It’s simple arithmetic: why Trump’s immigration stance is 100% wrong for America

by Robin Harris on Saturday, 25 February, 2017

An editorial comment

This isn’t complicated. America has 325 million people, out of the world’s 7.4 billion, or about 4.4% of world’s population. Despite the numerical imbalance, America also has the world’s largest economy by most measures.

There are two countries, China and India, which are several times the population of the United States. China’s population is about 1.37 billion, or almost 19% of the world’s population.

India’s population is about 1.31 billion, almost 18% of the world’s population. In 2022 India is projected to become the world’s most populous nation.

To put this in perspective, China’s population is more than 4 times that of the US, while US population is 4 times that of Germany. The German economy is strong, but it is less than a forth the size of the US. Do Americans want an economy that is less than a forth of China’s or India’s?

Together China and India are over a third of the world’s population. In the battle for economic supremacy, what chance does 4.4% of the population have against more than a third?

A pretty good chance – IF we encourage the immigration of ambitious and hardworking immigrants. And a very bad chance if we don’t.

It is America’s great good fortune that China and India are not attractive to immigrants. China’s repressive government, corruption, xenophobia, and environment are big negatives. India is more attractive than China, thanks to English usage, but the infrastructure is a mess, while corruption, bureaucracy, and a creaky legal system do not inspire immigrant confidence.

America has great universities, high quality of life, clean air and water, the rule of law, relatively little corruption, welcoming and cosmopolitan metro areas, good infrastructure, and large immigrant communities that can ease the transition to our sprawling nation. That’s good, but it’s not enough: we must welcome the world’s best and brightest, the ambitious and inventive, who hunger for freedom and opportunity.

Given the numbers, America has no option but to encourage immigrants to build their lives and fortunes in America. If Donald Trump really put America first, he would embrace immigration as a tool to help keep America prosperous and growing, despite the daunting arithmetic of our tiny slice of the world’s population.

Because the road he is on leads to American decline, not growth. Our popularity with immigrants can’t be taken for granted, and shouldn’t be. It is in grave danger today, and every day, until anti-immigrant policies are ended.

Courteous comments welcome, of course. All comments are moderated.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Ravi Giroti February 26, 2017 at 1:07 am

Very well argued points and you are one hundred percent right in both your premise and its argument. Labor follows capital and vice versa. If America doesn’t let the brightest immigrants in, then the companies who need those people will go to them instead. This xenophobia can only have bad consequences for these United States.

Ernst Lopes Cardozo February 26, 2017 at 7:27 am

Sooner or later Mr. Trump will leave office. In what state will the American people be by then? If it is sooner (impeachment, assassination), the people that voted Trump in office will feel cheated and rebel. If it is later, they will have discovered that Trump is not making their life better: miserable economics, health care gone. Trump will point to others as the source of all evil. They will be cheated and rebel. Many republicans may wake up from a bad dream, asking how they could have embraced or condoned Trump as long as they did. Democrats should ask themselves right now how they failed to cater for the jobless masses in time to prevent the current derailment – even if it turns out that the Putin played a role, in which case Allende will be smiling.

Petros Koutoupis February 26, 2017 at 7:29 am

My parents left Greece in the 70’s during a time of great uncertainty. There was no life for them in Greece. Both its economy and government were in a state of transition and quite unstable. In some cases, not even done with High School, my uncles, aunts and eventually parents immigrated elsewhere…..with the clothes on their backs and loose change in their pockets, to survive and give the next generations opportunities they did not have. My family scattered across the world: Germany, Australia, Canada and of course, the US.

Starting from the bottom, they worked in the back of restaurants earning enough just for a place to sleep the night. Fast forward to the present, they have lived the American (or other country) dream. Through blood, sweat and tears, the rewards eventually came and because of their hard work, today they are mostly retired watching their children and grand children grow and become doctors, lawyers, teachers and more.

Robin, as you stated, there is an attraction to America. To ensure our great nation’s survival, we cannot change this.

Tom February 27, 2017 at 8:18 am

Seriously? I can’t get away from liberal Two Minutes Hate even here?


Rajesh Senapathy February 27, 2017 at 10:22 am

You are piling immigration, any immigration, along with illegal immigration, and professional immigration. I do agree that any country that wishes to survive in a global economy needs to open up to quality workforce coming from abroad, but it also needs to improve it’s own education systems in order to produce better local workforce (and in our industry that means more apolitical technical studies vs useless humanitarian degrees). Now, as someone who has moved around quite a bit and with over 20 years in high level IT, I can easily assure you that if I want to immigrate to the US as a skilled worker under Trump – I can, and it isn’t even a huge effort.

What I’m trying to get at is that you need to be very careful when you speak about immigration in general, lumping together illegal immigrants and economic immigrants looking for a place where they can get better welfare without contributing back, and well educated professionals with experience enough to start making 6 figures as soon as they land in the country, and start paying taxes accordingly. Those are all very different people, who will provide very different contributions to a country’s economy. Yes, we are all human and equal, but if you use the advancement of the US economy as a point, you need to focus on the crowd that will contribute to it vs those who will drain it, and the former do not (and I speak from experience) have any problems with immigrating to the US under Trump.

Robin Harris February 28, 2017 at 9:20 am

Aww-w-w, poor baby! Can’t handle a reasoned dissent from Trump’s rhetoric? Tough.

Also, StorageMojo doesn’t have subscriptions, so your Unsubscribe is meaningless. But thanks for not reading.


billybathgates February 28, 2017 at 10:29 am

Very well said Robin. Trump is, as anyone could predict, a disaster. The problem: He is doing exactly what he said he would do (and then some!) The republicans who attempted to ostracize him before he “won”, are now groveling before him (and all should be held FULLY accountable for this.) Like Dan Rather has stated, people need to wake up and do something!

(I’m no political troll, just a storage admin who visits here occasionally).

Robin Harris March 3, 2017 at 8:26 am

Rajesh, you are correct that in the interest of brevity I didn’t do an in-depth analysis of different types of immigration. However, that’s not what Trump’s rhetoric does either, and his is based on falsehoods and fear-mongering. As we have seen in the last few weeks, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has taken Trump’s rhetoric as a blank check to harass people of color – Muhammad Ali’s son! an African software engineer! – and others, such as an elderly Australian children’s book author.

One of the reasons America is attractive to immigrants is the rule of law and the general absence of arbitrary and corrupt government action. But that reputation is fragile, and if people decide not to come to America, we lose all the same.

Hmmmm... March 5, 2017 at 9:41 am


Did you ghostwrite any of Trump’s address to Congress?

I’d be slightly surprised if he reads your blog, but he did indeed “encourage the [legal] immigration of ambitious and hardworking immigrants.”

Robin Harris March 5, 2017 at 6:30 pm

Gosh, did he say that? How does that fit with suddenly cancelling the H1-B visa program, and the arbitrary treatment green card holders have gotten. Trump says a lot of things, but his actions are what matter, and he’s working to ensure that ambitious and hardworking immigrants don’t come to the US.

nilfs2 March 7, 2017 at 10:52 am

I’m from a country in Central America, lots of our tax money goes to the war against drugs, we get people killed by the drug gangs, politicians placed by the drug gangs, and none of the drug we catch was intended to stay in our country, it all was in route to the US, so basically we are getting people killed, corrupt politicians and spending tax money helping the US to not get drugs inside their borders, and now Trump comes and say we are criminals, rapers and generally “bad people” and wants to kick us out their country; strange way to say “thanks”.

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