Just when you think 2020 could not be any more painful and confusing, a new study claims certain economic disaster looms as legal immigration crawls along at a not-helpful pace. Who saw that coming?
As America struggles with the economic disaster at hand, the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) analyzed the economic ravages caused by COVID-19 – which closed the northern and southern borders of the United States – combined with Trump’s nearly four years of immigration reform policy.
Has Trump really accomplished anything with all his proposals getting mired in the courts? Yet NFAP, which claims to be non-partisan, released this telling paragraph in the July 2020 policy brief:
“Major immigration problems are taking shape: In the Fall 2020, enrollment of new international students at U.S. universities could fall to the lowest level since after World War II, while U.S. average annual labor force growth, a key component of economic growth, may be 59% lower due to Trump administration policies that have reduced legal immigration.”
Despite the report briefly touching on the vibrant economy that Trump created in four years, the entire document was one Trump slam after another.
What Do These ‘Alarming’ Numbers Mean?
Madeline Zavodny, the economics professor at the University of North Florida (UNF) who conducted the “study” for NFAP, sounds an alarm to natural-born citizens that:
- “A 1 percentage point increase in the share of the labor force comprised of immigrants appears to reduce the unemployment rate of U.S. natives in the same sex-education group by 0.062 percentage points, on average.
- “A 1 percentage point increase in the share of the labor force comprised of immigrants appears to raise the labor force participation rate of U.S. natives in the same sex-education group by 0.045 percentage points, on average.
- “There is no evidence of significant adverse effects among less-educated U.S.-born workers, while immigration appears to boost labor force participation among more-educated U.S.-born workers.
Clear as mud: which is why Liberty Nation’s economic guru Andrew Moran was consulted to clarify.
According to Moran, anyone who reads this convoluted study may think it is counterintuitive to purport that immigrants increase employment for U.S.-born citizens. But it makes a lot of sense, and it supports the economic theory behind immigration.
The first thing is that immigrants who arrive in the country create jobs when they open businesses. The second is that they inevitably become consumers, lifting domestic demand, which then increases the need for U.S. workers to meet that demand, from manufacturing to management.
Since newcomers tend to take low-paying and low-skilled positions that need to be filled, Americans gravitate to the higher-paying jobs. However, at the same time, it is important to note the huge skills gap in this country, which is why Silicon Valley advocates the H1-B visa.
Critics argue that Big Tech imports cheap labor, but the data highlight that foreign visitors who land jobs at Facebook or Alphabet earn a good living. Many Americans just do not have the skillset to work in Mountain View. That is not their fault: You can blame the government education system that concentrates on progressive indoctrination and pushing kids toward gender studies instead of the STEM fields. Overall, it is a mistake to believe that legal immigrants have a negative impact on the labor market.
On the whole, the confluence of legal immigrants and economics is more complicated than counting each arrival to our shores of someone from the Philippines or Liechtenstein. Wage rates, government intervention, and more are affected by who comes through the border. Each side has its immigrant argument, which is based on emotional appeals rather than facts. The left tends to think that all immigrants — legal or illegal — are saints that do not take advantage of the welfare state. The right likes to blame immigrants for stealing jobs from U.S. citizens and waving the flag of their home country.
Many Americans agree that illegal immigration is wrong, and the undocumented should be deported for breaking U.S. law. However, legal immigration is a bit more nuanced, and many conservatives are split on the issue. One wing says immigrants take jobs away from Americans, and another argues that immigration is a core value of the United States.
Alarming Numbers? Nah
This nation has struggled with the effects of COVID-19 and still faces a long upward battle to reacquire a robust economy. As legal immigration numbers slowly slide downward, a thinking person might blame those percentage points as a Trump side effect: They are not. The meanie in the White House can’t control everything. With a sharp response from the White House and a supportive citizenry, the numbers could all start to about-face.
Read more from Sarah Cowgill.