Immigration offers many potential advantages both for immigrants and for United States citizens. Many immigrants increase their human capital just by coming to our shores, because our superior laws allow them to earn more and retain more of what they earn. Many also gain more opportunities for collaboration with our highly educated work force. Still others escape from oppression and benefit from the freedom to practice their religion and avoid forms of state sponsored, invidious discrimination.
Our citizens gain advantages from immigration as well because most immigrants contribute to greater economic growth and many become forces for innovation. Welcoming people who choose to embrace our ideals can at its best also help renew the American project. Nevertheless, immigration can impose some costs, both to particular citizens and to the nation as a whole. Here are four categories of costs, two of which have grown with the decline of limited government and of our own confidence in American exceptionalism.