By Raoul Lowery Contreras
Donald Trump appears to detest immigration into the United States especially from “s—hole” countries south of the Rio Grande, east of Jerusalem and south of Tripoli. Add in religion — Islam — and Trump would stop all but maybe Norwegians from coming.
Demographers can easily project what the United States will look like in 40 years if Trump were to succeed in stopping all immigration. Because we just hit an all-time low fertility rate for American women, there would be fewer, and older, Americans in 2060 than today.
If Trump closes the door to immigrants, the United States will experience the same negative population growth of immigrant-less Japan (1.4 babies per woman), Russia and almost every single European Union country (1.6 babies per woman).
The American population can only be maintained with a birth rate of 2.1 babies per fertile-age woman. With the new record low of 1.73 babies per woman, the United States cannot grow without immigration. It can only shrink.
If all immigration were to end, as it largely did after the racially motivated Immigration Act of 1924, the U.S population will peak in 2035 at slightly more than the 323 million people we have now, and shrink to 320 million by 2060.
As the United States withered, our southern neighbor Mexico would grow, perhaps becoming the fifth or sixth largest economy and eclipsing old Europe with its empty houses, abandoned factories, and declining tax base.
The inescapable fact of economics is that progress results from an increasing population accompanied by productivity growth and higher life expectancy.
It doesn’t take a genius to calculate that a birth rate of 2.1 babies per woman adds more economic activity into the system than 1.73 babies. The only good news about this situation is that China has even deeper population challenges thanks to decades of the one-child policy.
The Census Bureau projects that if the current level of immigration continues, the 2060 U.S. population will be 404 million people. The foreign-born would reach 21.6 percent of the population — the highest level in American history. If the current level is halved, the 2060 population will be 376 million, and the foreign born population would be less.
On the other hand, if the current immigration rate is increased by 50 percent, the 2060 population will be 447 million people.
If President Trump would tell us which immigration option he favors for the long term in America, it would be helpful in deciding how to vote in November.
Raoul Lowery Contreras is a Marine Corps veteran, political consultant and author of the new book White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPS) & Mexicans. His work has appeared in the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate.
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