As published in the Immigration Daily on October 26, 2018.
In the ever shrinking caravan of 7000 – now reportedly 5000 as many seek asylum in Mexico – ask yourself – would President Trump be concerned or would he put out the welcome wagon if this was a caravan of 7000 Norwegians rather than Hondurans, Guatemalans, and Mexicans? An honest answer would inform you that the concern is less with the numbers than with the color of the skins. Even if over half of them arrived at the US-Mexican border, what number would be allowed to remain here in 6 months under the Trump no tolerance policy? CBS reported that a study of the caravan of 1500 Central American migrants that reached the border in April 2018 revealed that only about 250 legally remain in the US pending immigration hearings and only three have been granted asylum. Extrapolating the figures means that only 16.7% are left, and so if 4000 wound up at the border this time seeking asylum, only 668 would be left here at the end of six months. So, what crisis?
The rush to deny people of darker skins entry into the country regardless of their plight is endemic to this administration, with President Trump attempting earlier this week to tar their images as suffering people by baselessly spouting that people from Middle East had joined the group, implying that they had intentions to commit terrorism, only to later give a grudging retraction that “There is no proof of anything, but there could very well be.”
It is generally a given that those who seek to enter the country illegally or take part in a long march like the one here are the younger people who have drive and endurance – the type of people who should be prized for their many future years of physical ability to build a country’s economy. The United States is at the crossroads of either continuing to be a great nation by accepting immigrants or becoming a second-class power through a declining workforce. The largest generation of US workers, the 76 million strong baby boomers, began to reach age 62 in 2008 and the youngest will reach 67 in 2031. By that time, Americans aged 65 and older are projected to be 75 million. At the same time, birth rates of American women have dipped to a 30 year low in which the fertility rate has sunk further below the replacement level. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control, the rate has generally been below replacement since 1971. Who then will be on the bottom of the Social Security pyramid to support the retirees’ Social Security benefits? Who then will be in the labor force that drives the industry in this country? The Pew Research Center states that immigrants will play the primary role in the future growth of the working age population. Without immigration and the undocumented immigrants already in this country, the US may well become an aged population like Japan suffering from decades of stagnation, a cruel fate that China is attempting to stave off at present.
History is the ultimate arbiter, more reliable than the words coming from politicians’ mouths or any “fake facts.” At the end, it will honor a figure like the German Chancellor Angela Merkel who saw an aging German population and infused it with the new blood of refugees. It will dismiss President Trump as a figure who failed to put the good of the country before his narrow divisive views.