May 10

We Still Need Border Security

More Misinformation from the Media:

President Trump’s failure to secure funding for his new “beautiful” border wall has prodded him to new flights of rhetoric excess and deviation from fact. . . . In the magic kingdom of Mr. Trump’s worldview, Central Americans are flooding northward through Mexico to take advantage of DACA. . . . In truth, illegal crossing has dropped for years as Mexico’s economy has improved and the United States has beefed up the southwest frontier. . . .

While the president harps on a problem that does not exist—a weak border-he ignores a problem that does: the United States’ aging population and workforce, long-term trends that are likely to generate demand for more immigrant workers, not fewer. . . . Economists say an aging workforce erodes productivity over time, meaning it is in the United States’ interest to allow more young immigrants with their energy and ambition to invigorate the economy. – A Fact for Trump: The Border Is More Secure Than It Has Been in a Half a Century, The Editorial Board, The Washington Post, 4/3/18 [Link]

Fact Check: It is true that the flow of illegal aliens is much less now than it was about 12 years ago, but this is no cause for complacency. The decline began in earnest after 2008 when the U.S. entered its worst economic turndown since the Great Depression. The effects of that turndown continued significantly for six or so years. During that time fewer illegal aliens came because there were a lot less job opportunities to draw them. Also, the election of President Trump signaled that the U.S. was going to take a lot stronger stance against illegal immigration.

This Trump deterrent lasted for about a year, but it seems to have worn off. Although his administration has steeped up some enforcement, it has failed to keep its promise to begin constructing a border wall, expand detention space for apprehended illegal aliens, and other measures necessary for effective border control. Also, during the past several years, the economy has picked up again, and unemployment has declined.

With these developments it is not surprising that illegal immigration is now edging upward again. Not nearly as many Mexicans are crossing as in the past, but Central Americans are replacing them. It is not certain, however, that Mexico won’t become a major source of illegal migration again. That country now seems to have two potentials. One is to continue the economic and social progress it has achieved in recent years. The other is to let its drug cartels get completely out of control and end up as a failed state. If the latter happens, we can expect a new Mexican surge across the border. With an uncertain future ahead, a secure border is a good investment.

The claim that immigration will significantly lower our average is a vain hope. Even with our current level of mass immigration, there aren’t enough young fertile immigrants to keep us from aging as a society. To illustrate, 66.6 percent of our population is now of working age. If immigration were to stop completely, that working age percentage would decline to 59.2 percent by the year 2050. If current immigration continues, it would only be 60.3 percent.

As time goes on machines and computers will be doing many of the jobs that people do now. As a consequence, we won’t need the large numbers of foreign workers that immigration advocates claim that we will require. As that future unfolds, we may be challenged just to provide decent employment for our own citizens.

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