Jeremy Beck's picture

Published:  

  by  Jeremy Beck

Hope for the 6.5 million more Americans who would be working today if the Labor Force Participation Rate was as high as it was in the year 2000.

Hope for the homeless, 40 percent of whom are Black, whose resources have been diverted to accommodate the record wave of illegal immigration.

Hope for the world's poor, that they may not join the ranks of the record numbers who have died these past two years attempting release into the United States, and that the billions for whom migration is not an option may find positive change in their homelands.

Hope for the men and women charged with keeping order at the border who encountered an increasing number of assaults in 2022.

Hope for the wild things who reside in the blessedly biodiverse lands and waters within our borders, that we may be better stewards of their habitats.

Best Takes:

[W]hatever labor shortages have been experienced lately have been home-grown -- and unrelated to immigration restrictions. And if the business community and others favoring more immigration were really interested in easing them meaningfully, they'd be spending more of their time figuring out how to attract more U.S.-born residents to the workplace. That wouldn't boost national productivity or wages. But the social benefits of ending idleness and welfare dependency in the working-age population should hardly be ignored." – Alan Tonelson

We're effectively using our asylum system as a labor-importation system." – Nick Miroff

Worst Take:

A nation with a low birthrate and low immigration shrinks and gets older; an older, smaller population produces a less vibrant economy; a weaker economy attracts fewer immigrants and makes it harder for young people to have kids. Some fear this dynamic could produce a negative-feedback loop that's impossible to escape....

"...West Virginia is a case in point. It's a deeply red state that voted for Trump in 2020 by nearly a 40-point margin; its two members of the House, both Republican, continue to fight immigration..." — Jeff Wise, New York Magazine

Several readers pointed out the obvious ecological Ponzi scheme Wise implies, but the author also misreads the state of our immigration policy. As NumbersUSA's Director of Media Standards, Andrew Good, wrote to Wise:

The only legal migration avenue that was reduced during the Trump years was the refugee program....I've included a handy chart on the United States' possible population future given different levels of immigration that you might also find interesting (especially in regards to an interest in working-age share, which you mentioned):"

Our own Christy Shaw had this to say about the story:

I was born and raised in West Virginia. In 2022, real wages for workers in the middle of the wage distribution declined in West Virginia by 1.2 percent even as they increased by 3.1 percent nationally.

My family home was in Taylor County, near the town of Grafton, WV. It's a town similar in living conditions, lack of job opportunity and other demographics as those mentioned in the article and has not changed in its economic well-being much since I was a youth there.

I and most people I knew drove 45 minutes minimum to the few jobs available that are concentrated in slightly larger cities of Morgantown, Lewisburg, towns such as in the Eastern Panhandle like Shepherdstown, and the capital city of Charleston.

Ironically, these are the target cities for the new Ascend program to attract primarily out-of-state remote workers to live in WV for at least one year in exchange for free passes to state parks, discounts on recreational activities that many WVs can't afford, and $12,000. I called to ask if expat West Virginians receive priority to return. They do not.

My family is still in WV but I moved for a better opportunity to the DC/NOVA area in 2018. I've run into many fellow Mountaineers in Washington, D.C. who tell the same story. They left because they had to, not because they wanted to.

The state is second only to Missouri for drug use, the "disease of despair" already at crisis level due in part to lack of diversified industry and job opportunities. What good does it do to replace a struggling population with a new one when there are no jobs?

Let's hope for better policies in 2023.

JEREMY BECK is a V.P., Deputy Director for NumbersUSA

Updated: Tue, Jan 10th 2023 @ 2:33pm EST

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