In short, virtually everything Trump and his anti-immigrant crowd believe (the wall, excluding people from s***hole countries) is out of step with a very high percentage of Americans. The notion that immigrants from poor countries deplete us defies common sense, history and economic reality. Nevertheless, the aversion to people who are predominately brown and black runs high in this administration. It also demonstrates a painful lack of economic literacy, ignorance about our aging workforce and willful blindness about the entrepreneurial contributions of immigrants and their children.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions — who uses the messaging and data from virulently anti-immigrant extremist groups (e.g. FAIR) — had this to say: “What good does it do to bring in somebody who’s illiterate in their own country, has no skills, and is going to struggle in our country and not be successful? That is not what a good nation should do, and we need to get away from it.”
Where to begin? Let’s start with the fact immigrants have a higher level of education than native-born Americans. Among those Africans Trump belittled 42 percent include college graduates. Tyler Cowen writes:
One of the most striking facts, unbeknownst even to many immigration advocates, is the superior education of Africans coming to this country. Of adults 25 years or older born in Africa and living in the U.S., 41.7 percent have a bachelor’s degree or more, according to 2009 data. For contrast, only 28.1 percent of the native-born American population has a bachelor’s degree or more, and 26.8 percent of foreign-born adults as a whole have a college degree, both well below the African rate.How about high school diplomas? About one-third of immigrants overall lack this credential but only 11.7 percent of African-born migrants don’t have a high school degree — close to the estimated rate for native-born Americans, 11.4 percent.Or consider Nigerian-Americans, Nigeria being Africa’s most populous nation: Their education levels are among the very highest in the U.S., above those of Asians, with 17 percent having a master’s degree.About three-quarters of African migrants speak English, and they have above-average rates of labor force participation. They are also much less likely to commit violent crimes than native-born Americans.
Sessions’s vision of people from poor countries as unskilled, unable to acquire skills and illiterate is nothing but blatant racism. His assumption that they will not be successful is contrary to the history of America as a haven for immigrants who come to better themselves. He’s turned the Statute of Liberty (“Give me … your huddled masses . . .) on her head. He plainly has a view of who should be an American, and it does not include the best and brightest brown and black people from around the world. That’s a strain of un-American bigotry we have not heard from public officials since the 1920s when quotas were imposed for the express purpose of keeping “undesirables” out.