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Immigration Quick Hits
Posted by: Jon Henke on Monday, May 22, 2006

You know that "95% of warrants for murder in Los Angeles are for illegal aliens" meme? It, along with a variety of other assertions, appears to be bogus...
An outstanding warrant is quite a different beast than a regular warrant, so this "fact" left out the key word. We did some more checking on the outstanding warrants point itself. MacDonald stated this in a 2004 City Journal article, and in testimony before the House of Representatives in spring 2005, noting that this came to 1,200-1,500 warrants. One LAPD officer cited the same factoid in the National Review earlier this year, saying that it's specific to "the first half of 2004". But Jane Robison, press secretary for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, told us that the D.A. does not keep track of this number; a representative with Detective Headquarters said the same.

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The "jobs Americans won't do" argument is, admittedly, wrongheaded in many ways. In defense of the somewhat simplistic formulation, however, let me note that the unemployment rate is 4.7%. The unemployment level for 2005 was 7,591,000. The usual figure given for illegal immigrants in the US is 12,000,000.

An unemployment rate of 4.7% is pretty much full employment by any historical measure, so there are a lot of jobs that Americans will not, in fact, do. Even if every unemployed American took a job currently held by an illegal immigrant — and the fact is, a lot of those jobs could not exist at wages Americans would accept — there simply are not enough unemployed Americans to fill the gap.

Instead of "jobs Americans won't do", it might be more properly termed "productivity Americans can't do without giving up more valuable productivity".

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The above observation was inspired by Paul at Right Side of the Rainbow, who also writes...
...we ought to harmonize our law with reality and adopt a generous immigration policy, one that does not interfere with the market’s calibration of the balance between supply and demand. But from this it does not follow from that we must grant citizenship to all who enter, or that we cannot deport aliens who commit violent crimes or that we must forswear all regulations of the time, place and manner of immigration.
[...]
The supply of foreign labor flows across our border because our economy demands that it flow across. It flows illegally because our law does not allow it do otherwise.

We must reconcile the demands of our economy with the rule of law.
I don't agree with all of his prescriptions, but he expresses the importance of first expanding and streamlining our immigration process before we try "border control" very well. Security is important, but it will be far easier to secure the border once we distinguish between security threats (bad) and economic migrants. (good)
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
I agree we need to streamline the immigration procedures. However I think the first step should be to repeal Kennedy’s 1965 immigration bill that realigned the quotas. I’m not sure we should have specific quotas by country. Perhaps we should look at quotas by job markets? If you contribution is a net positive economically or fill a targeted need for the country maybe you should be a higher priority on the list.
But who decides and how?
 
Written By: Richard
URL: http://soslies.blogspot.com
Instead of "jobs Americans won’t do", it might be more properly termed "productivity Americans can’t do without giving up more valuable productivity"
I prefer "jobs most Americans have no business doing" for this exact reason you describe. We are NOT better off when we have high utility workers performing relatively low utility jobs.

:peter
 
Written By: Peter Jackson
URL: http://www.liberalcapitalist.com
Even if every unemployed American took a job currently held by an illegal immigrant — and the fact is, a lot of those jobs could not exist at wages Americans would accept — there simply are not enough unemployed Americans to fill the gap.
(dryly) Which is where mechanization or automation would normally come into play to enable the one American worker able to do the work of X helots at a pay high enough to be attractive but still less than (X time a helot’s pittance). But, hey, helots are the perfect labor. Use ’em up and throw ’em away when you’re done; they can’t even bitch about it.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
a lot of those jobs could not exist at wages Americans would accept
Likewise, there are jobs that even Mexican Indians won’t do. If we imported Bangladeshis, we could get them to do even lower-paying jobs with absolutely no safety restrictions at all. I’m sure many libertarians are salivating at the thought, but thankfully we aren’t like that.

The problem with "economic migrants" is obvious to those who are familiar with this issue. Those EMs are people. They vote or might want to vote, they have leaders, they do good things and sometimes they do bad things. And, they have links to their home countries and when they are enough of them that gives countries like Mexico actual political power inside the U.S.

And, if they don’t get what they want they might riot. There have been countless uprisings throughout history involving those in the "helot" class. And, there’s even a reparations movement for Mexican-Americans who (it’s claimed) were forcibly deported in the 30s. Will there be a reparations movement for those illegal aliens we’re currently deporting?

Don’t trust those who are just looking at the financial aspects and who have little knowledge of the greater context.
 
Written By: L_o_n_e_w_a_c_k_o
URL: http://
The post fails to account for why we are in such a productivity trap that we import low wage workers. Or, we can ask if this is real productivity growth or simple linear expansion.

Remember, our federal government has robbed the private sector, in relative terms, of 4% to 5% of the labor and material resources in its recent expansions. We need productivity growth to keep up. If the productivity growth is false, then we simply expand the private sector with more sprawl.

The worse situation would be the case were government gets locked in to an unfavorable ratio with respect to the private sector, in which case the private sector, left to itself, would just continually import workers and cram them into tighter spaces in a losing battle.

That might be our problem. It is not real productivity growth. Government is simply allocating labor and resources, and the private sector is recovering by obtaining labor that can produce with less resources.

The problem is compounded when the private sector shifts expenses to the government sector, resulting in a viscious cycle.

Mexico is in a losing battle and their productivity growth is stagnant relative to ours. Mexico has only one solution, to completely dollarize and align its government policy with ours, which would probably be a good idea anyway.











 
Written By: Matt
URL: http://
"a lot of those jobs could not exist at wages Americans would accept"

So true. I can finally hire someone to pick my nose for me. Their English isn’t very good, but I really do not want to converse with someone who would pick someone else’s nose anyway. Just doing my part to contribute to economic growth.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I prefer "jobs most Americans have no business doing" for this exact reason you describe. We are NOT better off when we have high utility workers performing relatively low utility jobs.
Except if you take this one step further you have to quantify which is the low utility worker. A - a highschool dropout who is deciding between panel beating or the unemployment register. Or B - an illegal who has risked life and limb across hundreds of miles on the ambition of working in America.

If Predict B is the more motivated and likely to be the best worker, then economically you are NOT better off protecting low utility workers from competition by high utility workers. Socially you might be.

 
Written By: Unaha-closp
URL: http://
Hey I’m a panel beater and I was not a high school drop out, careful who you label!
 
Written By: Matt
URL: http://

 
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