Loading...
If we lowered the speed limits around all of the schools to the proposed survivable 20 mph maximum, we could then...

America needs walls, but we are not 'full'

Loading…

Sunday, April 14, 2019

President Trump is 100 percent correct that there is a crisis on our southern border. And he is absolutely right when he says some migrants are abusing our asylum laws. But he is dead wrong when he declares, in what has become his favorite refrain, that "Our country is full."

Sorry, our country is not full. Not by a long shot. The opposite is true. We need more immigrants, lots of them. In fact, no one needs immigrants more than Trump.

Today, thanks to Trump's leadership, the U.S. economy is strong. Unemployment recently reached its lowest level in 49 years. U.S. manufacturing employment is growing at the fastest pace in nearly a quarter-century. On Trump's watch, the unemployment rates for African-Americans, Hispanics and Americans without a high school diploma have all reached the lowest points ever recorded.

The Wall Street Journal recently called this "the hottest job market in half a century," declaring that "Workers are so scarce that, in many parts of the country, low-skill jobs are being handed out to pretty much anyone willing to take them — and high-skilled workers are in even shorter supply. All sorts of people who have previously had trouble landing a job are now finding work. Racial minorities, those with less education and people working in the lowest-paying jobs are getting bigger pay raises and, in many cases, experiencing the lowest unemployment rate ever recorded for their groups."

In some places, unemployment is so low that employers can't find workers to fill the jobs. There are now a record 6.5 million job openings in the United States. According to the National Federation of Independent Business, 39 percent of small businesses say they have a job opening they can't fill, and 90 percent of business owners who hired or tried to hire workers reported few or no qualified applicants for the position.

Nearly a quarter of all small-business owners report that finding qualified workers is their "single most important business problem." And the demand for seasonal workers is so big that, when the application window for H-2B visas opened up on Jan. 1, the Labor Department's electronic filing system for the visas crashed due to overwhelming demand. Employers requested three times as many visas as were available.

This is a good problem to have. But it is a problem. If Trump wants to keep this strong economy going, and achieve his stated goal of sustained 3 percent growth throughout his presidency, he needs more workers.

The trouble is, the United States is not producing enough native-born workers. According to the Economic Innovation Group, 80 percent of U.S. counties lost prime working-age adults from 2007 through 2017. And the situation is not improving. According to Census Bureau data, our population growth rate for fiscal year 2017-2018 was 0.62 percent — the lowest since 1937. The U.S. population is now growing at less than replacement levels.

The decline is driven in large part by millennials, who are marrying and having children at much lower rates than previous generations. The only thing stopping us from overall population decline is the arrival of immigrants, who account for about 48 percent of U.S. population growth. And immigration "is projected to be the primary contributor to national population growth after 2030," the Brookings Institution reported.

So, we need more immigrants. Americans understand this. Eighty-four percent say legal immigration is good for the country, and only 29 percent believe it should be decreased — the lowest level since 1965. Unfortunately, Sens. Tom Cotton, R.-Ark., David Perdue, R.-Ga., and Josh Hawley, R-Mo., have introduced legislation that would reduce legal immigration by 50 percent over 10 years.

No doubt, our immigration system is in need of sensible reforms, but an overall reduction would be disastrous. We need immigrants to stop population decline. We need immigrants to work and pay taxes that fund Social Security and Medicare for our aging population. And we need immigrants to provide the human capital for continued economic growth and prosperity.

So, yes, our shining city on a hill needs walls — because the world is a dangerous place, and we are a nation of laws. But, as President Ronald Reagan put in it his farewell address, those walls must also have doors. And the sign above those doors should read "Welcome to America" — not "Sorry, we're full."

Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen served as a speechwriter for President George W. Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Op Ed

May 21, 2019

Not that long ago, North Carolina Democrats had the "big tent" party — an eclectic group that shared common values but disagreed on many individual issues.

Moderate — sometimes even conservative — rural Democrats in the legislature worked alongside big city liberals. The moderates…

Colin Campbell

May 21, 2019

Later this week, North Carolina will renew its partnership with a little-known country that's been bringing out the best in our state's people for more than two decades.

North Carolina's National Guard has been helping the country's defense forces throughout this time. Librarians from Wilmington…

David Jarmul

May 20, 2019

North Carolina appropriates less taxpayer money to state colleges and universities in real terms than it did before the onset of the Great Recession. Tuition has risen markedly and now accounts for a larger share of total revenue. But our state remains one of the most generous in the country when…

john hood.jpg

May 20, 2019

How many people have the ability to manipulate the stock market? One, and this isn’t a trick question. We’re watching how President Trump’s statements about slapping tariffs on China one day, or the great headway he’s making on a China trade deal the next day can tank the…

eleanorclift.jpg.jpg

May 19, 2019

The Washington Post

The prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, has said she does not think anyone would argue that the perpetrator of the Christchurch massacre should have been able to livestream mass murder. Maybe that question elicits something close to unanimity — but in trying to…

May 19, 2019

Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, adding his voice to calls to "break up" the social media giant, calls it a "powerful monopoly, eclipsing all of its rivals and erasing competition." In recent years, we've seen similar claims, and heard demands for similar remedies, aimed at Google, Amazon, and…

Knapp

May 19, 2019

With a competent president in the White House, the escalating confrontation with Iran would not rise to the level of crisis. With President Trump calling the shots, we should be afraid. Very afraid.

A rational president, of course, would not have abandoned the landmark deal that halted Iran's…

Eugene Robinson

May 18, 2019

I’ve been watching the emerging election for North Carolina’s Senate seat and wonder if we are seeing symptoms of a larger trend. Our traditional tribalism — Republicans and Democrats — has morphed into contentious sub-tribes within each party. Instead of a sure re-…

Tom Campbell.jpg

May 17, 2019

Tom McCuin served two tours as an Army public affairs officer in Afghanistan and worked closely with local nationals hired by American forces.

"They were not only our language interpreters, they were our cultural interpreters," McCuin wrote on clearancejobs.com, a site that lists openings for…

Steve and Cokie Roberts

May 16, 2019

Congressional elections in odd-numbered years? Odd is certainly one way to describe what many North Carolinians are experiencing right now. But in some ways, the special elections of 2019 are confirming rather than breaking the political rules.

Those elections are in the 3rd District, which spans…

john hood.jpg
252 stories in Op Ed. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 26
        Next Page»   Last Page»