Case’s Claims Are More Troubling Than Trump’s

And that’s why I’m troubled by Trump’s statements on immigration. Study after study has shown that immigrants are net job creators, net taxpayers, net additions to national growth. . . . 40 percent of fortune 500 businesses were started by immigrants or their children, including Google, Yahoo and Honeywell. Immigrants are almost twice as likely as U.S.-born workers to start a company and create new jobs for others. . . . Yes, America does have problems. Too many people can’t find jobs, wages are flat, [and] the gap between rich and poor is growing. . . . But none of these things—none of them—can be so simplistically blamed on immigrants. – Business Leaders Must Speak Out against Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric, The Washington Post, Steve Case, 9/11/15

Fact Check: Case’s “Study after study” claim omits a key and extensive study done by the Heritage Foundation. It found that “Current immigration policies with respect to both lawful and unlawful immigration encourage the entry of a disproportionate number of poorly educated immigrants into the U.S. As these low-skill immigrants (both lawful and unlawful) take up residence, they impose a substantial tax burden on U.S. taxpayers. The benefits received by unlawful and low-skill immigrant households exceed taxes paid at each age level; at no point do these households pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits.”

The claim that immigrants “start more businesses” is not supported by the Census Bureau. Its statistics reveal that slightly more U.S. natives (11.7 percent) are self-employed, compared with immigrants (11.5 percent). The claim about immigrants starting 40 percent of fortune 500 businesses involves exaggeration of the number of immigrant founders by a loose definition of “founders.”

Case maintains that unemployment and wage suppression can’t be “blamed on immigrants.” His wording suggests that linking these problems with immigration is a mean-spirited attack on immigrants as individuals. This is a common verbal sleight of hand used by immigration advocates. The issue is not finding fault with particular immigrants; it is considering the consequences of immigration policy. If we admit an excessive number of immigrants, the primary blame belongs to those who set that policy and those who support it.

Does our present level of immigration contribute to unemployment of U.S. natives and wage suppression? Strong evidence indicates that it is taking jobs from Americans and depressing wages. Interestingly, wages in the U.S. have stagnated since 1970, the same time when mass immigration began to soar. Immigration is not the only reason, but it’s surely more than a coincidence that the two trends have proceeded together.

As Case denies the link between immigration and the growing gap between rich and poor, he ought to consider that has happened in California, the state with the largest number and percentage of immigrants. Surely it would be an indicator of the consequences of mass immigration. In 1970, California had a strong middle class economy. Today, it is the state with the greatest income inequality, with a relatively small number of rich people at the top and lots of poor people at the bottom. No doubt this has something to do with the fact that our immigration policy has long been one of importing poverty.

Case is a big businessman and investor, like Donald Trump. But unlike Trump, Case is either oblivious or indifferent to the impact of mass immigration on America—and most Americans.


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