Both Joe Biden and Donald Trump went to the border last week in a split screen that crystalized the difference in approach between the two of them when it comes to immigration policy in this country. Trump as president said he would build a wall, which he never finished, and he also separated families at the border to publicize the risk families would have if they tried to immigrate to our country. When Biden became president he removed many of Trump’s draconian policies. More immigrants did come into the country. Over time, the border got overrun because there are insufficient funds for border patrol, judges and systems that keep the border under control. Biden urged the Senate to work on a tough bipartisan bill to get the border under control. A group of senators did that work, coming up with the toughest bill in decades. That’s when Donald Trump squelched the bill by telling Mike Johnson in the House to kill the bill. Trump did that because he is afraid he would lose his best shot at regaining the presidency if Biden had a win at the border.

Trump and his loyalists have signaled that they don’t want Biden to be able to claim any kind of victory on the border. Rather, they are betting that they will have a better chance in November with an ongoing immigration surge, and the promise that Trump will fix it come January. If he returns to the Oval Office, Trump has pledged to order the largest deportation of migrants from the United States ever, rounding up and expelling millions annually. He has also refused to rule out separating families again.

Biden at the border invited Trump to join him in passing the toughest bill in decades and stop using the border to fearmonger.

Trump continued to fearmonger.

With all the outrage about the border and immigration there are two important facts that are getting lost in the noise.

1. Immigration has been super helpful for our country’s recovery from the pandemic

Fresh estimates from the Congressional Budget Office this month said the U.S. labor force will have grown by 5.2 million people by 2023, thanks especially to net immigration. The economy is projected to grow by $7 trillion more over the next decade than it would have without new influxes of immigrants, according to the CBO.

Immigration has propelled the U.S. job market further than just about anyone expected, helping cement the country’s economic rebound from the pandemic as the most robust in the world.

That momentum picked up aggressively over the past year. About 50 percent of the labor market’s extraordinary recent growth came from foreign-born workers between January 2023 and January 2024, according to an Economic Policy Institute analysis of federal data. And even before that, by the middle of 2022, the foreign-born labor force had grown so fast that it closed the labor force gap created by the pandemic, according to research from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Research broadly shows that immigration has long helped the U.S. economy grow. But today’s snapshot still represents a stark turnaround from just a short time ago.

The flow of migrants to the United States started slowing during the Trump administration, when officials took hundreds of executive actions designed to restrict migration.

Then the coronavirus hit, restricting border crossings even further. Right before the pandemic, there were about 1.5 million fewer working-age immigrants in the United States than pre-2017 trends would have predicted, according to the San Francisco Fed. By the end of 2021, that shortfall had widened to about 2 million, researchers at the Global Migration Center at the University of California at Davis have shown.

But the economy overall wound up rebounding aggressively from the sudden, widespread closures of 2020, bolstered by historic government stimulus and vaccines that debuted faster than expected.

Labor market grew 353,000 in January, soaring past expectations

The sudden snapback in demand sent inflation soaring. Supply chain issues were a main reason prices rose quickly. But labor shortages posed a problem, too, and economists feared that rising wages — as employers scrambled to find workers — would keep price increases dangerously high.

That’s because the labor force that emerged as the pandemic ebbed was smaller than it had been: Millions of people retired early, stayed home to take over child care or avoid getting sick, or decided to look for new jobs entirely. In the span of a year or so, employers went from having businesses crater to sprinting to hire enough staff to keep restaurants, hotels, retail stores and construction sites going. Wages for the lowest earners rose at the fastest pace.

About the same time, the path was widening for migrants to cross the southern border, particularly as the new Biden administration rolled back Trump-era restrictions.



Trump and other Republicans are lying about that

Opponents of immigration often argue that immigrants drive up crime rates. But newly released research from Stanford economist Ran Abramitzky and his co-authors finds that hasn’t been the case in America for the last 140 years.

The study reveals that first-generation immigrants have not been more likely to be imprisoned than people born in the United States since 1880.

Today, immigrants are 30 percent less likely to be incarcerated than are U.S.-born individuals who are white, the study finds. And when the analysis is expanded to include Black Americans — whose prison rates are higher than the general population — the likelihood of an immigrant being incarcerated is 60 percent lower than of people born in the United States. 

While other research has also debunked claims that immigration leads to more crime, this study of incarceration rates provides the broadest historical look at the relationship between immigration and crime across the country and over time, says author Abramitzky. Abramitzky is the Stanford Federal Credit Union Professor of Economics and senior associate dean of social sciences in the School of Humanities and Sciences, as well as a senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR).


By-the-way, that misinformation about immigrants is part of the autocrats playbook. Creating fear about “aliens” coming to get you is the way would-be autocrats get people fearful enough to vote for the strongman dictator. The truth is that the threat is coming from inside our country.

DHS assessed that the next year will continue to see a high threat of violence from individuals radicalized in the United States, “marked by lone offenders or small group attacks that occur with little warning.” 

“These actors will continue to be inspired and motivated by a mix of conspiracy theories; personalized grievances; and enduring racial, ethnic, religious, and anti-government ideologies, often shared online,” according to the threat assessment report. (Department of Homeland Security/ The Hill)

In short, the greatest potential for terror in America currently is from right wing extremists who have been brain washed by social media. Many are lone wolf actors like the guy who attacked Nancy Pelosi’s husband. Others are people who are being brainwashed by right wing extremists on social media. That’s how we got the January 6th insurrection. That’s how we get shooters in Jewish synagogues and other places of worship. The culture wars being waged by right wing extremists have consequences in our country with too many guns and too many people who believe in the fearmongering tactics of Trump and his allies. The MAGAs in the House are amplifying the mis and disinformation to help Trump get re-elected.

The Democrats need to tell this story more effectively to the voters: Trump and the Republicans have been consciously misinforming, disinforming and misleading us about immigration to create fear and increase their chance to get Trump elected as a strongman who will deconstruct our democracy. In the next election everything is on the line.