Wednesday’s front page presentation emphasized President Trump’s so-called bureaucratic approach to the issue and his intention to “reduce the number of foreigners living in the United States.” It sounds like the bureaucracy is just enforcing existing law, but whatever works.
How Trump is building a border wall that no one can see, Washington Post, November 21, 2017Unfortunately, the Post dredged up the old myth that America needs an endless stream of immigrants to do jobs that citizens don’t want:
President Trump’s vision of a “big, beautiful” wall along the Mexican border may never be realized, and almost certainly not as a 2,000-mile physical structure spanning sea to sea.
But in a systematic and less visible way, his administration is following a blueprint to reduce the number of foreigners living in the United States — those who are undocumented and those here legally — and overhaul the U.S. immigration system for generations to come.
Across agencies and programs, federal officials are wielding executive authority to assemble a bureaucratic wall that could be more effective than any concrete and metal one. While some actions have drawn widespread attention, others have been put in place more quietly.
The administration has moved to slash the number of refugees, accelerate deportations and terminate the provisional residency of more than a million people, among other measures. On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security said nearly 60,000 Haitians allowed to stay in the United States after a devastating 2010 earthquake have until July 2019 to leave or obtain another form of legal status.
“He’s building a virtual wall by his actions and his rhetoric,” said Kevin Appleby, migration policy director for the Center for Migration Studies, a nonprofit think tank.
Trump administration officials say they are simply upholding laws their predecessors did not and preserving American jobs. Previous Republican and Democratic administrations were too soft on enforcement, they say, and too rosy in their view of immigration as an unambiguously positive force.
“For decades, the American people have been begging and pleading with our elected officials for an immigration system that’s lawful and serves the national interest,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in Austin last month. “Now we have a president who supports that.”
Bob Dane, executive director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which has pushed for many of the Trump administration’s main goals on immigration, said the president has “really scaled back this expansive view of immigration that occurred under the Obama administration.”
William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, said that until now U.S. immigration rates have largely spared the country from the challenges facing advanced industrial nations such as Japan and Germany that can’t replace aging workers fast enough. By slashing immigration, Frey said, the country could end up with labor shortages and other workforce issues.Sorry, demographers, the old ideas don’t apply any more because automation and advanced software are transforming the workplace from offices to strawberry fields. As the president of Northeastern University Joseph Aoun recently remarked, “If a job can be automated in the future, it will be.”
American businesses won’t need inexpensive foreign workers because robots will be even cheaper, and the machines are coming soon.
Oxford researchers forecast in 2013 that nearly half of American jobs were vulnerable to machine or software replacement within 20 years. Rice University computer scientist Moshe Vardi believes that in 30 years humans will become largely obsolete, and world joblessness will reach 50 percent. The Gartner tech advising company believes that one-third of jobs will be done by machines by 2025. The consultancy firm PwC published a report earlier this year that forecast robots could take 38 percent of US jobs by 2030.
In short, reducing immigration severely — say to ZERO — is the optimum strategy going forward into the automated future. It makes no sense to import foreigners — who only come for the money and not to become Americans — when they will be unemployable and angry in a few years.
Automation Makes Immigration Obsolete