tags: Press Releases

Republican Nativism Dampens Our Economic Potential

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Washington, DC –  Republicans’ nativism and relentless focus on keeping out and kicking out immigrants and refugees while obstructing legislative solutions is inflicting consequences on the U.S. economy and dampening our economic potential. 

As the midterm elections near and the economy is among the top issues for many voters, Republicans are showing that not only are they opposed to improving the immigration system, but they are also committed to stonewalling programs that could make the most positive impacts on our economy. Their opposition to legal immigration, including those seeking asylum and refugee status, continues to inflict a cost on all Americans as we struggle to recover from the reductions in immigration caused by COVID-19 and President Trump’s policies, some of which have continued during the Biden administration. Fewer producers, consumers and taxpayers in the U.S. economy makes growth more difficult and contributes to the problems of inflation, labor shortages, supply chain disruptions and offshoring of jobs. The costs to Americans of GOP nativism are widespread and a range of voices have been making this point in recent days, including:

  • Chuck Todd on Meet the Press Sunday discussing how more migrants would help curb inflation and spark economic growth: “We’ve got some data that shows you that more migrants could actually help us solve one of the country’s most pressing problems – it’s called inflation…Look, the net international migration that we’ve had as a country is actually down at a near low. We started the decade of the 2010s sitting at about 700,000 annually, we peaked at over a million in 2016, the year Donald Trump was elected, and it has plummeted as we went through various ways to try to shut the border down to a meager 247,000. In 1960, we had five workers for every one Social Security recipient. Now that is down to 2.8 and guess what, in 30 years, it’s gonna be down to 2.2. Bottom line: we need more people in this country if we want to have a stable economy and a stable social security system.”
  • Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 2022 study on The Economic and Fiscal Effects on the United States from Reduced Numbers of Refugees and Asylum Seekers: “The sharp reduction in U.S. refugee admissions starting in 2017 costs the overall U.S. economy today over $9.1 billion per year ($30,962 per missing refugee per year, on average) and costs public coffers at all levels of government over $2.0 billion per year ($6,844 per missing refugee per year, on average) net of public expenses. Large reductions in the presence of asylum seekers during the same period likewise carry ongoing costs in the billions of dollars per year. These estimates imply that barriers to migrants seeking protection, beyond humanitarian policy concerns, carry substantial economic costs.”
  • A new Cato Institute study shows how a farm worker bill would contribute to reducing inflation and cost of food prices: “Under the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, farm productivity would increase by more than the $1.8 billion in savings on labor, which would expand the supply of goods and result in a proportional decline in prices for food consumers.”
  • Portland Press Herald reporting ‘Immigrants may hold a key to solving Maine’s labor shortage’: “New immigrants and their children are expected to account for 83 percent of the growth in the U.S. workforce from 2000 to 2050, according to a 2016 report from the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. As it stands, Maine has one of the lowest per-capita immigrant populations in the country. Only about 4 percent of Maine residents are foreign-born, compared to 14 percent nationally. It is also the lowest percentage in New England.”

According to Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communication for America’s Voice:

“Republicans frame immigrants, refugees and those seeking asylum as social and  economic threats, but just the opposite is true. Immigrants are key for the prosperity of our nation and drive economic growth as consumers, workers and taxpayers. Immigrant and refugee contributions, talents and hard work are necessary ingredients for our economy and our global competitiveness. So Republican policies to make legal immigration more difficult and prevent immigrants and refugees from settling in their states is hurting local, state and national well-being far beyond immigrant communities. We all pay a price for Republican nativism.

The Republicans’ ugly rhetoric around immigrants and their families, including their dangerous embrace of white nationalist messaging, also costs us in the long run. Some of what has made our society and economy so attractive to centuries of immigrants and strivers seeking opportunity, freedom and safety is being eroded by Republican nativism and continued efforts to eliminate and stigmatize immigration.”