Every time I watch Donald Trump speak, I say to myself, OK, this time he’s gone too far–only to find out that he has drawn a bigger crowd to his rallies, occupied bigger space and time in all media, and providing late show hosts and satirists even better content for comedy. Surely, this dude is not an idiot—well, maybe he is—but perhaps he is a great strategist afterall.
A recent Pew research revealed the views of the US public against immigrants and their impact on American society. And while the public’s views vary across different aspects, they are most negative about economy and crime, with half saying immigrants are making things worse in those areas. I think we can all agree which half are these adults, but I must admit it’s a much higher number than I expected. What’s even more interesting—but not surprising—is that Americans are more likely to hold negative views about immigrants from Latin America and the Middle East while European and Asian immigrants were viewed most positively. And this study was done in September before all the heightened fear of terrorism.
Here’s a chicken and egg question: is media driving this, or simply milking it? I’m not exactly sure about media—I think most go where the ratings take them—but I can assure you Mr. Trump is milking it and won’t ever talk about the positive impacts. Racism and bigotry is at an all time high in America and Trump is capitalizing on it more and louder every day. While his anti-immigration rhetoric is polarizing and strategic, it has absolutely no economic and social foundation.
Back in 1970, Europe was the largest origin of new immigrants. But currently, Asia is the largest source of recently arrived immigrants, and has been since 2011. That’s correct, it’s not Mexico. Since 1965, half (51%) of immigrants were Latin Americans and a quarter Asians. We saw record levels of Mexican migration since 1990, but that has slowed significantly. In 2015, share of Hispanic immigrants dropped to 47% and projected to drop further to 31% by 2065. In fact, the share of new arrivals who are Hispanic is at its lowest level in 50 years. On the other hand, share of Asian immigrants will grow to 38% by 2065, and will be the largest group at 14% of population.
Oh, by the way, did you know newly arrived immigrants in 2013 were better educated than those in 1970?
It’s easy to forget that marriage of European immigrants led to today’s white population in the US. This great nation of ours was founded and fueled by immigrants. Sure, the immigrant profile is markedly different than previous decades, but we still need immigrants to keep our economy vibrant and growing, specially in the midst of demographic crisis that many countries in Europe and Asia are facing today. Why do you think China has changed its one-child policy? Why do you think many leaders of nations are encouraging child birth and immigration? Those countries are facing the demographic crisis of lower child birth than elderly death and can face the risk of extinction in a not-so-far future. If it weren’t for immigration and higher rate of child birth of these immigrants, our very own great nation could face the same demographic crisis and economic doom and gloom.
What’s driving this positive demographic outlook? US foreign born population has swelled from 9.6 million in 1965 to 45 million in 2015, and projected to grow to 78 million by 2065, with Asians becoming the largest group.
Let me break this down for you:
In 1965, only 5% of the US 193-million population were immigrants, according to the same Pew study. Today, in 2015, 14% of the US 324-million population are. In 2065, the rate will increase to 18% as the nation grows to 441 million. That means between now and 2065, 88% of the US population increase (or 103 million) will come from immigrants and their children. The US has by far, the world’s largest immigrant population, holding about one-in-five of the world’s immigrants. And this is great news. This growth is happening just in time, when projected labor and consumer force in many great countries, like Germany, Japan, Italy, Korea, etc., are on a decline, facing major demographic and economic crisis. (Hmm, I knew human rights was not the only reason Germany was accepting so many Syrian refugees.)
Take a look and see where the US growth in both labor and consumer forces would be without new minorities:
None of this implies that we do not need good immigration reform and policies. That’s just common sense. But it does imply that the political rhetoric we hear about immigrants by politicians is just that—POLITICS. And while Mr. Trump is a media mogul, and maybe a good strategist (short-term), he sure knows how to tell it like it isn’t.