Things That Matter

Japan Is In Crisis Due To Super Low Immigration Thanks To Its Anti-Immigration Laws, Is This What Trump Wants For The US?

Immigration is key to healthy demographics in any country. The flow of people to and from a country generates cultural exchange, human connections, artistic creation and, yes, even huge amounts of money that makes economies healthier. If you stop migration altogether, or if your society is mono-racial even in these globalized times, you risk facing severe issues, just like Japan is experiencing today. The Japanese experience can work as a we-told-you-so tale of what shutting your borders brings for the future. 

Let’s get something straight: unless you are Native-American, you are a product of immigration.

Credit: Instagram. @nativeamericansoul

The United States is a multicultural mosaic product of various processes of voluntary and forced migration. The territory that is now the US has hosted flows of people from diverse European countries, first from Ireland and the United Kingdom, and then from places such as Italy, Germany, Greece and Poland. Millions of Africans were forcibly removed from their land and brought to America as slaves. Asian and Latin American migration has also provided an extra layer of cultural complexity and richness to the American social fabric. This rich past is what makes up the composition of the United States of America. So unless you come from the original owners of the land, you are also a product of migration, as is everyone in government including Donald J. Trump. Let’s learn from Japan, shall we?

So what is the deal with Japan? Easy, it’s population is shrinking! 

Credit: Instagram. @acchi_kocchi

No, not like in the classic 1980s movie Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. Rather, Japanese society is suffering from a simple and dire mathematical problem: there are not enough people being born to balance for the people who are dying. This might seem commendable and even ideal for people who argue that the world doesn’t need any more people, and that a society with less individuals would thrive. But it is not that simple…

Society remains largely conservative.

Credit: Instagram. @japan_related

Japanese women have made huge progress in recent decades and become part of the specialized workforce. In a highly hierarchical society, some women now hold positions of power in business and government. Many young women fear that having a baby will be a step backwards in their careers. As The Times reports, birthrates have a huge impact in the economy: “No single factor explains Japan’s waning position within the global economy, but its shrinking and ageing population lies at the core of its problems. The median age of a Japanese inhabitant is almost 47. This is nine years older than in the US and six years greater than in the UK. The Japanese birthrate is falling and the population has shrunk for ten years in a row”. So migration is the logical step to fix Japan’s demographics. 

There are no new workers to replace the old workers, so the economy is lagging.

Credit: Instagram. @louis_gan

As reported by The Washington Post, Japanese babies are not keeping up with the old. That means that people being born are not enough to make up for elders passing away. The sales for adult diapers are larger than those of baby nappies. This translates into a workforce that is ageing and is now insufficient. This results into a disaster in both personal and national levels. The elder abandon their houses and these remain unoccupied and just rot away. The Japanese even have a term for these casas abandonadas: Akiya. There are up to 8 million abandoned houses in Japan. Also, the state faces the huge economic burden to take care of the old while younger generations don’t want to have kids. 

Japan is traditionally shut to mass migration and has tough on immigration laws.

Credit: Instagram. @louis_gan

In other developed countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia mass migration makes up for gaps in the workforce. In the United States, for example, the brasero program originally brought thousands of Mexican laborers to the country’s fields.

In Australia, even though the country has very tough border policies that sometimes verge in the inhumane, the government has various programs of skilled migration. That is simply not the case in Japan. Authorities are getting tougher (sounds familiar?) as reported by China Daily Hong Kong Edition: “A record number of foreigners living in Japan were stripped of their residency status in 2018, data from the country’s Immigration Services Agency showed, even as Japan is widening its doors to foreign workers. The immigration agency said on Wednesday that it revoked visas of 832 people last year, more than doubled the figure of a year earlier. Almost 70 percent of them were students and technical trainees who failed to follow visa requirements”. These individuals were mainly Asians as well: Vietnamese, Chinese, Nepalese and Filipinos. 

An anti-immigration policy that needs to be changed for Japan to thrive?

Credit: Instagram. @ettyliu

The outlook for the country is so pessimistic that even conservative politicians are considering changing their approach to migration. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been facing pressure from the business sector, and is opening new avenues for foreign workers. However, as reported by The Washington Post, those efforts are limited because they simply don’t lend themselves to integration: “The government has begun making more work permits available to foreign workers, but makes little effort to help them integrate. Visa rules force most foreign workers to apply for extensions frequently and prevent them from bringing their families”. Can you imagine that? Yes, we surely can, that is the type of place that Trump policies could turn America into. 

One Day After A Texas Sheriff Called Undocumented Immigrants ‘Drunks,’ His Son Is Arrested For Public Intoxication

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One Day After A Texas Sheriff Called Undocumented Immigrants ‘Drunks,’ His Son Is Arrested For Public Intoxication

A Texas sheriff is eating his words after his bigotted comments came back to bite him in the worst way.

A day after Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn referred to undocumented immigrants as “drunks” who would “run over” children, his own son was reportedly arrested on charges of public intoxication. It has also been revealed that his son Sergei Waybourn has been arrested before. In 2018 he was charged with assault and in recent years he was arrested for trespassing and theft.

Sheriff Waybourn’s comments sparked controversy when he spoke against undocumented immigrants at a press conference in Washington.

Last Thursday, the sheriff spoke at the conference alongside Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Matthew Albence. Speaking in response to a ruling by a federal California judge made last month that imposed restrictions on ICE’s use of “detainers,” Waybourn underlined the consequences of releasing illegal immigrants with DWI and other crimes.

U.S. District Judge André Birotte Jr.’s decision barred ICE from using online database searches to find and detain people based. Recently, the ACLU stated that since 2008, 2 million US citizens have been illegally detained because of such searches.

Waybourn pointed to his charge of inmates to give examples of high rates of repeat offenders. “If we have to turn them loose or they get released, they’re coming back to your neighborhood and my neighborhood,” Waybourn said according to New York Post. “These drunks will run over your children, and they will run over my children.”

After his comments, the national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens called for Waybourn’s resignation.

According to Dallas Morning News, Domingo Garcia said Waybourn ought to “resign and apologize for his bigoted comments immediately.”

In response, Waybourne said his comments had been taken out of contexts and his office released a statement saying that “Sheriff Waybourn was not referring to all legal or illegal immigrants when making his comments about DWI/DWI repeat offenders. He was speaking toward the charges of DWI and DWI repeat offender in the context of illegal immigration.”

In response to the news of his son’s arrest, the sheriff said he is “deeply saddened by Sergei’s choices.”

According to WFAA, he said that “It has been many years since he disassociated from our family. We, along with many family members have made efforts over the years to help him – all to no avail. It is always sad when drugs take control of a person’s life. His choices and actions have lead to this situation.”

STD Rates In The US Are At Record Levels And Many Blame Trump’s Policies Targeting Clinics Like Planned Parenthood

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STD Rates In The US Are At Record Levels And Many Blame Trump’s Policies Targeting Clinics Like Planned Parenthood

Pixabay

For years, we’ve been hearing that Millenials and Gen Z are having less sex with fewer partners than previous generations. They’re also waiting until older than previous generations. However, despite those facts, America’s STD rates are spiraling out of control.

But the numbers are clear: With nearly 2.3 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis diagnosed in 2017, rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are at an all-time high in the U.S., according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

A new report from the CDC shows just how extreme the increase in STIs really is.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released an annual report revealing that the number of combined reported cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia reached a record high last year. Titled “Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report”, the report noted that in 2018, there were more than 2.4 million syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia infections combined — an increase of more than 100,000 from the previous year.

There was also a 71 percent increase in syphilis cases since 2014, along with a 22 percent increase from 2017 in the number of newborn deaths related to congenital syphilis.

What’s harder to pinpoint, however, is the reason behind those soaring statistics.

On paper, it seems like STD rates should be dropping. Condom use is up. Teenagers and millennials are having less sex with fewer partners than generations past. Stigmas around sexuality and sexual health are beginning to break down. And yet, for four consecutive years, STD rates have broken records. Why?

The problem is complicated, says Dr. Bradley Stoner, medical director of the St. Louis STD/HIV Prevention Training Center at Washington University in St. Louis. But a good portion of it, he says, can be traced back to lackluster funding for federal resources like the CDC, which has seen its budget for STD prevention sit stagnant for almost two decades. Increasing federal funding, he says, could allow organizations like the CDC to hire more people focused on STD prevention, increase public health education campaigns and make testing and treatment resources more accessible.

Without adequate resources, however, the STD prevention community doesn’t have the manpower to take steps that could really work — things like building out systems and procedures for contacting and screening the partners of people who are diagnosed with infections, who may be carrying and spreading STDs without knowing it. Many STDs are asymptomatic, often making it difficult to know if you have one.

The nationwide closure of publicly funded STD clinics hasn’t helped matters, either

While the CDC did not explicitly state it, STI testing is becoming harder to come by for vulnerable populations because free test clinics — including some Planned Parenthood clinics — are being defunded by Trump administration policies. Ironically, the Trump administration’s pro-life policies have put newborn babies at a higher risk for death. Indeed, the Trump administration’s policy decision to cut off Title X funding to health care centers that provide abortion care is resulting in the closing of clinics that don’t offer abortion services, but do offer STD testing.

“While we’ve been battling sky-high STI rates, [Republican] politicians…have spent years relentlessly working to chip away at Ohioans’ reproductive health care,” Kersha Deibel, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region, told Vice in September. “This is the world they want to see: one where women lose access to birth control, where information about how to access abortion is held hostage, and where, if you don’t have money, it’s almost impossible to access an STI test or a cancer screening.”

According to the CDC report, defunding public programs is merely one part of a larger problem.

The Center said data suggests there are multiple issues at play: reduced access to STD prevention due to drug use, poverty, and stigma; decreased condom use among gay and bisexual men; and cuts to STD programs at the state and local levels.

“In recent years, more than half of local programs have experienced budget cuts, resulting in clinic closures, reduced screening, staff loss, and reduced patient follow-up and linkage to care services,” the CDC said.

What’s even more wild, is that in 2000 syphilis was nearly eradicated from the US.

Since the recession, some programs were cut because STDs weren’t seen as such a threat, but many of the cut programs didn’t have their funding restored post-recession. Compounded with newfound resources flooding other initiatives, like the Trump administration’s federal budget supporting abstinence-only programs, STD prevention programs have few resources now. According to the National Coalition of STD Directors, more than half of local STD programs have experienced budget cuts.

Yet when reports like this one from the CDC are published, while it is meant to raise awareness, it can often perpetuate the stigma around sexual health and STDs.

Jenelle Marie Pierce, Executive Director of TheSTDProject.com and Spokesperson for PositiveSingles.com, told Salon in an email that “using language like ‘skyrocketing,’ ‘devastating,’ and ‘astronomical,’ for example, is fear-mongering, and it only serves to further stigmatize STIs by extrapolating one component of a giant report without including thoughtful analysis, supportive resources, or content that moves the conversation around STIs forward.”