Wednesday's Quad-City Times contained an opinion from Cal Thomas, Chicago Tribune columnist, “Where’s the Common Sense in Washington?” Cal defines common sense as “sound practical judgment that is independent of specialized knowledge, training, or the like.”

Cal concludes, “Immigration is a perfect example” where common sense should be applied, then launches into a common sense defense of a restrictive immigration bill that two Republican senators have introduced to cut future legal immigration by 50 percent.

I disagree entirely. Immigration policy is too complex to apply a common sense approach. Legal immigration affects many facets of the economy, deficit, jobs, wages, social safety nets, education, and more. Immigration policy should be derived from studies by unbiased experts with specialized knowledge.

One major driver of immigration policy is the U.S. fertility rate, which has fallen below the 2.1 replacement level needed to keep the population growing. Economists point out slow economic growth is due in large part to the lack of workers to fill available jobs. Studies support increasing future legal immigration to over 2 million immigrants per year to allow the economy to grow at a higher rate.

Common sense is useful when applied to simple problems. When someone encourages you to apply common sense to any complex issue, they are trying to influence you to adopt their position, rather than determining the best solution.

I urge everyone to recognize this tactic in anyone who might seek to influence you. Demand our legislators rely on unbiased experts and statistics to address our nation’s complex problems.

Richard Patterson