WSJ Admits There IS A Cost To Massive Migration Across Insecure Borders

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Rachel Stoltzfoos Staff Reporter
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The Wall Street Journal editorial board said Monday a massive influx of migrants will burden Europe’s lackluster economy and strain its welfare state — a surprising admission from a paper that has ridiculed U.S. politicians concerned about the economic costs of unhindered immigration.

Europe is “far less able to cope with refugees than many assume,” the board writes, because its economy is not robust enough to absorb the refugees streaming across its poorly policed borders:

Europe is unable to police its maritime borders effectively, which is why so many human smugglers are using Mediterranean routes. That’s a function of its long-term underinvestment in naval and coast-guard assets. Collective European spending on defense amounted to some $250 billion in 2014, a $7 billion decline from a year earlier, and it’s going down year after year.

Absorbing refugees also requires a robust economy that Europe hasn’t had in years. Most refugees want to go to Germany, but even Germany is growing at a mere 1.6% annual rate. Unemployment looks low (4.7%) but the labor force participation rate is very low, about 60%, according to World Bank figures. For the rest of Europe, the ability to absorb a refugee influx is even worse.

To reiterate the board’s position: Cuts to border defense and a struggling economy mean Europe is unprepared for the hundreds of thousands of migrants pouring across its southern borders — even though “Europeans are by and large generous people who want to help refugees.”

This position contrasts sharply with the board’s past “the more the merrier” approach to U.S. immigration policy, and its ridicule of politicians who dare to suggest otherwise.

When Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker said immigration policy should prioritize the needs of American workers, the board took a shot at his economic intelligence, arguing “the addition of new workers into a market, especially skilled workers, can increase the productivity of companies in a way that expands the supply of work for everybody.” (RELATED: WSJ Editorial Board Takes A Sloppy Shot At Walker)

And when Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump took the position that too much immigration is depressing American wages, the board called him “nativist.”

“[American wages] are flat because of slow growth and bad economic policies,” the board wrote. “Immigration is essential to faster growth because it offsets an otherwise aging workforce, brings in new human capital and ideas, and raises the GDP of all workers.” (RELATED: Prospect Of Real Immigration Debate Infuriates NYT Editorial Board)

If bad economic policies mean Europe is unprepared for mass migration, and bad economic policies are depressing U.S. wages, it’s unclear why the board apparently thinks current U.S. immigration levels are appropriate.

The labor force participation rate isn’t much higher in the U.S. than in Germany, although unemployment similarly looks low at 5.1 percent. For the third month in a row the rate is at about 63 percent. That means nearly 4 in 10 Americans 16 and older are not working or looking for work.

Since 1970, wages and share of income have fallen, while the foreign-born population has increased by more than 325 percent. Americans in low-skilled industries where demand for work is increasing have been hit the hardest in recent years by the continued decline. (RELATED: NYT, Brookings Unwittingly Show How Immigration Affects Wages)

The U.S. foreign-born population — legal and illegal immigrants — reached an all-time high of 42.1 million, recent Census Bureau data shows. And by 2023 the foreign-born population will exceed 51 million — the largest share of total population ever recorded in American history.

If federal law is not changed, the U.S. is on track to issue 10 million green cards over the next decade — a massive new permanent resident bloc larger than the combined populations of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Nearly one in five U.S. residents will be an immigrant by 2060, largely because of legal immigration, not illegal immigration, a previous Center for Immigration Studies analysis of the Census data found.

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