Let’s Put Our Grandkids First

The Quote Below—More Misinformation from the Media

“On January 27th, the US Supreme Court cleared the way for implementation of the Trump administration’s so-called “public charge” rule change, a monumental shift in federal immigration policy that is projected to impact some 24 million Americans and millions more seeking to come to the United States. The new rule essentially creates a wealth test for immigrants that is based on factors like their age, health, education, income and resources. . . .

“Ironically, Trump’s public charge rule change promises devastating economic consequences. In a November 2019 report, the Fiscal Policy Institute, an independent, nonpartisan research organization, predicted the public charge rule change would shrink the nation’s economy by $24 billion annually, with a related loss of 164,000 jobs lost across the country and lost tax revenue in every state. When America closes its doors to those seeking economic opportunity and the American Dream, as well as those wishing to reunite with family already here, we close the doors to the future generations of our economy. . . .

“Trump’s public charge policy reshapes our national immigration policy. I am pretty certain my grandfather would not have passed the test when he immigrated to the United States to flee anti-Semitism (just in time to avoid the Holocaust) and I suspect tens of millions of Americans also trace their lineage to immigrant relatives who would have been unable to demonstrate earnings that would have met the type of thresholds being implemented by the new public charge rule. . . .

“The ‘chilling effect’ also means that fewer immigrant families will access these programs and, thus, there will be less spending at grocery stores where SNAP benefits are spent, as well as throughout the food production chain — including food delivery, food storage, food processing and even agriculture.  There will be less spending on housing. . . .

“But the real economic costs are much greater. Indeed, welcoming immigrants has been the driver of America’s prosperity for centuries. Locking that door on all those who can’t pass a fairly substantial income test changes our national character.” — A Wealth Test for Immigrants Will Hurt Our Economy, Steve Tobocman, CNN Business Perspectives, 2/24/20. [Link]

Fact Check of the Quote Above: The author claims that keeping “public charge” immigrants out of America will harm our economy. His rationale, evidently derived from the study he cites, is that they stimulate the economy by spending the money they receive from public assistance. It’s hard to imagine a more fallacious argument. If the immigrants weren’t spending this money, it would 1) remain in the hands of American taxpayers who would stimulate the economy with their spending 2) go to American welfare recipients who would spend it.

The notion that we need unending mass immigration for prosperity is a myth that immigration enthusiasts never get tired of promoting. But just a few reality checks reveal that it isn’t true. American prosperity soared between 1924 and 1965, an interval when immigration was greatly restricted. Another example is the sad fate of California, the state today with the highest number and percentage of immigrants.

Prior to mass immigration California had a vibrant middle-class economy, outstanding infrastructure and education, uncongested roads, and wide-open spaces. Today the state has declined in all these quality- of-life measures.

A very tiresome tactic of immigration enthusiasts, one seen in the quote above, is the grandfather ploy. They try to manipulate guilt by claiming that “The restrictions you propose would have kept out my grandfather.” The underlying false premise of this claim is that American citizens are obliged to accept mass immigration today because we accepted it in the past—as if circumstances and national interest don’t change. This view further posits that Americans must ignore their national interests and put those of immigrants first.

Specifically, we may have needed large numbers of poor immigrants in the past to build our country. But we don’t need them today because our country is built. If we need immigrants now, it is only a select few who can pay their way. Mass immigration today simply threatens to overwhelm us. When the enthusiasts play the grandfather ploy, the proper response is that most of our grandfathers are dead and gone. What truly matters now is the world our grandchildren will inherit.


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