Another Blow to the U.S. Economy

Trump is at it again.  Trump is like one of those long past his prime comedians retelling an old joke that always gets a laugh or a band from the 60s or 70s playing their most favorite song over and over.  Using the pandemic as an excuse (cover), he has issued an executive order suspending all legal immigration.  Obviously, this has always been what he wanted to do and he has seized his chance.  This move is entirely political.  He has to energize and motivate his base, which is largely anti-immigration.  With his pitiful showing on the pandemic and the economy tanking, he had to do something he knew would work.

I suspect, hope actually, that his supporters know that it is deadly to inject or ingest disinfectant to kill a virus, but I wonder whether they also know that his immigration policy is also a poison pill for the economic health of the country. The published economic facts are overwhelming that immigration is good for our country.  This does not mean, as he and many Republicans say, that an open border policy is what Democrats want, but a wisely managed flow of immigrants helps our economy from the bottom to the top.  We need farm labor.  We have a continual need for construction workers, restaurant workers, healthcare workers, tradesmen, domestics, childcare workers, etc.  We also need and rely upon foreign scientists, engineers, researchers, doctors, academics, entrepreneurs and educated and skilled people in every area of our economy.  The contribution of immigrants to our country is beyond remarkable.  It is true to say that our country would not be and will not be competitive without immigrants.  This is not a warm, fuzzy sentiment about being a “nation of immigrants,” this is a fundamental fact of our past and future economic development. 

 Applauding Trump for this move would be like applauding our basketball coach, Buzz Williams, for refusing to recruit a foreign-born basketball player who could change the future of the team because Buzz wanted to play with only American kids no matter what.

 I am continually shocked that American businessmen, American universities and research centers, medical centers, farmers and all the others who depend on immigrants don’t rise up publicly to speak against Trump’s immigration policies.  To be fair, they do object in private, but their private objections mean nothing to a guy like Trump who only cares about reelection, at all costs, particularly if those costs are paid by us rather than him.

For more about this executive order, see Houston Chronicle, May 1, 2020 “Trump Closing Doors to Legal Immigration” by Charles C. Foster.