Feigned Migration – WSJ

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Watching the immigration debate it’s easy to believe that the U.S. is accepting not just a flood of illegals across the Rio Grande who give birth to instant U.S. citizens, but also massive chains of legal families. So where are they?

At least one large U.S. company can’t seem to find them. The Journal reports today on some sad news from Irving, Texas:

Kimberly-Clark Corp. said it will cut about 13% of its global workforce, or at least 5,000 jobs, as the company grapples with sluggish sales of household staples such as diapers and toilet paper.

The maker of Huggies diapers and Kleenex tissues said it faces a plethora of challenges that aren’t letting up soon, despite a healthy U.S. economy and lower corporate tax rate.

The maker of Huggies diapers and Kleenex tissues said it faces a plethora of challenges that aren’t letting up soon, despite a healthy U.S. economy and lower corporate tax rate.

Rivals are slashing prices, forcing down prices industrywide. Women are having fewer babies, denting demand for diapers and other products.

Kimberly-Clark and its price-cutting rivals are constantly under pressure from retailers like

Wal-Mart

and Amazon to offer bargains. But Kimberly’s longtime CEO

Tom Falk

is used to competitive markets in diapers and other paper products. According to the Journal:

More perplexing, Mr. Falk said, is an unexpected decline in the U.S. birthrate. The rate hit a record low in 2016 and continued to fall through the first half of 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Obviously this trend would not be resulting in flat sales and layoffs in the Texas diaper patch if the U.S. had a simultaneous surge in new American families joining us from overseas.

The U.S. Census Bureau isn’t seeing a surge either. The U.S. population has been growing very slowly, less than a percent per year since 2010. And what little growth there is lately has largely come from births in the U.S. Even at historically low rates, babies born in the U.S. account for almost four times as many net new Americans as do immigrants.

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis isn’t seeing a surge either. It reports an historic recent decline in the working-age population of the U.S., measured as people aged 15-64.

Regular readers of this column know that as the economy has shifted to a higher gear in year one of the post-Obama era, employment surveys have shown an increasing difficulty among businesses in finding workers. Small-business owners responding to the monthly survey of the National Federation of Independent Business have frequently cited attracting qualified workers among their biggest challenges.

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A visitor from another planet, unaccustomed to current political debates, might examine the data and conclude that America is suffering from an acute shortage of immigrants. Since such a visitor would surely be considered an illegal alien this is perhaps not the most effective appeal to authority. But perhaps at some point the math of immigration and the opportunities of a rising economy will enter the political discussion.

Lawmakers might even consider that just because migration occurs due to family connections doesn’t mean it can’t have economic benefits, too. Forbes magazine today pegs the fortune that John Tu built in America at $7.1 billion. Our friend Stuart Anderson describes how the technology entrepreneur came to the U.S.:

John Tu (No. 87 on the Forbes 400 list) was born in China in 1941, where he lived with his parents and sisters. He describes himself as a mediocre student unable to attend the best Chinese colleges. He was denied a visa to the United States and instead applied to a college in Germany, where in 1978 he earned a degree in electrical engineering.

“My dream of coming to the United States persisted,” said John in testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration. He recalled visiting his sister, who was living in Boston. She had come to America as a student and married a U.S. citizen born in Taiwan. That trip reignited his dreams. “My experience brought me to the conclusion that in the U.S. one can be anything he wants. I decided right then that I would find a way to make my home in America.”

His sister, who became a U.S. citizen, sponsored John for immigration through the immigrant preference category for the siblings of U.S. citizens.

After his shutdown victory over Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, President

Donald Trump

now seems highly likely to get his wall. He should also ensure that it comes with doors.

***

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(Carol Muller helps compile Best of the Web. Thanks to Tony Lima, Arlene Ross and Ray Hull.)





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