Japanese may think the US immigration policy is a great aspiration they should follow. But many professionals handling these immigration issue at first hand have different opinions.
Center for immigration studies
Vernon Briggs, Jr., is a CIS Board member and an Emeritus Professor of Labor and Human Resource Economics at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.
(I have totally extracted most useful parts from his paper.)
“Too often, if the United States’ experience with immigration reform is instructive, the rhetoric surrounding these discussions becomes hopelessly entangled in a confusion of intentions and motivations of the participants that serve to divert public attention from the national interest to what are but crass private efforts to extract gains for special-interest groups. Policy options are endlessly re-hashed and re-debated as if they have never been discussed or tried before. Research dealing with experience with past endeavors is simply ignored. It often seems that no lessons are ever learned. The result, as one would expect, is usually stalemate in the legislative bodies as the politicians jockey for acceptable positions and widespread cynicism is generated among the populace because changes are not forthcoming while the failures of extant policies continue to fester in their local communities.”
“The open society does not mean limitless immigration. Quantitative and qualitative limits are perfectly compatible with the concept of the open society.” (Hesburgh, 1981: 25)
“Immigration is, in its fundamental aspects, a labor problem.” (Gompers, 1925: 154)
“Immigration policy inevitably reflects a kind of national selfishness of which the major beneficiaries are the least fortunate among us.” (Reder, 1963: 227)
“Much of the rationale for the admission of immigrants in free societies ignores the impacts of their actions upon the labor market.”
“Too often immigration debates focus on the beneficiaries of immigration policies (that is, the immigrants themselves, employers, and sometimes consumers) while failing to acknowledge that there are always losers too, which is especially important since the losers are disproportionately those already on the bottom rungs of society’s economic ladder as well as the taxpayers in general who often are required to support or to supplement the financial needs of unskilled immigrants and refugees.”
“Unless there is another compelling interest, such as in the entry of nuclear families and refugees, it is not in the national interest to admit unskilled workers.” (U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, 1995: 24)
“Immigration can support the national interest by bringing to the U.S. individuals whose skills would benefit our society.” (U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, 1995: 20)
“If U.S. immigration policy is to serve this nation’s interests, it must be enforced effectively. This nation has a responsibility to its people — citizens and permanent residents — and failure to enforce immigration law means not living up to that responsibility.” (Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy, 1981: 12)
“Except in national emergencies, guestworker programs [for unskilled workers] are bad public policy. They may meet the short term pleas of private interest groups, but they can never meet the higher standard of being policies that serve the national interest.” (Briggs, 2004: 7)
To be successful, immigration policy debates must “overcome the four horsemen of parochialism, xenophobic demagoguery, ‘knee jerkism’, and perfectionism.” (Hesburgh, 1981: 25)
Parochialism. The first obstacle to overcome is parochialism. If policymakers believe that they can design comprehensive and effective measures, without regard to lessons that can be learned by looking at the experiences of other similarly situated nations and how they have wrestled with the issue in the contemporary, international setting, they will probably fail.
Xenophobic and Xenophilic Demagoguery. The second obstacle to overcome is xenophobic demagoguery.
Knee-Jerkism. The third barrier to reform is “knee-jerkism.” Immigration issues are often as complicated as they are controversial. Quick fixes that are offered as solutions usually fail to appreciate the complexities of the multiple issues involved, they overlook long-term consequences, and they can lead to unexpected consequences.”
Perfectionism. The fourth path to policy failure is the insistence that proposed remedies be perfect in their execution or else they cannot be enacted or must be repealed.
“Too often,” as President John F. Kennedy once warned his nation in 1962, “we subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” Immigration policy requires thought as a predicate for action.
Briggs, Vernon M., Jr. (2003). Mass Immigration and the National Interest: Policy Directions for a New Century. M.E. Sharpe.
Briggs, Vernon M, Jr. (2004). “Guestworker Programs: Lessons from the Past and Warnings for the Future.” Backgrounder (March). Center for Immigration Studies.
Brubaker, William R. (1989). “Citizenship and Naturalization: Policies and Politics.” In William R. Brubaker (ed.), Immigration and the Politics of Citizenship in Europe and North America (University Press of America): 99–127.
Gompers, Samuel (1925). Seventy Years of Life and Labor. Volume 2. Dutton.
Hesburgh, Rev. Theodore M. (1981). Testimony before the Joint Hearings of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Refugee Policy of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary and the Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and International Law of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary, May 5, 1981. U.S. Government Printing Office.
Reder, Melvin W. (1963). The Economic Consequences of Increased Immigration. Review of Economics and Statistics 45,3 (August): 223–30.
Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy (1981). U.S. Immigration Policy and the National Interest (March 1).
Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy (1997). Becoming an American: Immigration and Immigrant Policy (September).
United Nations Population Fund (1993). The State of World Population: 1993. United Nations Population Fund.
U.S. Commission on Immigration Policy (1995).Legal Immigration: Setting Priorities(June).