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Trump policy on immigration should be reversed

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To the editor:

My Republican 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 https://budgetmodel.
effects-of-immigration-on-the-united-states-economy. “The 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 population.

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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 long term.”

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 policies?

Gary Davis

[Posted February 11, 2021]

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