June 17, 2024

West Virginia is right to not promote foreign immigration to solve state’s ‘dilemmas’

Paul Kiernan has an article in the Wall Street Journal about West Virginia. Why is the state against mass immigration?

Well, we know the WSJ has long championed mass immigration, and this piece gives us an idea of how mass immigration boosters think and the arguments they make.

The title of the article is, “Desperate for Workers but Dead Set Against Migrant Labor: The West Virginia Dilemma.”

The original article is here but you can read the whole thing for free here.

Here’s how Kiernan explains West Virginia’s so-called “dilemma”:

West Virginia shares a demographic dilemma afflicting many parts of the country: an aging population and unfilled jobs. Decades of migration out of Appalachia have left West Virginia older, less educated and less able to work than other parts of the U.S. Its labor-force participation rate—the share of the 16-and-older population either working or looking for work—was 55.2% in March, the second-lowest in the country.

Some other states, including Maine, Indiana and Utah, have sought immigrants to shore up their workforces. But while West Virginia represents one extreme in its labor needs, it represents another in its resistance to immigration.

Why is the solution always mass immigration?

Why doesn’t the article suggest other solutions, such as investment, education or vocational training to keep young West Virginians in the state, rather than bringing in foreigners?

An aging population is not the end of the world, especially with new technology. Japan, for example, develops robots to help care for the elderly.

The article says only 55.2% of the state’s population is working or looking for work. How about mobilizing part of the other 45% and encouraging them to work?

The WSJ is puzzled that West Virginia is fighting illegal immigration:

“Sanctuary cities” have been banned in the state.

The state’s National Guard has been deployed to the Texas-Mexico border.

Bills in the legislature have been introduced to make businesses screen potential workers to make sure they’re legal, to “punish companies for transporting migrants who are deportable under U.S. law,” to give the state authority to remove “inspected unauthorized aliens” (who entered illegally but the federal government allows to work) and to give Texas money for fencing on its border with Mexico.

Moore Capito, running for governor, ran a TV ad in which “he blocks a van of migrants from entering the state.”

The WSJ’s response?

There is little evidence that many recent immigrants—either those who entered the country legally or those who didn’t—have had any inclination to go to West Virginia, the only state with fewer residents than it had in 1940. The portion of its population that is foreign-born is 1.8%, the lowest of any state.

Don’t worry, the state has a cheap labor lobby wanting to change that.

Steve Roberts, president of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, says that “We should avoid sending messages, either overtly or through our actions, that this is not a good place to come if you’re willing to work.” Roberts says manual laborers are needed to “do the work that some of us have just gotten too old to do.”

So work to keep young people in the state!

Local historians said the state has long been wary of outsiders, not just from other countries but from other states. “West Virginians don’t want immigration—of any kind,” said Stephen Smoot, editor of the Pendleton Times newspaper. There is even antipathy toward “come-heres” from nearby metropolitan areas who move in and look down their noses at locals, Smoot said.

Well, what do you expect?

“There’s a quality of life that comes from living in a sparsely populated area,” said Smoot. “You don’t have the irritations of constant human contact.”

Yes, some people like to live in sparsely-populated areas. They don’t want urban sprawl everywhere.

The state of West Virginia is famous for its scenery and outdoor recreational activities, which are also sources of income.

West Virginia is right to not promote foreign immigration into the state.

Instead, they can work on solving the state’s problems with the currently-existing population.

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