Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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移民和美国实力

美国剑桥—美国是一个移民国家。除了少部分土著,所有美国人都来自其他地方,即使是新来移民,也可以在美国经济和政治舞台出人头地。富兰克林·罗斯福总统对美国革命女儿会——该团体以祖先最早到达美国为自豪——做过著名评价,称他们是“同伴移民”。

但是,近几年来,美国政治出现了强烈的反移民倾向,且在2012年共和党总统提名宣战中扮演了重要角色。奥巴马的连任表明,拉丁裔选民的选票力量十分强大,他们以3比1的绝对多数反对共和党候选人罗姆尼,亚裔也是如此。

结果,一些共和党著名政客敦促该党反思其反移民政策,而奥巴马也计划在第二个任期伊始便将移民改革列入日程。成功的改革将是阻止美国实力衰落的重要步骤。

担心移民会对国民价值观和美国身份的凝聚力形成冲击并不是新鲜事物。19世纪的“无知”(Know Nothing)运动便是建立在反对移民,特别是爱尔兰移民的基础上的。1882年以降,中国人成为排斥的对象,最严厉的1924年移民法更是大大减缓了接下去40年的移民潮。

20世纪是外国出生美国人比例创出新高的世纪。1910年为14.7%。一个世纪以后,据2010年人口普查数据,13%的美国人出生于海外。但是,尽管美国是一个移民国家,但越来越多的美国人开始对移民抱有怀疑而不是同情的态度。众多民调都显示出,多数或大多数人支持更少移民。衰退放大了这一观点:2009年,一半美国公众支持减少移民,而2008年只有39%。

移民数量和移民来源都是担心移民会对美国文化造成影响的原因。人口学趋势表明,到2050年,非西班牙裔白人将只占微弱多数。西班牙裔将占人口的25%,非洲裔和亚裔美国人分别占14%和8%。

但大众传播和市场力量所产生的强大激励推动着英语的主导地位,也推动着一定程度的吸收力。现代媒体帮助新移民更好地体会新国家,这是一百年前的移民享受不到的。事实上,大多数证据表明,最新的移民的同化速度一点都不亚于他们的先辈。

移民太快会造成社会问题,但从长期看,移民增强了美国的实力。据估计,至少有83个国家和地区的生育率低于维持人口规模不降的必须生育率。随着21世纪的深入,大部分发达国家都将经历人口短缺,但美国是其中少数可能避免人口下降、维持其世界人口比例的国家之一。

比如,为了维持现有人口规模,日本必须在未来50年中每年接收35万新国民,这对于这个向来对移民持敌视态度的国家来说十分困难。相反,美国人口调查局预计,美国人口将在未来四十年中增加49%。

如今,美国是世界第三大人口大国;50年后,大概仍将排名第三(仅次于中国和印度)。这与经济实力息息相关:几乎所有其他发达国家都将面临日益增加的赡养老龄人口的负担,而移民将有助于解决美国的老龄政策问题。

此外,尽管研究表明短期移民的经济利益相对较小,低技能工人将因竞争而遭受打击,但高技移民对于某些特定部门十分重要,对长期增长也是如此。美国专利申请数量和高技能人士签证申请数量呈现强相关。21世纪初,中国和印度出生的工程师开创了一半的硅谷技术企业,销售总额达到了178亿美元;1995—2005年,美国所有新开技术企业中有四分之一来自移民。移民及其子辈建立了2010年《财富》500强公司的近四成。

同样重要的是移民对美国软实力的提升作用。人们愿意来美国这一事实增强了美国的吸引力,移民地位的向上跃升吸引了来自其他国家的人。美国是一块磁石,许多人可以自认为美国人,部分是因为太多的成功美国人看起来和他们很像。此外,移民及其家庭与祖国朋友之间的联系也有助于传递关于美国的真实的积极信息。

类似地,多种文化并存形成了与其他国家沟通的桥梁,这有助于拓宽全球化时代美国人的视野和世界观。移民增强,而不是妨碍了硬实力和软实力。

新加坡国父李光耀深谙中美两国,他认为中国不可能超越美国成为21世纪最强国,其原因正是美国吸引着全世界最优秀、最聪明的人,并将他们融入多元的创造力文化中。中国人口更多,更适于内部挖潜,但是,在李光耀看来,中国中心论将导致其创造力不如美国。

美国应该时刻铭记这一评价。如果奥巴马在第二个任期中成功地推行移民改革,那么他将在兑现维持美国优势的承诺之路上迈进一大步。

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  1. CommentedJ St. Clair

    you all better get used to fewer humans on this planet .... there is no amount of immigration that will change that....everyone is broke.....no need to bring another human onto this planet that will be struggling for 70 years hussling for money...

  2. CommentedLeo Arouet

    Woow... Un artículo que destaca las bondades de la inmigración. Joseph Nye rescata lo positivo de la corriente de inmigración y hace una comparación a la largo plazo de Estados Unidos y Europa... Las tasas de natalidad están disminuyendo en Europa y Japón; así que estos países tendrán que realizar políticas favorables si desean que sus sociedades mantengan su densidad actual... La inmigración contribuye al poder económico y al poder blando de un país.

  3. CommentedPaul A. Myers

    Real simple:
    1. Give visas to young people with education who want to come and work, not to older people under family reunification.
    2. Give visas to foreign students who get a degree in the US.
    3. Everyone starts with a conditional work permit; it takes say 20 quarters of Social Security earnings to get a Green Card. Now, rather than working in the underground economy, everyone will clamor to work in the legal economy and earn those Social Security quarters.
    4. The US does not have a Social Security entitlement problem; it has a lack of imagination problem in its political leadership.
    5. Increase Asian immigration and let the Chinese leaders wonder where all the talent went!

  4. CommentedAnthony Juan Bautista

    Hmmmm, is the GOP really anti-immigration? Or is this just a liberal meme? Pls show me legislation passed by the fed GOP house or GOP state govt that seeks to roll-back America's status as the number one LEGAL immigration destination in the world. I know it's not fashionable in Washington to enforce existing statute; but ignoring American law is not "pro immigrant" in any healthy sense.

    The author may be an unserious presentor by perpetuating this nonsense.

  5. CommentedShane Beck

    Not necessarily. It depends upon how the immigrants identify themselves. People immigrate for various reasons- economic, family ties, fleeing persecution etc. If the immigrants still identify themselves in terms of the home country, you may get ghettos or at worst balkanization in unstable countries. It also varies over time- first generation immigrants may not integrate but the third generation may integrate. It also depends upon the acendency of the home countries- now that Asian countries are economically strong there is less reason for the asian immigrants to integrate into America and more reason to emphasise their cultural heritage / ties. There are advantages for nations to be culturally heterogenuous but there are also advantages for nations to be culturally homogenuous or at least have one totally dominant culture.

  6. CommentedLuis A. Guerra

    While reading your article I can not help but remember a comment left to an article in the Miami Herald which I later published in my Blog "Stars, Stripes and Stains". Here a quote of that comment:

    "Our concept of freedom is so powerful that it even negates the need of a given culture and/or language to exist. In fact, it is the power of our concept of freedom that allows us to assimilate as much or as little as we want from any culture in the world and still remain uniquely American. In the process, our freedom compels us to use our imagination and reshape, transform, refine, etc. everything we assimilate and end up with a uniquely American version of the original; talk about hot dogs, Taco Bell and Brooklyn style pizza.

    You should have more faith on the power of our concept of freedom. Immigrants certainly do and eventually are compelled to make it their own regardless of what believes they might have brought with them when they first arrived to the US.

    That is the true America; "E pluribus Unum" by the uniqueness and immensely creative as well as galvanizing power of our concept of freedom".

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