Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Blogger Candidate Forum: Counter-Intuitive

http://www.citylab.com; September 18, 2017


Hello Everyone:

It is time for the weekly edition of Blogger Candidate Forum.  Blogger has a confession to make:  Yours Truly has just given up on anything good coming out of the Trump administration.  Actually, Yours Truly gave up a long time ago.  What tipped it for good?  Mr. Donald Trump getting into a Twitter feud (another one) with the widow of Sergeant La David Johnson, one of the soldiers killed during a mission in Niger.  The President disputes that he said that the sergeant knew what he was getting into when he signed up, going as far to claim he has proof that he said no such thing.  Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, during the daily press briefing, that no such tape exists.  Between the Twitter feuds and the digressions into non-issues, like #Takeaknee, Blogger is absolutely convinced that nothing of substance will ever come out of this Adminstration.  Speaking of which, shall we talk about legal immigration and the Rust Belt states?

Winning the Rust Belt states (i.e. Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, et cetera) was key to putting Mr. Trump in the Oval Office.  Yet, these states could end up being the biggest losers from proposed reductions in legal immigration, according to a new study from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs (thechicagocouncil.org; Sept. 8, 2017; date accessed Oct. 18, 2017).

Ronald Brownstein reports in his CityLab article, "The Rust Belt Needs legal Immigration," "The study, from the nonpartisan Chicago Council on Global Affairs, concludes that immigration has been a demographic lifeline that has helped several Midwestern cities partially reverse decades of population loss among native-born residents."

Rob Paral, demographer and author of the study Looking Back To Look Forward: Lessons From The Immigration Histories of Midwestern Cities, wrote,

For the cities of the Midewest, restricting current immigration levels is the last thing they need: an unnecessary tourniquet applied to a precious supply of new regional residents and worker.

Republican Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) have introduced, and received endorsement from the White House, legislation that would reduce legal immigration by half.  Mr. Brownstein writes, "Some congressional Republicans are hoping to attach that bill any legislation providing legal status for the undocumented young people,...who had been shielded from deportation by the deferred action program Trump recently revoked."  Naturally, the congressional Democrats would vehemently oppose any attempt.

It sounds counter-intuitive to go after immigrants who arrive with all the appropriate paperwork (i.e. Passports and visas) but that seems to be the modus operandi for this administration.  Reducing the number of legal immigrants is contrary to earlier studies by Mr. Paral documenting how dependent Midwestern cities, regardless of size, are on immigrants (thechicagocouncil.org; March 23, 2017; date accessed Oct. 18, 2017) "to offset the loss of native-born Americans in their prime working years."  In his new study, he examined the critical role immigration has played in driving the overall population growth and decline in the biggest Midwest cities since the turn of the 20th century.

This newest analysis boosters the political message of Mr. Paral's previous study, Immigration A Demographic LifeLine In Midwestern Metros: "It shows that a broad range of communities across the Midwest is relying on immigration to stabilize their populations and revive their economies."  This real fact could complicate matters for Midwestern Republicans who support the reductions the president, Senators Cotton and Perdue are looking for.  Mr. Paral told Ronald Brownstein,

There's no question that immigration is benefitting a lot of cities, including small cities...I don't think it's just big-city Democratic mayors who support [legal immigration].

Rob Paral demostates that "Immigration,...,was central to the rapid growth of cities from Akron and Grand Rapids to Detroit and Chicago through the first decades of the 20th century.  He writes,

Immigrants and their children's were a key component of the population growth these cities experienced.

Here more real facts: "In 1920, foreign-born residents accounted for nearly one-third of the population in Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit."  For the record, Mr. Trump won Ohio and Michigan.  Further, immigrants accounted for nearly a quarter of the populations of Milwaukee and Minneapolis.   A cumulative sampling of 13 Midwestern cities, Mr. Paral calculated that "immigrants accounted for about one-fourth of their entire population in 1920, with the children of immigrants contributing nearly another two-fifths of the total."

From the outset, large Midwestern cities kept growing, despite the pressure on immigration, as they continued to be magnets for rural Caucasians and a steady flow of African Americans during the Great Migration.  However, in the post-World War II years, those flows diminished and the region's population began to decline.  Rob Paral writes,

The latter half of the [20th] century ushered in suburbanization, de-industrialization, and migration from the Northeastern and Midwestern states to Southern and Western parts of the country...The loss of immigration compounded the effects of these trends that sapped population from Midwestern cities.

The thirteen cities that Mr. Paral studied "lost nearly 1 million residents combined from 1950 through 1970."

Since then, the large Midwestern cities have been hit hard by deindustrialization and other economic stressors, have struggled to hold steady their native-born populations.  Of the 13 cities Mr. Paral studied, all but Omaha, Nebraska experienced population contractions from 1970 through the five-year period between 2011 and 2015, the most recent period covered by the Census Bureau's American Community Survey.  "Almost without exception, those native-born losses have been substantial."  Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Milwaukee each saw their native-born population decline by about one-fifth over the study period calculated by Mr. Paral.  "Toledo, Akron, and Chicago each lost a little over one-fourth; Cincinnati just over one-third; and Detroit, Cleveland, and St. Louis about half."

However, the federal 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act reopened the flow of mass immigration, many of these cities saw their foreign-born population increase.  Mr. Brownstein writes, "In no case has that been enough to completely offset the loss of native-born residents, but it's allowed many of the Midwestern cities to ameliorate the decline and fortify their population base."

Rob Paral reports, "Since 1970...,Chicago has added nearly 200,000 foreign-born resident; Minneapolis and St. Paul just over 40,000; Kansas City 25,000; and Milwaukee about 20,000."  At its lowest point in 1990, the Midwestern foreign-born population stood at 662,000.  Since then, the foreign-born population across the 13 study cities has recovered to 958,000.  This is despite a decrease of new arrivals over the past decade, as undocumented immigration decreased nationwide and more new legal immigrated to Southern and Western states.

Therefore, attracting immigrants has become a central economic-development tactic for Midwestern cities.  Christina Pope, senior regional manager for Welcoming America, an organization that supports programs to assist immigrants assimilate, told Mr. Brownstein that she works with 60 local governments and non--profits in a 10-state area across the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic.  She told Mr. Brownstein,

The movement really is widespread...Just in the past year we have about doubled membership in the Midwest.

Ronald Brownstein reports, "The areas with active programs to attract and assimilate immigrants range from large population centers such as Chicago, Minneapolis, and Columbus; to mid-sized cities like Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Akron, Toldeo, and Dayton; to smaller places such as Battle Creek, Michigan, and Winona, Minnesota."  Last month, many of these cities held events to celebrate the connection between native-born and immigrant communities as part of the national Welcoming Week (welcomingamerica.org; date accessed Oct. 18, 2017) intiative sponsoring hundreds of these gatherings. Ms. Pop said,

There really is a commitment on the local level from even these smaller municipalities.

The Midwest is a politically pivotal region, especially in the coming debate on immigration.  Not only are congressional Democrats gearing up to oppose any reduction, Republicans from the West Coast and Northeast states traditionally destination for large-scale immigration are also voicing ther objections.

Restrictions on immigration has found substantial support from Republicans in the Southern, Plains, and Mountain West states which have no tradition of large-scale immigration and currently have small  immigrant populations.  Rob Paral writes,

...voices against immigration have been raised by local residents of areas where few immigrants live and, indeed, where the enteral population may be in numeric decline.

The alliance of Southern, Plains, and Mountain West translates into whether reductions in legal immigration gains traction in Congress may be whether Midwestern congressional Republicans join their Democratic counterparts in opposing cuts, or fall in lock-step with their fellow Republicans from both coasts to support them.  The complication here is, like the zeal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, "any Midwest Republicans pushing to curb legal immigration could face considerable resistance for local GOP officials who see clear benefits in the existing policy."

Rob Paral told Ronald Brownstein,

You can find exceptions to this, but there's a kind of a tolerance in the Midwest that you don't see elsewhere...You can look at some of the Southern state that passed...draconian local ordinances against immigrant, but as a general pattern you don't have those anti-immigrant policies here.