In 10 short years, the United States will have more people older than 65 than those under 18. We will join Japan, Italy, Singapore and South Korea facing a weakened workforce, too few citizens to support their safety net for children and the elderly, and shuttered schools.

Ours will not be as challenging a crisis as the above countries because we have historically offset our low birth rate with replenishing immigration. However, the stalemate in reaching immigration reform in our partisan Congress puts us in a dangerous place.

For the last seven years, Republicans and the media have directed their attention to the Mexican border. In the process, they have shut down all conversations concerning the need for general immigration reform critical to our economy and the country’s well-being. We need more immigrants, not fewer.

The U.S. population has grown for years. That growth is not because our birth rate sustains our population. Our birth rate has steadily declined and is lower than in any other year since 1983. Our current birth rate of 1.60 is significantly below the replacement rate of 2.2. “A low-birth-rate asteroid” is racing our way.

Unless we attend to our immigration policies, we will face the same social and economic havoc that countries with an aging workforce and low birth rates face. Our good fortune of being one of the most highly sought immigration destinations in the world is wasted unless we pay attention to this food that has so bountifully fed us in the past.

While the U.S. dawdles, other countries are stepping into the breach to resolve the demographic crunch in their countries. Canada is a prime example.

Canada is one of the most diverse countries in the world, with 22.3 percent of the country considered immigrants. By contrast, the immigrant population in the United States is 13.6 percent, about the same as a century ago. Canada, the second most popular destination after the United States, is expanding. We are not. The Canadian government perceives further immigration as necessary to combat its shrinking labor population.

According to immigration targets from the Canadian government, “Canada aims to welcome 465,000 immigrants in 2023, 485,000 newcomers in 2024, and a milestone 500,000 new Canadian permanent residents in 2025.”

Canada is not the only county aggressively seeking new immigrants while we turn them away. Germany, too, is seeking new immigrants, especially those who fill the country’s workforce needs. Research by the German Institute for Economic Research showed that “Germany experienced an economic boom and an inflow of labor,” following its immigration policies.

Frankfurt, Germany, stands out as a city with the most immigrants and is seeking more focus on software developers, programmers, architects, IT consultants, nurses and teachers. While other members of the European Union resisted absorbing immigrants from northern Africa, Germany welcomed them. Then it required massive numbers to learn the German language and engage in education programs specifically directed to fill needs in faltering occupations.

While it may be true that our national unemployment rate currently hovers around 3.5 percent, the number hides occupations that face critical needs, such as farm workers, doctors, nurses, teachers and caretakers, to name a few deficits significantly pronounced in rural areas.

While immigration at our Southern border needs attention, we are remiss in not attending to the broader immigration problem looming soon. We are missing an opportunity other countries are addressing, leaving us in the dust.