The 2020 Election Gives Pause to an Immigration Enthusiast
Theformer leader of an immigration advocacy group suggested this week that massmigration might not be such a glorious blessing to the U.S. after all.
Instead of jumping on Joe Biden’s open-borders bandwagon, Demetrios Papademetriou, president emeritus of the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), cautioned America to “be careful about how much immigration we need.”
“There are people who have not participated in the largess of immigration,” Papademetriou observed during a forum titled, “The Role of Migration in Emerging from the Economic and Labor Market Turmoil.”
Pointingto electoral maps that showed President Donald Trump carried 2,497 suburban andrural counties, versus 477 densely populated counties won by Biden, he saidproponents of mass immigration “cannot wish away” red state voters or theirconcerns.
Lookingbeyond the short-term effects of the COVID pandemic, Papademetriou forecastthat “by the end of 2021 we’re still going to be in trouble. There is going tobe structural unemployment [in the U.S.] for a long time.”
Papademetriouhas not transmogrified himself into Deporter-in-Chief. He speaks hopefullyabout “immigrant integration” and a “grand bargain” to convert temporary workpermits into permanent residency (though not citizenship). But Papademetriou’sheightened attention to the plight of American workers indicates his beliefthat there ought to be some limits to immigration enthusiasm.
FAIR research has long proven that “too many people, driven by too much immigration … looking for too few jobs … has resulted in periods of high unemployment and a long-term, downward spiral of wages.”
“Throughthe process of admitting millions of low-skilled legal immigrants each year, weare mathematically reducing our middle class and swelling the ranks of thoseliving at or below the poverty level. The middle class is disappearing,resulting in more income inequality and more societal friction.”
Papademetrioupicked up on that inequality and friction. “Much more attention needs to bepaid to people who have not benefited from immigration and globalization,” heoffered. “If you cannot address the real concerns of people, that’s not the wayto move forward.”
As MPI’s president emeritus, he may not have the clout he once did. Indeed, on the day Papademetriou spoke, his organization released yet another sweeping critique of Trump’s policies.
But whilePapademetriou’s voice sounds like one crying in the wilderness, it’s a voice ofreason that is essential to any honest immigration debate.