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Trump’s Foreign Admirers

Donald Trump doesn’t like Latin Americans and advocates building a wall to separate them from the US. But many of those whom Trump dislikes, in Latin America and elsewhere, share his passion for restrictive immigration policies.

CAMBRIDGE – Donald Trump doesn’t like Latin Americans and advocates building a wall to separate them from the United States. As usual with such snubs, Latin Americans tend to reciprocate the sentiment, as do Muslims and others who feel affronted by the Republican Party’s presidential nominee. But many of those who dislike Trump share his passion for restrictive immigration policies.

There are probably few areas of public policy where something that is so good for society is portrayed as being so bad. Of course, projecting a society’s problems onto foreign scapegoats is an old political tactic. But the extent to which hostility to immigration goes against the evidence of its salutary effects is surprising.

Recent research on immigration shows very large positive effects on the welfare of locals. Bill and Sari Kerr have shown that, while immigrants represent about 13% of the US population, they account for 26% of all entrepreneurs, and about 36% of new firms have at least one immigrant in the leadership team. This suggests that immigration is a large part of the story behind American economic vitality and job creation.

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