difference between me and Reihan (a new acquaintance), who was born in America to Bangladeshi parents.
Reihan has a wonderful mind for policy. His ideas—some of which I share, and some of which I do not—are well argued. His suggestions include implementing a skills-based immigration system; outsourcing or automating low-skill jobs; virtual immigration (working in one country while living in another); supporting amnesty (I prefer the word “regularization”) for long-time well-integrated undocumented persons; building up less-developed countries in order to stem migration; developing a points system for the entire immigration system in order to net those that would have the best chance at integrating well into our country; and cutting low-skill immigrants because they tend to stay in generational poverty cycles, and instead investing in the younger generation of poor immigrants, which will provide the younger generation with many opportunities, including a chance to enter the middle class. My colleague Henry Olsen noted in his review of the book that Salam’s ideas “[lead] to a Trumpian policy from distinctly non-Trumpian grounds.”
Read the rest of the essay at Public Discourse.