Robert McCabe is President Emeritus of Miami Dade College (FL.) and Executive Director of the National Alliance of Community and Technical Colleges. Mr. McCabe wrote the linked Op-Ed in the Miami Herald,“Immigrant children will help America’s economy’, http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/06/06/v-print/3437567/immigrant-children-will-help-americas.html.
With the birth rate declining in most industrialized nations, there are often not enough young workers coming-up to take over the jobs as older workers retire. That happens when the birth rate falls below 2.1 children per female to sustain it. Generally, that slows the growth of the GDP.
Europe and Japan have a combined birth of 1,5. In the U.S., however, our birth rate is inflated due to the 2.9 birth rate or Hispanics, plus high rates among many migrating immigrants coming into the Country.
With the 25% of the birth rate coming from immigrants, America has a 3-to-1 worker-to-elderly ratio; however, without it, we would be comparable to that of Europe. Thus, according to Mr. McCabe, we can grow our own high-skilled workforce–and take advantage of this leg-up. So, how are we doing? Well, not too well.
There are those who begrudge immigrant children the opportunity to take classes in their native language, if available, and to gradually transition into English. But, hey let’s have them maintain that native language, since that country might be buying our exports someday–especially if they have too few workers. I know a girl from South Korea, who entered this country at age seven, speaking only Korean; but, she graduated as Valedictorian from High School, earned a couple of college degrees and became a successful corporate executive. This happens all the time!
We need to go out of our way to help our children–all of them–become our future. Don’t deport undocumented parents, without criminal records, who have been in this country–paying taxes. Don’t make citizen children of the undocumented pay out-of-state tuition. Enable them to have Food Stamps and PELL Grants for college. Keep families together. Don’t be penny-wise, and pound-foolish.
As the old song goes, “The Children are our Future: Treat them well…”