UTAH

Live Mic: Fewer immigrants affect on Utah and state economies

Jan 8, 2020, 8:43 PM | Updated: 8:45 pm
migrant border refugee asylum gang DACA photo...
This July 26, 2018, file photo shows people lining up to cross into the United States to begin the process of applying for asylum near the San Ysidro port of entry in Tijuana, Mexico. (Credit: Gregory Bull, AP)
(Credit: Gregory Bull, AP)

Salt Lake City — The US population during the past year continued a decade of decline, slowing to the lowest rate in the past century, according to newly released estimates from the US Census Bureau.1

A higher national rate of deaths and a lower rate of births contribute to these numbers, but how have Trump administration policies on restricting immigrants entering the US affected the economy?

Gillian Friedman, an investigative reporter for the Deseret News, joined Lee Lonsberry on “Live Mic” to discuss her reporting on the effects of fewer immigrants on the national and state economies.2

“We hear a lot of rhetoric around immigrants taking American jobs,” said Friedman, “but when you really look at it, the picture is more nuanced.

“There are some positive impacts when you have fewer immigrants,” she said. “You have more competition in the labor force, which means wages can go up, and there can be more pressure to increase the minimum wage.”

But the downside to fewer immigrants is, because of current trends of a lower fertility rate, an increased death rate and more baby boomers aging out of the workforce, more workers will be needed, Friedman explained.

“There are a lot of missing workers. And we’re going to need more and more workers as a safety valve,” she said.

“Where does Utah stand among the national trends?” Lee asked.

Friedman said state economies focused on industries like agriculture, hospitality, and seasonal recreation are already seeing the effects of fewer immigrants.

Welcoming refugees

In August, the Trump administration announced the “public charge” rule that would cut the number of legal immigrants allowed to enter and stay in the country by making it easier to reject green card and visa applicants, if they’re receiving or will likely receive public benefits (such as food stamps or Medicaid).

In September, the Trump administration announced the number of refugees the U.S. will accept will be cut from the current limit of 30,000 to 18,000, including an executive order requiring state and local governments to provide written consent to receive refugees.

In October, Gov. Gary Herbert wrote President Donald Trump stating Utah was ready to settle more refugees.

As did Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson, asking for more refugees to be sent to the county. The Utah County Commission unanimously requested the same.

Lee asked Friedman if Utah’s welcoming stance toward refugees might place it at an advantage over other states, which might be less so.

Friedman said Utah gained national attention after the governor sent that letter.

“Many people think, ‘Oh, Utah’s a conservative state, they won’t like immigrants,'” she said.

“But the state is incredibly welcoming to refugees. The Church [of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] does a lot to bring refugees in and sometimes even pays their salaries.

“This state does really want to find a balance between the federal and state governments being on the same page [on immigration],” she said.

————————————————

1. https://www.npr.org/2019/12/31/792737851/u-s-population-growth-in-2019-is-slowest-in-a-century;

2. https://www.deseret.com/indepth/2020/1/6/21048887/what-do-fewer-immigrants-coming-to-the-u-s-mean-for-our-economy-and-workforce

Today’s Top Stories

Utah

Ogden police car...
Mark Jones

Ogden-Weber Technical College evacuated due to bomb threat; no bomb found

Weber County emergency personnel responded to the Ogden-Weber Technical College Wednesday afternoon for a report of bomb threat. After a search of the campus, no device was found.
1 day ago
Black Rifle Coffee...
Lindsay Aerts

Black Rifle Coffee, Dallas Cowboys take heat for timing of business partnership

The timing of a business partnership between Utah-based Black Rifle Coffee and the Dallas Cowboys has generated a lot of emotions on social media.
1 day ago
south jordan police...
Mark Jones

Two children hurt in auto-pedestrian collision in South Jordan

South Jordan police say two children are in critical condition after a auto-pedestrian collision Wednesday. Both children were taken to Primary Children's Hospital.
1 day ago
Local environmental groups are taking a victory lap now that a medical waste incinerator in North S...
Lindsay Aerts

Stericycle can no longer burn medical waste in SLC, but the fight to stop toxic pollutants may not be over

Local environmental groups are taking a victory lap now that a medical waste incinerator in North Salt Lake belonging to Stericycle, has been shut down.
1 day ago
Utah Fire Info says the Deuel Creek Fire is now 100% contained. Photo Credit: Utah Fire Info....
Devin Oldroyd

Deuel Creek Fire is now 100% contained, Utah Fire Info says

Utah Fire Info says the Deuel Creek Fire is now 100% contained after days of firefighters combating the blaze.
1 day ago
air conditioner...
Carlos Artiles

What if your air conditioner breaks down during the summer months?

If your air conditioner breaks down during the summer, you could be on a wait list of a few weeks before it could be fixed or replaced.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Live Mic: Fewer immigrants affect on Utah and state economies