David Bier [Tweet him] of the "libertarian" Cato Institute is in saying that Trump banning China travel to protect Americans is just doing something he wanted to do already: protect Americans from foreigners:
President Trump initially kept reasonable travel restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but with the virus spreading inside the United States, he is already shifting from minimizing its threat — his first instinct — to use it to justify restrictive immigration policies that he wanted anyway. A broader move to general nativism at this time would be disastrous, as so many immigrants are leading the U.S. response to the virus.
A new analysis of government data from the Cato Institute shows that eight of the major companies developing treatments and vaccines for the virus are heavily reliant on foreign workers. From 2010 to 2019, we found that the Department of Labor approved the companies developing treatments or vaccines for coronavirus to hire more than 11,000 immigrants and H-1B high skilled foreign workers.
Want to defeat coronavirus? Protect legal immigration.
During a global pandemic, the world gets suspicious of outsiders. We must guard against falling into this trap.
David Bier, USA Today, March 15, 2020
Of course, the Cato Institute is doing exactly what they say Trump is doing: using this crisis to push their preexisting position. The study they ginned up shows that a lot of foreigners are working in the pharmaceutical industry:
From 2010 to 2019, we found that the Department of Labor approved the companies developing treatments or vaccines for coronavirus to hire more than 11,000 immigrants and H-1B high skilled foreign workers.
Among these hires were 3,310 foreign biochemists, biophysicists, chemists, and other scientists on H-1B visas. They had brought in thousands of statisticians to analyze data and software, database, and computer engineers to support them. Without these workers, America’s hope of treating and saving thousands of lives at risk from the coronavirus would greatly diminish.
On the other hand, some of these people are the people Americans will have caught the virus from, so there's that. The real story here is that Big Pharma likes cheap labor.
It’s not just the researchers America needs either. We also need doctors, nurses, and home health aides—all occupations where immigrants are disproportionately represented. In New York City where the coronavirus outbreak is shutting down schools, 45 percent of doctors and 58 percent of registered nurses were foreign-born in 2016. Among home health care aids who are particularly important for the elderly population most at risk from the virus, the share was 76%.
But really, if health care or Big Pharma want cheap labor from China, specifically, then Cato is doing the work of not just Big Business, but of the Chinese Communists. How "libertarian" is that?
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