Of course, the country is not full – and Trump knows it – Reason.com
In remarks over the weekend, President Trump expressed his opposition to immigration as a matter of practical impossibility. “What can we do?” he said. We can no longer manage. Our country is full. You can’t come in, I’m sorry. “Later, looking a little less apologetic, he continued on sentiment with yet another of his oddly capitalized tweets.” Our country is FULL! “
Of course not. There is at least 145 countries more physically dense than the United States. There is no sense in which America has achieved its capacity to retain, support, or employ people. If anything, the opposite is true – and Trump, of course, knows it.
Consider Maine. In March, State Senators Susan Collins and Angus King led a bipartisan group of lawmakers in writing to then Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, calling for an increase in the number of visas for foreign workers, due to the “continuing tightening of the labor market” and the “growing need for seasonal workers”.
The letter warned that many parts of the country “simply do not have the working-age population to meet the demand for seasonal jobs.” In some sectors, particularly tourism, the demand for labor so far exceeds the available supply that companies may be forced to downsize. », Risking the jobs of American workers. The state of Maine, the letter noted, serves some 20 million overnight tourists each year, and an additional 16 million people who visit during the day, primarily during the summer season. Without foreign labor, serving these people would be impossible, and many hotels and restaurants in the state “simply could not survive.”
Much the same is true in states like Alabama, Delaware, Alaska and West Virginia, according to the letter, all of which depend on the thousands of foreign workers who come to the United States each year with H-2B visas.
The point is this: Foreign workers are not a threat to the American economy, nor to American jobs. On the contrary, they are necessary to support a thriving economy and to keep American businesses and American jobs in place.
This is especially true in some of the smaller, more rural and less populated states where opposition to immigration tends to be strongest. Iowa depends on its own nearly 100,000 immigrant workers. As The New York Times Remarks, the country’s fertility rate is at its lowest level since 1937. In the vast majority of US counties – around 80% – the number of working-age workers declined between 2007 and 2017, according to the Economic Innovation Group . The relatively slow expected growth of the US workforce over the next decade is a major factor in the projections for slower overall economic growth.
Our president is not exactly known for his mastery of the details of economic policy. But he knows it. He must. Not only his administration plans to increase the number of H-2B visas authorized this year, again, but Trump’s own private club, Mar-a-Lago, has employed hundreds of foreign workers over the years. When Trump was asked several years ago why he employs so many foreign workers, he mentionned, “getting help in Palm Beach during the season is next to impossible.”
For a business like Mar-a-Lago to exist and function well, foreign workers are simply necessary. This is true across the country. What the letter from Senators Collins and King makes clear is that places like Maine, Alabama and Alaska need more, not less. America is not full. It hasn’t hit some kind of demographic ceiling, some kind of natural or economic limitation. On the contrary, he desperately needs After people.
But it may be overthinking. When Trump says the country is full, he’s not really making a statement of fact, a consistent case to analyze. He simply offers another expression of the same hostility and animosity towards foreigners, especially those crossing the southern border, which has long motivated his political ambitions, returning to the announcement of his presidential campaign, in which he has warned – despite ample evidence that immigrants are less criminal than natives – that Mexico is sending rapists and drug traffickers across the border. It is a pose intended to create an impression of hardness and resolution.
Which means Trump’s decision this week to oust Nielsen from his job at the DHS leadership for not being tough enough, though she did oversaw some of the hardest-remembered border enforcement policies, apparently because she refused to take action it would break the law. (Trump apparently tell border officers Do the same thing.)
It is the same underlying instinct that led Trump to let the possibility of terminate birthright citizenship by decree last year, the same thing that resulted in last year’s zero-tolerance policy at the border, which led to the forcible separation of thousands of children from their parents, and the same trend that Trump has apparently being considered. re-establishing the separation policy despite little evidence that it worked.
“Our country is full” is not an argument. It’s an excuse for draconian political symbolism that will have real and lasting consequences for immigrants and native Americans.