When Mitt Romney’s campaign says it is “still deciding what his position on immigration is,” it goes without saying the political debates inside his campaign are intense. What should not be contentious, however, is the commitment for increasing legal immigration by anyone supporting free-market principles.
The current immigration system is the antithesis of a free-market economy and resembles nothing so much as a Soviet-style economic central planning bureau.
The government fixes quotas and subquotas on the number of immigrants by skill, country of origin, employer and even where they can live. Arbitrary rules, inspections and other requirements make the system virtually unworkable for all but the most committed of employers, with the result that American companies are prevented from finding the talent they want.
Soviet bureaucrats thought they knew everything about the labor market, including the number of workers, their skill level and even where they should live. Their efforts failed, and so has our immigration system.
American workers, not just American employees, are hurt in the process. Foreign workers typically have different skills and experiences than Americans, which means there is little competition between them. Employing more foreign doctors and farmworkers increases the demand for American nurses and pesticide producers, creating jobs and expanding the economy. And these come with the benefits of increased choice and lowered prices for goods and services for the average American consumer.