Still Number One

November 4th, 2009 Scott Bittle

As if anyone needed proof that immigration will remain a major issue, a new international survey reports that some 700 million people worldwide say they would move to another country if they could. Not surprisingly, the largest single group, one-quarter, say their first choice would be to come to the United States.

We cant speak to the view of those overseas, but we can certainly talk about the immigrants who are already here. In our survey of immigrants, A Place to Call Home, we found a powerful endorsement of life in America. More than seven in 10 say that if they could do it all over again, theyd still come to the United States. Just as many say they intend to make the United States their permanent home.

The reasons are simple enough: immigrants buy into American society. Three-quarters say the United States is a unique country that stands for something special. Strong majorities also rate the U.S. as better than their birth country on a range of dimensions, including making a good living, having a trustworthy legal system and providing education and health care.

With all the ups and downs of our international reputation, with all the challenges we face, people still want to come to America. And the ones who have already come here, want to stay. Thats a powerful endorsement – and in fact, you couldnt ask for a better one.

Scott Bittle is the executive vice-president of Public Agenda, a non-partisan non-profit.

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  • Name
    Nexus between immigration reform and counterterrorism.
    Nigerians have a well deserved reputation for employing scam/sham marriages to get visas in order to enter the US. That sounds like a ready-made scenario for Al-Qaeda to exploit on a wholesale basis. Shouldnt someone at CIA or Homeland Security be looking into that practice more intensly in light of the the most recent attempt at terrorism! The Nigerian marriage scam is common knowledge yet Ive not heard a word mentioned about it anywhere in the media! What gives!
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