Trump is Half-Right on Immigration

Negative reactions to Trump’s plan to reduce legal immigration by half are misguided. Both liberal and conservative pundits claim that, contrary to historical reality, immigration doesn’t depress wages.

The cover story of Business North Carolina magazine stated otherwise. Under the headline, “Down Mexico Way,” the sub-head pointed out that “Illegal immigration is suppressing Tar Heel wages, but this boon to business also is creating a new underclass.”

It reported the results of a study by the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at UNC Chapel Hill. The study found that “Three-quarters of North Carolina’s Hispanics work in four industries—construction, wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing and agriculture. Native construction workers have felt the impact the most. In 2002, their wages were 7.4 percent less than they would have been without the impact of Hispanic labor. Farm wages were 6.6 percent lower.”

President Trump is an ineffective demagogue who is a threat to our democracy and to our survival on this fragile and dangerous earth. But establishment liberals and conservatives make a mistake if they continue to deny their role in creating Trump’s appeal to his thirty-some percent solid supporters.

President Trump is an ineffective demagogue who is a threat to our democracy and to our survival on this fragile and dangerous earth. But establishment liberals and conservatives make a mistake if they continue to deny their role in creating Trump’s appeal to his thirty-some percent solid supporters.

Although higher-income liberals and conservatives benefit from immigration, those who compete with lower-income immigrants for jobs lose income. Increasing the labor supply, or going to where labor is cheaper, has always been corporate-America’s number one strategy for higher profits.

Although globalization and automation are the main causes of wage stagnation and decline today, immigration is also a visible and obvious contributor. When establishment politicians fail to recognize that reality—and fail to do something to reduce the growing disparity in income caused by pro-capital/anti-labor policies—they create fertile ground for the rise of a strong-man demagogue.

By Chuck Kelly for THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER
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