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Liu Zhiqin: By distrusting immigrants, US invites its decline


By Liu Zhiqin    Source:Global Times    Published: 2018-11-1

Donald Trump has become the most daring president to challenge tradition among all US presidents and even in the world. He breaks the old order in an attempt to thoroughly revise rules which he believes are unreasonable and hasn't shown any sign of stopping.

The news about Trump rewriting the US' immigration policy and system has drawn attention. The US president has been tightening the immigration policy in the last two years, including placing restrictions on foreign students, making it harder for them to study in the US. Trump adopted the infamous policy of separating migrant families, and recent reports say that he wants to end birthright citizenship.

The winter of US immigration policy is coming. The US has completely changed from a haven for immigrants to an unwelcoming place. For the immigrants, the US has nothing left for them to linger.

The US is the most powerful country in the world and immigration has been contributing to that power over its history. The policy brings to the US the world's technology talent together with tens of millions of immigrants. Without immigrants, there wouldn't be the current modern, prosperous and powerful US.

It's fair to say that the US belongs to the world, and the world also belongs to the US - immigrants are the links that maintain such special relationship. If the US locks the immigrants out of its door, the link will disappear that won't bode well for the US or the world.

The secret behind the US' success is that it has an open market and is open to talent, which provided the country with infinite business opportunities and innovation capabilities and ensured the country's continuous development in the past two centuries. However, all of this has changed because of Trump's policies which seem to be politically correct but are actually harmful.

First, the US market isn't as open as before. Under the "America First" doctrine, the US has imposed restrictions on foreign investment and cited "national security" as an excuse to thwart the development of foreign enterprises in the country. It prevents many foreign companies that have technology, capital, products and markets from settling in the US, including many Chinese ones. Such act cuts the connection between the US market and the world, and even hinders US enterprises from entering the international market. It's a situation in which both sides will lose.

Distrusting, discriminating against and excluding immigrants will bring huge risks and uncertainty to the US. Although it seems that the number of immigrants is strictly controlled, there will be irreversible estrangement deep down among the immigrants. Such emotional scars in US society will take generations to heal. In other words, Trump is destroying the US' hard-won immigration policy which encourages mutual trust and dependence.

For a few US politicians including President Trump, immigrants are not trustworthy, but are regarded as spies, terrorists, thieves or people who come to the US to get petty advantages. They forgot or ignored the truth that the US is taking advantage of the immigrants, not the other way around.

Just check the number of immigrants among the US middle class, and check the number of descendants of immigrants among US government officials and the judiciary, you will understand that the US cannot live without immigrants. Isn't former US president Barack Obama the best example?

Trust is the most precious pillar between a country and its people. Only when a country trusts its people, including immigrants, can it be prosperous. Or it will fall into decay.

The US starting to distrust its immigrants may become the turning point of its decline.

The author is a senior fellow of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.

Key Words: US   immigrant   economy   Liu Zhiqin  

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