Supporting immigrants is smart for America
Immigration powers the American economy, and ensuring that immigrant families living here today can thrive means greater benefits for all U.S. residents and our children in the future. The earning potential of immigrants and their contributions to the labor-force and economy grows over time and over generations. As a group, immigrants are upwardly mobile, and the children of immigrants economically outperform their parents, who are already making countless economic and social contributions. Simply put, immigrants in America tend to use the resources available to make great strides from humble beginnings – but the Trump Administration’s proposed rule threatens their ability to do so.
Tony Xu, the founder of DoorDash, embodies this story. At the age of five, Tony came to the United States with his parents, leaving behind their home in China to pursue a better life here. Despite his dad working as a researcher at the University of Illinois and his mom holding three jobs of her own, Tony’s family still had to utilize some public benefits, like food assistance, to make ends meet. Over time their sacrifices paid off, and in 2013 Tony founded DoorDash, an incredibly successful meal delivery service. Today, DoorDash is valued at $4 billion, using recent investment to expand into 1,200 new cities and to hire 250 new employees, in addition to over 100,000 part-time gigs already created for delivery drivers across the country.
Like other backdoor attempts to slash legal immigration and instill fear in immigrant communities, the new “public charge” definition is a solution in search of a problem. If finalized, this rule holds significant ramifications for U.S. citizens and immigrants alike, and is an affront to our fundamental American ideals. Policies that prematurely close off opportunity and discriminatorily cast judgment primarily because of an individual’s financial status don’t benefit our country in the long-term. Stories like Tony’s might become impossible for millions of future immigrants. It is long past time for elected officials, particularly those in the President’s own party, in support of immigrants and the contributions they bring to the U.S. and to encourage future immigration into the country.
If some individuals are concerned with the contribution rates of new immigrants, they should support legislation that invests in their success and opens the door to opportunities, such as increasing funding for English-language education, higher education, and job skills training; making it easier for highly-skilled and STEM-educated individuals to obtain green cards; and finally passing legislation to legalize Dreamers. Unlike the punitive public charge rule, these common-sense reforms include the significant benefit of not only supporting immigrants, but also growing the economy and creating jobs for all Americans.