Trump does Central America a favor

Just based on his tweets, President Trump has apparently turned back 40% of illegal immigrant crossers into the U.S., according to Department of Homeland Security data.

The first thought that comes to mind is how many billions in taxpayer money the president saved us by discouraging that illegal immigration.  Illegal immigrants cost Americans $54.5 billion a year in education, medical, welfare, city service, and prison costs, to name but a few things, far outstripping their supposed contributions as low-skilled labor to the economy, according to a Heritage Foundation study.  That Trump could merely tweet them out of coming testifies to how believable he is worldwide.

But the bigger favor is the one he's done for Central America, particularly the "northern triangle" states of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.  Those nations, plus Mexico, in varying degrees, are in a demographic death spiral, losing too many people in prime working years they cannot afford to lose.  Their window of development is getting narrow, a UCLA professor of economics explained to me.  The statistics here show that by 2025, the fertility rate will be just 2.08% for the region as a whole, which is at or below replacement rate.  The years following will be below replacement rate.  Immigration, which primarily involves young people in their prime working years, has been a disaster for those countries, as has been their government's dependence on remittances.  There is not just a negative effect of dollars coming in to displace local productivity; there is also a social cost as families are broken up by migration.  In fact, the IMF has pointed out that remittances tend to keep a country artificially underdeveloped.  The money itself tends to benefit government cronies and make corruption less costly.

So let's not kid ourselves as to what has happened.  Trump's statements and tweets have spared Americans billions in costs associated with illegal immigrants.  But they have spared Central Americans the near fatal cost of unchecked emigration.  Trump's been a life-saver to all the nations that ship out immigrants.

Just based on his tweets, President Trump has apparently turned back 40% of illegal immigrant crossers into the U.S., according to Department of Homeland Security data.

The first thought that comes to mind is how many billions in taxpayer money the president saved us by discouraging that illegal immigration.  Illegal immigrants cost Americans $54.5 billion a year in education, medical, welfare, city service, and prison costs, to name but a few things, far outstripping their supposed contributions as low-skilled labor to the economy, according to a Heritage Foundation study.  That Trump could merely tweet them out of coming testifies to how believable he is worldwide.

But the bigger favor is the one he's done for Central America, particularly the "northern triangle" states of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.  Those nations, plus Mexico, in varying degrees, are in a demographic death spiral, losing too many people in prime working years they cannot afford to lose.  Their window of development is getting narrow, a UCLA professor of economics explained to me.  The statistics here show that by 2025, the fertility rate will be just 2.08% for the region as a whole, which is at or below replacement rate.  The years following will be below replacement rate.  Immigration, which primarily involves young people in their prime working years, has been a disaster for those countries, as has been their government's dependence on remittances.  There is not just a negative effect of dollars coming in to displace local productivity; there is also a social cost as families are broken up by migration.  In fact, the IMF has pointed out that remittances tend to keep a country artificially underdeveloped.  The money itself tends to benefit government cronies and make corruption less costly.

So let's not kid ourselves as to what has happened.  Trump's statements and tweets have spared Americans billions in costs associated with illegal immigrants.  But they have spared Central Americans the near fatal cost of unchecked emigration.  Trump's been a life-saver to all the nations that ship out immigrants.

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