Before Congress throws out the baby with the bathwater, I’d like to remind nativists (those who approve of President Trump’s immigration policies) of the consequences of restricting immigration.

Republicans’ protest that they are only interested in reducing “illegal” immigration doesn’t wash. The reform bill introduced this year (sponsored by Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue) would cut legal immigration by 50 percent.

Last year, a study by the Partnership for the New American Economy found that 40.2 percent of all Fortune 500 companies were founded or co-founded by immigrants or their children. Together, these companies employ nearly 6 million Americans.

It is argued that we should allow immigration only to people with skills and higher education because only they can make a contribution to our culture and economy. Yet the record does not support that idea. Tens of thousands of people have reached our shores without those credentials – and many have emerged as industry leaders.

According to the George Mason University Institute for Immigration Research, Americans have won 40 percent of all Nobel Prizes ever awarded. And guess what: Immigrants account for about 35 percent of those winners. Last year, four Americans won the prize – and three of them are immigrants.

In a recent commentary, New York Times columnist Bret Stephens asserts: “It’s because we have brilliant foreigners that we have those things (i.e., great universities, vast financial resources and a dynamic high-tech economy). Google. Comcast. eBay. Kraft. Pfizer. AT&T. They all had immigrants as founders.”

Some immigrants come to America because of our wealth, Stephens says, but many come “in hope of being welcomed by a country whose astounding faith in human possibility includes a faith in them, however poor, unkempt – or even undocumented – they may sometimes be.”

Nativism sounds patriotic, but it is not who we are or who we should be.

Stan Cohen

Bridgton