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To the editor:
friends tell me that although they were aware of Donald Trump's many
moral failings, they voted for his reelection because they admired
his policies. Fair enough. Let's look at his policies. One of former
president Trump’s policies was to shut down immigration. He believed
that in order to make America “first” again, we needed to end
refugee programs and throttle back on the number of other people
allowed to emigrate to America. Trump continually tried to create
the impression that immigrants were a financial burden and a threat
to our peace and well-being.
Trump saw immigrants as threat to America but in an contemporary
study of immigration, University of Pennsylvania economists
concluded that overall migrants have had a positive effect on our
country. Here is what the researchers found in their study
effects of immigration on the U.S. economy are broadly positive.
Immigrants, whether high- or low-skilled, legal or illegal, are
unlikely to replace native-born workers or reduce their wages over
the long-term, though they may cause some short-term dislocations in
labor markets. Indeed, the experience of the last few decades
suggests that immigration may actually have significant long-term
benefits for the native-born, pushing them into higher-paying
occupations and raising the overall pace of innovation and
productivity growth. Moreover, as baby boomers have begun moving
into retirement in advanced economies around the world, immigration
is helping to keep America comparatively young and reducing the
burden of financing retirement benefits for a growing elderly
[to top of second column in this letter]
While natives bear some upfront costs for the
provision of public services to immigrants and their families, the
evidence suggests a net positive return on the investment over the
These findings were available in 2017 when Donald Trump began to
choke off American immigration. Given the fact that immigration
consistently has been a positive force in American economic
development, why would anyone now think that Trump’s policy on
immigration was admirable and a reason to support his reelection? In
his book, "Storm Lake," Pulitzer Prize winning writer Art Cullen
described how immigrants in a small Iowa town have revitalized its
schools and public life. This was a pattern that Donald Trump and
his supporters ignored at the expense of thousands of depopulated
towns like Lincoln.
Take a look at the businesses closed today in Logan County and
imagine them revitalized by immigrants. Does that exercise excite
you about the prospects of President Biden’s effort to reverse Mr.
Trump’s faulty policies on immigration? Does it make you wonder why
so many Republicans today continue to say that they liked Trump's
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