Admit Migrants; Deport Conservatives

It seems to me….

As legal residents, immigrants would contribute more in taxes, spend more at our businesses, start companies of their own and create more jobs. Immigration is not a problem for us to solve but an opportunity for America to seize.” ~ Jose Andres[1].

The Republican Party has increasingly embraced those with antipathy for our democracy and those values that have sustained us from the time of our nation’s founding. As it has raced over the extremist precipice, radicals have claimed it as home: the Tea Party, Libertarians, Christian fundamentalists, Neo-Fascists, the Alt Right, white supremacists, citizen militias…. It now embraces the science deniers and others rejecting proven or well-established facts. Frequently it now is the migrant who more typifies and represents the values and aspirations associated with alleged U.S. exceptionalism.

The most common impression of a terrorist since 9/11 has been a Moslem jihadist. It now is apparent that is wrong: since 9/11 conservative white supremacists and other far-right extremists have been responsible for about three times as many attacks in the U.S. as other terrorists.

Rightwing terrorism is a problem throughout the world but especially so here in the U.S. due to the massive number of civilian-owned firearms, a tradition of free speech protecting even despicable ideologies, and laws preventing confrontation with disaggregate cyberspace movements by law enforcement agencies. Conservative extremists have been responsible for 73 percent of domestic mass shooting attacks[2].

While the FBI has repeatedly warned about the increasing domestic terrorist threat, offices intended to coordinate inter-agency response have not been receptively received by the current White House administration and consequently defunded even though eco-terrorists have been considered a top risk for years. Trump’s rhetoric and actions mirrors, validates, and even inspires the far-right[3] not only through his words but by having gutted the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) office on violent extremism through budget reductions.

Conservatives now oppose everything that might seem new, different, or suggested by Democrats – they have diligently earned their reputation as the party of “NO!”. To once again become advocates of national advancement, conservatives would need to abandon their blind devotion to laissez-faire economics and prioritize pragmatic productivity policies. To be totally fair, many Democrats have also largely given up on productivity growth seeing it primarily as something that only helps the top 1.0 percent.

Throughout U.S. history, many U.S. citizens have felt threatened by the arrival of new cultures with those most recently arrived being a target of racism, marginalization, and violence. They – the Irish, Italians, Poles, Czechs… – have all eventually been fully accepted and integrated.  Discrimination toward the newly arrived is never warranted.

In fact, it is immigration that now fuels our economy having driven two-thirds of U.S. economic growth since 2011. When immigrants enter the labor force, they increase the productive capacity of the economy and raise the GDP. Their incomes rise, but so do those of native Americans. It’s a phenomenon dubbed the “immigration surplus”, and while a smaller share of additional GDP accrues to natives, typically 0.2 to 0.4 percent, it still amounts to $36 to $72 billion per year.

Conservatives fail to understand why more is not done to deport undocumented immigrants. Perhaps the single most important reason is that immigration is highly profitable for both employers and the U.S. government. One reason there are so many undocumented immigrants is that it’s so difficult to obtain authorization to immigrate; there are 4 million people on immigration waiting lists. They even are required to wait unacceptable lengths at border crossings just to request asylum necessitating illegal entry. Almost 150 million more would leave their country of origin and move to the U.S. if able.

The U.S. has succeeded, and achieved its present position of global dominance, because it has always been good at importing the talent it needs[4]. For every tech worker admitted, five U.S. jobs are created. Immigrants or their children founded 43 percent of the 2017 Fortune 500 companies which employed more than 12 million people worldwide in 2016. Today they employ half a million Americans.

Those who have found shelter in the U.S. have made immeasurable contributions to all aspects of U.S. society, providing labor and economic energy, spurring innovation, adding to the nation’s cultural diversity and culinary flavors, and making significant accomplishments in the arts, literature, and science. The rise in high-skilled immigration, a pronounced trend since the 1990s, has been linked to innovation, specifically to higher patenting rates among immigrants. Greater innovation among immigrants appears to also boost it among natives.

The strength of the U.S. higher education system attracts many of the world’s most promising students, particularly for graduate school. In 2013, 39 percent of all U.S. PhDs in STEM fields were awarded to international students.

In 2016, all six American Nobel Prize laureates in economics and sciences were immigrants; immigrants are heavily overrepresented in U.S. Nobel laureates in chemistry, medicine, and physics receiving 40 percent of U.S. Nobel prizes (31 of 78 prizes) while making up only 13.5 percent of the population[5] of those affiliated with U.S. universities.

There are significant spillover effects into the private sector. One of four U.S. tech companies established from 1995 to 2005 had an immigrant founder, CEO, president, or chief technology officer. Of the 25 biggest public Fortune 500 companies valued at over $1 billion, 60 percent were founded by immigrants or their children including U.S. icons such as Apple (Steve Jobs, son of a Syrian immigrant), Budweiser (Adolphus Busch came from Germany), Google (Sergey Brin came from Russia at the age of 6), and McDonald’s (Richard and Maurice McDonald were from Ireland). A recent National Foundation for American Policy study found they start a quarter of all new businesses that, on average, created 760 new jobs.

Although immigrants help the economy overall, the benefit is largely in certain industries. Immigrants with advanced degrees gravitate toward scientific and technical jobs that do not require high personal communication skills. Innovation is key to retaining our stature as a leading nation and immigrants innovate more than natives partly resulting from being heavily concentrated in STEM occupations where there is considerable R&D and entrepreneurial activity. By one analysis about 71 percent of Silicon Valley tech workers are immigrants including 42 percent of computer software developers.

Immigrants, in general, have less education than the average American and less likely to have graduated from high school than people born in the U.S. but that’s improving – incongruously, they also are much more likely to be college graduates[6]. 50 percent of immigrants 25 and older have completed high school compared to 81 percent of native-born adults. Almost half (47 percent) of immigrants ages 25 and older who arrived in the U.S. during the past five years have a college degree compared to only 31.6 percent of native-born counterparts.

Immigrant workers are overrepresented among college professors, engineers, mathematicians, nurses, dentists, and in other professional fields. 45 percent of medical scientists are foreign born. A number of influential social scientists in the U.S. also were refugees from conflicts in Europe and elsewhere.

Healthcare is another industry that could be seriously affected by restrictive immigration policies: the American Medical Association (AMA) estimates that 25 percent of physicians practicing in the U.S. were born in another country. Many foreign-born physicians accept jobs where there are insufficient U.S.-born doctors willing to practice, either in primary care or general practice, especially in rural and underserved areas of the country.

Critics have claimed that immigrants take jobs from native-born workers, lower wages, and drain too much tax money because of social services. For the most part, however, the jobs immigrants take are those most citizens refuse to take; they also are more willing to frequently relocate for seasonal labor. As immigrants typically have either very little or considerably more education than those native born, there usually is very little competition for low-end or entry-level jobs as U.S.-born who typically having more education act in supervisory positions. As a result of more restrictive immigration, produce and other agricultural items are allowed to decay in fields due to a lack of seasonal farm workers for those jobs where U.S. workers are unavailable.

As the number of elderly increases, the ratio of retired people to workers is expected to dramatically increase in the coming decades that will result in significant changes to the Security System (i.e., benefits). The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of a population is the average number of children that would be born to a woman over her lifetime. A TFR of 2.08 is considered the “replacement level” in the U.S. necessary to prevent population decline: it currently is only 1.72. The only viable alternative to remedying this is for the U.S. to welcome more immigrants, particularly younger immigrants, so that in the coming decades, they and their descendants will contribute to the tax base. Immigrants, with their children and younger relatives, result in a younger workforce that can slow or even reverse increases of this very important ratio.

Almost all economists agree that immigration raises GDP and stimulates business development by increasing the supply of workers and entrepreneurs. There is some disagreement about the net fiscal impact of first-generation migrants as they tend to be less educated and earn lower wages than the native population, therefore tending to contribute less in taxes. While this is disputed, there is no doubt about the contribution that immigrant families make over the longer term.

Educated or professional immigrants are in high demand and there never can be sufficient available to meet current needs. Present U.S. immigration policies seem directly intended to force prospective employers to offshore various aspects of their operations. It is estimated that there were an estimated 3 million more STEM jobs than qualified workers available to fill them and that number will increase by 13 percent between 2017 and 2027[7]. There are approximates 20,000 unfilled available position for computer science graduates but U.S. colleges and universities only graduate a total of about 5,000 a year. By restricting qualified non-U.S. graduates from accepting employment following completion of their studies, employers are forced to offshore well-paying development.

Innovation is key to maintaining our position of world leadership. Any non-citizen receiving an advanced degree from a U.S. university should automatically receive a Green Card stapled to their degree certificate.

Immigrants also make use of fewer financial assistance program benefits than citizens. Almost half or 3.4 million pay Social Security payroll taxes (FICA) even though they are not eligible for Social Security benefits upon retirement. Around $2 billion a year in Medicaid funding goes to hospitals who must care for anyone who shows up at the emergency room. About 15.5 percent of undocumented immigrants benefit from Medicaid which is fairly similar to the 16.1 percent of native-born Americans who use the program. Only 9.1 percent of undocumented immigrants use the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (previously called food stamps) compared to 11.6 percent of native-born.

Conservatives oppose all progress; their primary mantra is “cut taxes” limiting functionality or improvement while advocating military action against anyone disagreeing with us. Perhaps the major reason for admitting migrants and deporting conservatives is that migrants are much more open to new ideas. Psychologists use the concept of rigidity to characterize people. Personal rigidity, a characteristic of many conservatives, is where someone tends to believe there is only one acceptable approach to a problem. If conservatives continue to oppose all meaningful reform, the best policy would be to deport them and replace them with immigrants.

It is important that our country be considered not only as it is today but, even more importantly, what its potential is for it to become tomorrow. Conservatives tend to primarily only consider the past neglecting all of its imperfections. Yes, admittedly much still needs to be improved but that never can happen by attempting to turn back the clock or to freeze everything as it is today. Not all progress is beneficial – some is totally innocuous and some long-range effects must be considered with a jaundiced prospective. But it is unacceptable to simply bar the gates to progress as many conservatives advocate.

It should be obvious that it is the conservatives who represent an existential threat to our country and it is migrants who should be welcomed. But if conservatives were deported, who would take them? Given their obvious animosity toward our country, seemingly total opposition to change or improvement, and extreme conservative beliefs, the area where they possibly would be most compatible would be the Middle East with whom they would share many similar values.

That’s what I think, what about you?


[1] José Ramón Andrés Puerta is a Spanish-American chef who owns numerous restaurants around the U.S. He also is the founder of World Central Kitchen, a non-profit devoted to providing meals in the wake of natural disasters.

[2] Gun Violence and Mass Shootings, ADL, https://www.adl.org/education/resources/tools-and-strategies/table-talk/gun-violence-mass-shootings, August 2019.

[3] Bergengruen, Vera, and W.J. Hennigan. What Does A Terrorist Look Like, Time, https://time.com/magazine/us/5647302/august-19th-2019-vol-194-no-6-u-s/, 19 August 2019, pp22-27.

[4] Mehta, Suketu. We Do Not Come To America Empty-Handed, Time, http://time.com/5594365/america-immigration-future-economic-growth/, 23 May 2019, pp38-39.

[5] Census American Community Survey.

[6] Weissmann, Jordan. Cool Fact: Immigrants Are Way More Likely To Have A College Degree Than People Born In The U.S., Slate, https://slate.com/business/2015/09/how-educated-are-immigrants-they-re-way-more-likely-to-have-a-college-degree-than-people-born-in-america.html, 29 September 2015.

[7] Randstad North America estimate.

About lewbornmann

Lewis J. Bornmann has his doctorate in Computer Science. He became a volunteer for the American Red Cross following his retirement from teaching Computer Science, Mathematics, and Information Systems, at Mesa State College in Grand Junction, CO. He previously was on the staff at the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, Stanford University, and several other universities. Dr. Bornmann has provided emergency assistance in areas devastated by hurricanes, floods, and wildfires. He has responded to emergencies on local Disaster Action Teams (DAT), assisted with Services to Armed Forces (SAF), and taught Disaster Services classes and Health & Safety classes. He and his wife, Barb, are certified operators of the American Red Cross Emergency Communications Response Vehicle (ECRV), a self-contained unit capable of providing satellite-based communications and technology-related assistance at disaster sites. He served on the governing board of a large international professional organization (ACM), was chair of a committee overseeing several hundred worldwide volunteer chapters, helped organize large international conferences, served on numerous technical committees, and presented technical papers at numerous symposiums and conferences. He has numerous Who’s Who citations for his technical and professional contributions and many years of management experience with major corporations including General Electric, Boeing, and as an independent contractor. He was a principal contributor on numerous large technology-related development projects, including having written the Systems Concepts for NASA’s largest supercomputing system at the Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. With over 40 years of experience in scientific and commercial computer systems management and development, he worked on a wide variety of computer-related systems from small single embedded microprocessor based applications to some of the largest distributed heterogeneous supercomputing systems ever planned.
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2 Responses to Admit Migrants; Deport Conservatives

  1. auntyuta says:

    You say: ‘Conservatives fail to understand why more is not done to deport undocumented immigrants. Perhaps the single most important reason is that immigration is highly profitable for both employers and the U.S. government.’
    In a lot of sectors Australia also does need immigrants!
    . . . .

    ‘ . . . if conservatives were deported, who would take them?’

    I think they would fit in well with our conservatives in Australia!

    Like

    • lewbornmann says:

      Australia’s history regarding immigrants was very racist so it is not any surprise: The Immigration Restriction Act or 1901. There was Arthur Calwell, the minister for immigration from 1945 to 1949. The end of your White Australia Policy did not officially occur until 1972.

      Given Australia’s extent of extremely conservative policies regarding racism, it is totally understandable that much still exists. It is an unfortunate characteristic common to both of our nations. I am alarmed by the increase of bigotry in many western nations, not only in Australia and the U.S., and pray for the return of common sense.

      Liked by 1 person

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