By Neil Irwin and Emily Badger, The New York Times

President Trump has adopted a blunt new message in recent days for migrants seeking refuge in the United States: “Our country is full.”

To the degree the president is addressing something broader than the recent strains on the asylum-seeking process, the line suggests the nation can’t accommodate higher immigration levels because it is already bursting at the seams. But it runs counter to the consensus among demographers and economists.

They see ample evidence of a country that is not remotely “full” — but one where an aging population and declining birthrates among the native-born population are creating underpopulated cities and towns, vacant housing and troubled public finances.

Local officials in many of those places view a shrinking population and work force as an existential problem with few obvious solutions.

“I believe our biggest threat is our declining labor force,” said Gov. Phil Scott of Vermont, a Republican, in his annual budget address this year. “It’s the root of every problem we face.

“This makes it incredibly difficult for businesses to recruit new employees and expand, harder for communities to grow and leaves fewer of us to cover the cost of state government.”

Read more here.

Map: Jim Irwin, Creative Commons.

Trump Says the U.S. Is ‘Full.’ Much of the Nation Has the Opposite Problem