Sep 21

Immigration Won’t Save Rust Belt

More Misinformation from the Media:

The Rust Belt states that tipped the 2016 presidential election to Donald Trump could be the biggest losers from the proposed reductions in legal immigration that he has endorsed, according to a new study released Monday. The study, from the nonpartisan Chicago Council on Global Affairs, concludes that immigration has been “a demographic lifeline” that has helped several Midwestern cities partially reverse decades of population loss among native-born residents.

“For the cities of the Midwest, restricting current immigration levels is the last thing they need: an unnecessary tourniquet applied to a precious supply of new regional residents and workers,” reads [the study]” – The Rust Belt Needs Legal Immigration, The Atlantic, Ronald Brownstein, 9/17 [Link]

Fact Check: This is one of those innumerable articles that pitches immigration as a marvelous snake oil elixir which can cure all the economic ills of man and beast. No matter what the economic problem, these pitchmen offer immigration as the quick fix panacea. Do you have a rust belt? Don’t worry. Immigration can make it shiny new.

As far as the mentioned study goes, it’s a good idea to consider the source. The Chicago Council on Global Affairs appears to be one of those globalist outfits with a strong disposition toward immigration flowing freely across a world of diminished borders.

A better way to assess the needs and prospect of “Rust Belt” cities is to ask what caused them to lose their industrial might. Often the reason was “free trade” legislation that caused industries to pull out of America in search of cheap labor and lax regulation abroad. With the jobs they provided gone, it is understandable that people left. Also encouraging flight were high taxes and other liberal policies which made life unpleasant for the middle class.

Some of these places have received a large number of immigrants, but they are still pretty rusty. And how could it be otherwise when the industrial jobs are no longer there. Immigration enthusiasts claim that immigrant geniuses will create numerous jobs. But the reality is that legal immigration which primarily selects for family ties rather than skills is not bringing us the cream of the crop.

One researcher notes that our immigration policy is one of “importing poverty.” Immigrant-headed households are much more likely to receive welfare benefits than native-headed households. The enthusiasts never explain how importing poverty and welfare dependency are supposed to revitalize our economy. A definite economic drawback to this policy is that many of these immigrants tend to support the Democratic Party – which leans against business.

A perfect example is California where mass immigration has significantly helped to create a one-party Democratic state. The result is overregulation and a generally bad business climate which has prompted many businesses to flee to other states. Before mass immigration, California was a solid middle-class state with excellent opportunities for upward mobility. Today, it increasingly has a classic Third World economic profile, with a few well-to-do people at the top and lots of poor and relatively poor people at the bottom. California currently has the highest poverty rate in the nation.

Back to the Rust Belt, the best way to deal with its problems is to encourage re-industrialization, with pro-business policies and an end to the unfair competition to U.S. firms imposed by “free trade” policies. In the meantime, there is much that rust areas can do to improve themselves. A good example is the city of Pittsburgh, which after a sharp industrial decline, reinvented itself as a vital center of high tech and health services. Most notably, it did so without much immigration. Today, the foreign-born population of the city is only 3.8 percent.

One can be sure, however, that the immigration lobbies and their media friends will not budge a bit from claiming that immigration cures everything. What they peddle is pure snake oil.

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