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We Need More Immigrants

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Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh notes that inflation is a big deal, but the actual big problem looming in the economy is a lack of immigrants. In this, he is correct.

Amid one of the tightest labor markets in history, Walsh said the political parties’ approach to immigration — “getting immigration all tied up” — is among the most consequential mistakes the nation can make in labor policy.

“One party is showing pictures of the border and meanwhile if you talk to businesses that support those congressional folks, they’re saying we need immigration reform,” Walsh said. “Every place I’ve gone in the country and talked to every major business, every small business, every single one of them is saying we need immigration reform. We need comprehensive immigration reform. They want to create a pathway for citizenship into our country, and they want to create better pathways for visas in our country.”

The demographic data on the U.S. working age population is concerning, with baby boomer retirements expected to accelerate in the years ahead, compounded by a peak being reached in high school graduates by 2025, limiting both the total size of the next generation labor pool and the transfer of knowledge between the generations of workers.

“We need a bipartisan fix here,” Walsh said. “I’ll tell you right now if we don’t solve immigration … we’re talking about worrying about recessions, we’re talking about inflation. I think we’re going to have a bigger catastrophe if we don’t get more workers into our society and we do that by immigration.”

There is no good reason to not increase immigration. You are making both the nation and the lives of people better. The old school labor opposition to immigration is largely dead at an official level and was wrong in any case. But a lot of Americans would prefer the collapse of the economy rather than seeing their beloved white dominance challenged. So here we are.

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