Trump’s Raise Act Raises American Integrity
President Trump’s proposed immigration strategy reminded me of a chapter in America’s past that all to many Americans have forgotten about: the brain drain. The Brain Drain is an immigration phenomenon last experienced by the US in the 20th century, in which talented individuals (scientists, engineers, brilliant bloggers) leave their home nations to seek better opportunities and on brighter shores.
The persecutions that arose during the rise of the dictators in the late 20’s early 30’s led to some of Europe’s greatest talent fleeing oppressive governments such as Mussolini’s Italy, Nazi Germany, and communist Russia. This talent, those able to escape, brought some of America’s greatest achievers; Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud just to name a couple.
Restrictions on emigration were taken so seriously by Russia, that just two months after the 1917 revolution, there was a movement to eliminate passports entirely. Eventually, fleeing talent left Eastern blog nations with such rapidity, that post war restrictions stopped people from leaving almost entirely.
Immigration into the US has been allowed for practical and humanitarian purposes throughout its history. Migration during the Irish potato famine brought thousands of refugees fleeing a nation that within the time frame of 1842 and 1950 lost nearly 25% of its population to starvation and disease. The Cuban revolution is another example of humanitarian immigration. Other times passed, US industrialists would seek out cheaper labor to increase their profits. In fact, if workers got to antsy about their pay, or their abuses, migrants would literally be shipped in by the boatload who would work for less. Between 1880 and 1900, the US accepted over 20 million of such migrants.
Immigration and Employment
The nativist societies, aka Unions, formed exclusively to first, save their jobs from former slaves (the continued racist story of unions are a topic for another blog) and foreign workers. The “white man, native born” was effective to a large degree, but by World War 2, there were enough jobs and high enough wages to go around and a President who would sign federal legislation requiring federal contractors to hire blacks (despite union protestation).
The post war industrial boom brought about the rise of super unions and greater wages. As the US rebuilt the world, especially Europe, we continued to dominate in scientific endeavor, a situation created by keeping our talent at home and allowing foreign students to stay. As racism died down and jobs opened up to blacks as well, famous researchers like Dr. Charles Drew and Dr. Percy Julian, were able to advance in their fields and change the world.
In the history of US immigration, migration itself has been challenged however, not just by Unions but by a government concerned with the protection of the overall workforce. The reality of early migration is just as much a tale of the human spirit in search of freedom as it is a story of exploitation and abuse. The dark side of immigration tells the story of people, like the 19th century Chinese workers, who found upon their arrival a work program that took them not to the frontiers of freedom and opportunity, but to the depths of an early grave. 1,200 dead Chinese workers were reported in an 1870 newspaper clipping referring to the deaths just on the building of the railroad.
Has Racism Played a Role in Immigration?
The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 is an example of the dual reality of immigrants. On the one hand, the law looks explicitly racist by todays standards- but was the bulk of the all-white government in Washington completely deaf to the sounds of Chinese bones being crushed by capitalist exploitation? Railroads and mining aside, white workers were in a stronger position to resist the shackles of aristocratic exploitation… and those Mormons in Utah needed some work.
More immigration laws have come and gone over the years, such as the Immigration Act of 1924 which restricted migration to 2% of any nations population. The later Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, got rid of quotas and instead allowed sponsorship of relatives. This is the system we largely live with today.
Despite our growth as a nation though, we still have immigrants making their way, largely on their own, into the US. These migrants are able to find jobs because employers are all to happy to bypass free-market oppressing minimum wage laws that artificially inflate the cost of labor. Although the illegal hiring of illegal immigrants is a law thats enforced sometimes, anyone traveling the great American farm lands will quickly realize the scarcity of such enforcement.
To make matters worse, these menial jobs are sought after by a large percentage of American workers who have zero skills or are otherwise unable to find work. The Pew Research Trust1 estimates that 8 million such workers exist in the US. But I wonder, if there weren’t minimum wage laws at all and the fair market determined wages, would illegal migrants be sought after at all?
The obvious answer to this is a resounding “NO”, but, since those laws aren’t going anywhere we can skip that discussion.
It is not the illegal migrants that are being discussed this week by policy makers though. It’s the workers who immigrate legally but occupy 58% of the accommodation sector (hotels, janitors, cooks, etc) jobs that are the topic of discussion.2 Because America’s awesome public education system (and to a large part, the college system) have pounded the American spirit of ingenuity and entrepreneurship out of students, we need these menial jobs for our own… well.. . unskilled failures.
Let’s ignore for a moment how McDonald’s had to change their cash registers to show pictures of food because American workers were too stupid to use it otherwise, and focus on how replacing that stupid American worker with a foreign worker affects our economy. Right now, legal immigrants take up 26 million jobs while 6.8 million US workers are unemployed. We clearly don’t have to end all foreign migration, but can’t we hire the people we’ve got first? And then, allow migrants in who can fill slots we need filled.
Our current system is being promoted by the Democratic party because they largely depend upon immigrants to grow their base. A majority of immigrants are socialized into the democratic party because they come from nations who’s values are already set upon redistributive values. Republicans, however, are seeking to stem the tide of unfettered immigration to better suit America’s business needs while protecting its existing workforce.
Watch President Trump’s Announcement of the Raise Act
President Trump is on to something here. With 28% not having a high school diploma, and 69% having no college education, we could be sabotaging our own workforce. But then again, restricting immigration won’t solve the bigger problem of us not educating our own people so that they don’t need to work as shit shovelers their whole lives. Once again, Trump is taking the time to appeal to an issue that helps the poor working class Americans often ignored by liberal elite.
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) August 8, 2017
Restricting migration to a cognitive elite can lead to the exact opposite problem. American’s with degree’s might be unable to get jobs because the Indian Ph.D candidate will work for less. Of course the statistics behind this being a major issue would suggest that our American Ph.D candidate could get another job faster then our shit shoveler but given the rapid rise of foreign colleges and their cheap (if they have to pay at all) tuition standards we could be in an interesting situation in less than a generation. But at the rate our education system is falling apart, I wonder if we will even have the domestic brainpower in another generation to even govern ourselves. Dystopian future aside, American policymakers have to take into consideration the possibility that the continued devolution of our society will require the importation of educated migrants to keep things going.
But I seriously doubt any of those politicians are that forward thinking.
To learn more about our dystopian future watch Mike Judge’s Idiocracy.