Trump’s Alma Mater Basically Says His Immigration Plan Is Garbage And Would Hurt Economy

by John Haltiwanger
Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images

President Donald Trump recently endorsed the RAISE Act, a bill that would cut legal immigration in the United States in half within the next 10 years. According to a report published Thursday, Aug. 10, by the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School -- the president's alma mater -- Trump's immigration plan would eliminate millions of jobs and do significant damage to the U.S. economy. The report concluded Trump's plan would result in 4.6 million lost jobs by the year 2040 and see the U.S. economy decrease by two percent than it is under current immigration policy, according to CNN Money.

Trump is going after legal immigration.

The RAISE Act would limit the number of green cards given to foreign nationals attempting to reunite with family in the United States.

It would also cap the number of refugees accepted at 50,000 per year while eliminating the diversity visa lottery -- a program that grants visas to countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

In order to cut legal immigration in such a dramatic way, the bill would implement a new immigration system with a point-based structure for green card applicants, looking at factors such as English ability, education levels, and job skills.

Many have decried the bill as xenophobic and a violation of American values. But beyond the ethical concerns, it seems there are strong reasons to oppose it from an economic standpoint.

Kimberly Burham, a managing director at the Penn Wharton Budget Model, a nonpartisan research team at UPenn, broke it down simply for Patrick Gillespie and Tal Kopan at CNN Money: "If you have fewer workers, we will have less economic growth."

The White House disagreed with such assertions, telling CNN Money the Wharton study had "major methodological faults" and contended the economic gains it highlighted come "at the expense of American workers."

But other experts seem to agree with the findings of this study.

In July, The Washington Post surveyed 18 economists and 89 percent said curbing legal immigration in the way Trump hopes to would be a "grave mistake." Bernard Baumohl -- a participant in the survey and chief global economist at the Economic Outlook Group -- told Heather Long at The Post restricting immigration in this way would lead to "chronically low rates of economic growth" and increase the risk of recession.

Moreover, while examining an analysis from the New American Economy -- an advocacy group founded by Michael Bloomberg -- CNN Money also found Trump's plan would be awful for small business creation in the U.S., given millions of small businesses have been started by low-skilled immigrants without a bachelor's degree. Trump's plan would likely deny such immigrants entry into the U.S.

What's more, the New American Economy also looked at past research and found one in 10 Americans in the private sector were employed by an immigrant-owned business. This seems to contradict the Trump administration's claims current immigration policy takes away from American workers.

In short, Trump's immigration plan is arguably an attack on both American values and the U.S. economy. For these reasons, it seems unlikely this bill will get far in Congress, which would represent yet another legislative failure for Trump.