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An Open letter on Immigration
Posted by: Jon Henke on Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution has posted an "open letter on immigration reflecting the consensus opinion of economists on the major issues". It has been signed by a wide variety of economists, left and right, with the goal of ensuring that, whatever your arguments about immigration, one should make informed arguments.

This letter represents the economic consensus...(I've bolded the important facts)

Divider


Dear President George W. Bush and All Members of Congress:

People from around the world are drawn to America for its promise of freedom and opportunity. That promise has been fulfilled for the tens of millions of immigrants who came here in the twentieth century.

Throughout our history as an immigrant nation, those who are already here worry about the impact of newcomers. Yet, over time, immigrants have become part of a richer America, richer both economically and culturally. The current debate over immigration is a healthy part of a democratic society, but as economists and other social scientists we are concerned that some of the fundamental economics of immigration are too often obscured by misguided commentary.

Overall, immigration has been a net gain for existing American citizens, though a modest one in proportion to the size of our 13 trillion-dollar economy.

Immigrants do not take American jobs. The American economy can create as many jobs as there are workers willing to work so long as labor markets remain free, flexible and open to all workers on an equal basis.

Immigration in recent decades of low-skilled workers may have lowered the wages of domestic low-skilled workers, but the effect is likely to be small, with estimates of wage reductions for high-school dropouts ranging from eight percent to as little as zero percent.

While a small percentage of native-born Americans may be harmed by immigration, vastly more Americans benefit from the contributions that immigrants make to our economy, including lower consumer prices. As with trade in goods and services, the gains from immigration outweigh the losses. The effect of all immigration on low-skilled workers is very likely positive as many immigrants bring skills, capital and entrepreneurship to the American economy.

Legitimate concerns about the impact of immigration on the poorest Americans should not be addressed by penalizing even poorer immigrants. Instead, we should promote policies, such as improving our education system that enables Americans to be more productive with high-wage skills.

We must not forget that the gains to immigrants from coming to the United States are immense. Immigration is the greatest anti-poverty program ever devised. The American dream is a reality for many immigrants who not only increase their own living standards but who also send billions of dollars of their money back to their families in their home countries—a form of truly effective foreign aid..

America is a generous and open country and these qualities make America a beacon to the world. We should not let exaggerated fears dim that beacon.

Divider


As Thomas Knapp wrote, "stupid economic beliefs do not, strictly speaking, constitute a "homeland security" matter". Arguing that we ought to streamline the immigration process is one thing, but the restrictionists who argue that we need to go farther and keep people out of the United States are going much farther and advocating actual economic harm.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
Excellent post, Jon. Some of the sheerly ignorant — and too frequently, truly hateful — ranting I’ve seen in the last several weeks about immigrants and immigration has been quite alarming. Yes, we need an orderly process, and it is also always a bad idea to have laws on the books that are unenforced, not to mention unenforceable sans police state.

To meet the irrational hue and cry that SOMETHING MUST BE DONE, we are going to build a few hundred feet of fence along the southern border, and deploy 6,000 National Guard troops (who aren’t trained for this mission, and who, by all reports, are otherwise occupied) for a few months. It will all be expensive, and ineffectual as all hell.



 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
Excellent post, Jon. Some of the sheerly ignorant — and too frequently, truly hateful — ranting I’ve seen in the last several weeks about immigrants and immigration has been quite alarming
What has been worse, however, is that those who have legitimate concerns about illegal immigration have been labeled as racist. There is as much hate coming from supporters of illegal immigrants as from their opponents. Indeed, in many cases more so.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
This is utter drivel. He conflates our legal immigration system with our illegal
immigration problem. Yes legal immigrants are a benefit to our society, because they are usually from countries like India and China and have high education levels and good jobs waitng for them. There can absolutely be no net benefit from
massive illegal immigration from Mexico and Latin America. These people are desperatly poor, poorly educated and have low skill levels. The only jobs they are likely to get are low wage jobs. Also many work off the books and pay little to no taxes. Sure they may pay sales taxes, but they make far more use of public services than they could every make up for. They have put a strain on our health care system, educational system and penal system. In some counties in California and the Southwest hospitals have had to close because of the unfunded mandates of having to care for them regardless of their status and lack of medical insurance. Also their native born children give them access to services that are afforded native born Americans. They also send back to Mexico remitances to the tune of 18-20 billion dollars, that might not sound like a lot in an economy that is 11 trillion dollars strong, but that could be the difference between not having to close a hospital or funding other things such as school construction or public works. Also illegal immigrants make up about a third of our prison population. In LA county alone 80% of the outstanding warrents for rape, robbery and murder are for illegal immigrants. I guess their also commiting the crimes Americans won’t do.
 
Written By: Radical Centrist
URL: http://
When you guys can stop pretending these people are simply immigrants, and not illegal entrants into the United States the arguments will be on par.

Right now we ’sheerly ignorant’ citizens are interested in the law being followed, not stopping people from immigrating, legally, to the US.

But, but all means, continue to frame the argument in your favor and ignore the chief issue, which is not the immigration itself, but the manner in which it is accomplished.

Your desire to ignore the laws you don’t like, but to practice, and probably insist on enforcement, for the ones you do, is surely interesting.

We still aren’t discussing what happens if our economy tanks. Given that if ours goes, it’s almost certain to effect the world, do you think for a moment Mexico, as one example, is going to welcome home 4 million ’immigrants’ who we can’t employ?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
do immigrants read open letters?
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
And enough of this crap about how America is a country of immigrants. Every country is a country of immigrants. I know of no instances of a counrty being
formed by people sprouting out of the ground. We have also had long stretches were
we had very little immigration. Now we are experiencing out of control immigratiom. What is going on now is out of control. People living along the border are having to live in fear as swarms of people tread through their
backyards and land. And drugs are pooring in from the southern border, I wonder if the super genius economists factored that into their equations.
 
Written By: Radical Centrist
URL: http://
What has been worse, however, is that those who have legitimate concerns about illegal immigration have been labeled as racist.
Perhaps you’ll remember how that feels next time. Earlier today, I read some lefty who pointed out that not all righties were racist; some of them were merely greedy plutocrats. So kind of him to say.
This is utter drivel. He conflates our legal immigration system with our illegal immigration problem.
No, he doesn’t. In fact, he specifically discusses the low wage, unskilled workers to which you refer and he did not refer to tax revenues at all.

The economic results of immigration to which he refers are essentially the same, regardless of how they come over. Aggregate output and demand do not depend on a legal document.

This is nothing more than nativist protectionism. It’s stupid when Lou Dobbs does it, and it’s no better when it’s done by people who should know better.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Legitimate concerns about the impact of immigration on the poorest Americans should not be addressed by penalizing even poorer immigrants. Instead, we should promote policies, such as improving our education system that enables Americans to be more productive with high-wage skills.
This is pure fantasy. There will always be a permanent underclass in American society. There will always be high school dropouts. There will always be persons incapable of advancing beyond the high school level, for many reasons. (Many aren’t equipped emotionally, or intellectually, to advance.) There just will be. Why in the world make their situation worse by injecting millions of other unskllied workers into the mix? It doesn’t make any sense at all. Bringing low-skilled labor into this country hurts poor people. And the idea that we are going to get rid of poor people through "policies" is elitist nonsense.
We must not forget that the gains to immigrants from coming to the United States are immense. Immigration is the greatest anti-poverty program ever devised.
Wrong again. Take illegal Mexican immigration. The reason Mexicans come here illegally is because the Mexican ecnonomy is horrible and the government is corrupt. Mexico needs is radical reform. The reason why reform doesn’t happen is that the forces who would otherwise be involved in demanding and bringing about reform head north instead. Imagine that instead of coming to the United States, those energetic and entreprenuerial illegal immigrants stayed in Mexico and demanded change in the Mexican system. There would be a revolution.

From today’s WaPo:
MEXICO CITY — Police enraged by the kidnapping of six officers club unarmed detainees. A bloody battle between steelworkers and police leaves two miners dead. Drug lords post the heads of decapitated police on a fence to show who’s in charge.

Less than two months before Mexicans elect their next president, many fear the country is teetering on the edge of chaos _ a perception that could hurt the ruling National Action Party’s chances of keeping the presidency and benefit Mexico’s once-powerful Institutional Revolutionary Party, whose candidate has been trailing badly.

Some blame President Vicente Fox for a weak government. Others say rivals are instigating the violence to create that impression, hoping to hurt National Action candidate Felipe Calderon, who has a slight lead in recent polls.

A poll published Friday in Excelsior newspaper found 50 percent of respondents feared the government was on the brink of losing control. The polling company Parametria conducted face-to-face interviews at 1,000 homes across Mexico. The poll had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

The conflicts are "a warning sign," said Yamel Nares, Parametria’s research director.

Security is the top concern for Mexicans, and Fox has struggled to reform Mexico’s notoriously corrupt police. Meanwhile, drug-related bloodshed has accelerated, with some cities seeing killings almost daily.
Who benefits most from illegal immigration from Mexico? Those who feed on corruption in Mexico.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
I’ve got a better idea - why don’t all you Europeans, Africans, Asians, Middle Easterners, Latinos, etc. go back to where you all came from?
 
Written By: Pete Jensen
URL: http://
Perhaps you’ll remember how that feels next time. Earlier today, I read some lefty who pointed out that not all righties were racist; some of them were merely greedy plutocrats. So kind of him to say.
And perhaps next time righties will actually give a sh** about the poor. Funny, but they only time those on the right actually care about the poor is when they invoke the name of the poor in their opposition to illegal immigration. The rest of the time they couldn’t care less.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
And have look at this link.

http://www.cis.org/articles/2004/fiscalrelease.html

Net benefit my arse!!!!!

Hey, if you guys want to make a pitch for illegal immigration on a humanitarian basis thats fine, just come out and say it. But dare try to argue that they are a net benefit because they are not!!!!
 
Written By: Radical Centrist
URL: http://
I don’t think requesting that the laws be followed is an indication of protectionism Jon. Apply that logic to other laws and see how foolish it sounds.

for example -

I’d personally be much more economically successful if I could walk into my local bank and demand today’s cash deposits at gunpoint. However, darn those bank managers! They take a protectionist attitude about other peoples money and contact the police deparment to apprehend me for breaking the law! It’s not even their money, and yet they have me arrested!

Laws mean something, and are not to be ignored simply because at the moment they encourage a positive economic construct.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Ands the open letter is just bold assertions with no supporting data.
 
Written By: Radical Centrist
URL: http://
However, it does make for interesting conversation.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
And don’t forget how an illegal immigrant from latin america helped two of the
9/11 hijackers obtain forged documents that allowed them to carry out their murdurous plan. You remember 9/11 don’t you, that single event helped rip hundred of billions of dollars from our economy. I wonder if the super-genius economist factored that into his ridiculous analysis?
 
Written By: Radical Centrist
URL: http://
This is pure fantasy.
You’re probably going to be unmoved by those right wing economists, so take up your objections with Brad DeLong, et al. He signed it, too.
And perhaps next time righties will actually give a sh** about the poor.
Who, specifically, do you imagine you’re accusing of not caring about the poor? And why do you conflate "willing to spend other people’s money" with "cares about poor people"? Is compassion only real to you when it comes from the government?
And have look at this link.
http://www.cis.org/articles/2004/fiscalrelease.html
Net benefit my arse!!!!!
Do you require smaller words? Nobody said anything about "net benefit" to tax revenues. I specifically mentioned that in my previous comment. Please distinguish between "tax revenue" and "economic benefit".
Ands the open letter is just bold assertions with no supporting data.
The supporting data is decades worth of academic research. This is a letter signed by economists — experts — testifying to the consensus as to the results of all that academic research.

Now, I realize that "consensus" does not equal "proof", but when even economists can agree on a few basic points, one might start to wonder if, perhaps, there’s some factual basis behind that. You know, maybe they’re called "experts" for a reason.

I’ve also written that evolution is the best available theory without actually presenting all of the research that led to that conclusion, but "nuh-uh, they didn’t show their work!" is not a convincing reply to that, either.
I don’t think requesting that the laws be followed is an indication of protectionism Jon. Apply that logic to other laws and see how foolish it sounds.
This is a potential infinite regress problem. Should we enforce our laws? Yes! But what if the laws are bad? Then, no! The matter under discussion is less "should we enforce the law", and more "what should the law be" and "what are the facts that inform this discussion about the law".
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
John Henke:

Where is their supporting data? Their is no link on their site! Their just super-genius economist and I should just bow to their superior minds.

Where do they live, we should put day laborer centers in front of their houses and see how they see they regard the magnifecent migrants then.

uh, tax revenues are part of economic benefits. And their overall drain on our society offset any sort of economic benefit they may contribute. The only people
who benefit are coorporations that fatten their bottom lines. Sure I may pay a little less for a head of lettuce or having my lawn cared for, but I take it up the wazoo in taxes to pay for people who should not be here taking benefits they have no right to.
 
Written By: Radical Centrist
URL: http://
We righties do give a sh** about the poor, we just don’t give a sh** about the way lefties think they can fix it. Taking money from people and dumping into another welfare ponzi scheme, based upon some fantasy that if you just give people the correct resources, they will do the right thing?
Sorry. Don’t buy it anymore. Know why? Because they don’t do the right thing.
I’ve taught high school for 11 years in a poor rural Kentucky County. I deal with how well these wonderful welfare schemes work every day. I don’t want to hear it anymore. As for illegal immigration, we have as much right to be a country, protect our borders, and control the flow of people into our system as anyone in North, Central and South America. If we don’t have a right to enforce an orderly and legal immigration system for our nation, than neither does Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Panama, or any other nation. All have their beginnings rooted in European nations, and none have any more right to tell us what to do about immigration than we do them. I completely support legal and orderly immigration. As for illegal immigrants, if they don’t have to obey the law, then why should we.
 
Written By: Autot
URL: http://
For those who seem to believe that the Open Letter contains no links or supporting data, they must have missed the sentence declaring that for references and sources one should go here. Do so, scroll down just a tad, and find 15-20 scholarly articles examining the various issues raised in the Letter.

It is not possible to share a very long border with a desperately poor nation, and stop millions from coming here for work and a better life for their families. No laws, and no enforcement that falls short of a police state, can pevent it as long as there are jobs here. Any sufficiently rational and enterprising person in the same shoes as many of these immigrants, would do the same thing, even if it makes them a "criminal." (Some damn odd "crime," that, wanting to work in a free and prosperous nation and feed one’s family. Right on par with sodomizing toddlers.)


Refusal to face the reality that many of these poor people work their asses off, and that many American employers are happy to have them, is very frequently based in nativism, xenophobia and/or racism. I’ve seen it all over the Internet since this issue exploded onto the political scene in the last several weeks. People do not simply care about defending the rule of law; very many also think they are defending our "culture" from the miserable hordes. People do not become this agitated and rage-filled over a detached wish to uphold the mere rule of law.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
Mona:

The abstracts a free, but the actual reports are $5 dollars. So no there are no links to any research that I can readily read.
 
Written By: Radical Centrist
URL: http://
Mona,

I think you forget there are other ways than laws and police to achieve policies:

With a big enough ’barrier to entry’, illegal immigration could become less attractive, and if coupled with easier legal immigration, then the carrot/stick mix could theoretically stem illegal immigration.

However, at the end of the day, you might be correct. Might as well argue about stopping hurricanes or passing laws to make China go away.

 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Radical Centrist — I don’t know which you link you clicked, but the one I did brought up a 66 page pdf document. Not an abstract.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
Mona:

If you would be so kind as to provide the link, I will follow it, and read any
informastion contained within.
 
Written By: Radical Centrist
URL: http://
Radical Centrist, I honestly don’t recall which link it was. My computer doesn’t "like" pdf documents. And so as soon as it stopped loading and would let me, I exited. (pdf docs tend to make me freeze and have to reboot, so I only read them when I REALLY want to access something.)

This is a decade old, but is still one of the best non-academic articles I’ve read on the immigration issue:

No Fruits, No Shirts, No Service - The real-world consequences of closed borders


 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
Ah yes, the ’they’re hard working’ argument.
Given that you aren’t screening anyone at this point Mona, there is absolutely no reason to believe that some significant percentage does not equate to a ’mafia’ that is here specifically to take advantage of their dis-advantaged fellow illegal immigrants.
Nor is there any reason to believe we have not received our share of thieves, rapists, robbers, etc, all, again, moving in like wolves along with the sheep, specifically because the sheep cannot be protected. Because to request help from the shepard identifies them as sheep from someone else’s flock who don’t belong here. Surely you don’t think that element isn’t here.

The logical twists that you are willing to undergo, and Jon as well, to forgive a crime (but the law is bad!!!!!) are alternately amusing, and disturbing.
But to attempt to discredit anyone who is pointing out ’it’s a crime’ by saying we’re making the claim they are akin to child predators is a bit much.

I’d say they’re more akin to kids ripping stuff off from a 7 Eleven. It’s not a tremendous crime, it, arguably, doesn’t really hurt ’much’, maybe it increases 7-Eleven’s revenues because maybe the police buying coffee and donuts at the 7-Eleven when they come for the crime report offsets and compensates for the loss (not to mention the write offs for stolen goods!). However, it’s not something I want to encourage. Frankly the long term ramifications of a massive influx from a country where corruption is rampant from the highest (Vincent Fox’s children, as one example) to the lowest level can’t be productive or wise. Do you want to institutionalize that here as well?
Or am I imagining that when I’m told by Mexicans themselves it’s the norm?

And where’s the fair play? Is that toast? What about the people who apply to come here, fill out the forms, wait for the quota to clear. Ah, yes, I guess they probably have ’money’ eh, so they’re need isn’t as great, their wants and desires are less important, their hope to improve their lives doesn’t count as much as someone who ’has a family’ and is willing to break the law. Willingness to break the law is what makes Mexico what it is....by all means, let’s start doing it here too because after all, they’re hard working.

For the moment, Jon’s desire to see it made a non-crime not withstanding, it is, in fact a crime. I’m glad to see the primary defense is still an appeal to our better natures, that these are hard working people, trying to feed, yadda yadda yadda. The fact that it’s difficult, and even unpleasant to enforce the law doesn’t make it a non-crime.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Mona:

The article is a pretty weak indorsement for continuing to allow massive unchecked
immigration into the country. If I have to pay a little more for goods and services so be it. It would result in me having to pay less in taxes for goods and service. And who knew that the most important thing to America was the constant flow of cheap exploitable labor. It is not the responsability of the US to feed, clothe, employ, educate, heal and incarcerate the surplus population of Mexico.
The people marching in our streets demanding rights, should instead be demanding their home country, Mexico, reform. Mexico is a country rich in resources, and people, who are hard working, but because of the utter corruption of their government, they have no hope.
 
Written By: Radical Centrist
URL: http://
No Fruits, No Shirts, No Service - the real world consequences of closed borders.
Who here is advocating closed borders?

Control of the borders doesn’t mean "closed borders". It means precisely what it says ... controlled.

For all those who like to argue the economics only, let’s not forget that two things changed the "age old cycle of migration" which many like to claim has worked so well up until now: Terrorists and the availability of WMDs. It’s no longer just about economics.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
Frankly, I don’t give a horses patoot that "...gains to immigrants from coming to the United States are immense...". My priority is American citizens first. And before I am called a rascist, I would like to point out that "While a small percentage of native-born Americans may be harmed..." certainly doesn’t show much compassion for the poor and unskilled Americans, disproportionately black, who are the ones harmed. But they are poor and uneducated, and therefore not worthy of our concern.
Do these emminent economists also calculate which groups would benefit and which would be harmed by decreasing immigration?

As for "Immigrants do not take American jobs", that is misleading, if not downright bs. I know at least one person who has lost work to immigrants. That may be anecdotal, but it is still a reality. And even if jobs are not taken, the wages for those jobs are driven down. Or don’t these economists believe in supply and demand?
One point they didn’t address; what happens to those economic benefits of immigration when the next recession hits?

Assuming, for the sake of argument, that these economists are correct in their assertion of an economic benefit, so what?
As Dale pointed out in another article, economics is not the only reason to control immigration. And I would like to add public health to the list.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Consensus?

Sounds like a consensus of people who believe the US should play economic lifeboat to the world. If that sounds economically sound to you, I can’t help you.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
The logical twists that you are willing to undergo, and Jon as well, to forgive a crime (but the law is bad!!!!!) are alternately amusing, and disturbing.
I think we should (1) change the law and (2) not change it in a direction of further restrictionism that will create even more disastrous, counterproductive immigration problems. The best way to solve the economic, cultural and security problems is fewer barriers, rather than more. "We’ll let you in through these points" will allow immigrants to self-segregate and make it far easier for us to find the bad guys.
For all those who like to argue the economics only, let’s not forget that two things changed the "age old cycle of migration" which many like to claim has worked so well up until now: Terrorists and the availability of WMDs. It’s no longer just about economics.
Agreed. (with the caveat that every choice is economic) However, I believe that, much like the war on drugs, extensive restrictionism makes the problems worse, rather than better. There are better ways to cope with security problems — policies that preserve liberty without attacking the million+ peaceful migrants in order to stop the potential single terrorist. That’s like using a MOAB to get rid of a mouse. It’s inefficient, expensive and not particularly conducive to liberty.
As for "Immigrants do not take American jobs", that is misleading, if not downright bs. I know at least one person who has lost work to immigrants.
They’re referring to the aggregate, not the anecdotal. The entry of women into the workplace has also "taken American jobs", since, after all, at least some men have lost their jobs in favor of women. In the aggregate, however, the entry of women into the labor force has increased the total pool of jobs, so it’s not a net cost.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
"We’ll let you in through these points" will allow immigrants to self-segregate and make it far easier for us to find the bad guys.
The only way to make We’ll let you in through these points possible is to make it difficult to impossible for people to enter the way they are now.

This is insane. Perhaps you’ve found a magic way to control the flow of water in your house which does not require pipes and valves which, in turn, has given you these unusual ideas of flow control.

 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Mark, if we’re willing to let them in at certain places, then what’s the incentive to make brutal desert crossings?

If the only way to get into the Acme Cool Stuff store was broken windows, underground passages and coyote smuggling, then there would be a substantial amount of windows broken, passages dug and smuggling rings established. Open up a door, though, and why would we need to sneak in?
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
I’m not arguing we keep them all out. This is rather like the anecdote of GB Shaw. To paraphrase, we know what they are, we’re merely negotiating the numbers. And the mechanism too.

Someone else brought up a point that is being underplayed, the harm done to current citizens in regards to job loss. What’s this about? Are we in ’screw them’ mode because the rest of us benefit, because it’s economically viable to import under the table labor? What about their families? What about how hard working they are? What about the fact that they’re legally working and can’t afford to take a lower wage to compete with the hard working illegals.
And what about when these 10 million plus wanderers are made legal?
The cost of employing them is going to go up. It has to. It’s going to be mandated that they receive minimum wage right? Their net income may go down, right? They’re going to be paying Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid,(and their employers are going to be responsible for matching those payments).
It looks to me like the advantage of keeping them suddenly diminishes, they can no longer send money home to their families.

And since we haven’t closed the border under your scheme - don’t you suppose that another 10 million will wander in to take those low paying jobs that these new ’Americans’ won’t take, and from employers who don’t want to pay them properly and have to match their tax payments (benefits, etc)

It’s very sporting of a collection of probably well paid, well heeled, economists to consign poor citizens (Americans) to the lower rung because they favor letting people who aren’t even on the ladder jump on.
Rather socialist though, to assume we ought to provide space for all the people who we really don’t have any responsibility for (the humanity! ahhhhhh!!!!!!) from every economic hell hole in the world.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
"Refusal to face the reality that many of these poor people work their asses off, and that many American employers are happy to have them,..."

Who denies that they work hard and employers like them?

"They’re referring to the aggregate, not the anecdotal"

No kidding! I was referring to anecdotal, which is not synonomous with irrelevant or nonexistent. My point, perhaps badly expressed, being that emphasizing only the net benefit(which I dispute) seems to imply that any harm done is fictional or irrelevant and not worthy of further examination or consideration.

"The entry of women into the workplace has also "taken American jobs...",

Maybe, but they were jobs that American men didn’t want to do.

"The cost of employing them is going to go up. It has to. It’s going to be mandated that they receive minimum wage right..."

Good point, but I would add that there are few, if any, jobs that pay only minimum wage. Day laborers in Arlington, Va., e.g., make $14/hr or more. Of course since these would be jobs in the underground economy, any evidence would be anecdotal.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
My point, perhaps badly expressed, being that emphasizing only the net benefit(which I dispute) seems to imply that any harm done is fictional or irrelevant and not worthy of further examination or consideration.
You’ve misunderstood the point being made in the letter and tried to counter it by arguing that some individuals have lost jobs. That’s no more relevant to the overall economic benefit than the same argument is to the overall economic benefit of NAFTA. (or of free trade in general) Some peopl lose jobs — but some people will always lose jobs in a dynamic economy. The net effect is more jobs, though.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.qando.net/
The problem with this whole study is that "economic benefits" isn’t an overall benefit, it’s cheap labor for cheap bastards, who are pocketing the difference. And how do you quantify the benefit of an illegal population when you can’t even get a grasp on the numbers? How many? 6 million? 8 million? 11 Million? 15 million? 20 million? these numbers vary, and they are not insignificant variants.

I deal with legals and illegals all the time. Well educated and successful people do not leave their home country. The ones who leave legally are the ones who have skills, but no market for them - or at least have lost in the market back home, and are seeking more opportunity in a larger market. Illegals? For the most part under or uneducated people who have no skills for where they live, and find things little different here. They are disproportionately represented among the criminal element, and often require charity to survive. In addition, when they do get employed the jobs they take are the entry level jobs that high school graduates typically take.

These people aren’t taking away the computer engineer jobs - but they are the ones unloading the computers from the trucks; so it’s real easy for us skilled folks to pish-tosh the notion they take away american jobs, because it isn’t our jobs they are taking. Dismiss if you will the largely blue collar opposition to illegals - if I walked in to a place and heard "Not taking applications now" and also heard spanish and salsa music coming from the shop floor, I’d be resentful too.

The problem with classic libertarian arguments is that they are often made in a vacuum - "open borders" is a fine principle, but if, and only if, the rest of the libertarian structure is there too - no welfare state, swift and sure punishment for those who commit crimes against persons and properties, no state sponsored handouts, no mandated accomodation for those who refuse to assimilate, and so on, and so forth.

So long as we have these left and right wing liberals in Washington who are willing to write checks and give freebies to every soi disant "minority" who claims some sort of specious oppression, letting more in is just plain dumb. We get more parasites, and more unproductive people, and more criminals - undesirables one and all. Remove those incentives first - get the US in order - then come talking about opening the borders.
 
Written By: Pete Jensen
URL: http://
Mark, if we’re willing to let them in at certain places, then what’s the incentive to make brutal desert crossings?
If we are willing to make it more expensive for them to get and stay here, then what’s the incentive to make brutal desert crossings?

 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
"You’ve misunderstood the point being made in the letter..."

I don’t think so, I just disagree that the overall benefit should be the guiding principle (I also disagree that there is a positive benefit). Wasn’t there a post here awhile back about eminent domain? The overall benefit argument can justify a lot of things, so do we really want to rely on it totally?

And I reiterate(as I will continue to do ad nauseum), what happens to this alledged overall benefit during the next recession, when all these jobs disappear and we are left with millions of unskilled, unassimilated immigrants? Do we add them to the welfare roles, or let them roam the streets looking for non-existent jobs. Fortunately, when this happens they will not be competing for jobs with native Americans, since these are jobs no American will do. That could get messy.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I agree with the author about all the benefits of immigration (my wife is an immigrant and my great grand parents were immigrants); however, we’re really angry about the unfairness of US immigration law, or lack thereof.

You say
"... many immigrants bring skills, capital and entrepreneurship to the American economy"
Well, my brother in law, an honest, educated, hard worker, wished to do just this, standing in line for 6 years to immigrate here. And I spent a lot of money on his huge fees and so forth to help him (happy to do so). But the process was so long and not wanting to put his life on hold any longer he got married, which meant he had to start over at the back of the line. After another four years or so he gave up.

Yet the Mexicans just waltz across the border disregarding the law and cutting the line. Then they complain about how Americans are not compassionate enough, that they are the "real" Americans and fly their Mexican flags out side their houses (what’s with that?), and so our legislators give in and give them amnesty (or something close to it). It is totally unfair!!

-jim
 
Written By: Jim
URL: http://

 
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