President Trump states that he wants to improve the economy and increase the number of jobs while also drastically cutting the number of legal immigrants. Those two goals contradict each other, because immigrants are needed to keep the Kentucky and national economies strong.
A proposed law that President Trump supports (the RAISE Act) would cut in half the number of people allowed each year to permanently reside in the country (or obtain a green card). Family reunification would no longer be a priority for immigration policy. Instead, those with higher education and skills would get priority for this reduced number of slots.
How government policies can impact the economy is estimated by computerized economic models. The Penn Wharton Budget Model is one of them, and Kimberly Burham is its managing director. In an interview with Marketplace, she stated that if the RAISE Act passes, reducing the number of legal immigrants would negate the benefits of increasing immigrants’ skill levels.
She estimates that by 2040 the country’s gross domestic product (or GDP, a measurement of the goods and services produced in the country) would be 2% percent smaller than it would have been if the country keeps the current immigration policy. The model also predicts a slight increase in wages, but it wouldn’t be enough to offset the lost work and savings of the immigrant workers who would be barred from entering the country.
Burham states that not only do many new immigrants work, they generally work longer hours than non-immigrants. She says that the greatest boost to the economy would result from increasing legal immigration and increasing the share of skilled immigrants.
Another way increased immigration helps the American economy is that it increases the number of consumers, not just workers. Toys R Us is one example of a company that’s in bankruptcy because of a declining number of families who are their customers, those with infants and children.
Though the store chain is failing for many reasons, including competition and a heavy debt load, another issue is a falling pool of customers, according to the Washington Post. Measured as a share of our overall population, U.S. births have fallen steadily since 2008. They hit their lowest point on record in 2016.
Toys R Us stated in its annual report that its income rises and falls with birthrates. The number of children born in the last 12 years tracks closely with the company’s revenue. The Washington Post article states:
Toys R Us focuses on kids, so it’s feeling the crunch from declining birthrates long before the rest of the economy. But it’s just a matter of time before the trends that toppled the troubled toy maker put the squeeze on businesses that cater to consumers of all ages. The smaller generation of children whose lackluster toy consumption brought down Geoffrey the Giraffe will be adults soon. They’ll become the prime-age consumer spenders that drive U.S. economic growth…Eventually, unless the country does something significant to encourage larger families or immigration, that narrowing base of the population pyramid will crawl upward.
Many critics of immigration see it as a way that the U.S. does a favor to non-citizens. That relationship is a two-way street. Immigrants also do the U.S. favors, by providing a workforce, saving and spending their earnings, and helping the economy grow.
If you live in Fayette County, Kentucky, or the surrounding area and you have any questions about an immigration matter or need legal representation to help you or a family member become a naturalized citizen, call Carman & Fullerton at 859-971-0060 or fill out this contact form. We can help you whether you speak English, Spanish or another language. Your future and that of your family is at stake, so contact us today.