President Donald Trump has been talking tough about illegal immigration and so far, believe it or not, it is working. Apprehensions of illegal immigrants on the U.S.-Mexico border are down 40 percent since Trump was inaugurated. Whatever you think about Trump’s harsher anti-immigration rhetoric, it’s clearly having a deterrent effect.
President Trump’s toughness on immigration is having impacts in other areas, too. For starters, Trump’s positions are encouraging some would-be travelers to the United States not to come into the country.
Analysts from the travel data organization Forwardkeys and airfare search site Hopper both report that interest in traveling to the United States is down since Trump took power.
From NBC News:
“International trends in bookings to the U.S. are down 6.5 percent compared with the equivalent period the year before,” Forward Keys noted. “Trump’s travel ban is putting off people traveling to the U.S. from many regions of the world, beyond the Middle East.”
And while demand has recovered slightly since the initial travel ban was overturned, “It is still well below expected levels,” said Hopper data analyst Patrick Surry in an analysis of the travel ban’s impact on international travel.
On Tuesday, Hopper analyzed flight search demand from international origins to the U.S. for the three weeks prior to Trump’s inauguration through March 6th and found overall searches down about 10 percent compared to the same period last year, with 102 of 122 origin countries showing declines.
America needs foreign visitors, who provide revenue into government coffers and boost the economy. In 2015, international travelers spent $133 billion in the United States, according to the U.S. Travel Association. International travel helps support over a million American jobs.
But it’s just not foreign tourists America needs. Robust immigration is also required to keep the economy healthy. The Pew Research Center has found that without immigrants and their American-born children, the U.S. working age population would shrink from 173 million in 2015 to 166 million in 2035. But with immigration, the workforce would grow to 183 million over that same period. Choose stagnant population growth and you put the economy at greater risk of recession.
America needs immigrants for other reasons, too, including to boost its declining birth rate. President Trump should use his success in reducing illegal immigration to push for changes that would make it easier to enter the country and move towards a skills-based immigration system.
American immigration law has to take into account things like culture and the rule of law. But it must also take into regard the positive economic effects that come from welcoming newcomers to our shores.