Some Thoughts on Immigration

I went to school in a small, almost rural township.  There were 49 in my graduating class, and we went all 12+ years in the same building.  And there were no minorities; we were amazingly homogeneous, all very white lower-to-middle class.

Being a small school, teacher turnover was high.  Each year would bring many new faces, usually fresh out of college from states to the south.  Then my junior year we were suprised to have a Korean, a Mr. Kim (of course) as a math teacher.  It was an exciting development and quite an opportunity to learn about a different culture.  Unfortunately, I’m sorry to say things did not go very well.  Mr. Kim wasn’t very effective at teaching us math.  It was probably us as typical teenagers with no world perspective, although he seemed to struggle in explaining concepts to us (I remember a favorite phrase being “Just study the jamples [examples].”  He only lasted one year.  Which was a shame, because he could’ve taught us a lot about that part of the world.  (I do remember a story about living in a cave during the Korean War, which as a child he found exciting.)

The current immigration trials and tribulations reminded me of this story.  Immigrants bring unique sets of talents and a different perspective to wherever they settle.  And for whatever reason, every time I hear of someone noteworthy who is relatively new to this country (an immigrant or born to immigrant parents), I make a note of it.  Just off the top of my head, I can think of the following contemporaries —

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Madeleine Albright

Nikki Haley

Bobby Jindal

Marco Rubio

Ted Cruz (his father)

BTW, feel free to add to the list.

People talk about the economic costs of immigration.  There is an interesting podcast on Freakonomics radio that provides an excellent economic analysis.  It’s entitled “Is Migration a Basic Human Right?”; the audio and a transcript can be found at http://freakonomics.com/2015/12/17/is-migration-a-basic-human-right-a-new-freakonomics-radio-podcast/

It got me to thinking, anyway.

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