Professors Praise Trump Economic Growth, Criticize Immigration Policy

A law professor and an economics professor offered perspectives on the current state of immigration and the economy at the second installment of Emory’s “Trump Talk” series April 17.

In the three-part dialogue series, Emory professors share their thoughts on how President Donald J. Trump’s administration is handling issues such as religion, healthcare and racism.

The economy has performed well since Trump took office, according to Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Economics Paul Rubin. The professor pointed to an increase in stock values and labor force participation, in addition to decreased unemployment, and argued that the main reasons for economic growth are the deregulatory policies that the Trump administration has implemented. However, Rubin contended that the presidential administration must continue work on healthcare, banking and tax reform.

“I was in the Reagan administration [as an economist] in the beginning, and I think Trump is deregulating faster and more broadly,” Rubin said.

Professor of Law and Global Health Polly Price’s discussion focused on Trump’s immigration policies. In addition to the travel bans, Trump issued a Jan. 25 executive order that allowed the government to deport people illegally residing in the U.S. while limiting their opportunity to plead their case in court. The order has been overlooked by media and raises concerns about violating due process, Price said. Another executive order, also issued Jan. 25, expanded the power of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): Rather than prioritizing finding and deporting people who pose a threat to the country such as gang members or criminals, or people who recently entered the country illegally, ICE now considers all undocumented people a priority.

Price expressed her disappointment with Trump’s executive orders on immigration, and suggested that the administration should work to improve immigration courts and expand the number of judges rather than trying to deport more people.

“[If] the priorities that [ICE] had to abide by were keeping them from doing their jobs … it just makes me wonder who they work for,” Price said.

Rubin noted that the U.S. is experiencing a decrease in Mexican immigration, which poses adverse effects on markets for agriculture and construction.

The professor suggested that the Trump administration may try to convince American workers to take over some of the newly available construction jobs that were previously occupied by Mexican immigrants, and that technology may overhaul some less demanding agricultural jobs. However, Rubin said that there is no way to accurately predict the long-term economic effects of this decrease in Mexican immigration.

Brianna Casciello (17N) said she thought that Rubin held “narrow views” regarding immigration but that she appreciated the opportunity to hear two thorough — though pointed — perspectives.

The first talk occurred April 10 and featured Candler School of Theology Associate Professor Ellen Ott Marshall and Professor of Law Tim Holbrook. The final talk will occur April 24 and feature School of Nursing Dean Linda McCauley and Associate Professor of Political Science Andra Gillespie.

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