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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 8/7/19

Immigrants aren't "Invaders:" They're Who will Pay your Social Security

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Australian-American Rupert Murdoch's white nationalist TV channel, Fox Cable News, is doubling down on the anti-immigrant memes that drove the El Paso shooter, with empty suit Brian Kilmeade and provocateur Laura Ingraham insisting that immigration is invasion.

They appear to be conspiring at provoking a race war, more or less promoting the racist, fascist rant of the shooter.

First of all, immigration is not usually invasion. The US power elite needs and wants more workers than the US population is providing. US immigration laws were fashioned to bring in those workers. It isn't to replace "white" people. It is to make up for the low population growth rates of US-born families.

("Whiteness" itself is an artificial category. If a family from Sardinia went to Mexico in the early 20th century and then came to the US, they'd be classed as "brown." If they went straight to New Jersey they'd be white nowadays. Why? And in the early 20th century the Protestant middle classes wouldn't have accepted working class Poles and Italians as white. The category changes. It is worthless. Ben Franklin did not consider Germans white.)

Pew Research notes that "Hispanic immigration to the U.S. -- both legal and illegal -- crested in the early 2000s, and the share of new arrivals who are Hispanic is at its lowest level in 50 years." (Emphasis added).

The number of undocumented US immigrants has fallen dramatically in the past few years from over 12 million to about 10 million, and more Mexicans continue to go back every year, for economic reasons, than come, so that the number will go on falling.

Most immigrants are not now coming in from Latin America. China, India, the Philippines, Vietnam, and South Korea are among the biggest sources

The US Latino population is increasing, but mostly it is natural increase. Moreover, that increase is a good thing.

When I was a kid in the 1960s the median age of Americans was 25 (that was why we had a big youth movement and made so much mischief). The median age is now 38. If it weren't for Latinos, it would be 41. In other words, the most common age for whites is 58; for minorities it is 27.

The industrialized world is greying. Japan's population is rapidly shrinking. Germany's was decreasing with some speed, as well, until Angela Merkel took in a million refugees. When the population decreases, especially if it does so rapidly, it creates substantial problems. People lose equity since demand for housing goes down. Businesses can't expand because they can't find workers. The whole social security system as it is run in the US depends on there being a new generation in the pipeline to pay into it. Without these young workers, you won't get your check. Aging is deflationary.

It so happens that middle class educated couples don't want more than 1.8 children on average, all around the world (China is starting to have this problem). There isn't any prospect of this age trend being reversed among self-described whites in the US. In the medium to long term, mechanization and robotification will help fix the problem of lack of workers. Though, I have argued that the robots should be nationalized and their earnings distributed to the public. In the short term, only immigration can keep the US economy and society dynamic.

That is why Congress has not changed the 1965 immigration law. Our corporations want this influx of skilled labor in the absence of which the US economy would abruptly go into the toilet.

Bonus video:

CNA: "Artists build seesaws at US-Mexico border to let children play together"

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Juan Cole is an American academic and commentator on the modern Middle East and South Asia.  He is Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. Since 2002, he has written a weblog, Informed Comment (more...)

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