In her immigration benefits talk, Kathy Wills shares her own atypical immigration story.
Wills' family was one of three whose arrival was heralded by the newspapers. Against the communist regime, the families had three options: join the new collective, leave immediately or, if they acted up, risk getting shot on the spot. Wisely, Wills' family chose to walk to the nearest consulate. As luck would have it, a new initiative was helping families fleeing the communist regime. Thanks to the US State department, the Tolstoy foundation and Macy's, the family ended up on a welcoming float in the Thanksgiving Parade. Wills' notes that leaving your country of origin for another is, even under the best of circumstances, a huge commitment and leap of faith. In her view, every immigrant family should be provided with a "metaphorical Thanksgiving Parade float."
Wills encourages us to consider immigration in terms of all of the gifts it yields us. Besides immigrants bringing with them their progeny, hopes, energy, music, culture, medicine and cuisine, immigration is also highly correlated with prosperity. Indeed, the 28 countries with the highest grossing GDP's also have the highest rate of immigration, which, is by no means "high" in the grand scheme of things. At only 13%, immigration is actually lower than it was in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Wills hopes that in future conversation, we will orient a more positive outlook towards immigration.