I know that some people live in lily-white towns and villages, and they want things to stay that way, but America relies on immigration in so many ways:

Immigration invigorates the U.S. economy from top to bottom. Immigrants value education and economic innovation: In southeast Michigan, they are much more likely to have a college degree than non-immigrants. Immigrants help start around 25 percent of new high-tech American companies. As Austin puts it, “Slamming the door on immigrants pushes away the very talent and entrepreneurs the region’s metro areas need to remake their economies, and the ‘warm bodies’ needed to reverse decades of relative population decline and loss of political clout.” Bottom line: The Midwest can’t survive without immigrants.

The nation’s heartland can’t afford any more partisan gamesmanship on immigration policy. Millions of Midwestern jobs are at stake. Winning a better future, to paraphrase Obama’s speech, depends on policymakers taking the president’s call to action on illegal immigration seriously. So, too, might Midwestern politicians’ political futures, as attitudes about immigration inevitably change across the region.

Let’s face it. Our middle-class white youth are addicted to video games, lack ambition, are priced out of college (and will mostly squander their opportunities if they do go), and don’t have enough entrepreneurial spirit to lead this country forward. If we’re thinking that our low work-ethic kids, who are more interested in their piercings than making a buck, are going to compete with the Chinese, the Indians, and the Braziians, we’re kidding ourselves. We don’t even make these kids fight in our wars. We’re soft. The only toughness we have left is from our immigrant population, and our urban and rural poor.

Maybe that’s why so many people like to cling to their guns. They know a girl scout troop of Peruvians could conquer us as we lay bickering about our World of Warcraft games…if not for the underclass and our foreign-born citizens (and non-citizens).

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