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Georgetown Professor's New Book Says Immigration Is Among The Reasons Why The USA Will Remain A Preeminent World Leader

by Mark Harrington

Georgetown Professor of Government & International Affairs Robert J. Leiber has written an excellent new book that should be required reading for all policy wonks, including all of us who are concerned with Immigration Policy. The book is entitled, "Power & Willpower in the American Future; Why the U.S. is NOT destined to decline."

At 172 pages, the book is a relatively quick read but is packed full of great quotes and statistics about America's staying-power. He points out that predicting our country's decline is so common it should considered it an American tradition. Both George Soros on the left and Pat Buchanan on the right have been saying that we're doomed for decades. The classic example was all the talk about Japan taking over the world in the 1980s. With footnotes to back him up, he shows how America's share of world GDP has remained constant over the past several decades at between 20% and 25% of world output-even as the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India & China) experienced unprecedented economic development.

He argues that one of the main reasons why the US will remain a preeminent power is immigration. He writes, "Successive waves of immigrants have enriched the country, stimulated its growth, and provided a source of innovation and dynamism. This absorptive capacity has been an exceptional feature of the United States and even now sets it apart form virtually every major country in the world." He cites a international Gallup poll which asked people where they would like to live permanently if they could move. 24% of the responders said the United States, followed by Canada and the U.K. at only 7% each. This has significant economic implications-the role of immigrants in the success of Silicon Valley and rest of America's high-tech sector is well known.

But how about our competitors? Professor Leiber's book is realistic about America's current problems, but he notes that our competitors have their own major problems. China, for example, is facing an unprecedented demographic crisis. He cites a report showing that due to China's One Child Policy, over the next 10-15 years the number of young people in the 15-24 age group (those entering the workforce) will drop by one-third. That's worth repeating: Within 15 years there could be 30% fewer 15-24 year olds in China! Another statistic that I would add to China's serious demographic problems would be its widespread practice of sex-selective abortion. The natural ratio of male-female births is about 105 males for every 100 females. In China it is now 119-100, and as high as 130-100 in some provinces. As the next generation ages, it is estimated that this unnatural ratio of boys to girls could generate tens of millions of unmarriageable men which could lead to serious social, economic, and political problems. Added to China's demographic problems is that, unlike here in the United States, there is almost no migration into China.

In addition to discussing immigration, Professor Leiber argues that our universities, which remain among the very best in the world, provide a huge advantage to the United States. He also notes that the US is already the third largest producer of oil after Saudi Arabia and Russia, and thanks to advances in fracking technology used for extracting tight oil and shale gas, our country's production of both oil and natural gas is increasing.

Professor Leiber's book calls for serious reform of our country's overly bureaucratic immigration system so that we can maximize the advantage that immigration produces in the United States. His book is a realistic and professorial take on America's current problems. As a proper scholarly book should, his book includes a detailed index and includes plenty of references to experts who disagree with his arguments so that readers can do their own research and come to their own conclusions.

Professor Leiber's book is a true gem. Essentially, he argues that whether the United State will continue to lead the world politically will be based not on whether the US will remain economically powerful (it will), but whether U.S. Policy makers will have the willpower to make the right policy decisions. Hence the title "Power & Willpower in the American Future." Professor Leiber is confident that eventually the policy makers will make the right choices. He quotes Winston Churchill who stated, "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing…after they have exhausted all other possibilities."

If you've had enough of the doom-and-gloom about America's supposed decline spewed by the talking-heads, I highly recommend Professor Leiber's book.

About The Author

Mark Harrington is an Immigration Lawyer in Houston, TX. Prior to practicing immigration law he spent five years working on Capitol Hill, including three years as a counsel to the House Science Committee. From 2009-2011, Mr. Harrington served as the Chairman of the State Bar of Texas Committee on Laws Relating to Immigration & Nationality. He can be reached at

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.