Thursday, April 28, 2022


Legal immigration used to be a big topic, didn't it? Not so long ago we talked about it a lot.  Now we talk only about the illegal immigration at the southern border, most of it from Central America. Razib had an immigration expert from the Cato Institute on and I picked up some updated facts about American legal immigration.  He also talked about Ukrainian refugees moving to Poland, Slovakia, and Romania, the guest workers from SE Asia in the Gulf countries, and what is likely to come next in terms of Europe, and the last place where the population is still growing rapidly, and thus a source of immigrants, Africa. However I'll just pass on some of the American info here. Catch the podcast if you want more.

Trump talked almost entirely about illegal immigration in his campaigning, but he also occasionally said he would greatly cut back legal immigration, and did. When covid hit it slowed to a trickle for the last two years. Of note, Trump stressed job protection for Americans when he shut it down, not health concerns, though the powers he invoked were based on the disease. Biden, to please his voters, stated he would resume the old pre-Trump levels, but has only gone back up to the last pre-covid levels. He is only getting complaints from those Democrats for whom immigration is a primary issue, which apparently isn't many. The accusation has always been that many liberals, though they can be moved by individual sad stories or care for a while about the issue if they have it constantly in front of them, mostly like it only to call conservatives, especially Trump, racist. It looks like there may be something to that from the evidence.

There are also a couple of constituencies in the Democratic coalition that are quietly restrictionist, though that is kept on the down low.  Unions and a big chunk of environmentalists (not all) are unenthused by the arrival of new Americans. The remaining Democrats who care much at all are focused on citizenship for those who are already here. The Cato Institute and other libertarians that are in favor of reducing (though not eliminating) restrictions, would prefer that those who come have some way they can become citizens, and especially want to defend birthright citizenship.  But they are otherwise mostly interested in workers being able to move about to find jobs.

What with one thing and another, over the last six years it is as if we missed four years of legal immigration, and it looks like we will be staying well below pre-Trump levels for the duration of Biden's term. I wouldn't project out any farther than that, but I don't see any powerful pro-immigration force arising in either party in the near future.

No comments: