On legal immigration, Trump might be right

April 7, 2019

On legal immigration, Trump might be right

by Dr . Fareed Zakaria



Image result for president trump

President Trump’s threat to close the U.S.-Mexico border has confused even his allies. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) said it “would be bad for everybody.” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) remarked, “I’m not sure that’s a particularly good idea, and I’m not sure it gets the desired result.” Most assume the threat is part of the usual Trump style — bravado and bluff — and will eventually get dialed back, and there are already indications that this is happening.

But on the broader issue of legal immigration, Trump seems to be shifting his position. In his State of the Union address in February, he said, “I want people to come into our country in the largest numbers ever, but they have to come in legally.” Immigration hardliners did not take this well.

The president has since reasserted the idea. The day after the State of the Union, Trump told reporters: “I need people coming in because we need people to run the factories and plants and companies that are moving back in.” And Politico reported this week that Jared Kushner is quietly developing a proposal to increase legal immigration into the United States.

If this is Trump’s new and improved immigration position, the president might find his way to a powerful compromise — real crackdowns on illegal immigration, coupled with reform and actual increases in legal immigration. This also happens to be a smart policy idea.

A recent essay in the journal International Security points out that by 2050, the United States is projected to be the only major world power with an increase in its population . The four authors, all university professors, tie this factor to more dynamic economic growth and also the United States’ continued ability and willingness to play a major military and political role.

The data on other major powers is striking. United Nations projections show that by 2050, China and Russia will have a 20 percent drop in people of working age. Germany’s working-age population will drop by 17 percent, and Japan’s by 29 percent. This will probably translate into slower growth, less economic vitality and greater passivity on the world stage, the report says.

The United States’ working-age numbers are set to rise by 12 percent in the same period. In fact, only three other major developed countries will see increases in their working-age cohort: Australia, Canada and Britain. But all four countries are expected to enjoy this boost only because of immigration. Without immigration, by 2050, the U.S. working-age population would actually shrink by 4.5 percent. Canada’s would plummet by 20 percent.

China, on track to be the greatest economic, political and technological competitor to the United States, faces a demographic challenge that’s even more dire than was previously anticipated. Last year, China’s birth rate fell to its lowest level since 1961, a year of widespread famine. It appears that the Communist regime’s efforts to reverse the nation’s long-standing “one child” policy have not worked. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said in January that for China’s population, “the biggest event in the first half of the 21st century is the arrival of negative growth,” according to the South China Morning Post.

Amid all the noise in this country about immigration, it’s easy to forget the big picture. Immigration means a more robust economy. It usually means younger workers, which translates into greater dynamism and more innovation. Most Nobel Prizes are awarded to scientists for work they did when they were young. Most companies are founded by people when they are young. Younger populations are more risk-seeking, adventurous and entrepreneurial.

Despite the rhetoric around it, legal immigration in the United States is actually not that high. Before he became chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, Kevin Hassett published a piece in National Review ranking wealthy countries on their ratio of new immigrants to total population in 2010. The United States had the third-lowest figure, higher only than Japan and France. Canada and Germany had more than twice as many new immigrants as a share of the population, and Norway and Switzerland had more than four times.

During the past two decades, many of the United States’ crucial competitive advantages have been copied by the world to the point that other nations do it better — with well-regulated market economics, technological investments, infrastructure, mass education. What does America have left to truly distinguish itself?

Over the past half-century, the United States has handled immigration better than most countries. It takes in people from everywhere, assimilates them better, integrates them into the fabric of society and is able to maintain an environment in which the new immigrants feel as invested as the old. This will be its core competitive advantage in this century.

(c) 2019, Washington Post Writers Group
Washington Post
April 4, 2019

8 thoughts on “On legal immigration, Trump might be right

  1. LOL

    I usually skip anything Fareed Zakaria writes or says. I confess I have no respect for this man as a commentator or a scholar. He analyses Donald Trump too rationally. He assumes Trump knows the positive impact immigration has on the economy. Trump says things and makes his decisions on instinct, pleasing his followers. Trump never understood that the US is only a great power because of immigration it’s founded on. Ascribing any sense of integrity, rational thought process beyond self-interest, or completed policy initiatives coming from Trump is not realistic.

    What’s the surprise? We all know Trump says something different from day to day, or hour to hour, even from minute to minute…. Who will believe someone who does not know his father’s birthplace? Trump falsely stated his father was born in Germany, when we all know Fred Trump was born in New York.

    The issue came up when Trump was discussing NATO and Germany needing to pay more as part of the alliance during a White House event with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. The meeting took place amid tensions over Trump’s attacks on the alliance, especially his claims that some countries don’t contribute enough to mutual defense.”I mean, Germany, honestly, is not paying their fair share. I have great respect for Angela and I have great respect for their country,” Trump said of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “My father is German. Right? Was German. And born in a very wonderful place in Germany, and so I have a great feeling for Germany.” And it was the fourth time Trump has made such a claim in less than a year.

    Fareed believes Trump has changed his stance on immigration, that he wants more legal immigration than ever…. At the time he wrote his above article, did he not hear Trump told Fox News’ Griff Jenkins what his new message is for those who are seeking to migrate to the United States? Trump said: “The country is full, our system is full. We can’t do it anymore….”

    No, Trump has never changed his immigration stance. They have to come in legally and even illegally when “whitely”, like from Norway. His current wife came with a tourist visa, overstayed the visa and worked illegally. In fact, she was an illegal immigrant until she married the sugar-daddy. And her parents came as chain migration. Even Trump himself and all his children are what his right-wings followers would call “anchor babies,” as Trump’s mother was an immigrant. Trump and his followers do not want non-white immigrants, legal or illegal.

    our preference differs.–din

  2. Hopefully, what Zakaria mentioned comes true.

    Looking back into my own migration experience into US, I wonder if I have left Malaysia for US because US is truly exceptional, or because my other choice of staying in Malaysia is much worse as a second caste. It is probably the later, though it could likely be true on both.

    US is exceptional in a warped manner, as some would suggest we enslaved ourselves with our mythical Protestant work ethics. This ethic has brought the best and the worst of us all on the issue of entitlements, in terms of what we would and we could expect from the nation, and employer.

    It rings true to the mind of one alpha top dog in the capitalist financial world, that he even spent sometime this week to pen the following note:


    Exciting times is ahead of us all. On the issue of immigration, I see the virtue of contributing to our local community, no matter where we get to be. I was happy to meet a 20+ yo second caste Malaysian on a hiking meetup recently, who get to come to US because he took the effort to fill up the immigration lottery application. He graduated from LSE, and was working for Deutsche Bank prior coming to the US. His youth and charm is uplifting. His look reminds me of Henry Golding from Crazy Rich Asian. Such is the face of one of the newest American legal immigrant.

    Zakir Naik has his charm also.

    katasayang, tell me how a religious bigot can also have his charm.-din

    • I can’t say for sure, Dato. But he has his followings. Apparently, some Malaysians find him charming. Perhaps he was able to lend a few a voice with his oratory zeal. I have no doubt some Malays genuinely identify with him and would find him charming. Indian Muslims could be an outgroup in pockets of India, like the Rohingya. I have seen such of his kind in my religion in America also. I suspect it does appeal to something innate within us human.
      It is not healthy for Malays in Malaysia to think that they are like the outgroup Muslims in the West/China or India. It does not benefit the Malays. Yet, I don’t see a solution in calling such Malays bigot. They are just curiously charming for someone like me who lives very far away.

  3. To Zakir Naik, everything revolves with Quran as the centerpiece. A clever and powerful speaker, he says the Quranic teachings were already there and being practised even before the Quran came into being – a real master stroke! Whilst he is being investigated and likely to be charged in his home country India, he has already obtained residency in 1-2 countries including Malaysia. A rolling stone can also light up sparks to spread fire!

  4. Right from the beginning the target was those 5 or 6 countries. Then it was those illegal crossings. What is “new and improved position ” here.

  5. Do you guys think Democrat candidates going to beat Trump? I felt most of the candidates are too liberal except Biden and Minnesota Senator. I am only concern that Democrat too liberal like OAC and turn folks away.

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