St. Louis Immigant attraction noted in national story by Cokie and Steve Roberts

President Trump recently traveled to the Mexican border and delivered one of the most foolish and fallacious statements of his entire presidency. Speaking to the surge of immigrants seeking asylum here, he said, “We can’t take you anymore. Our country is full.”

No, it is not full. It is not close to being full. In fact, the opposite is true. As aging baby boomers leave the workforce and depend more heavily on costly government services, more immigrants are desperately needed to fill jobs, pay taxes, have babies and revitalize areas that are losing population.

Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric serves only one purpose: to energize his supporters by inflaming the nativist fears that have periodically engulfed the country throughout our history. He firmly believes those fears helped elect him once, and will again.

From a political standpoint, that calculation is questionable. Trump’s denunciation of brown-skinned rapists and gangsters pouring across the southern border certainly helped his campaign in 2016, but last year, when he tried the same cynical scare tactics, his party lost 40 seats in the House. Clear majorities in national polls have consistently opposed his immigration policies.

Under great pressure from business interests, Trump’s own Department of Homeland Security doubled the number of visas available for temporary guest workers this summer. Indeed, Trump’s own resorts and golf courses have long employed foreigners — a graphic rebuttal to his own inane comments.

There are short- and long-term implications here. Since June, for the first time since 1970, there have been more jobs available than workers seeking them. Many industries, from agriculture and food service to construction and health care, are frantically seeking immigrants to hire.

“For all the fears of robots taking over jobs,” reports the New York Times, “some economists are worrying about the broader economic fallout from a lack of low-skilled workers. And businesses across the economy are complaining that without immigration, they will be left without a workforce.”


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