Do low wages for unskilled workers weaken the case for more immigration?

by on May 26, 2013 at 12:36 pm in Economics | Permalink

Here is a point which I think the anti-immigration forces are getting wrong, mostly on the side of economics.  It can be pointed out that low-skilled (native) labor in the United States has not seen strong income gains for some time.  You might then wonder whether it makes sense to bring more unskilled labor into the country.

In my view the evidence (and here) suggests that the negative wage pressures on unskilled labor, to the extent they have international origins at all (as opposed to TGS or automation or political factors), come more from outsourcing and trade than from immigration.  So if you limit low-skilled immigration, outsourcing likely will go up, as it would be harder to find cheap labor in the United States.  The United States will lose the complementary jobs as well, such as the truck driver who brings cafeteria snacks to the call center.  Conversely, if you increase low-skilled immigration, you will also get more investment in the United States and more complementary jobs as well and possibly some increasing returns from clustering and maybe more net tax revenue too.  On top of that the individuals themselves have greater choice as to where to spend their lives and build their careers.

Here’s another way to put it.  Either factor price equalization will go on or not, noting that capital flows are the more active marginal lever here and there is no serious talk of banning capital outflow.  If FPE isn’t going to happen much, no big deal either way.  If FPE is going to happen, you still might want to have it happen with more of those jobs inside your country.

Again, you may wish to counterbalance this against any political costs from having more unskilled labor in your country, as I mentioned earlier.  But from an economic point of view, the case for accepting the immigration — including low-skilled immigration — still seems strong to me.

Millian May 26, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Though this seems to be broadly correct, what about non-tradables? Perhaps immigration wage losses are concentrated in sectors like construction and allied maintenance/decoration trades, as well as in food and transport.

albert magnus May 26, 2013 at 1:39 pm

This seems so obvious that I don’t see how Tyler missed it. Does he think the call center jobs are going to come back as long as we have a minimum wage?

Taeyoung May 26, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Yeah, if the analysis doesn’t factor in the minimum wage and COL, I can’t see how anyone would find it persuasive. Chinese hourly manufacturing wages are between $250/month and $540/month (according to JETRO) and China is increasingly on the higher end of outsourced manufacturing wages. Does anyone really think adding more unskilled labour to the labour pool in the US is going to help bring back unskilled jobs when our base price-point is over $1,160/month?

I mean, sure it would if the increase in supply of labour => collapse in wages => wages competitive with outsourced manufacturing. But that intermediate step is prohibited by minimum wage laws. And most low-skill manufacturing in the US, as a result, has to be comparatively high value-added due to capital investments (or supported by tariffs or other restraints on trade). My guess is that low-skill jobs in general centre on those “nontradables” mentioned, that can’t be outsourced.

As a labour market matter, we have no shortage of potential low-skill labour. Of people with less than a high school diploma, labour force participation is only 44.8% (down from 45.7% a year ago) according to BLS. There are 1.27 million such potential low-skill workers who are in the labour force but unemployed (11.6%). Of people with a high school diploma, labour force participation is 58.7% (down from 59.3% a year ago). And there are 2.69 million in the labour force but unemployed (7.4%). That’s a total population of almost 4 million low skill workers looking for work right now, out of populations with comparatively low participation rates. If there were low-skill jobs available, you’d probably have 8-10 million potential unskilled and low-skilled workers to fill them.

Unless the problem is that American labour and immigrant labour aren’t fungible (e.g. because Americans are crap workers), lack of low-skill labour is not a meaningful constraint here.

Peter Schaeffer May 26, 2013 at 4:05 pm

T,

+1

This is what I call the ‘Magical Unicorn’ theory of immigration. Somehow low-skill immigrants conjure up jobs by the million that unemployed / underemployed Americans can’t materialize.

Millian May 26, 2013 at 6:25 pm

But there’s a difference between these two groups of low-skilled people, right? On average, I’d expect low-skilled people from a developing country to be more naturally capable than equally low-skilled people from a rich country with at least some semblance of universal education – though perhaps American inequality against minority groups like black people comes into play here, damping down that expectation of meritocracy.

Peter Schaeffer May 26, 2013 at 10:34 pm

Millian,

“But there’s a difference between these two groups of low-skilled people, right? On average, I’d expect low-skilled people from a developing country to be more naturally capable than equally low-skilled people from a rich country with at least some semblance of universal education”

Nice theory. However, the actual data is contra-wise. Check out the NAEP or SAT data for today’s low-skill immigrants and their children. 100 years ago you may have been right (at least in some cases). Eastern European Jews entered the U.S. with relatively low skills (few professionals, many skilled craft workers). They did quite well.

See “Jewish immigrant skill and occupational attainment at the turn of the century” by Barry R Chiswick

“The 1900 Census of Population microdata file is used to study the occupational status of adult male Jewish immigrants in comparison with other immigrants and native-born white men. On arrival the Jewish immigrants had a low occupational status but they experienced very rapid improvements with duration. Occupational parity was reached with Western European and Canadian immigrants (5 View the MathML source years after immigration) and the native born (14 years). The Jewish adjustment pattern followed the model of refugees. Their high level of attainment reflected large human capital investments (at home and in school) and an emphasis on decision making skills.”

Larry Siegel May 27, 2013 at 6:43 pm

Actually, a unicorn, sorry, a Mexican, is working outside my window right now. If I had to pay an American $30 or $40 an hour, including benefits, to do my gardening, I’d do it myself.

Larry Siegel May 27, 2013 at 6:49 pm

>>I’d expect low-skilled people from a developing country to be more naturally capable than equally low-skilled people from a rich country with at least some semblance of universal education

>Nice theory. However, the actual data is contra-wise.

Although I’m always interested in seeing the data, my personal experience counts for plenty when I’m making economic decisions that affect me. I’ll take my chances with the top 20% of an immigrant population over the bottom 20% of a native one. I can’t say how many times I’ve handed a $20 bill to an American cashier, usually a young attractive girl who doesn’t look stupid, for a purchase of less than that amount and she cannot make the proper change. Or American workers who answer the telephone at a business and do not know where the business is located, despite having gotten themselves there. This problem is not going to go away quickly and I’d rather pay NMP (negative marginal product) workers some sort of welfare check to stay out of the job market and import people who can and want to do the needed work.

Peter Schaeffer May 29, 2013 at 12:27 pm

@LS,

Immigrant underperformance in American society is well established. Indeed, we have a wealth of information that the deficits in question are multigenerational out to the 4/5th generation. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if the deficits are genetic, social, or cultural as long as they persist. So far they are persisting. There are number of sources to support this statement, mostly from Hispanic analysts. See “Honesty from the Left on Hispanic Immigration – A provocative new book doesn’t flinch from delivering the bad news”. The authors cited by Heather MacDonald are Patricia Gandara and Frances Contreras.

Telles and Ortiz have made much the same argument. The following is from a letter they wrote to the New York Times.

“In our book “Generations of Exclusion,” we show that the descendants of Mexicans do not experience the steady progress into the third and fourth generations that has been documented for those of European ancestry.”

Samuel Huntington wrote an article in Foreign Affairs, “The Hispanic Challenge” showing academic underperformance out to the 4th generation. Note this his data shows significant declines in academic performance from the 3rd to the 4th generation.

Peter Schaeffer May 26, 2013 at 11:14 pm

T,

Yet another nail for the coffin. U.S. health care expenditures are around $12 per hour for the entire economy. The minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. If a minimum wage worker paid 100% of his income in taxes (or health care premiums), America would still lose $4.75 on health care costs alone.

And Tyler wants to flood American with low-skill immigrants to drive wages down further (presumably after repealing the minimum wage)? Is this meant to be a parody of ‘privatizing profits and socializing costs’? Perhaps it is.

Of course, it can be argued that low-skill immigrants don’t cost $12 per hour in health care costs. As long as they are young and single that is true. However, low-skill immigrants have children and grow old just like everyone else. Even if they don’t cost $12 per hour in health care costs now, they will cost far more than $12 per hour in the future.

The welfare state and low-skill immigration don’t play nice. One or the other has to go. Since the welfare state is only expanding, it should be obvious that mass immigration has to end.

Steve Sailer May 27, 2013 at 4:04 am

“U.S. health care expenditures are around $12 per hour for the entire economy.”

Wow.

So, how does that work out: $24,000 per year for a family of four?

Sounds about right …

Do you have a link for that?

Peter Schaeffer May 27, 2013 at 10:41 am

Steve,

“Do you have a link for that?”

Nope, but the math isn’t hard. Basically all you need is total hours worked and total health care outlays. The Conference Board publishes something called the Total Economy Database. It gives hours worked per year at 1,708 and employment at 143.823 million. That gives total hours at 245.65 billion. The Total Economy Database also directly reports total hours as 246 billion.

The Economic Report of the President (EROP). Table B-35 gives total employment at 143.305 million. Table B-47 gives hours worked at 33.7 per week. A little math gives total hours at 251.127 billion. That’s rather close to the Conference Board data.

National Health Expenditures appear to be in the $3 trillion range. Once source (“U.S. Healthcare Hits $3 Trillion”) specifically estimates the number at $3 trillion. However, there is some weirdness involving the accounting for the doc fix. Another estimate is $2.807 trillion. This is derived from a nominal GDP of $15.684 trillion from the BEA and health care spending at 17.9% of GDP.

Another source gives much higher numbers. See “The hidden costs of U.S. health care: Consumer discretionary health care spending” from Deloitte. Their estimates are way over $3 trillion. However, some aspects of their methodology are suspect (including unpaid for care by family members). Note that Deloitte also suggests that large numbers of out-of-pocket health care dollars are not being captured in the standard estimates.

If $3 trillion is the correct health care number, then $12 per hour is about right. You can tweak the number up and down a bit by changing your estimate of health care spending, but it’s going to be in that range.

See also “2012 – The Year In Healthcare Charts” in Forbes for some more data.

albatross May 27, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Peter’s argument tracks with stories I’ve read for a few years now about employers of bottom-wage labor encouraging their employees to sign up for various bits of public assistance. We’re used to thinking of bottom tier workers as people who are on the lower rungs of paying their own way. Perhaps with lousy work and hard conditions and not much margin, but paying their own way in the world.

A world of the modern welfare state and all the social services that we’ve built up (often badly) changes that. Bottom tier workers are no longer on the lower rungs of paying their own way, increasingly, they’re on the higher rungs of welfare. Effectively, we subsidize their crappy jobs and lousy lifestyles via subsidized housing and medical care and eqrned income tax credit and such. This is the social version of ZMP workers–they make enough to cover their salary, but not their upkeep to first world rich country standards.

If that is true, then presumably policies that bring more bottom tier workers into a country or a region amount to a wealth transfer, from the rest of the taxpayers to the bottom tier workers and their employers. And it’s at least plausible that this is true. Few nice suburbs would like to have a chicken processing plant or plastics factory move in–more tax dollars would arrive, but also a lot more costs, and it’s quite possible that the costs will outweigh the benefits.

Doug May 27, 2013 at 5:57 pm

“Yet another nail for the coffin. U.S. health care expenditures are around $12 per hour for the entire economy. The minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. If a minimum wage worker paid 100% of his income in taxes (or health care premiums), America would still lose $4.75 on health care costs alone… Even if they don’t cost $12 per hour in health care costs now, they will cost far more than $12 per hour in the future.”

You’re not taking into account three basic principles:

1) Average worker productivity increases over time with economic growth. A worker earning $7.25 an hour today will earn more in 40 years even if he remains unskilled. A young worker’s lifetime average earnings will be much higher than his current earnings.

2) Expenditures to be made in the future have to be discounted. Yes said worker may eventually go on to cost the economy $12 hour in healthcare costs, but if those costs are far in the future the net present value of those costs are much lower. For a 25 year old most of their healthcare expenditures are forty years or more in the future. So that $12/hour cost falls to $3/hour.

3) Just because the US averages $12/hour in healthcare costs doesn’t mean the marginal cost of a healthcare consumer is $12/hour.

mulp May 27, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Steve, that is $24/hour for a family of two. The idea that anyoe lives in the land of Ozzie and Harriet is certainly false today, if it was ever true.

Peter, your analysis is wonderful, it never occurred to me to think of it that way.

Where you went wrong was in your conclusion. Illegals are not able to access the health care system except under rare conditions, and the immigration bill is going to make even legals unable to access the system unless they pay the full bill.

But the problem is the increasing number of old, disabled, and working poor who either a family of two or more with no one working, or a family of one who is only earning $8/hour and is destined to always earn no more than $8/hour unless the minimum wage is hiked by Democrats in the rare case they have supermajorities.

As an economist, people need to counted as human capital.

As you point out, too many of these human capital assets are huge liabilities. If you had a machine or factory that cost you $24/hour of operation to pay for health care while generating only $8/hour in revenue, creative destruction requires liquidating the machine – the capital asset which is a liability, with be sold somehow, maybe shipped to Asia or Africa where they kill workers instead of saving their lives because they demand all assets produce a net profit, even if small. Or you dismember the machine because they parts are worth more than the whole. Or you melt it down. And if you can’t melt it down, you could grind it up and use it as fertilizer. Or in the worst case, landfill it.

Clearly 25% of American workers are huge liabilities, along with another 50% of their spouses and former workers, so as human capital they need to be liquidated. The working poor should be liquidated, perhaps half of them have not been broken and polluted yet so they can provide human organs into the market Alex seeks. The rest used for fertilizer. But when this public policy is announced, they will flee like the Jews from Europe in the 30s.

The immigrants who are not entitled to any health care will be human capital assets, able to produce a net positive $8/hour.

didi May 27, 2013 at 7:46 pm

What do you think will happen if the Supreme Court ever decides that illegal alien workers deserve Social Security disability benefits, Mr. Schaeffer?

Larry Siegel Venomous fraud May 27, 2013 at 11:39 pm

Mark the hypocrisy of Larry Seigel! if 3rd world labor is so good, why dont Jews import millions of Black Africans to Israel? this is not left vs right, GOP vs Dems, Socialism vs liberty. This is war against White people.

Why do hostile globalist elite defend Israel as a Jewish ethnostate with Jewish only immigration, but ravage White majority Europe/North America into a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural Gulag with dystopian non-White colonization?

The world is 93% non-White, only 7% White. But 3rd world colonizers, Muslims, Sikhs, Hispanics, are aggressively advancing their agenda to annihilate gullible Whites, just as China annihilates Tibet.

How long will gullible Whites cuckold for murderous anti-White elite, who confiscate our guns, infiltrate/subvert our banks/FBI/CIA, indoctrinate White kids in academia/mass media, plunder White jobs/wages, & butcher White soldiers in bankrupting wars?

“Native” Americans invaded from East Asia. Yellow & Brown races committed 10-times more genocide, slavery, imperialism than Whites. Since Old-Testament, Whites have been victims of Jewish/Crypto-Jewish, Turkic, Muslim, N.African imperialism, slavery, genocide.

Gullible Whites should reject subversive ideologies- libertarianism, feminism, liberalism- & reject hostile slanders of racism. Peace to all humanity, but White people must organize to advance their interests, their fertility, their homelands. Spread this message. Reading list: goo.gl/iB777 , goo.gl/htyeq , amazon.com/dp/0759672229 , amazon.com/dp/1410792617

Peter Schaeffer May 28, 2013 at 12:32 am

Doug,

“You’re not taking into account three basic principles”

1. Low-skill immigrant earnings do tend to rise over time. However, they don’t rise by much. We aren’t talking about Jewish immigrants in 1905. We aren’t talking about grad students in Electrical Engineering either. We are discussing the low-skill immigrants the United States gets today. How much do low-skill immigrant earnings rise? One study of the benifficiaries of the 1986 Amnesty found that earnings rose by 21%. Other sources give lower numbers.

Going from $7.25 per hour to $8.77 want impact the dismal economics of low-skill immigration much. Indeed, a doubling of earnings wouldn’t come close to the breakeven point.

2. Present discounted value is a real issue. It’s worth noting that when the subject is global warming, the typical discount rate used by liberals is zero. However, let’s ignore the liberal arguments for a zero long-term discount rate at this point. So what rate should we use? The real return on T-Bills (the standard riskless asset) was less than 0.5% from 1928 to 2012 (see Ibbotson and Damodaran). Right now 30-year TIPS are paying 0.639%. Shorter maturities have negative yields. The T-Bill data goes back almost a century. The TIPS data is much newer. At the height of the mid-2000 boom (bubble) TIPS did pay a bit more. Now they pay almost nothing. If we had a century of TIPS data, I would suggest using it. In lieu of the missing TIPS data, T-Bill returns suggest that the riskless real rate of return is very low and has been very low for a long period of time.

3. Of course, the marginal health care cost of an hour worked isn’t $12. It’s roughly zero. However, immigrants don’t work 7,000 hours a year. Assuming they work an average number of hours and using the average health care cost per hour is reasonable. Even if they worked more hours than average (so surely do), the numbers don’t get much better.

Peter Schaeffer May 28, 2013 at 12:50 am

mulp,

Only in theory are illegals inelligible for health care. In real life, the restrictions are far fewer than you might imagine. First of all, hospitals are required to provide emergency care irrespective of legal status. Second, the American born children of illegals are always eligible.

However, the third point is probably the most significant. Most of the social welfare apparatus simply doesn’t check the legal status of anyone seeking benefits (apparently). If legal status is ‘checked’, the applicants are allowed to ‘self-certify’ their legal status. The GAO did a study of illegal alien criminals a few years ago and found that on average they had been arrested 7 times with zero checks for legal status. If the police weren’t checking legal status, do you really think Medicaid applications were / are being carefully scrutinized? Note that because of Secure Communities the police do make some attempt to check legal status these days.

A few years ago, I saw a long online debate on mint.com about immigration. Some folks claimed that illegals collect all sorts of benefits that they are theoretically ineligible for. Others claimed that this was impossible because of the law. The facinating thing was the number of people who actually work in welfare departments who posted comments to the effect ‘we never check’, ‘don’t ask, don’t tell is the rule’, ‘I would be fired if I checked’, ‘we aren’t allowed to check’, etc.

You are misreading the Amnesty bill. By the time the current illegals reach old age, they will be fully eligible for every possible benefit (as LPRs or citizens). Even if they aren’t elgible in the 10-13 years after the initial Amnesty, the system won’t check their status anyway. Indeed, self-certifying as ‘legal’ will be more prevelant after the Amnesty than it is today.

Peter Schaeffer May 28, 2013 at 1:27 pm

Steve,

You wrote “So, how does that work out: $24,000 per year for a family of four?”

Sorry about the delay, but the answer is no. Per person, health care runs around $9,557 dollars per year on average for the U.S. That’s more in the range of $38,229 for a family of four.

In real life, this is absurdly high for a hypothetical low-skill immigrant family with relatively young parents and two ittle kids. The actual number for such a family would be much less. However, everyone gets old and some adults / children get very sick before they get old.

That makes the $38K number a valid average for family of four (over time).

Peter Schaeffer May 27, 2013 at 11:36 pm

Larry Siegel,

If the Mexican working in your garden wasn’t in the United States, you would either hire someone else (citizen or legal immigrant) or do your own gardening. Either way, America would be better off. We have vast unemployment / underemployment in the United States (in case you haven’t noticed). Our people need jobs (they are called ‘Americans’). Of course, if the price is too high you will do your own gardening.

Each low-skill immigrant costs $28,000 per year in net costs to the government. What you really want is to gouge your fellow taxpayers so you can profit from cheap labor. I get it. Throughout history people have tried to profit from illegal activities at the expense of society as a whole. You have lots of company.

Note that I have already commented on low-skill immigrant academic performance (NAEP, PISA, SAT, ACT, etc.) Try to study the literature before you sacrifice your nation on the altar of cheap labor.

Larry Siegel Deceitful Hypocrite May 27, 2013 at 11:58 pm

this is not about low skill vs high skill, low crime vs high crime, low IQ vs High IQ, legal vs illegal, overpopulation vs underpopulation, high unemployment vs low unemployment, low wages vs high wages, wealth vs poverty. this is genocidal warfare against white people.

Japan, Korea, Taiwan are 99.9% Yellow. China is 99% Yellow, 91.5% Han. Singapore is 90% Yellow, 75% Han Chinese.

Is America 99% White, 91.5% Anglo-Saxon? Why are hostile anti-white elite waging war on White People? In Europe, in America, in Australia. Every country is a country of immigrants, except Ethiopia. Modern Humans did not grow like potatoes everywhere.

I would rather live poor among white people than rich in Nigeria or Mumbai or Shanghai.

Floccina May 29, 2013 at 10:28 am

Even though the children of Mexican immigrants do less well that Non-Hispanic whites the top three quarters of the children of Mexican immigrants will pay their own way and then some making up for the bottom 25%.
Healthcare is pretty messed up in the USA, it seems that the Government will spend as much as it can to little effect independent of how many people are on medicare, medicaid and receive health insurance by working for Government.

Peter Schaeffer May 29, 2013 at 12:30 pm

@Floccina,

“Even though the children of Mexican immigrants do less well that Non-Hispanic whites the top three quarters of the children of Mexican immigrants will pay their own way and then some making up for the bottom 25%”

In a word, no.

Hispanic family income is 60% of white family income (down from 70% a generation ago). Immigrant underperformance in American society is well established. Indeed, we have a wealth of information that the deficits in question are multigenerational out to the 4/5th generation. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if the deficits are genetic, social, or cultural as long as they persist. So far they are persisting. There are number of sources to support this statement, mostly from Hispanic analysts. See “Honesty from the Left on Hispanic Immigration – A provocative new book doesn’t flinch from delivering the bad news”. The authors cited by Heather MacDonald are Patricia Gandara and Frances Contreras.

Telles and Ortiz have made much the same argument. The following is from a letter they wrote to the New York Times.

“In our book “Generations of Exclusion,” we show that the descendants of Mexicans do not experience the steady progress into the third and fourth generations that has been documented for those of European ancestry.”

Samuel Huntington wrote an article in Foreign Affairs, “The Hispanic Challenge” showing academic underperformance out to the 4th generation. Note this his data shows significant declines in academic performance from the 3rd to the 4th generation.

Morgan Warstler May 26, 2013 at 3:49 pm

It is an undeniable fact that call center jobs wil come back:

http://www.morganwarstler.com/post/44789487956/guaranteed-income-choose-your-boss-the-market-based

There is only ONE WAY to do it, but it wil work and solves everything.

Glad to help!

Floccina May 29, 2013 at 10:29 am

+1

Peter Schaeffer May 26, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Millian,

You are correct. The vast majority of immigrants are employed in producing non-tradable goods and services. Think restaurants, lawn care, construction, household services, personal services, See http://www.cis.org/are-there-really-jobs-americans-wont-do for some detailed statistics on immigration employment.

Contrary to popular mythology, only a tiny fraction of immigrants (and a tiny fraction of illegals) are employed in agriculture. Perhaps 5% of illegals work on farm. Farm products are generally tradable. However, land is not. In other words, farm production will continue with or without illegals (or immigrants at all). Wages may go up, machines may be introduced, and different crops may be planted. However, the land won’t go fallow.

A century ago, things were very different. Immigrants were concentrated in manufacturing. Indeed, manufacturers were the cheap labor employers of the era. They complained endlessly that “without Open Borders we can’t make anything in the US”. Immigration was stopped during WWI and production soared showing that immigration was hardly needed for U.S. manufacturing. After the immigration reforms of the 1920s, manufacturing productivity took off.

Millian May 26, 2013 at 6:28 pm

Land certainly won’t go fallow, at least not until the climate warms up a bit more. But constraining farm employers’ choices of labour would consequently lead to sub-optimal mixes of other inputs, relative to what they can choose today. Needless to say, farms back in the olden days were much less efficient (and weren’t immigrants largely responsible for settling those small farms on ex-Indian land?).

Peter Schaeffer May 26, 2013 at 10:19 pm

Millian,

“But constraining farm employers’ choices of labour would consequently lead to sub-optimal mixes of other inputs, relative to what they can choose today”

Suboptimal for whom? Farmers who profit from exploiting cheap labor and dumping the costs on society as a whole? Or America as a nation?

Immigrant farm labor isn’t cheap, it’s taxpayer funded labor. See “That glass of OJ is squeezing back – Huge hidden costs of cheap labor are borne by welfare agencies, schools, hospitals, police – you” (http://www2.palmbeachpost.com/moderndayslavery/reports/realcost1209.html)

‘If any other U.S. industry used business practices that caused long-term social costs on this scale … Congress would hit them with an impact fee or regulate the practices out of existence.’

“Cheap labor puts fresh-squeezed Florida orange juice on millions of American breakfast tables every morning.
Cheap labor picks the giant crimson Plant City strawberries, glossy bell peppers and juicy melons, not to mention the picture-perfect Indian River grapefruit so popular in Japan and Europe.

But cheap labor also generates significant hidden costs, costs that one national labor expert says are so staggering that an 8-ounce glass of fresh orange juice that retails for 42 cents from the carton really costs Florida taxpayers a whole lot more

The migrants who pick Florida’s oranges are generally paid only 3.5 cents per half-gallon of fresh juice typically selling for $3.39 in supermarkets. Growers contend they can’t pay more because of narrow profit margins and competition from Brazil, where pickers, including children, are paid even less.

Meanwhile, the rising invisible costs of cheap labor to harvest our crops are being shouldered by welfare programs, schools and hospitals required by law to treat anyone with a serious illness.

Many immigrants, legal and illegal, receive help from food stamps, infant and maternal nutrition programs, free and reduced-price school lunches, local health departments, churches and voluntary agencies. They increase demands on public safety programs and the criminal justice system. They require publicly paid translators and teachers of English-as-a-second-language.”

“If any other U.S. industry used business practices that caused long-term social costs on this scale, literally billions of dollars a year, Congress would hit them with an impact fee or regulate the practices out of existence,” labor analyst Kinney said. “But who’s going to make the argument? Poor farm workers who came from worse poverty across the border who are here illegally? Giant companies piling up profits? The consumer who appears to be getting bargain-priced fruits and vegetables because they can’t see the hidden costs?

“This is Big Agriculture’s dirty little secret: They’re still engaged in the shameful labor practices the typical American consumer believes ended decades ago. The reality is these workers will be trapped in poverty. Taxpayers of Florida, California, Texas, New York and the other states that absorb most of agriculture’s throwaway people will pay the price for decades more.”

Peter Schaeffer May 26, 2013 at 10:53 pm

Millian,

“Needless to say, farms back in the olden days were much less efficient (and weren’t immigrants largely responsible for settling those small farms on ex-Indian land?”

Essentially no to each point. The Homestead Act provided farms of 160 acres to settlers. Huge by the standards of the time. Most of the settlers on the frontier were always American natives from further east. Some immigrants did settle directly on farms (Germans, Scandinavians, and others). They were the exception not the rule.

Peter Schaeffer May 26, 2013 at 3:29 pm

There is another aspect to this that should be so obvious that no one would even dare to suggest that low-skill immigration could be good for America.

It is called ‘unemployment’. Contrary to the prevailing right/left elite consensus, unemployment is still a problem in the U.S. In the real world, we have 20 million unemployed and underemployed workers. A quick look at the employment / population ratio graph shows that the problem is huge. The employment / population ratio is down 6 points (10%) from the peak back in 2000.

The long-term fall in the male employment / population ratio is astounding (from 85% to 65%).

Anyone arguing America needs more immigrants (particularly low-skill immigrants) has their eyes firmly closed to any hint of the real world.

Millian May 26, 2013 at 6:29 pm

It is not clear which group of the unemployed would be helped by the immediate vacation of many low-skilled jobs by immigrants. Furthermore, as Tyler pointed out, there are externalities of immigrant economic activity to non-participants.

Peter Schaeffer May 26, 2013 at 11:28 pm

M,

“It is not clear which group of the unemployed would be helped by the immediate vacation of many low-skilled jobs by immigrants.”

Perhaps the group might be best described as “Americans”.

Floccina May 29, 2013 at 10:43 am

The long-term fall in the male employment / population ratio is astounding (from 85% to 65%).

A significant part of this is due to people living longer, so need to adjust it for your argument.

Peter Schaeffer May 29, 2013 at 12:31 pm

@floccina,

“A significant part of this is due to people living longer, so need to adjust it for your argument.”

Check the bls.gov age 16-65 data. Same results.

Peter Schaeffer May 26, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Let’s see how many major analytical errors we can find in this argument

1. Low-skill immigrant households are extremely expensive tax consumers. The tax costs of low-skill immigration alone, make it a terribly bad deal for Americans. Everyone who looks at the numbers, for even a few minutes knows this. From Heritage

““In 2010, the average unlawful immigrant household received around $24,721 in government benefits and services while paying some $10,334 in taxes. This generated an average annual fiscal deficit (benefits received minus taxes paid) of around $14,387 per household. This cost had to be borne by U.S. taxpayers. Amnesty would provide unlawful households with access to over 80 means-tested welfare programs, Obamacare, Social Security, and Medicare. The fiscal deficit for each household would soar.

At the end of the interim period (after the Amnesty is complete), unlawful immigrants would become eligible for means-tested welfare and medical subsidies under Obamacare. Average benefits would rise to $43,900 per household; tax payments would remain around $16,000; the average fiscal deficit (benefits minus taxes) would be about $28,000 per household.”

2. As any number of commenters have pointed, low-skill immigrants are not predominantly employed in producing tradable goods and services. FPE is a nice idea, but has little to do with lawn care services in Ohio or housecleaning in Georgia. Even if FPE was relevant (because, hypothetically most immigrants were employed in manufacturing), the U.S. minimum wage would ensure that additional immigrants would simply raise unemployment, not move jobs back to the U.S.

3. As several commenters have pointed out, we already have vast unemployment and underemployment in the U.S. We have terribly low employment rates for men, teenagers, minorities, high school dropouts, high school graduates, etc. These ‘facts’ constitute an existence case for a surplus of unskilled labor. obviously, adding to the supply will only make the situation worse, not better.

4. Given that we accept that trade and outsourcing have reduced the demand for unskilled labor, why would it make any sense at all to increase the supply? The theory that unskilled jobs create demand for more highly skilled jobs is confounded two-fold. First, we don’t have any shortage of unskilled workers (quite to the contrary). Second, its a non-GE (general equilibrium) model. In a GE model, low-skill immigration could raise the wages of natives unless the tax, distribution, and negative externalities offset the complementary positive impact (clearly that is true). In a non-GE model, low-skill immigration simply shifts income from natives to immigrants (essentially a pure loss).

What other errors have I missed?

Floccina May 29, 2013 at 10:50 am

If my math is right the average Hispanic immigrant has an IQ of 90 that means the 50% of Hispanic immigrants have an IQ higher than about 26% of native Americans. Not so bad. Also we could try to balance out Hispanic immigration by allowing more immigration from China. the Chinese having an average IQ of about 110.

Peter Schaeffer May 29, 2013 at 12:32 pm

@Floccina,

What should we allow low-skill immigrants from any country? We have a choice of who we admit.

Steve Sailer May 26, 2013 at 7:37 pm

“what about non-tradables?”

Perhaps Tyler is offering an intentionally dumb argument so his commenters can point out the obvious without him having to worry about getting Richwined?

Sailer-HBD-Kook May 28, 2013 at 12:29 am

Richwine wants to swamp white people with hundreds of millions high IQ Asians. Richwine is anti-white.

The Bachelor May 26, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Let me see if I understand this correct.

Bill is an unskilled worker, and so are most of his friends by the way. Most of them are unemployed at times. Its a hard life, everyday hoping not to get fired (you know; outsourcing, automation ect.) and never a chance to see “strong income gains”.

But then, suddenly Bill and Friends are in great luck; 1 million pakistanis decides to move to america.

It is basically like winning in the lottery for Bill.

Because, as the economist says; then outsourcing will go down (off course there is also one extra million people, but forget about them) and more money will be invested in america (off course there is also one extra million people to be taken into consideration, but still forget about that). All in all; it just has to be better for Bill. 1 million poor unskilled immigrant means more than 1 million jobs. It just has to be like that.
Allthough we do know, that for this large group of unskilled workers there hasnt been any strong income gains in a long time.

Tyler Cowen May 26, 2013 at 1:32 pm

No, it is that Bill probably isn’t worse off. He may even get a job working with some of those Pakistanis.

Phil May 26, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Presumably you’re arguing that there’s a higher probability of Bill finding a job with the 1 million additional workers. You’re arguing that the expected return for Bill, the probability of getting employment times the return on that employment, will be higher with the additional workers than without them.

Where’s the evidence for this?

You also have to take into account that the 1 million additional people put upward pressure on costs like real estate and other goods.

david j michel jr. May 26, 2013 at 3:26 pm

thank you phil,but you can’t teach them.they learned all they could a long time ago.

Peter Schaeffer May 26, 2013 at 3:34 pm

The Bachelor,

Mr Cowen appears to be assuming that the economy will automatically create 1 million new jobs for the Pakistanis perhaps creating a complementary demand for Bill. We know that this is true, because we have no unemployment / underemployment in the United States and the demand for unskilled labor is very strong. After all, unskilled workers have the lowest rates of unemployment and the fastest wages gains of any group.

Wait a minute. None of that is true.

Steve Sailer May 26, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Tyler asserts:

“He may even get a job working with some of those Pakistanis.”

Not if the Pakistanis have anything to say about it!

C’mon, Tyler, think.

The Brits imported something like 40,000 Pakistani peasants fifty years ago to work in the mills. How’s that working out for them, anyway?

Peter Schaeffer May 26, 2013 at 11:24 pm

This would be funny if it wasn’t so sad. A report just came out in Norway showing that each Middle-Eastern immigrant costs taxpayers $700,000 (net). From “Immigration Will Bankrupt Norway” (http://gatesofvienna.net/2013/04/immigration-will-bankrupt-norway/). Quote

” Non-Western immigration is unprofitable

Finansavisen [Norwegian financial newspaper] has gone through figures released by SSB [Norwegian Bureau of Statistics] and concludes that each non-Western immigrant, on average, costs Norwegian society NoK 4.1 million ($700,000).

The sums are astronomical, especially when considering that in 2012 alone, 15,400 non-Western immigrants arrived in Norway.

When Sigrun Vågeng was the director of NHO [The Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise] she presented a study which concluded that the entirety of Norwegian oil-generated wealth would disappear if this non-profitable immigration wasn’t halted. Back then the story was mostly ignored. In the meantime several years have passed, and today the numbers are even higher. Even so the MSM and politicians keep describing the official immigration policy as strict.

The figure is NoK 4.1 million:

This figure includes all taxable incomes minus public expenditures,” according to Erlend Holmøy, senior researcher for SSB.

Based on the approximately 15,400 non-Western immigrants that arrived here in 2012 this means an outlay of NoK 63 billion ($11 billion). This is the equivalent of two foreign aid budgets, or roughly half of the NoK 125 billion ($21 billion) taken from the Norwegian oil fund (wealth fund) that the authorities intend to spend this year.

“The cost of it all will have to be covered by the average Norwegian taxpayer, or it will lead to a reduction in capacity and quality of various publicly funded services,” says Holmøy to Finansavisen

If the non-Western immigration continues on a level equal to 2012, the funding costs will soar to NoK 2,900 billion ($493 billion) in the period between 2015-2100.”

Anthony May 26, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Having seen that in some fast-food and construction jobs during the boom in California required a working knowledge of Spanish, I suspect Bill’s odds aren’t so good under The Bachelor’s hypothetical, unless Bill speaks Urdu or Panjabi well enough to supervise some of those Pakistanis.

In a mostly pure market economy, employers will move less manufacturing work offshore, and the wages of the Pakistani immigrants will be spent on something which will create enough demand to keep Bill employed. However, a mostly pure market economy wouldn’t have 10% unemployment and corporations sitting on big piles of cash 5 years after the banking panic.

Steve Sailer May 26, 2013 at 9:40 pm

South Asian executives in American technology firms have a long history of pushing out American programmers and replacing them with South Asians hired by their brother-in-laws in India and the like. I saw it back in 1998, and it’s happened many times since.

The notion that “Bill,” presumably an unskilled African-American, should welcome his new Pakistani overlords is amusing. Back in 1981 on a trip to Pakistan, Barack Obama met a black serf kept on the estate of one of his millionaire Pakistani buddies. He was depressed.

Rahul May 27, 2013 at 7:11 am

I can sympathize with the poorer unskilled Americans who loose jobs to immigrant pressure but it’s kind of hard to sympathize with a programmer (median wage $80,000) who’s whining away similarly.

asdf May 27, 2013 at 11:59 am

Rahul,

It’s not hard for me to sympathize. They are people similar to me that are loyal to me. They are likely to employ me, help me in times of trouble, fight by my side in wars, and share roughly similar assumptions and values at the voting booth. My experience with foreign H1-B programmers is that none of those are true. Who do you think I’m going to sympathize with?

Also, if you’ve been in a company getting H1-Bed you’d notice that they aren’t all that good at their jobs. They compete on price and compliance, and I’m not entirely convinced they are actually putting out enough production even at the lower price. H1-Bs tend not to be used by the hot start ups, but by large companies that are going through their stagnate and decline phase. The corporate CEO of megacorp can use H1-Bs to lower his labor costs 20% really fast, and if they aren’t very good for the long term health of the company then how is that different from a bunch of other similar decisions he’s making. He’s a manager, not an owner. And the owners are diverse small stake shareholders without the effective means or interests to influence him. So he makes the numbers look good for awhile and who knows the long term effects, for both the company and society.

Every company I’ve worked for that relies heavily on H1-Bs has been a basket case. They’ve also been way more corrupt and political. The case for mid range IQ immigrants is stronger, but I’m not ready to open the doors to every single one that wants to come. If anything the current H1-B system needs to get cracked down on.

Immigrants with IQs over 130 can come in any numbers they want, but that would be a tiny fraction of current immigration.

Alan H May 27, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Rahul,

Why is it difficult for you to sympathize with the displaced US programmer? In Pakistan, the act of being displaced by an Indian programmer, and then his relatives, is enough to cause riots. Do you not understand why?

Rahul May 27, 2013 at 12:54 pm

@asdf

If you argue that H1B’s are bad for the company and its shareholders, that’s fine but that’s better resolved via corporate activism. This is just one of many ways a bad CEO of a megacorp can screw his decaying company and legislating it away with immigration law is hardly the solution. BTW, I somewhat agree with you about the iffy quality / cheap labor aspect of a big chunk of the run-of-the-mill, body-shopper provided H1B’s but the problem with painting with a broad brush is that you’ll tar the lot of genuinely good H1B’s too. Keep in mind that a fantastic German robotics engineer that, say, Google needs to employ is also (most likely) an H1B.

Even American billionaires might conceivably be loyal to you, fight in wars aside you (theoretically) and all those other things you mention. I’m less sympathetic to an $80,000-a-year programmers whining in the same vein as I am skeptical about a billionaire complaining his taxes went up and life is now just so hard to live.

The bottom genuinely doesn’t have options and needs a safety net. I can’t say that about a well earning programmer.

asdf May 27, 2013 at 6:36 pm

“Keep in mind that a fantastic German robotics engineer that, say, Google needs to employ is also (most likely) an H1-B.”

Anyone who is that good could probably be caught by an IQ test or some other matching criteria. Other industrialized countries use point systems and restrict immigration to people they actually need as opposed to people competing on price. We could still get all of the important H1-Bs while actually reducing the size of the H1-B program.

“Even American billionaires might conceivably be loyal to you, fight in wars aside you (theoretically) and all those other things you mention.”

That’s a nice theory, but like most theories on this website it has zero to do with the actual reality in which we are living.

Peter Schaeffer May 28, 2013 at 1:06 am

Rahul,

The problem with the H1-B program is the element of indentured servitude and the extent to which a handful of firms exploit the system. When Hillary Clinton joke about the ‘Senator from Punjab’ she was telling the truth about all of the money she collected from firms staffed mostly / entirely with H1-Bs.

See “”(D-Punjab)” — Funny dig or low blow?”. A few quotes

“At the fundraiser hosted by Dr Rajwant Singh at his Potomac, Maryland, home, and which raised nearly $50,000 for her re-election campaign, Clinton began by joking that, ‘I can certainly run for the Senate seat in Punjab and win easily,’ after being introduced by Singh as the Senator not only from New York but also Punjab. ”

“(ITPAA), an advocacy group based in Wilmington, Delaware representing professionals in the high-tech field has handed out its first Weasel Award of 2005 to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D – NY). The organization, representing over 1,200 IT professionals nationwide, presents this award to business and political leaders that it believes betrays the trust of the American people….The ITPAA based its award on Indian press reports of Sen. Clinton supporting outsourcing and assuring political and business leaders in India that the US would not attempt to save the jobs lost.”

As you know, I favor a points based immigration system biased towards (very) high skill immigrants. They should be admitted as LPRs (Legal Permanent Residents – what used to be called Green Card status). After the requisite number of years, they should be eligible for citizenship.

Rahul May 28, 2013 at 1:39 am

@Peter Schaeffer

Your’s is a good idea. Yes, the current allocation mode is stupid.

The only part that might be tricky is defining “(very) high skill immigrants”. Especially when you have a lowly DHS paper pusher rule on these things. He probably has a degree in English Lit. (if you are lucky)

The Bachelor May 27, 2013 at 7:33 am

OMG

Is this seriously your answer; “problaly isnt worse off”

You just assume that an extra 1million jobs get created, and that it will have no kind of effect on wages.

Here is another scenario: Bill will have an even harder time finding a new job since the competion is just a lot harder, because the 1 million pakistanis havent been followed by one million extra jobs.

If your actually right in the magically creation of 1 million jobs whenever 1 million unskilled immigrants arrive, then I have another question; howcome we have any kind of uemployment and no kind of “Strong income gains”, among the many unskilled people already in america.

Bill living in Kansas is unemployd, and with no qualification, and no job is created.
Mohammed is arriving at JFK Airport today, without any qualifications (and with no money), and suddenly one extra jobs get created.

What course on the MR University can make me understand the this immigrant-magic that you belive in ?

And does it work the other way around as well. So that if Bill moves to Pakistan then he will alså get a job. You know; if everybode just moved to another country, then unemployment would disappear.

JStC May 27, 2013 at 11:18 pm

a moratorium on immigration/importing people is appropriate at this time and for a while

Jack Hanson May 27, 2013 at 8:35 pm

Based off of what? A mid-sized blogger’s educated guess?

What happens when Bill doesn’t get a job? Do you just shrug your shoulders and go back to the drawing board?

Anon. May 26, 2013 at 1:40 pm

There isn’t an extra million people though, they just moved countries.

Peter Schaeffer May 26, 2013 at 3:36 pm

“There isn’t an extra million people though, they just moved countries.”

So a billion people living in India have just as much impact on the U.S. economy living in India, as they would if they moved here?

ChrisA May 26, 2013 at 10:16 pm

“So a billion people living in India have just as much impact on the U.S. economy living in India, as they would if they moved here?”

Peter, I think that arguing this way you are weakening your case. The world is not standing still. You can be sure that eventually a clever capitalist will find a way to take advantage of them, and in which case they will be competing with American workers. But this is just the lump of labor fallacy all over again. On a pure GDP basis it is easy to show it would actually be good for Americans if these people were able to more productive right now by moving them to a more amenable area such as the US. Of course there will be effects on local employment, but not doing so is like not using the mechanical shovel in the garage to build your road, and using spades instead. Those people exist and not trying to figure out how to use them is just a silly as not driving the digger out of the garage.

Simply put, if you can get other people to work for you at a lower cost than today workers, you are better off.

There is a case of immigration restrictions, which Tyler has previously identified. You don’t want to move the people to a more facilitative environment to get better productivity if as a result, their effect on that facilitative environment results in a loss of output, so in other words the benefits that the new immigrants bring in lower cost labor is not compensated by the externalities that excessive immigration brings. For instance that the new immigrants are less favorable to free market policies. This can be managed perhaps by being more selective in the type of immigrants accepted. In Canada the conservative party for instance are being very successful with the new immigrants, in contrast to the US where the more conservative party is being less successful. If I were an immigrant restrictionist, that’s where I would pitch my argument, not that immigrants cost Americans jobs (which is actually a plus) but that immigrants have the risk to change the culture to a less free one.

Peter Schaeffer May 26, 2013 at 11:42 pm

CA,

“You can be sure that eventually a clever capitalist will find a way to take advantage of them, and in which case they will be competing with American workers”

Perhaps. However, trade and immigration are drastically different. Trade doesn’t crush the job prospects of workers in non-tradable sectors, Immigration does. Trade doesn’t impose fantastic welfare costs on Americans. Immigrations does. Trade doesn’t wreck public schools. Immigration does. Trade doesn’t kill the American dream by making housing unaffordable. Immigration does. Trade doesn’t make gridlock a universal norm. Immigration does. Trade doesn’t import a large high-crime population into the United States. Immigration does. Trade doesn’t shred American social cohesion. Immigration does. Trade doesn’t undermine national unity. Immigration does.

“But this is just the lump of labor fallacy all over again.”

When unemployment / underemployment gets back to where it was in 2000 we can talk. Not until then. When male labor force participation gets back to where it was in 1950 (or even 1980) we can talk. Not until then.

“n a pure GDP basis it is easy to show it would actually be good for Americans”

Immigration raises total output (assuming full employment) in the U.S. Immigration reduced the GDP of the existing American people and makes them poorer.

“Simply put, if you can get other people to work for you at a lower cost than today workers, you are better off. ”

So cheap labor will make America into an economic paradise? Like India I suppose. Madness.

Remember, cheap labor isn’t cheap. It’s taxpayer funded labor making the vast majority of Americans poorer even if we assume full employment.

matt May 27, 2013 at 9:56 am

That immigrants cost Americans their jobs is a plus? Up is the new down.

Matt May 26, 2013 at 2:50 pm

If Bill would only “not be worse off” and “may have a new “complementary” job” (if it actually exists and unless it goes to a migrant, which is not, let’s be frank, particularly more or less likely than another hypothetical job emerging in the case of outsourcing), then…

Why should he deal with all the hidden hedonic costs of having to live with a bunch of Pakistanis, as revealed by preferences (white flight, the fact that migration is generally opposed by people who are faced with the prospect of living amongst more low skilled immigrants, that people enjoy their present national sense of community and this represents a public good which is trashed by migration, etc)?

It’s nice to point that yes, outsourcing is a real thing, so unskilled labor faces competition other than from migrant workers in the same country, but you can’t phrase unskilled workers (in your estimation) not being worse off economically, while dismissing everything else that contributes to a unskilled worker’s good (and is probably damaged by migration of “unskilled workers” from poor countries… a lot more than “political costs”), as some kind of argument in favor of migration. It is rhetorically dishonest, if nothing else.

david j michel jr. May 26, 2013 at 3:28 pm

yes!

david j michel jr. May 26, 2013 at 3:23 pm

you said it the way i wish I could.

Ali Choudhury May 26, 2013 at 1:24 pm

I’d have thought mechanisation and technological advancements would be largely responsible for the downward pressure. I’m not sure industries like construction, food service, transportation and house-keeping\cleaning are particularly tradeable or out-sourceable.

john personna May 26, 2013 at 3:30 pm

There are certainly examples which demonstrate technology displacing jobs, even in house-keeping\cleaning. With floor buffers, vacuum cleaners, and etc. I’m sure the “cleaners per square foot” has fallen esp. over the last century. For this reason I’m not sure I like the forceful distinction “trade-not-automation.”

Greg Ransom May 26, 2013 at 1:39 pm

“What about non-tradeables” … what about anything relevant to what anyone has ever argued?

This is just another very crappy argument that misrepresents the issues and arguments on the table.

Teenage-age Rothbard anarchism plus Koch money = unending intellectual embarrassment on the issues of citizenship, membership rules, nation states, immigration, and the culture of successful liberal polities.

For God’s sake, the Koch funded open borders Rothbardian anarchists can’t even address the arguments of Julian Simon and Milton Friedman and others on welfare state resource transfers, corporate rent seeking and open borders.

As I say, it’s intellectual embarrassment all the way down.

anon May 26, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Teenage-age Rothbard anarchism plus Koch money

These are very, very sophisticated arguments that are humbling in their detail and rigor.

And they have totally proven your point about intellectual embarrassment all the way down.

Joe Anon May 27, 2013 at 9:54 am

Hi Tyler.

DPG May 26, 2013 at 1:46 pm

“The evidence suggests that the negative wage pressures on unskilled labor…come more from outsourcing and trade than from immigration.”

So why pile on? If the differential in wages is so great that companies will move their factories to Asia, then living standards for low-wage Americans are unsustainable, and we probably shouldn’t bring in more people who are going to succumb to that fate.

“The United States will lose the complementary jobs as well, such as the truck driver who brings cafeteria snacks to the call center.”

Mexican immigrants don’t work in call centers. They work on farms, construction sites, and in kitchens. Most of the improvement in economic outcomes for Mexican immigrants occurs in the 2nd generation, presumably because those kids went to US schools and learned English. There are very few complementary jobs for pure unskilled labor besides public advocacy. The one area we’d have complementary jobs is manufacturing, but that horse seems to be out of the barn already.

“maybe more net tax revenue too.”

I wonder what a prediction market would say about that. <10%?

"the individuals themselves have greater choice as to where to spend their lives and build their careers."

And native citizens have fewer choices about where they can purchase a home and send their kids to school.

"If FPE is going to happen, you still might want to have it happen with more of those jobs inside your country."

Like I said, why would we want to hasten this in our own country? The only jobs where outsourcing/FPE hasn't already occurred are the ones that require geographic proximity.

This post was even weaker than I expected.

KLO May 26, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Immigration has very clearly had an impact on youth unemployment that economists have ignored. Seasonal work that used to be performed exclusively by high school and college students (lifeguarding, landscaping, hospitality work at beaches and resorts, etc.) has been turned over to immigrants who can work longer seasons, can be paid illegally low wages, and who are easier to recruit in large blocks. So, yeah, for young workers, immigration is a disaster.

Larry Siegel May 27, 2013 at 6:58 pm

This is a valid point, not because the young Americans need the money (although some do) but because this kind of work is where they learn how to work. Instead of pleasing the teacher, they need to please the boss and the customer. It’s a different mind-set, one that cannot be taught by spending the extra hours in school or playing video games.

Daniel May 27, 2013 at 9:17 pm

>>>not because the young Americans need the money

No Larry, Americans do need the money. What world do you live in?

Peter May 26, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Some argue that Mexican immigrants have to a large degree displaced black Americans in the workforce. Is there likely any truth to this?

Peter Schaeffer May 26, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Peter,

“Some argue that Mexican immigrants have to a large degree displaced black Americans in the workforce. Is there likely any truth to this?”

Yes. Numerous studies show direct black removal from the labor force by immigration. For example, see

Immigration and African-American Employment Opportunities: The Response of Wages, Employment, and Incarceration to Labor Supply Shocks by George J. Borjas, Jeffrey Grogger, Gordon H. Hanson

The employment rate of black men, and particularly of low-skill black men, fell precipitously from 1960 to 2000. At the same time, the incarceration rate of black men rose markedly. This paper examines the relation between immigration and these trends in black employment and incarceration. Using data drawn from the 1960-2000 U.S. Censuses, we find a strong correlation between immigration, black wages, black employment rates, and black incarceration rates. As immigrants disproportionately increased the supply of workers in a particular skill group, the wage of black workers in that group fell, the employment rate declined, and the incarceration rate rose. Our analysis suggests that a 10-percent immigrant-induced increase in the supply of a particular skill group reduced the black wage by 3.6 percent, lowered the employment rate of black men by 2.4 percentage points, and increased the incarceration rate of blacks by almost a full percentage point.

mb May 26, 2013 at 2:56 pm

This is really a general rule, not just for low skill labor. IT off shoring took off when the H1B limits went back to 65000 in 2004. The funny thing I find about all these debates is the notion you can keep jobs here and just for Americans – just silly.

Gary S May 26, 2013 at 4:30 pm

What about more visas for doctors, lawyers, and bankers then? What about the limited labor marker mobility of those on a visa? Have you ever worked in an IT department?

Your knowledge of this topic – just silly.

mb May 26, 2013 at 4:46 pm

I have worked in IT for 20 years. Do you think you don’t compete with Indians and Chinese since they don’t have a visa? You really think visas protect you? You are silly.

Gary S May 26, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Thank you for answering my third question (the first two remain unanswered). I wonder where you work in IT and if your current position is in any way challenged by visas (like programming, not sales). These days, the money is where the licensing and campaign contributions are. Creating wealth and expecting to be paid in proportion to one’s productivity – just silly.

westie May 28, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Here’s a problem for our dimwitted economist to solve; how do we outsource these jobs; politicians, lobbyist, non-profit managers, un-news reporters, TV drones/pundits, Labor leaders, community agitators and especially the worthless Academics?

Joe May 26, 2013 at 3:06 pm

> negative wage pressures on unskilled labor… come more from
> outsourcing and trade than from immigration

No kidding. One of the things I have to remind people, when I discuss immigration with them, is that we wouldn’t be having this immigration debate *at all* if we could cheaply put lettuce fields onto planes/trains/ships and send them down to Mexico to be picked, and then have the work-product shipped back. To put it another way: when its feasible to just send the work *to* the cheap labor, we do just that, and we don’t hear a hue and cry from the redneck south about them taking American jobs. It’s only when the material to be worked is unwieldy (like a huge farm, say) when we hear the uproar.

The take-away from this is that the protests from the populous are *not* really about foreigners “stealing American jobs”, or we’d see the same indignation about outsourcing as we see about illegal immigration. It’s about something else. I have my own opinions about what that “something else” is, but that’s another discussion.

ivvenalis May 26, 2013 at 3:17 pm

No, go ahead, tell us what that *something else* is. What, all those proles don’t like their communities turning in to Mexico North? I agree, that’s pretty evil.

Peter Schaeffer May 26, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Joe,

Close the border and lettuce will still be grown in the U.S. It will simply be picked by machines rather than illegals. Machines that don’t impose the overwhelmingly massive externalities of low-skill immigrants.

See “The Worker Next Door By BARRY R. CHISWICK” in the New York Times. Quote

“A farmer who grows winter iceberg lettuce in Yuma County, Ariz., was asked on the ABC program “Nightline” in April what he would do if it were more difficult to find the low-skilled hand harvesters who work on his farm, many of whom are undocumented workers. He replied that he would mechanize the harvest. Such technology exists, but it is not used because of the abundance of low-wage laborers. In their absence, mechanical harvesters — and the higher skilled (and higher wage) workers to operate them — would replace low-skilled, low-wage workers”

Read it all.

Anthony May 26, 2013 at 9:20 pm

we don’t hear a hue and cry from the redneck south about them taking American jobs

Yes, yes we do. But neither the Republican Party nor the Democrat Party bother to listen. In the case of immigration, at least some of the Republicans do listen.

Peter Schaeffer May 26, 2013 at 11:57 pm

Joe,

There is intense opposition to ‘free’ trade in much of America. You don’t hear about it because it’s not PC. The media is dominated by faith-based Flat Earth believers, such as Thomas Friedman. Rank-and-file Democrats are very concerned about trade issues. Democratic elites have drunk the cosmopolitan Kool-Aid. Quote from a well known Democrat

“And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

According to this Democrat, the ‘bitter clingers’ are just deluding themselves about trade and immigration devastating their lives.

The Republicans are just as bad if not worse. Bush was obsessed with ‘free’ trade deals. He even tried to blackmail Congress into passing trade deals after McCain was defeated in 2008. A useful point is that the Republicans most rabid about trade are typically the ones most in favor of Open Borders. That’s not a coincidence. Outsource every possible American job and replace the remaining jobs with immigrants. The George Bush economic policy in a nutshell. Of course, Obama is actually quite different. Save for the ‘bitter clingers’ line he has the same policies, but doesn’t boast about it.

If you want some insight into this topic, check the Foreign Policy polling data. Year after year, the biggest schisms between elite opinion and public opinion are always trade and immigration.

Careless May 27, 2013 at 1:59 am

Well, bush did have the politically brilliant but despised by economists steel tariff bit.

albatross May 28, 2013 at 11:04 am

Just as an aside, labeling arguments by team (liberal, libtard, redneck, etc.) is a pretty strong signal about whether you’re interested in engaging in the meat of the arguments.

No doubt, there are people who oppose unlimited immigration because they hate nonwhites. No doubt, there are people who support it because they want a seven-billion-person reserve army of the unemployed to keep wages right above starvation level. But since there are people proposing other arguments here and now that have nothing to do with your favorite flavor of villain, maybe it would be better to engage *those* arguments.

Tyler’s argument, as I understand it, is that for a lot of the jobs immigrants are taking in the US, the alternative isn’t Americans getting those jobs, it’s foreigners getting them when the work is outsourced. In that case, we might be better off allowing immigration into the US to bid down wages for those jobs, so that at least we keep the production in the US and get as much of the benefits of it as possible.

Peter’s response, as I understand it, is that many bottom tier jobs actually impose net costs to the American people as a whole, because of health care and other social services that are provided pretty broadly. If that is true, then importing a lot of immigrant to keep low-wage manufacturing jobs here may be importing costs rather than benefits. We’re not willing to let the working poor fall to third-world levels of poverty in our own country because that level of poverty is both ugly and dangerous for the rest of the country. We have these poverty programs for a reason. That means that the choice isn’t between workings making $X per hour here or in Guatemala, it’s between them getting a total compensation of $X+K per hour here or $X in Guatemala, where taxpayers kick in the $K/hour to keep the standard of living above third-world poverty levels.

(Tyler/Peter please tell me if I missed your point.)

There are other arguments floating around (not all jobs can be outsourced, but many that seem hard to outsource may just be one innovation away from it), plenty of things to engage with. Why not choose one and try to engage with it?

Peter Schaeffer May 28, 2013 at 3:14 pm

@albatross,

“That means that the choice isn’t between workings making $X per hour here or in Guatemala, it’s between them getting a total compensation of $X+K per hour here or $X in Guatemala, where taxpayers kick in the $K/hour to keep the standard of living above third-world poverty levels.”

That’s pretty much on track for tradable goods. Keeping the jobs here via low-skill immigration is a losing proposition if $K is material (and $K is quite large in practice). However, the other (actually bigger) point is that most (by far) low-skill immigrants don’t work in producing tradable goods or services.

However, even if $K was zero, the gains from retaining low-skill jobs producing tradables are (in theory) quite small. All of standard studies of the economics of immigration (based on theoretical models that assume full employment) show that the net gains to natives are tiny (0.1-0.2% of GDP). Of course, those theoretical models leave out welfare transfers ($K) and assume full employment. Once you get away from theoretical models (and consider the reality of unemployment, taxes, etc.) the numbers start looking drastically worse.

See my comments at May 26, 2013 at 4:44 pm and May 26, 2013 at 4:02 pm for some summaries of the arguments.

Note that other folks have pointed out that we can’t get jobs from Guatemala via low-skill immigration because of the U.S. minimum wage. They are correct. That means that the predominant impact of low-skill immigration must be on wages and employment in the low-skill non-tradables sector.

ivvenalis May 26, 2013 at 3:14 pm

How about: outsourcing, although it reduces labor costs to firms, tends has a *negative externality* in that it lowers the wages of American workers. The US government could then levy a *Pigouvian tax* on goods produced with outsourced labor in order to compensate for this!

Perhaps with the extra revenue raised with this tax scheme, the government could even lower income tax rates on its citizens?

Tom West May 26, 2013 at 3:45 pm

But isn’t the lower prices due to out-sourcing a *positive* externality for Americans?

For better or worse, we’re kind of used to prices of tradeable goods being a fraction of what they were 30 years ago. Remember when most middle-class families had a sewing machine?

Millian May 26, 2013 at 6:20 pm

An externality is an impact on third parties that don’t participate in the market. Since American workers participate in the labour market, this isn’t an externality, it’s a price/supply signal.

S May 26, 2013 at 3:21 pm

How exactly is farm labor, construction work, food processing, day labor, table bussing, dish washing, lawn mowing, house cleaning….and all of the other low skilled manual labor jobs that Mexican immigrants do going to be outsourced to Asia anyway?

david j michel jr. May 26, 2013 at 3:31 pm

could not print the truth,could you just like a libtard,not your montra!

quadrupole May 26, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Think about this from an employers point of view.

Bill and his friends grew up in the US with many greater opportunities to be more than low skill than the one million Pakastanis. Each of those one million Pakastanis had enough get up and go to immigrate half way around the world to work.

Evaluating potential hires is hard and expensive.

So if presented with Bill or one of those one million Pakastanis, who would you expect to have higher intelligence, conscientiousness, work ethic, and make better decisions on average?

Bill and his friends have been through the great American labor sorting machine (one of the most efficient in the world and put in the bottom bucket. The Pakastanis have gone through a much less efficient labor sort in Pakastan and then been put through the immigrate to America sort.

Which labor bucket would you hire from?

Matt May 27, 2013 at 7:29 am

Probably Bill and his mates.

One of these groups has been pushed and has responded by bailing out of his situation, rather than trying to improve it where they are. They may also have used illegal means to escape their country, which demonstrates moral flexibility and a disregard for national sovereignty (essentially a kind of ownership and property rights).

The other has not really been pushed, so has understandably taken a relaxed attitude to life, and cultivated themselves as a person rather than responded by meaningless striving and accumulation obsession. That’s someone I could work with and who I would expect to be more intelligent and make far better decisions.

Once the push on the group of non-Bills subsides, they probably won’t have any more get up and go than Bill, but probably will be ethically lax and respond to threats by bailing themselves out of their situation and abandoning their workplaces.

Note to Americans : Being a migrant or settler does not imply good character. Or ability. At all.

Karen May 28, 2013 at 5:38 pm

How smart does Bill have to be to do the job in question? And his English is probably easier for the employer to deal with than the Pakistanis’ English.

My daughter is in law school now and she just had a crappy course with an unintelligible foreign teacher. She had unintelligible foreign teachers in high school and undergrad, too. I go to the post office and have trouble being understood by foreign clerks. I don’t understand why these jobs are going to foreigners. In the case of the teachers, its a big disservice to the students. Its contempt for the students, really. In the case of the postal clerks, I do not understand why foreigners are getting post office jobs in a time of high unemployment.

Peter Schaeffer May 26, 2013 at 4:02 pm

There is some fairly deep hypocrisy at work here. For years (perhaps decades) we have been told how ‘outsourcing is good for us’ and ‘outsourcing is like trade, that only will only make us richer’.

Now we are told that if we limit low-skill immigration some additional jobs might be outsourced? What ever happened to outsourcing being good for us? Now its not?

Of course, we have heard all this before. “Free trade” is wonderful, unless it’s trade in farm products, produced by immigrants, in which case it’s a crime against humanity.

Consistency isn’t a strong point of the Open Borders crowd.

Basically, you have to choose. You can use a General Equilibrium (GE) model which assumes full employment of all resources or a non-equilibrium model where resources (notably labor) remain idle.

If you use a GE model, then restricting low-skill immigration will reduce total employment in the U.S. but the assumption of full employment remains operative. In a GE model, the gains (to natives) from complementary immigration are offset against the wage effects, income distribution effects, tax effects (very large), and other adverse externalities (failing schools, housing, gridlock, etc.). Any realistic GE model is going to show that the negatives dwarf the positives from almost all Americans.

If you don’t use a GE model, then low-skill immigration is a disaster as natives leave the labor force, wages fall, taxes rise, housing becomes unaffordable, schools decline, etc.

Of late, a non-GE model would appear to be closer to reality.

Either way it’s a bad deal. However, using a GE model when it’s convenient and something closer to the real world when it’s not, is simply wrong.

Philo May 26, 2013 at 4:16 pm

When you write, “from an economic point of view,” do you mean to consider only the benefits *to American citizens*? If you took into account the benefits to the would-be immigrants, the case for open immigration would be more than just “strong.”

mike May 26, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Have you thought about going to another country and shilling for open borders there? After all, you’re likely to have a larger marginal effect there given that the USA has de facto open borders already.

Steve Sailer May 26, 2013 at 6:54 pm

I’d contribute to a fund to pay for Tyler and Bryan Caplan to tour Israel to promote Open Borders: “Mr. Netanyahu, tear down this fence!”

Rahul May 27, 2013 at 7:13 am

And boy, how many would contribute to a fund to make Sailer just shut up.

Alan H May 27, 2013 at 12:45 pm

You wouldn’t need the ‘many’ to contribute. The oligarchs would foot the entire bill gladly, wouldn’t they?

msgkings May 27, 2013 at 2:06 pm

The fact that they don’t or haven’t just shows how little the ‘oligarchs’ care about Sailer’s endless, tiresome quest.

FWG May 27, 2013 at 5:17 pm

I do just the opposite. :)

albatross May 27, 2013 at 5:41 pm

What a pity Sailer isn’t working for one of those bastions of intellectual integrity and holdouts against political correctness like the Heritage institute. Because then, oligarchs would be in a fine position to shut him up.

Ted Plank May 28, 2013 at 3:05 am

I see more and more people talking about Steve Sailer, all across the board. I’ve been following him for a few years, and am beginning to hear other people bringing him up, unprompted. It’s like the Underground Railroad.

People are tired of the brainwashing. Somebody that speaks the plain truth with good humor and statistics and examples to back it up seems really profound. Which is sad.

Rahul May 28, 2013 at 7:32 am

@Ted

Your observation about Sailer isn’t very surprising in a historical context; people were never really a big fan of subtlety and nuanced explanations. Lots of Sailerisque personalities have gained fan followings at various times in history.

So long as your explanations are simple, you tap veins of widespread discontent, and you give people a class or cause to blame / hate for all their troubles (e.g. immigrants / blacks etc.). That sort of strategy has traditionally been a very well tested recipe for successful demagoguery. If you add in some humor, some working-class empathy, a smattering of cherry-picked statistics to couch your arguments in academic respectability, all the more better.

For most people, it is easier to deal with hardship when you can blame it on something or someone.

Again, it’s sad but it doesn’t surprise me.

highly_adequate May 27, 2013 at 9:24 pm

I can’t even begin to understand this sort of argument, which implies that we must consider the good of potential immigrants as if it should be of equal concern to us, as American citizens, as is our own good.

Look, there’s every reason to believe that if we were to offer to potential immigrants a place in our country accompanied with a strong commitment to offering the full enjoyment of the benefits we extend to our own citizens, and made sure that they understood that their entire families would be welcome as well and under the same promise, then they would come by the hundreds of millions, if not well over a billion. And there’s little doubt that their lives would indeed be materially improved, because of their current abject poverty.

The only people who would suffer under this scheme would be today’s Americans, whose material existences would be reduced to something close to penury in order to support these new immigrants.

Does anybody in their right mind truly believe that that is something we are obliged to bring about? Do the advocates of Open Borders?

If we say no, we aren’t obliged to sacrifice ourselves like that, then we are admitting to a very basic moral truth: there is a limit to how much we need consider the benefits of potential immigrants. And, once we’ve admitted to that truth, then the question must arise: how can we be sure that we haven’t already exceeded the limit of our obligations? How do we know that even the current rate of immigration isn’t too much for us to be obliged to sustain? Why not believe that we should cut that rate — perhaps even to zero — given the obligations we have already incurred by previous immigration?

Open Borders, as a policy and a philosophy, strikes me as little more than a prolonged exercise in avoiding these obvious moral questions and difficulties.

Peter Schaeffer May 29, 2013 at 12:36 pm

@HA,

“Does anybody in their right mind truly believe that that is something we are obliged to bring about? Do the advocates of Open Borders? ”

Yes to all of those questions. That’s what they truly believe. Crazy, in my view of course.

marcyd May 26, 2013 at 4:53 pm

This article is full of canards that are used to divide the poorest people in society, a tactic that goes right the way back to the Jim Crow divide-and-rule black sharecroppers against rural whites. The fact is, businesses are not paying fair wages. This puts a huge load on to the welfare system, at a time when CEOs are awarding themselves obscene wage increases. People are trapped in poverty because we have a bunch of psychopaths running big corporations and another cabal of them in government, letting them. People need to see who the real enemy is. And understand why they are where they are, and in fact how much they have in common with the immigrant next door, who is usually even more poverty stricken than them.

One day we’ll have heads on pikes in payment for this state of affairs, and things will change, but it will get a lot worse before then, in ways we can’t yet imagine. But a change will come.

Reading this blog post has made me question my subscription to this blog. I originally subscribed because I found it thought provoking, but to be perfectly honest I could read this bullshit 24/7 in all the media outlets.

mike May 26, 2013 at 4:57 pm

After reading this comment I expected the username to be a link to a korean website selling fake rolexes.

marcyd May 26, 2013 at 6:10 pm

I’m not sure what your incoherent retort means, Michael. There’s a direct link between austerity politics and anti immigrant hysteria.

mike May 26, 2013 at 7:42 pm

The thrust of it was that your comment resembled the generic spambot copypasta that usually comes with a link to BUY
CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN SANDALS or MY WIFE MADE $7,592 LAST MONTH WORKING FROM HOME

But yeah, your theory that corporate elites gin up “anti-immigrant hysteria” explains why the Chamber of Commerce and all these big corporate CEOs are pouring money into anti-amnesty organizations like…

Tyler COWEN May 26, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Most of you don’t understand the theory very well.

Steve Sailer May 26, 2013 at 7:04 pm

Presumably, this isn’t the real Tyler, but the parody version sums up his argument well: stop noticing facts and pay more attention to my theory!

Steve Sailer May 26, 2013 at 7:18 pm

Let’s consider a real world case. My teenage nephew is currently visiting us from his home in a small town in the Midwest. The question naturally comes up: Would it be wise for him to someday move to California? He’s a multi-talented kid well above average in intelligence and work ethic. (He’s finished dozens of home repair projects for us that I lack the skill to do.) On the other hand, he’s not quite as smart as Mark Zuckerberg or as handsome as Ryan Gosling, so he’s unlikely to conquer Silicon Valley or Hollywood.

Fifty years ago, in 1963, the question would have been a no-brainer: Of course you should move to California! The weather is great, the cost of living is no higher than the Midwest, and the opportunities are bountiful. Today, though, it’s very different. California is a great place to be Zuckerberg or Gosling, but for more average Americans, the cost of a middle class life (i.e., a house with a yard in a decent school district) is enormous, pay is not high, and numerous career paths are now biased in favor of various immigrant ethnicities.

Now, you may say, what about the 180,000,000 Pakistanis living in the hell hole that is Pakistan? Why are you biased in favor of your American citizen nephew?

Because he’s my nephew and he’s my fellow American citizen. The Pakistanis should stay home and fix up their own country.

Claudia May 26, 2013 at 7:41 pm

Oooh, dueling anecdotes, I want to play.

My engineer brother grew up in the Midwest and now works happily in California at a biotech startup. He worked at a few big pharma firms in the Midwest (he’s not much a traveler) but he did not like them at all. Too bureaucratic, too slow, too many people not doing anything except making it hard for him to do his job. Both his jobs in the Bay Area were the exact opposite (and filled with plenty of non-US born workers) and despite the cost of living and being far from family, he’s done really well in California.

Generalizing a bit … we need immigrants. They are an important source (not the only source, for sure) of innovation. Who breaks down outdated/bureaucratic systems and thinking? New people, outsiders … not the people who built and succeeded in the status quo. Balance is important, since progress driven by the few, whoever they are, is not going to be sustainable. But I think there is a strong economic argument for immigration. And it is a testament to what we are doing right that people want to give up their lives and move here. Kind of like my brother moving to the land of hippies.

mike May 26, 2013 at 7:48 pm

Keep shouting it! DIVERSITY IS OUR GREATEST STRENGTH! LOUDER!!! DIVERSITY IS OUR GREATEST STRENGTH!!!!! KILL WHI- wait, don’t actually say that last part. DIVERSITY IS OUR GREATEST STRENGTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Claudia May 26, 2013 at 7:54 pm

I gave a real-life example, you need to have an anecdote or you cannot play in this round. Go join a “theory” conversation upstream, kay.

Rahul May 27, 2013 at 11:39 am

I’m impressed how you keep engaging the dregs of the comment barrel……..

jerseycityjoan May 27, 2013 at 7:07 pm

But Claudia, your nephew is clealy no average person, worker or income producter.

The pointw being made were how California is no longer the place to be for an average person and why.

Offering up an example of somebody who works in start-ups cannot prove a point for you in this particular discussion. In fact, it works against you.

Jack Hanson May 27, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Steve brings up an average teenager, and you bring up a big pharma exec?

I think that makes the point perfectly about the people shouting for more immigration being totally out of touch with what’s happening on the ground.

Claudia May 28, 2013 at 6:44 am

It’s my brother and he is not an exec, he’s an engineer. He (and I) grew up middle class in the Midwest and he now lives in California. There were enough parallels to Steve’s example, I thought. In the past, I used the experiences of my other brother who works in farming. A commenter here compared me to Stalin, so I decided to go another route. This time I picked up Hitler. Good thing I don’t talk about what I do…

Another Claudia May 26, 2013 at 8:45 pm

I grew up in California and am old enough to remember what it was like before Regan’s 1986 amnesty. When still in high school and then during college, I had ample opportunity, even during the early 1980s recession, to find work in restaurants, hotels, tourism etc. to help support my education and my family (single mom with healthcare issues, younger siblings). At that point in my life, age 16 to 21, I did not yet have the skills or experience to qualify for higher paying jobs. (Since I’m a woman, my employment options were also more limited in that era than they are for women today, but let’s discount that.) Without jobs for the admittedly low-skilled worker I was at the time, my family would have been much worse off than it was, perhaps disastrously.

Today, almost all of the jobs I depended upon back then to earn basic sustenance now go to immigrants. A flood of the newly legalized will only increase the supply of labor for unskilled jobs, not just in California, but in other states as well. I can easily see the effect rippling outward to states beyond the Southwest.

Were my early 1983 family suddenly transported to 2013, what would it need to do to ensure its survival? Try to make a go of it on welfare, or load up our belongings in our 13-year-old car and migrate to North Dakota, like a 21st century Joad Family fleeing an economic dust bowl, hoping for a better life?

All because we put a flood of immigrants before American workers. Diversity? All for it. It DOES make a society more vibrant and, frankly, less boring. Explain to me, however, why creating conditions where a poor underclass from a single ethnicity can sweep in to displace the culture already there AND become the new majority, equals diversity?

Claudia May 26, 2013 at 10:09 pm

Claudia, I agree there has been real shift in work opportunities against those with less education and less work experience. When I think what many people (including in my immediate family) used to be able to accomplish with a high school diploma and hard work not that long ago, it is almost hard to believe. But ask yourself, if immigration had basically shut down in 1986 instead of opening up … what would have happened to those jobs you used to have? The US is a massive economy, but it is not insulated from developments around the globe. Alternatively, if you were starting out today would you make all the same choices? Immigrants are part of the economy, but they are not the only force of change. I completely understand why this is such a difficult policy … it’s like explaining to people with lots of interest-bearing assets why keeping interest rates low for years is a good policy. The ‘raise all boats’ argument may not be satisfying (esp. since it’s not an equal improvement), but I do think it is real and desirable. But these are all good questions you are asking…balance is tricky.

Peter Schaeffer May 27, 2013 at 12:12 am

C,

“But ask yourself, if immigration had basically shut down in 1986 instead of opening up … what would have happened to those jobs you used to have?”

They would still exist for people like Another Claudia. Why? The vast majority of immigrants don’t work in producing tradable goods. Instead they directly complete with the jobs that Another Claudia actually had (restaurants, hotels, tourism). If you read her post, you would know this.

The parts of the United States with few immigrants prove this point. From Barry Cheswick in “The Worker Next Door”

“Yet even in areas with few immigrants, grass is cut, groceries are bagged and hotel sheets are changed.”

From “The Nation: A New Order; Imagining Life Without Illegal Immigrants” by George Borjas

“But while the disruption would be real, Professor Borjas argues, it would not be long lasting. As proof, he says, look no further than places like Iowa, where foreign-born residents are relatively rare, but there are people working in hotels, fast-food restaurants and all the rest.”

“”The workers would be slightly wealthier and the employers would be slightly poorer, but everything would get done,” said Professor Borjas, who used to live in California. ”I moved to Boston and the lawn is still green.””

Some countries, notably Canada, Finland, and Australia do a better job of keeping low-skill immigrants out. The lawns are just as green and the local versions of Another Cluadia can actually get a job.

Claudia May 27, 2013 at 7:25 am

“Yet even in areas with few immigrants, grass is cut, groceries are bagged and hotel sheets are changed.”

My mom chatting with the bagger boys was a running source of embarrassment for me and my brothers as kids. when I go home now, an area with fewer immigrants than where I live. There are almost no baggers. You either do self-check out (technology has no nationality) or the check-out woman has a spinning bag contraption that lets her check out and bag. Sure at my grocery I get a bagger occasionally, but I pay for it in going to a nicer grocery store. people are not as fungible as money, but time would not have stood still with fewer immigrants either.

ChrisA May 26, 2013 at 10:56 pm

Another Claudia – the old system was perhaps better for you. But what about the people buying the services you were supplying? Presumably the reason that the service providers use immigrants is that they are lower cost. The lower cost means that more people are able to enjoy the services and products than would be true otherwise. For a full picture you have to look at both sides of the equation.

mike May 26, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Yes, what about this other hypothetical person? Sure, you were harmed, but what if this other hypothetical person gained? Wouldn’t that make you a horrible person for objecting to a policy that really specifically harmed you but may have hypothetically and theoretically harmed some other person/grey alien somewhere in the universe?

Peter Schaeffer May 27, 2013 at 12:14 am

CA,

“Another Claudia – the old system was perhaps better for you. But what about the people buying the services you were supplying?”

Imported cheap labor isn’t actually cheap. It’s taxpayer subsidized labor. Private profits. Public burdens. Gouging taxpayers for personal gain doesn’t increase economic efficiency, it reduces it.

westie May 28, 2013 at 3:01 pm

ChrisA, did you read Peter Schaeffer commentary? There are NO LOWER COST with immigrants, there are only transference of cost onto others (taxpayers) as well as social cost such as gang and crime increases. Please pay attention and read more Sailer and less Cowen!

Anthony May 26, 2013 at 9:43 pm

Low-skill immigrants aren’t the people that work at your brother’s biotech startup who are breaking down the outdated bureaucratic thinking of the big corporations.

The purely economic case for allowing high-skill immigration is pretty good – there are political and sociological reasons to limit it, but at the margin, a college-educated immigrant to the U.S. is probably a net benefit to the rest of the U.S. And if we miss a few people who would shake up sclerotic bureaucracies here in the U.S., it’s probably beneficial to everyone to have them shake up sclerotic bureaucracies in their home countries instead.

However, low-skill immigration into a generous welfare state is not going to be a net benefit to anyone other than the immigrants.

Claudia May 26, 2013 at 10:20 pm

“Low-skill immigrants aren’t the people that work at your brother’s biotech startup”

bzzz, wrong answer. my brother is an engineer and he works in the scale up to production. true, the more development folks are high-skill immigrants (and many US born), but the algae at the production sites seem to like a clean, well-maintained environment. I do not have the stats, but I’d be shocked if the cleaning crews and maintenance teams did not have some low/medium-skilled foreign born workers.

I am a little person in my job and I see all the time how a bunch of small tweaks or improvements add up. Sure some change comes at the top with a big vision, but it’s usually some low level tech who figures out what the heck the algae (or board members) are all fussy about. It’s easy to see the marginal impact of high-skilled workers (large in absolute value too) and to overlook the impact of the less skilled … a mistake, I think.

Finally, if this were a one-generation game, I might agree with you. But guess what many of those immigrants have kids and the following generations count too. I am pro-immigration, managed not open borders, but I think if it were only high-skilled immigration, I might change my mind.

mike May 26, 2013 at 11:11 pm

Yes, we need.. like… latino janitors.. because their children will be, like… algae entrepreneurs… no native born [white] person could ever see any problem with the beuracracy or whatever, we need butt naked savage immigrants to do that.. because I’m a dumb woman and I don’t know how to do my job but I know that I will keep my job as long as I parrot PC bullshit

Claudia May 26, 2013 at 11:17 pm

I see you are still having trouble with an anecdote …. at least you’re funny. Oh my.

mike May 26, 2013 at 11:20 pm

Its okay if the truth hurts Ma’am I don’t object to you I just object to your insane Hitlerian visions for my homeland.

Claudia May 26, 2013 at 11:26 pm

first I’m a “dumb woman” then I’m “Ma’am”? … If you want to win people over to you ideas, learn a modicum of civility. I fear you are as interested in the truth as in what I have to say (=not much).

mike May 26, 2013 at 11:40 pm

Sounds like your schizophrenic mind talking but I am going all in on algae futures, because I firmly believe that underrecruited black and hispanic biologists are on the verge of turning this technology into the next Facebook. Racism is a marktr failure. Sure, investors will continue to pour money into racist white/asian companies, but the market can’t stay irrational as long as we can stay recalcitrant.

Peter Schaeffer May 27, 2013 at 12:19 am

Claudia,

You need to read your own posts before submitting them. The low skill algae jobs are actually the ones our own people need. We have massive unemployment / underemployment. We have generations (yes, generations) of declining wages. We have stunning falls in labor force participation. The last thing we need to do is to import low-skill immigrants to take jobs that Americans need.

“Finally, if this were a one-generation game, I might agree with you. But guess what many of those immigrants have kids and the following generations count too”

Let’s get back to the ‘reality based community’ for a moment. From

“Honesty from the Left on Hispanic Immigration – A provocative new book doesn’t flinch from delivering the bad news”

John McCain and Barack Obama have largely avoided discussing immigration during the presidential campaign. But when it comes to the legal side of the issue, they both seem to support the status quo: an official policy centered around low-skilled, predominately Hispanic immigrants. A forthcoming book shows just how misguided that policy is, especially in light of the nation’s current economic woes. The Latino Education Crisis: The Consequences of Failed Social Policies, by Patricia Gandara and Frances Contreras, offers an unflinching portrait of Hispanics’ educational problems and reaches a scary conclusion about those problems’ costs. The book’s analysis is all the more surprising given that its authors are liberals committed to bilingual education, affirmative action, and the usual slate of left-wing social programs. Yet Gandara and Contreras, education professors at UCLA and the University of Washington, respectively, are more honest than many conservative open-borders advocates in acknowledging the bad news about Hispanic assimilation.

Hispanics are underachieving academically at an alarming rate, the authors report. Though second- and third-generation Hispanics make some progress over their first-generation parents, that progress starts from an extremely low base and stalls out at high school completion. High school drop-out rates—around 50 percent—remain steady across generations. Latinos’ grades and test scores are at the bottom of the bell curve. The very low share of college degrees earned by Latinos has not changed for more than two decades. Currently only one in ten Latinos has a college degree.”

Anthony May 27, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Claudia – there’s plenty of data which shows that the low-skill immigrants we’re getting these days have kid who don’t do as well as the immigrant generation.

The distribution of returns to capital vs returns to labor can be shifted a decent amount without significantly impacting overall growth rates; restricting immigration increases labor’s bargaining power which will result in greater returns to labor. We can probably increase labor’s share of the economy by 4 or 5 percent without significantly impacting growth, as the share has been that much higher in past high-growth periods. But if we keep importing more labor, capital’s relative bargaining power increases, and the stock market goes up while wages don’t.

Peter May 26, 2013 at 10:01 pm

“Who breaks down outdated/bureaucratic systems and thinking? New people, outsiders … not the people who built and succeeded in the status quo.”

I agree, but who are “the people” who succeeded in the status quo? Everyone who is young is a new person. Young Pakistanis are not “new people” anymore than young white males from Chicago are “new people”. Fresh blood is fresh blood. Anyway, this idea that ethnic “outsiders” will breakdown old outdated ideas is rather quickly becoming a rather old, outdated idea.

Another Claudia May 26, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Outsiders from a variety of backgrounds coming in—in reasonable numbers—and assimilating, becoming part of the community, enhancing and changing it in beneficial ways is one thing. Outsiders with a single, completely different culture, who come in and basically replace the existing culture with theirs, with little respect to the people already there is quite another. Especially when we’re talking about millions of newcomers who will take more from their hosts’ coffers than they put in.

You’re right, though, the outsider concept is not a new one. This dynamic has happened all over the world from the beginning of humanity, as one group has overrun another’s territory and eradicated the resident population, either through violent means or a surge in births, new household formation, etc.

It’s simply that for the existing culture, which has enjoyed a stable society and culture, the upheaval process is not altogether pleasant. No one really enjoys being overrun.

ivvenalis May 27, 2013 at 12:06 am

Maybe Pakistanis can shake up sclerotic Western notions about the age of consent or neolithic goat herding practices. After all, the alternative is a “stable society and culture”.

Claudia May 26, 2013 at 10:32 pm

Peter, of course, there are lots of people capable of being an ‘outside voice.’ Class is as powerful as ethnicity (one reason I think all-skill immigration is important). And yet, those who come from another culture can be particularly powerful influence.

I did not learn what it meant to be an American until I was an exchange student in Germany. I was grilled constantly (by people my age!) on our foreign policy, our treatment of African Americans, etc. A German civics teacher even tried to convince me there were 51 states in the US. My mom almost demanded I come home after that altercation, oh and that I was assigned to live with a single German guy not ten years older than me. By the time I came home from Berlin, I knew where I belonged and what I appreciated about the US. And this cultural lens has actually served me well in my subsequent jobs too.

One thing mainstream economics has a hard time with is institutions, but people know institutions. The other Claudia is right, there is a concern about saturation. There has to be some exchange/interaction for this diversity to matter. I think it does happen even if not as efficiently as some might like. I also have a hard time believing that this is so different now from past immigration waves … those turned out well, on balance.

Another Claudia May 26, 2013 at 11:17 pm

Claudia, I think your experience in Germany sounds like it was very instructive, and yes, I agree going “outside” your own to explore other cultures AND socio-economic groups is crucial to becoming a fair, well-rounded individual. I have family and friends in rural northern California who have never lived or even traveled extensively from home. It shows in their attitudes, which tend to be somewhat provincial and narrow. When I speak with them, I simply keep this in mind and don’t attempt to force ideas on them they don’t want to hear.

That said, I’m wondering if you grew up in Southern California, too, and are old enough to have tracked the stark differences in the area over the last three decades (i.e. crime, overcrowding, urban blight, gangs, drugs, violence, ever expanding poverty) that has occurred with the change in demographics. Southern California was ground zero for Reagan’s amnesty. I’m not going to be hypocritical; I’ll freely admit I loved growing up there amongst my own culture. Loved it. It was my home. And it was a paradise for middle class Americans with community after middle class community offering a wide range of safe, interesting places to live. The stories my parents, and now deceased grandparents, tell/have told of what it was like to live there during the 1890s to 1950s make the changes that have occurred even more pronounced.

L.A. is now quite different, with economic inequality a huge factor. You have concentrated enclaves of the very rich, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, La Canada, the Valley below the Boulevard, the rest of the Hollywood Hills, etc. Stray too far beyond those centers of privilege, though, and underclass has and continues to replace middle class.

If you want to see the effects large scale migration has on an area, particularly when it comes to differences in economics and the character of a place, I suggest you start there.

mike May 27, 2013 at 12:39 am

“I did not learn what it meant to be an American until I was an exchange student in Germany. I was grilled constantly (by people my age!) on our foreign policy, our treatment of African Americans, etc. A German civics teacher even tried to convince me there were 51 states in the US.”

This explains why you are such a headcase. It’s not hard to imagine how deranged a woman can get about her home country when her frame of reference is “how will i explain this to post-nazi schizophrenic germans”

Peter May 27, 2013 at 1:58 am

“Peter, of course, there are lots of people capable of being an ‘outside voice.’ Class is as powerful as ethnicity (one reason I think all-skill immigration is important).”

This is incredibly superficial. Can’t a bright, young, upper-middle class white guy from Dallas have an “outside voice” in American corporate culture? We are all outsiders when we are young. We shouldn’t have preconceived notions about what profile is most likely to engage in original thinking. When you flip racist thinking on its head you end right back up with more racist thinking, just in the opposite direction.

An “outside voice” is the product of an original mind, not an original skin-color. America, right now, is a diverse place. I’d say we are more in need now of playing catch-up in the assimilation game than we are in getting further ahead in the diversity game.

lk May 27, 2013 at 3:21 pm

“Generalizing a bit … we need immigrants. They are an important source (not the only source, for sure) of innovation. Who breaks down outdated/bureaucratic systems and thinking? New people, outsiders … not the people who built and succeeded in the status quo. Balance is important, since progress driven by the few, whoever they are, is not going to be sustainable. But I think there is a strong economic argument for immigration. And it is a testament to what we are doing right that people want to give up their lives and move here. Kind of like my brother moving to the land of hippies.”

Just…no.

Bill May 28, 2013 at 2:18 pm

I know people who live in that bubble (Caplan sense bubble, not financial sense bubble). You have to have both high skills and unusual preferences to be like your brother. A 1500 square foot house with a small yard in a good school district on the San Francisco peninsula can easily cost $1.5 million, though, to be fair, $1.2 million is more typical. Don’t believe me? Look at this sale pending listing.

Even after you impoverish yourself with house payments for your live-in closet, you get to live in communities which are like over-the-top parodies of Robert Putnam’s work. NoCal is certainly less disastrous than SoCal, but it’s still bad. CA is hemorrhaging white people for a reason.

And it’s not done getting worse. There is all kinds of inertia from when CA was a great place. Government agencies are still stocked with pretty honest, industrious, high ability midwestern and midwestern-descended white baby boomers. They are chomping at the bit to bolt the place, though. Over the next 20 years, that’s what they are going to do, too. All kinds of stuff the workings of which you just naturally take for granted will work progressively less well. What kind of a lunatic would, today, move to CA to teach in a public school? Work in a public works department? Be a lineman for the power company?

Sailer is not using proof by anecdote. He is using anecdote to illustrate the very well-know facts that 1) Americans largely don’t move to CA any more and 2) Americans move away from CA in a seemingly never ending torrent.

Rahul May 27, 2013 at 7:02 am

The biggest problem with Sailer’s argument is they envision an immigrant free world to be equal to their idyllic, Utopian 1960′s or whatever great days they’ve seen. Plenty of jobs, big cars, cheap oil, Californian land of dreams etc.

That’s absolutely not how it would look like. It’s the counter-factual that they get wrong.

Peter Schaeffer May 27, 2013 at 10:52 am

Rahul,

“The biggest problem with Sailer’s argument is they envision an immigrant free world to be equal to their idyllic, Utopian 1960′s or whatever great days they’ve seen. Plenty of jobs, big cars, cheap oil, Californian land of dreams etc.”

Finland and Iceland come close to what Steve is suggesting as a counter-factual. On all evidence, he is right. No cheap oil of course. However, the local economies aren’t doing badly and the level of social cohesion is unthinkably high by U.S. standards. No underclass in sight (imported or native) in either country.

The low immigrant states of the upper-Midwest provide another set of data points. They invariably top the list of U.S. states in every measure of social effectiveness (low unemployment, high real wages, health insurance, low crime, good schools, etc). They also have very few immigrants.

Just the facts.

Rahul May 27, 2013 at 11:33 am

Hasn’t everyone agreed that a Scandinavian (ok, not strictly for Finland / Iceland) comparison earns you a penalty point in debates? I don’t see California turn into Iceland no matter what we do to immigration.

The Midwest states have always been ahead right since the “ancient” times when immigration was a non-issue. It is as relevant to attribute the Midwest success to “They are close to the Canadian border” as to “They have very few immigrants.”

If you wanted “just the facts”, I could offer you the Singapore / HongKong examples as proof for “immigrants bring success”. But I won’t because it is as irrelevant to the US context as using Finland and Iceland to bolster the case for no-immigration.

Alan H May 27, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Why, Rahul, do you think a Scandinavian comparison earns penalty points? Though I’m a US attorney, my contacts with Sweden are very close, including property ownership, litigation experience, and decades of travel there. The recent riots in NW and SW Stockholm highlight many parallels to opinions in this blog topic. The North African immigration was pushed by the Social Democrats during their hold on power. They argued for diversity, and for ‘sharing prosperity with those less well-off nations.’ Swedes typically realize today, and I have seen it with my own eyes many times, that the immigrants do not arrive willing to trade cultures, to ‘become Swedish.’ Indeed they resent that notion. The Swedes realize that their standard of living depends on deprecating any business requiring more unskilled labor, the national equivalent of insisting that lettuce farmers mechanize. Sweden opened the gates to economic migrants, called them ‘asylum seekers,’ and thus gained more unskilled labor just in time to realize that its low-skilled factory jobs were unsustainable, and gained for service industries labor which, with externalities, costs more than its marginal product.

Peter Schaeffer May 27, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Rahul,

Penalty points for using Finland and Iceland as reference cases? Who knew?

Sure California won’t turn into Iceland (the glaciers are too small). However, that isn’t the question. The question is how much better would California be today, if immigration had stopped in 1986. The answer is ‘much, much better’. Why? Jobs, wages, schools, gridlock, housing, crime, etc., etc.

Without mass immigration since 1986, California would be considerably close to what California was in 1986. A land of opportunity for people other than Zuckerberg and his ilk. The real California is a wreck so miserable that even illegal aliens flee the place. See “6 + 4 = 1 Tenuous Existence”. Quote

“We’re in a state where there’s nothing but Americans. The police control the streets. It’s clean, no gangs. California now resembles Mexico — everyone thinks like in Mexico. California’s broken.”

If illegal aliens can recognize that immigration has ‘broken’ California, you should be able to make the same intellectual leap.

“The Midwest states have always been ahead right since the “ancient” times when immigration was a non-issue.”

If only that was true. California used to be considerably ahead of the upper-Midwest in real wages, housing affordability, schools, life opportunities, etc. Back then California was famous for attracting huge numbers of migrants from other American states. Now Americans are fleeing (illegals are leaving as well) and California is far behind by a long list of measures. California’s schools once ranked at the top. Now they compete with Mississippi for the worst in the nation (some years they actually come in last).

What changed? You know the answer.

Your reference to Singapore / Hong Kong would be funny it it wasn’t so sad. I know Singapore rather well having spent decades following the career of Lee Kuan Yew and having read his memoirs (1500+ pages) and numerous other works on Singapore.

Singapore has high levels of immigration. Skilled immigration. Low skill immigration is not tolerated. Illegal aliens are canned and then deported. Of course, Singapore has essentially no underclass with drug use punishable by death.

Highly skilled immigration in a country that can utilize those skills (and assimilate the immigrants) can be a plus. Low skill immigration in a failing welfare state with no concept of, or desire for, assimilation is a disaster. Which description better characterizes American today?

Before 1890, immigrants coming to the U.S. were more highly skilled than the natives and were generally welcomed. After 1890, immigrant skills declined because advances in transportation made it possible for poor people to immigrate. Public opinion turns against mass immigration rather quickly.

The parallels to our own time should be obvious. Of course, back then we had no welfare state, a booming economy, enormous self-confidence, coercive assimilation, disciplined schools, fierce law enforcement, huge demand for unskilled labor, unions (somewhat later), intact families, etc.

None of that is true now. The only things that haven’t changed are greedy employers and ethnic / racial nationalism. Quote from Samuel Gompers.(himself a Jewish immigrant from the UK).

“America must not be overwhelmed.

“Every effort to enact immigration legislation must expect to meet a number of hostile forces and, in particular, two hostile forces of considerable strength.

“One of these is composed of corporation employers who desire to employ physical strength (broad backs) at the lowest possible wage and who prefer a rapidly revolving labor supply at low wages to a regular supply of American wage earners at fair wages.

“The other is composed of racial roups in the United States who oppose all restrictive legislation because they want the doors left open for an influx of their countrymen regardless of the menace to the people of their adopted country.’

Rahul May 27, 2013 at 1:29 pm

@Alan H

I sort of agree with you there (I think). Scandanavia’s mistake is they overdid the asylum category. I’m in no way claiming all immigration is good or desirable neither am I a fan of illegal immigration.

All I am saying is, immigration when done selectively and favoring skilled, educated cohorts can be a big plus.

Andreas May 26, 2013 at 8:09 pm

Modern states are essentialy welfare states. That means that the owners of capital and the highly skilled workers subsidize the living standard of the poor (generaly low skilled people) through taxes. In conclusion, low skilled people consume more in public goods (education, healthcare, general welfare), than what their labour is worth. Therefore, poor , unskilled people, at least in modern welfare states like the US, are a drain on the general economy of a society because they consume more in government services than what their labour is worth.

Chip May 26, 2013 at 8:38 pm

Immigration, yes, for the skill and culture set that has demonstrably shown to be a net benefit to the treasury.

But the current debate is mostly about granting amnesty to people who are demonstrably a significant net cost to the treasury, for this and subsequent generations.

The debate is really just whether you expand the welfare state or not, and perhaps more seriously, whether the US permanently alters voting patterns for politicians who forever expand the welfare state.

Pat Anzalone May 26, 2013 at 8:52 pm

If you believe this bunch of garbage I will sell you some swamp land. The are many down sides to illegal immigration it would take to much time and words to say. legal immigration is not the problem, they are not always unskilled labor.

Roy Patterson May 26, 2013 at 9:19 pm

The problem I see with most Immigrants, both legal and illegal, is that they don’t want to learn our language, english and blend in to our society like the immigrants of the past did. So what we end up with a whole bunch of people from other countries in groups like having different countries within our country. This is a remedy for a divided society and our downfall into a third world country.

Mike H May 26, 2013 at 9:25 pm

Reading the comments in this thread and I can’t help but thinking we should just smash the machines. Yeah! Screw technology! We need jobs! We need to do it all by hands so there will be millions more jobs!

Future historians will surely take note of our contemporary obsession with “jobs” and place it in the same category of stupidity as cases like ancient Egyptians’ pyramid building.

mike May 26, 2013 at 10:05 pm

This is pretty oblivious. I think everyone commenting here recognizes that technology has replaced a lot of low-skill* jobs, and that’s generally a good thing. The question is whether we should save the remaining few low-skill jobs for our low-skill natives, or whether we should bring in another 50 million immigrants so that CEOs** can give themselves bigger bonuses by saving a couple bucks on low-skill labor costs and throwing low-skill natives to depend on other taxpayers. The issue is not, as you suggest, the number of “jobs”, but who we will allow to fill them.

* Can we please start admitting that we actually mean low-IQ, to fend off the hordes who insist we just need “more education” and then we can all be tenured economics professors for a living?
** I’m as free-market and pro-business as they come, but surely even the open borders spergs here can see how hiring slave labor whose mere existence is largely subsidized by the welfare state is not exactly John Galt behavior

Mike H May 26, 2013 at 10:14 pm

“The question is whether we should save the remaining few low-skill jobs for our low-skill natives”

So based on your thinking, isn’t it obvious that technology is going to eat up those few low-skill jobs remaining regardless of whether we bring in the immigrants? Or is there something wrong with the thinking that there is a fixed number of “jobs” in an economy?

Peter Schaeffer May 26, 2013 at 10:49 pm

MH,

Robots are going to take over low-skill jobs in restaurants, hotels, lawn care, cleaning, construction, etc? Actually, that’s not going to happen, any time soon. If the technology existed to automate these jobs we would know it by now. Yes, in some cases higher wages would lead to greater mechanization in farm production. That’s a good thing.

As for the ‘fixed number of jobs in the economy’, we do have massive unemployment / underemployment of late. Not a theoretical proposition last time I checked. Of course, we can always assume full employment. Even with an economic model based on full employment, low-skill immigration is a massive losing proposition because the gains from complementary immigration are far more than offset by the tax costs (plus gridlock, failing schools, societal disarray, etc.).

Mike H May 26, 2013 at 11:32 pm

“As for the ‘fixed number of jobs in the economy’, we do have massive unemployment / underemployment of late.”

And how do you reach the conclusion that immigration is the cause of that? Have you considered factors such as: welfare state, over-regulation, barriers to entry via occupational and business licensing, minimum wage, restriction on land uses, or basically every regulatory federal agency and law that you can think of. Among all these, you blame the poor and “low-IQ” (according to some) immigrants for taking away jobs from the lazy bunch who prefer to sit home collecting unemployment benefits and food stamps. Am I missing something here?

“low-skill immigration is a massive losing proposition because the gains from complementary immigration are far more than offset by the tax costs”

…assuming that the companies that hire them don’t pay taxes or that they somehow find a way to hide their increased revenues from the IRS.

Peter Schaeffer May 27, 2013 at 12:36 am

MH,

“And how do you reach the conclusion that immigration is the cause of that?”

Doesn’t matter if immigration is the cause of massive unemployment / underemployment or not. We have massive un/underemployment. It’s not going away anytime soon. Immigration only makes it worse. Just the facts.

“Have you considered factors such as: welfare state, over-regulation, barriers to entry via occupational and business licensing, minimum wage, restriction on land uses, or basically every regulatory federal agency and law that you can think of.”

Change all of those things and low-skill immigration might make sense. Those things aren’t changing. Mass immigration has to stop.

“Among all these, you blame the poor and “low-IQ” (according to some) immigrants for taking away jobs from the lazy bunch who prefer to sit home collecting unemployment benefits and food stamps. Am I missing something here?”

Actually a lot. Without food stamps and unemployment benefits, unemployed Americans would be rioting in the streets against immigration. Check some history on this point.

“…assuming that the companies that hire them don’t pay taxes or that they somehow find a way to hide their increased revenues from the IRS”

The taxes paid by low-skill immigrants can never come remotely close to the costs they impose. Health care run $12 per hour. That far more than the minimum wage.

mike May 27, 2013 at 12:50 am

“So based on your thinking, isn’t it obvious that technology is going to eat up those few low-skill jobs remaining regardless of whether we bring in the immigrants? Or is there something wrong with the thinking that there is a fixed number of “jobs” in an economy?”

The problem with this argument is that basically you are acting like a soggy turd in a diaper. What I said was that given the reduction in low-skill jobs due to technology we should reserve the few remaining jobs to those low-skill people who are already here. If technology reduces the number of those jobs even further, then we should try even harder to make sure they’re filled by the least fortunate of those who are already here. Nothing in this suggests that we should oppose technology that replaces jobs. It just means that we shouldn’t displace mentally retarded white american grocery cart wranglers with otherwise normal shit labor grocery cart wranglers from another country. Because if we do that, those mentally retarded people have nothing else they can do. Ultimately, it’s not about technology or anything like that.. It’s about the least fortunate who are already here versus the teeming masses who’d rather jump into a minimum wage job here rather than start a business in their home country. It’s about stiff-arming white/western people with downs syndrome in favor of equally illiterate and incomprehensible people from shit countries who are statistically normal for their group.

Mike H May 27, 2013 at 2:07 am

In other words you have no real evidence to support your belief that the available number of jobs in an economy is “fixed”, and that your reason for barring some perfectly productive immigrants is purely motivated by your preference for people with disabilities and/or certain skin color. I’d really love to see you try giving that speech to any group of “educated” people and see their reaction to it.

Peter Schaeffer May 27, 2013 at 12:52 pm

MH,

“In other words you have no real evidence to support your belief that the available number of jobs in an economy is “fixed””

Check the bls.gov statistics. We have had almost now job growth in the U.S for a decade or more. Over the same period of time 17-18 million immigrants have entered the U.S. The employment / population ratio has plunged astoundingly.

Just the facts.

“and that your reason for barring some perfectly productive immigrants is purely motivated by your preference for people with disabilities and/or certain skin color.”

Look, we get it. You want to personally profit by exploiting cheap labor that costs American workers and taxpayers dearly. Private profits, public costs.

Mike H May 27, 2013 at 11:39 pm

“The employment / population ratio has plunged astoundingly. ”

I asked for sound economic reasoning or some definite proof that the available number of jobs in an economy is “fixed” and you show me unemployment statistics. How does it prove anything at all? How do you know that number wouldn’t be higher if we have lost all the businesses and their complementary jobs that rely on some cheap low-skill workers? Do you realize the idea that the amount of economic opportunity and wealth in an economy are “fixed” had its origin in the [heavily discredited] Marxian conflict theory?

“Private profits, public costs.”

Another catchphrase typical of Marxist thinking. If monetary gains come as a result of cost-shifting to the unwilling third party, that is called rent-seeking and not market profits.

Peter Schaeffer May 28, 2013 at 1:13 am

Mike H,

Grocho or Karl?

Mike H May 28, 2013 at 3:06 am

How about start addressing my question Peter? How is the fact that me getting a job prevents you from getting yours? Granted that problem would be real if we are talking about opportunities in finite supply i.e. me dating a woman would decrease your choices of women available for dating in this world. Supply of jobs however, expands as businesses grow and hence the demand for labor. More supplies of labors = more business growth = new demands for labors. You need to get over the Marxist notion that one’s economic success leads to another’s failure.

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2013/04/12/do-illegal-immigrants-depress-wages-job-opportunities/

Scurvy Wafers May 26, 2013 at 9:55 pm

more unskilled immigration does nothing but put downward pressure on the wage base. If you can get 3 undocumented Mexicans to hang drywall for $7 an hour, why would you hire an American for $15? The greedy UBERCLASS understand this, why else would they demand RIGHT TO WORK reforms in heavily union controlled states? They understand implicitly the fact that when you remove wage protections from the lower end of the skill scale, you’ve created a newly minted soon to be desperate slave class that can be exploited willfully and without any accountability. It’s 1913 all over again people, the OLIGARCHS have rigged the game while we were off buying cheap toys at Walmart, and nobody even noticed, much less cared

TR W May 26, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Immigration has devalued wages for high-skill to low-skill workers. CEOs want an endless supply of immigrants to keep wages low so they can take more money themselves..

Chip May 26, 2013 at 11:47 pm

Isn’t this debate over the economics of immigration irrelevant?

Politicians are basically lining up their support on politics – these millions of amnestied people will elect Democrats – so this argument is a little like arguing about the cost of deck chairs on the Titanic.

mike May 27, 2013 at 12:57 am

I 100% agree, but: as long as some Republican politicians support a law that would clearly result in “these millions of amnestied people will elect Democrats”, we (the People) need to start reserving lampposts.

8 May 27, 2013 at 2:15 am

What state has the largest immigrant population? California.
What state is the most likely to experience a financial crisis? California.
Which state currently experiences ethnic cleansing? California.
Which state do native Americans flee the most? California.

Steve Sailer May 27, 2013 at 4:22 am

Which state was the awesomest place in the history of the world to raise a family before all this immigration got going? California in the 1960s. For an aesthetic vision of 1960s California’s awesomeosity, see Iron Man 3 by Shane Black.

Soddy May 27, 2013 at 6:10 pm

California in the 1960s happened to exist in the most powerful and wealthiest country in the history of the world, whose prosperity was caused by rather unique conditions not easily replicable. California in many ways was a victim of its own success ; it did things too well, it was too successful, and that brought it down.

Ghost of Christmas Past May 27, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Thanks, Peter Schaeffer! Your comments have been a breath of fresh air.

It’s nice to see someone else push back against the relentless anti-empiricism of the open-borders advocates like Caplan and Henderson over at Econlog, now that it seems to be infecting Tyler Cowen here.

I hope you can provoke Cowen, who seems much wiser than Caplan, to think for a moment and realize that “reality is more potent than any theory.”

The theory that millions of unskilled immigrants arriving will magically summon up millions of new jobs to employ all of the immigrants plus all of the unemployed natives as well is… how can I say this politely… unsupported by the evidence.

We know demand for unskilled labor is low because wages are low (indeed, propped up only by the fiat of the minimum wage laws). We know the US unemployment rate (esp. U6) is very high (historically, though not so strikingly in comparison with immigrant source countries!) so there obviously isn’t any capital desperately ,looking for labor. We know that (contra that aggressive liar Peri) immigrants taking low skilled jobs do not create “complimentary” jobs for low skilled natives, but merely displace the low skilled natives into unemployment and crime (especially as speaking the immigrants’ foreign languages becomes a job requirement). We know that immigrants and their families consume much more in social welfare costs than they pay in taxes, or in many cases, earn in wages. We know that low-wage immigrants force middle-class natives to pay more taxes, pay more for housing, commuting, schooling, and health care, and to incur stiff reductions in public amenities. We know that second and subsequent generation low-wage immigrants are quite a bit more criminal than average natives[1] and besides the direct costs of police, prisons, etc., impose stiff costs on natives to put bars on windows, buy insurance, move to less pleasant climates, etc.. We know that low-skilled immigrants and their offspring are politically well to the left of the American mainstream.[2] We know that low-IQ immigration reduces the “smart fraction” of the US population which strongly predicts economic growth and technical advance. All of these things are simple empirical facts, visible in the standard (e.g. US Census) sources or readily derived from them.

All of this is irrefutable fact, so one might wonder: “why do open-borders advocates keep saying that economic theory shows that mass immigration is great for America? Why do they keep claiming that more unskilled workers means more jobs* when we have plenty of unskilled workers now without jobs (and the situation is worse in migrant source countries, proving the theory is wrong in general, not just in America with its minimum wage laws)?”

So far as I can see, the answer is that open-border advocates are dishonest. They support open borders because they are shills for plutocrats (McCain, Bush, Obama), or because they want to aggrandize their ethny (Vipul Naik), or because they want to impress someone by advocating a sophomoric moral theory (Bryan Caplan). But since the results they push for are bad for nearly everyone in the country, they don’t want to face the debate squarely. They don’t want to say “I know open borders are bad for you but they’re good for me and my friends. I want open borders to help me and my friends at your expense.” Instead they write stuff like “economic theory proves mass immigration of unskilled laborers will reduce unemployment and raise wages in the USA.”

Every time we read or hear such tendentious crud we should push back. Ask the advocates why they repeat claims which are always falsified by experience. Like Steve Sailer, we have to ask open-borders fanatics and anyone in danger of falling for their lines, “if immigration is so great, why is California a dump now when in living memory it was a paradise? California got millions of low-wage immigrants and unemployment got worse instead of better. Where are all those “(labor) supply creates its own demand” jobs?”

[1] Not even considering ethnoreligious grievance crimes like we can expect from Muslims especially.
[2] And populate rotten boroughs for ethnoleftist agitators even if they lack citizenship.
*Apart from jobs in the tax and welfare bureaucracies, as well as police and prison guards.

Soddy May 27, 2013 at 6:12 pm

The causes of the decline of California have much more to do with public employees unions, corruption, systemic dysfunction, and ill-fated central planning than immigration.

Mike Steinberg May 28, 2013 at 12:42 am

@ Soddy,

I’d recommend this piece by Alexis Aleviev. Some excerpts:

“California’s financial unraveling has prompted a long-overdue debate about taxes, regulation, and government spending, but the state’s media and government continue to ignore what could be an even greater problem: the irreparable damage to California’s human capital that nearly 30 years of unrestrained illegal immigration has achieved…

A recent study by UC Santa Barbara’s California Dropout Research Project estimates that high-school dropouts in 2007 alone will cost the state $24.2 billion in future economic losses…

Even those who graduate aren’t necessarily headed to success. According to one study, 69 percent of Latino high-school graduates “do not meet college requirements or satisfy prerequisites for most jobs that pay a living wage.” It is difficult to see how the majority-Hispanic labor force of the future can provide the skills that the sophisticated Los Angeles economy demands. Already studies show that as many as 700,000 Los Angeles Latinos and some 65 percent of the city’s illegal immigrants work in L.A.’s huge underground economy.
The unhappy picture in Los Angeles is replicated to one degree or another across much of California and is taking a huge toll on the state’s economic competitiveness and long-term prospects. California’s educational system, once easily the best in the country, is today mired in mediocrity near the bottom among the 50 states as judged by National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests in math, science, reading, and writing. And for the first time in its history, California is experiencing an increase in adult illiteracy. In 2003, it had the highest adult illiteracy in the United States, 23 percent nearly 50 percent higher than a decade earlier. In some counties (Imperial at 41 percent, Los Angeles at 33 percent) illiteracy approaches sub-Saharan levels.
Perhaps even more important than the collapse of educational achievement among the lower strata is a deterioration of the higher education that was for decades the basis of California’s preeminence in science and technology. California currently ranks 40th among the 50 states in college-attendance rates, and it already faces a significant shortage of college graduates. Studies have shown that the economy will need 40 percent of its workers to be college-educated by 2020, compared with today’s 32 percent. Given the aging white population (average age, 42), many of these new graduates will have to come from the burgeoning Latino immigrant population (average age, 26). By one estimate, this would require tripling of the number of college-educated immigrants, an impossibility if current trends hold. The state’s inability to improve the educational attainment of its residents will result in a “substantial decline in per capita income” and “place California last among the 50 states” by 2020, according to a study by the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems.

Perhaps the most disingenuous myth about illegal immigrants is that they do not impose any cost on society. The reality is that even those who work and half do not, according to the Pew Hispanic Center cannot subsist on the wages they receive and depend on public assistance to a large degree. Research on Los Angeles immigrants by Harvard University scholar George J. Borjas shows that 40.1 percent of immigrant families with non-citizen heads of household receive welfare, compared with 12.7 percent of households with native-born heads. Illegal immigrants also increase public expenditures on health care, education, and prisons. In California today, illegal immigrants’ cost to the taxpayer is estimated to be $13 billion half the state’s budget deficit…”

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112167023

asdf May 27, 2013 at 7:00 pm

+1000

We can see in the recent Richwine controversy its not about reality. People don’t attack the crazy guy gibbering on the street corner. He’s not a threat. They do attack people that are damningly correct with the evidence to prove it and thus could bring the whole edifice down. The stronger the evidence the more of a witch hunt we should expect. Its this inquisition like hit squad that convinces me both that the anti-immigration case is true and that there are large swaths of people who are against immigration but afraid to say it.

One change you’ll note is one floated by Bryan Caplan, who failing to offer a rebuttal to the Richwine data said this:

“In a just world, however, researchers would be fired for arguing that people with below-average IQs should be denied their basic human right to accept a job offer from any willing employer.”

Ignoring for a minute the entire idea that every illegal has a job offer in his pocket before he decides to hope the fence, this is a big change in his argument. Gone is the idea that immigration is good for people. In is the idea that immigration is a “human right”, and thus should be supported whether or not its actually good for anyone. That’s the whole idea behind a human right, that its so important its supposed to trump the usual utilitarian calculus.

I ask, where does this right come from? I can’t locate it anywhere in history. Every single government, tribe, or virtually any other entity has not recognized this right. All of them have enforced borders and control of movement between them. What precedent can Caplan offer to justify this new “right”? As best I can see there is none, which means he is arguing for some wholly new right. If so he needs to make his case for it out in the open, showing us the reasons why we should endorse this new right. It’s my opinion that he is afraid of such a debate, because it would force him to come clean on what his true values are in no uncertain terms. Arguing for new rights is a dangerous thing. After all, Caplan hates universal healthcare and yet many people argue that its a fundamental human right. And those people have way better precedent then Caplan does (since nearly the entire developed world already recognizes this right). Caplan should simply admit he’s lost based on the evidence, and that his pursuit of this new “human right” is flawed as well. He won’t because he has tenure and lives in his little bubble, but we will see how long the people he’s screwing let him keep his little bubble.

Tim May 28, 2013 at 1:19 am

If California is such a dump, why is real estate there so expensive? Do people want to live in a dump that badly?

If you’re going to make claims that go against observed reality, you should at least explain them…

Peter Schaeffer May 28, 2013 at 1:32 am

Tim,

The logic here is pretty easy. In most of the United States land costs are the primary determinant of real estate prices. Immigrant raises population (almost all of California’s population gains are from foreign immigration, Americans tend to leave). More people means less land per person. Less land per person means higher land prices and higher real estate prices.

However, immigration is a special factor in California (and many other places in the U.S. and around the world). To a substantial degree, California real estate prices are driven by a bidding war to get into a community where the local schools haven’t been swamped by low-skill immigrants (and their children). In other words, a parental war to get their kids into ‘good schools’.

Veracitor May 28, 2013 at 2:30 am
Peter Schaeffer May 28, 2013 at 1:25 am

Ghost of Christmas Past,

Thank you.

You mentioned Peri. You should probably know that Peri’s claims have (apparently) been overturned by subsequent scholarship. See “Borjas, Grogger, and Hanson: Immigrant and Native Complementarity” (http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2008/03/borjas-grogger.html). Quote from the very liberal Mark Thoma (who runs EV).

“George Borjas, Jeffrey Grogger, and Gordon Hanson have a new paper, and it’s not good news for the Ottaviano and Peri result that immigration can cause native wages to increase due to strong complementarities between native and immigrant labor”

Of course, at some level Peri is just a parody of the Open Borders crowd. He claims that less affordable housing is a ‘benefit’ of immigration.

jerseycityjoan May 27, 2013 at 7:20 pm

The “magic immigrant worker pixie dust” that is sprinkled on top of every immigrant worker’s head as soon as they cross our borders disappears with them.

All those wonderful qualities that employers like about immigrant workers only lasts a single generation.

If we want to continue bringing in tens of millions of immigrants in each generation, we certainly must stop giving them and their descendants citizenship. We might make exceptions for the high earners but certainly not the low skilled immigrants we are talking about.

We must either commit ourselves to complete, utter and heartless exploitation of low skilled immigrants.

We should take in between ages 18-30 and make them leave by 45.

That’s the only way to keep a sufficient amount of “magic immigrant worker pixie dust” flowing.

I think we should also start thinking how we are going to get rid of all our idle American citizen nonworkers, whose numbers seem certain to continue growing by leaps and bounds. We sure can’t pay for food, shelter and healthcare for these unproductive people.

If we think long and hard and hire some legal experts (I am sure their are many American corporations willing to fund such an effort), I am sure we can find a constitutional basis to revoke their citizenships. We”ll take them to the Mexican border and push them over it. They can replace all the populuation Mexico has lost in recent years and provide Mexico with a much desired source of cheap exploitable immigrant labor.

Peter Schaeffer May 28, 2013 at 1:47 am

JCJ,

Canada runs a program along the lines you are suggesting. See “Canada Wants Mexican Stoop Laborers’ Production, Not Reproduction”. Quotes

“The frustrations have left many looking north, to Canada, where government officials partner with their Mexican counterparts to recruit workers, expedite visas, guarantee health and safety standards, and coordinate travel arrangements and pay.

They also go to extraordinary lengths to make sure the workers go back to Mexico at the end of the season, raising criticisms that the arrangement treats them as little more than human machines.”

“Only married men are eligible for the Canadian program, preferably those with young children, and their families must remain in Mexico. Another incentive to return home: a cut of the migrants’ wages is placed in a Canadian pension fund, receivable only if they return to Mexico.

Then there are the other elements of the Canadian system that U.S. labor unions and farm worker advocates say they would not want to see copied.

Once in Canada, the workers live like monks, sleeping in trailers or barracks, under contractual agreements that forbid them from drinking alcohol and having female visitors, or even socializing with other Mexican workers from different farms.”

jerseycityjoan May 28, 2013 at 6:03 am

I wasn’t exactly advocating that we do this, Peter.

The point I wanted to make — which I may not have — was that we are making eternal commitments to pay for and take care of teach and every descendant to every immigrant who settles here, when what the employers want is just the original immigrant who accepts exploitation that subsequent generations will not.

But I do not approve of this exploitation — not at all,

I had heard a number of years ago that Canada was quite successful with their temporary worker program. I did not realize until earlier this year how they achieved it. I cannot approve of the Canadians literally keeping their workers on the farms for weeks or even months at at time.

Many of the rest of the provisions of their farmworker program wouldn’t go over here. As it stands now our employers are great labor exploiters but our laws and people are not. No, they go tot the opposite extreme: They give away the store to people who come in a way that we can no longer afford.

Rahul May 28, 2013 at 10:27 am

@Peter Schaeffer

“They also go to extraordinary lengths to make sure the workers go back to Mexico at the end of the season, raising criticisms that the arrangement treats them as little more than human machines.”

And what do you think of that criticism?

Peter Schaeffer May 28, 2013 at 12:26 pm

@JCJ, @Rahul,

“I wasn’t exactly advocating that we do this, Peter.”

“And what do you think of that criticism?”

Folks, I am opposed to guest worker programs (Canada-style, American-style, etc.). My post was intended to show that a well designed, strictly enforced guest worker program can eliminate the adverse externalities associated with low-skill immigration. Indeed, both economic theory and the empirical data shows that a Canada style guest worker program can be profitable for the host country. Of course, that assumes full employment which is a lot more realistic in Canada than in the United States.

Stated differently, a guest worker program can be complementary both in theory and in fact. That doesn’t make it a good idea. Even aside from the unemployment issue, there is little historic evidence that the U.S. is capable of running such a system. We had the Bracero program decades ago. It was shutdown because of abuses. More broadly, the U.S. is better off admitting high-skill immigrants as LPRs (as stated in another post). LPR status gives an immigrant close to equal rights in the United States and makes the person eligible for citizenship (providing full rights).

Note that Singapore runs a famously strict low-skill guest worker program. Low-skill workers are allowed to enter for limited periods of time. They are not allowed to bring their families. They must leave on schedule. They get no residence rights in Singapore. Female guest workers are immediately deported if they become pregnant (this may be an urban legend, the rest is not).

My prior comments notwithstanding. certain types of temporary workers should be allowed into the United States. For example, foreign sports teams competing in the U.S. A few other exceptions come to mind as well. However, the basic rules should be ‘no guest workers’, no ‘two tier’ labor markets, etc.

Rahul May 28, 2013 at 12:43 pm

@Peter

I like your stand, especially about no ‘two tier’ labor markets. Sometimes I feel I don’t know what you and me are arguing about…..

Ted May 27, 2013 at 11:39 pm

jerseycityjoan-

You bring up an excellent point. I’ve known dozens of Mexicans who picked crops. Plenty of Guatemalans, too. And probably several from various other spanish speaking countries. But I’ve never known a chicano or chicana to work in the fields. Not a single one. The “jobs that Americans won’t do,” is an interesting phrase. It applies equally to Americans of every color, and every background. People who grew up in third world slums are willing to accept a lower standard of living than are people who grew up here, even when their parents were from those third world slums. The only way to keep wages below that which natives will accept, is to continue the high level of low skill immigration forever.

As to the point Steve keeps making, those complaining about it are correct. California couldn’t possibly be today what it was 40 years ago. But it seems clear that Steve’s point is a bit more subtle than you’re implying. In the 60′s, California was the place Americans wanted to be. They came here in droves, looking for better lives. Much like Mexicans used to. As of now, the net flow of both whites AND Mexicans, is out of California.

Peter Schaeffer May 28, 2013 at 1:41 am

Ted,

Before mass immigration resumed around 1970, kids (of all races) worked in the fields as summer jobs. It paid well and (for kids) the work wasn’t that hard. Back then I spent my summers building walls out of railroad ties. I have found some of those wall still standing in Google street view. Back then canneries were a lucrative summer job. Now its immigrants (some might even be legal).

Even today, 50% of the farm labor force is legal. 70% in the barren, unproductive Midwest.

If immigration ended tomorrow, farms would quickly adapt. Some would mechanize. Some would switch to less labor intensive crops. However, as wages rose and farmers recruited American kids, the seasonal work would be done by natives. Would there be a downside? Sure, cheap labor is already capitalized in farm land prices in some parts of the U.S.

Of course, that’s the real issue. People profit from the status quo and don’t want to give it up. Slavery was the same way.

Rahul May 28, 2013 at 10:23 am

Why is the current status quo with cheap farm labor morally / ethically / economically worse than your alternative where farm wages rise and hence presumably a cascade of product prices rising (or farmers absorbing the increased labor costs)?

Larry Siegel May 28, 2013 at 3:44 am

Emotions do run high on this question. If I were a low-skilled, white, American-born worker without a job I might not take the classical liberal positions that I do. I am always up for trying to see both sides of an issue.

That said, I’m rather proud to have aroused the ire of the anonymous poster who calls me various names. You deserve the misery you appear to be in. Peter Schaeffer has raised some valid points and has done so mostly in a civilized manner. (No, I don’t want to soak the taxpayer by hiring an illegal immigrant; hiring an American at roughly the same wage would produce an even greater drain on the treasury, because an American would be entitled to much more “help”. Anyway, I don’t know any American gardeners.) Finally, I understand that changes in the culture caused by mass immigration are not easily measured by economic variables and are not always (or even usually) desirable. However, I tend to blame those changes on rent-seekers, foundation program officers, race hustlers, and almost anyone other than the hard working immigrant who comes here to get ahead. Larry

Anti-White Race Hustler Larry Seigel May 28, 2013 at 6:28 am

“and almost anyone other than the hard working immigrant who comes here to get ahead”. Listen Jewish hypocrite & fraudster. How many immigrants live in your house? How many immigrants do you help get ahead of your children? Why dont you go to Israel & allow hard working black african immigrants to migrate & get ahead of Jews?

Is it because you are the ultimate anti-White race hustler & aggressor? I exposed your blatant Jewish fraud above, & instead of admitting your deceitful hypocrisy against white people, you dare you question my “civilized manner”?

I did not abuse you or accuse you anything other than what you truly are. A fraudster. Massive non-White invasion for America, Europe, Auz, but not for Israel. All non-White invasion is being staffed & led by hostile Jews. In Australia, in Ireland, in Britain, in Europe, in America. My previous posts gave links to Jewish warfare against Europe/America. Here are additional country specific links:
Ireland: http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2013/03/the-misplaced-minister-ireland-and-israels-alan-shatter/
Sweden: http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2013/01/the-jewish-origins-of-multiculturalism-in-sweden/
Australia: http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2012/08/the-war-on-white-australia-a-case-study-in-the-culture-of-critique-part-1-of-5/

Instead of facing the truth, you dare to shut me up with ADL/SPLC/Jewish lobby sponsored hate-crime, hate-speech laws? Instead of deleting my posts & shutting me up, I challenge you to refute the facts.

Brian Donohue May 28, 2013 at 10:26 am

…so much for trying to be reasonable.

Larry Siegel May 28, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Maybe he can get a job writing for “The Onion.” They are looking for a house Nazi :-)

westie May 28, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Like ‘Anti-White Race Hustler Larry Seigel’ I’d like to hear your answer to the question about asking the Israelis to take down their very successful border fence and invite the world to migrate into their country! Another question is why do many American Jews seem to be fixated on ‘diversity ober alles’ except for the Jewish neighborhoods and schools?

Peter Schaeffer May 29, 2013 at 1:18 pm

w,

” Another question is why do many American Jews seem to be fixated on ‘diversity ober alles’ except for the Jewish neighborhoods and schools?”

Nonsense. I have never heard or seen any American Jews express any concerns about neighborhoods and schools in the manner you are suggesting. Crown Hights might be an exception…

However, hypocrisy over Israel’s notably successful border and immigration policies (highly restrictive and quite successful) vs. any suggestion that America might do the same is rife.

“Mr. Netanyahu tear down this wall” should be the rallying cry of every Open Borders writer (Tamar Jacoby, Jennifer Rubin) in the U.S. Strangely it is not. Mr. Netanyahu is no fool. A few quotes from when he was in China visiting the Great Wall of China.

“You know, this Wall served as an inspiration for me. We built the barriers to protect Israel from the south. Ultimately, we’ll have Israel covered with them everywhere.

“Just as the Chinese defended themselves by barricading themselves behind the Great Wall, so to will we [Israel] fortify ourselves along the southern border, the Golan Heights and all fronts.””

Peter-Schaffer-Deceitful May 29, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Ever heard of Kiryas Joel. It is a Jewish colony in America. Jewish neighborhoods are ferociously guarded with the most hostile xenophobia. Religion is just an excuse. Judaism itself is the definition of segregation. its an ethno-religion.

White people should muster some courage & pursue their interests, their fertility, their future.

Hypocritical Fraud Siegel May 28, 2013 at 8:03 pm

Jews had already murdered 50 million White Europeans in Gulags & famines from 1917-1937 before Nazis killed a single person. Lenin, Trotsky, Kaganovich, Kamanev, Zinoviev, Yagoda, Sverdlov, Bela Kun were all Jews to a man. Hate-filled, genocidal evildoer Siegel wants open borders for White Europeans, but not for Jews.

Rahul May 28, 2013 at 10:54 pm

How many do you say has Siegel killed?

Fraud Upper Caste Rahul May 29, 2013 at 1:22 am

Fraud Rahul

“How many …Siegel killed?” Upper Caste Brown Genocidal Supremacists have slaughtered millions of lower Caste Black Indians. You are the least qualified guy to deserve an answer.

Rahul May 29, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Yes, but I am a lower-caste Indian. Doesn’t that enhance my qualification?

Fraud Upper Caste Rahul. May 29, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Prove it. What is your full name? I want to see your ID. You have facebook, twitter, Linkedin profile?

Careless May 28, 2013 at 12:18 pm

hiring an American at roughly the same wage would produce an even greater drain on the treasury, because an American would be entitled to much more “help”

Right, while if the American worker is unemployed, he gets no “help” at all. Much cheaper for the government.

albatross May 28, 2013 at 2:54 pm

DNFTT.

Peter Schaeffer May 28, 2013 at 3:16 pm

@albatross,

ETGH

Karen May 28, 2013 at 1:59 pm

My brother does some work for the federal government’s farm insurance program and he has to go around and measure fields, determine what percentage is ruined etc. Anyway, he talks to farmers. Several have told him that their workers used to throw out the W-2 forms when he handed them out in January, just throw them right in the trash. Now they pester him to get them out fast because they are eager to file income tax returns and get the Earned Income Tax Credit. Its thousands of dollars.

We are subsidizing those low wages. Some of those farmers are very wealthy.

Peter Schaeffer May 28, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Karen,

Are the workers in question legal or illegal? EITC for illegal aliens? It wouldn’t surprise me. Bush made a huge effort to give Tax Id numbers (ITIN’s) to illegals so they could get home mortgages (just in time for the housing crash). Are the illegals using ITIN’s or just stolen Social Security Numbers?

Karen May 28, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Hi Peter,

The farmers tell my brother, “They’ve got better papers than you have.” I suspect they are illegal though I don’t know if they might not be in some huge guest worker program. The farmers also say that the first generation are good workers – provided they are supervised – and very obedient. And they are rather small people, the first generation. The second generation want nothing to do with farming. They work at gas stations or stores. The third generation is thoroughly at home in the US and go on welfare any way they can. (That sounds like at least these imported farm workers and their descendants aren’t joining drug gangs. I hope that’s true, at least.)

Of course, if they have a medical expense they do not pay it because the bill comes in with an astronomical figure. If you have insurance, you see that the insurance company might pay 10% of what the hospital bills or less or even disallow it entirely but these folks don’t have insurance and they can move away very easily.

Another kind of immigrant my brother hears about in the vegetable farming industry are Koreans who buy from those farmers. The Koreans are all cash businesses. They negotiate with a combination of hand signals and writing numbers and when they reach an agreement, they pay cash and a bunch of other Koreans appears from out of no where and takes the vegetables away. Do they pay any income taxes?

Peter Schaeffer May 28, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Karen,

The workers sound like they are illegals with fraudulent Social Security Numbers, Ids, etc. Pretty easy to get and almost totally penalty free. There is a program that provides farmers with unlimited legal, temporary workers (H-2A). Farmers don’t like it because they have to pay higher wages, provide housing, etc. It also required advance planning (much like planting crops) and paperwork. By contrast, illegals are ‘disposable labor’ that can be employed with little or no advance planning and discarded immediately.

As for the Koreans, immigrant corruption is a recurring theme around the world. There is a basic difference between nations founded on concepts of civic engagement / civic responsibility vs. amoral familism.

.

Rahul May 28, 2013 at 11:15 pm

Tax fraud is an immigrant disease? Can you back your assertion with hard Statistics? (not just anecdotal reports)

Fraud Upper Caste Rahul May 29, 2013 at 1:19 am

Rahul Fraudster

I dont have to give you any statistics to 3rd world invaders like you. You are a fraud, you have always been a fraud.

Peter Schaeffer May 29, 2013 at 12:51 pm

@Rahul,

“Tax fraud is an immigrant disease? Can you back your assertion with hard Statistics? (not just anecdotal reports)”

No. Sadly, our government doesn’t collect or publish statistics along those lines. However, it’s no great secret that the cash economy is heavily immigrant in many countries around the world (including the U.S.).

Rahul May 29, 2013 at 2:11 pm

@Peter

There are plenty of (bigger) ways to commit tax fraud other than buying vegetables for cash. And immigrants hardly have a monopoly on those.

Peter Schaeffer May 29, 2013 at 5:45 pm

@Rahul,

“There are plenty of (bigger) ways to commit tax fraud other than buying vegetables for cash. And immigrants hardly have a monopoly on those.”

Wall Street? KPMG? Apple?

I had close ties to the KPMG fiasco (but did not participate, directly or indirectly).

jerseycityjoan May 28, 2013 at 6:15 pm

Two things:

1. If they were legal temporary workers, they would not have the documents to qualify — even fraudulently — for any payments from our government.

Unless, of course, things have “progressed” enough that even legal temporary farm workers have discovered how easy it is to scam the IRS and Social Security with bogus paperwork and are doing that too, along with the illegal immigrants. There have been a number of proposals to let people know when their social security number is being used by somebody else but somehow this obviously great idea never gets taken seriously. I don’t believe it’s ever come up for a vote.

2. As far as third generation of immigrants “going on welfare” – that’s pretty hard to do, as least the traditional cash payment program. It also pays so little that nobody can live on it, not without working on the side or getting help from others.

There’s millions of able bodies Americans who’ve been unemployed for years who don’t qualify for welfare because they don’t have kids under 18 in their homes — and again, if they did, they couldn’t stay afloat financially.

The only way to survive on welfare, as far as I can tell, is to be one of the lucky ones with the whole benefit package: Cash assistance, Medicaid, Food Stamps — and most important of all — public housing or Section 8 voucher. The lack of housing assistance is the real killer. There’s lots of unemployed people who could get by on cash assistance or a little minimum wage job but their mortgage/rent is higher than their total income per month. And of course the list of people waiting for housing assistance is many years long and the federal government is increasing housing assistance money.

There’s millions of Americans who are really screwed already and things will be getting progressively worse for most of them worse as job creation remains low and help from family and friends begins to waiver or dry up. That would be true if we just maintained current immigration policy and current immigration levels. The bills currently proposed will vastly increase future legal immigration and so vastly increase job competition.

What are we going to do about all the American citizens who won’t be able to make it anymore? So far they have remained very quite as they have been slowly drowning. I do not think that silence will continue.

Peter Schaeffer May 28, 2013 at 8:24 pm

@JCJ,

“As far as third generation of immigrants “going on welfare” – that’s pretty hard to do, as least the traditional cash payment program. It also pays so little that nobody can live on it, not without working on the side or getting help from others.”

It is quite true that old-style AFDC/TANF remains limited. However, it has been replaced by a new wave of vastly larger and less restrictive handout programs. Food stamps, (47 million), disability (14 million), WIC (9 million), etc. See http://www.cbo.gov/publication/43935 for an overview. Mean’s tested welfare programs totaled $877 billion in 2012 and many programs are not mean’s tested.

Borjas and others (CIS) have shown the immigrants avail themselves of these programs in huge numbers. In theory they may not be eligible. In reality, they don’t seem to have too many difficulties collecting.

From “Los Angeles and Welfare”

Having lived in California for a long time, I followed the budget crisis there with some interest. Last night, I ran across this item in Instapundit: “20% in Los Angeles County receive public aid.”

I am sure that I’m not the only one who’s noticed how almost all of the discussion over California’s budget problems managed to avoid using such words as “immigrant” or “illegal”. So I decided to do a few calculations using the 2008 Current Population Survey to follow up on Instapundit’s remark. Well, here are some interesting results for your perusal–no remarks are needed:

All statistics give the fraction of households in the LA metro area that receive some type of assistance–either cash, food stamps, or Medicaid:

All households: 20.9%
Native households: 12.7%
Immigrant households: 33.2%
Immigrant households with a citizen head: 26.4%
Immigrant households with a non-citizen head: 40.1%

A few other sources make this point as well. From “Immigration Reversals” by Myron Magnet

“I’m embarrassed it took me so long to grasp the phoniness of the charge that it’s “anti-immigration” to oppose current U.S. immigration policy and the even worse “comprehensive reform” bill, which thankfully failed. I can only plead blind piety. After all, I live in the great immigrant metropolis, lit by the Statue of Liberty’s torch, under which all my grandparents sailed a century ago to reach a land that amply fulfilled its promise to them. I feared that my misgivings about today’s immigrant flood were but a short step from the nativist know-nothingism that dismissed my forebears and their fellow newcomers as defective both mentally and culturally, sure to debase American society with their ignorance, poverty, and crudity. Isn’t the lesson of my grandparents’ generation simply this: that American freedom and opportunity have a special magic, an alchemy for transforming tired, poor, huddled masses into free American citizens whose energy and grateful patriotism, and whose progeny, greatly strengthened the nation? However unpromising today’s largely uneducated and unskilled immigrants may appear, do they really look any worse than their predecessors?

Such was the consensus among the writers at City Journal, the conservative magazine I edited from 1994 through 2006. But some years ago, when I sent a writer out to see how the magic Americanizing machine was working, he came back dismayed. After several weeks in a heavily Hispanic Manhattan neighborhood, talking to Catholic priests and their immigrant flocks, he concluded that the alchemy of assimilation was fizzling out. The priests saw their duty as signing up immigrants for every possible subsidy, especially the child-only welfare benefit available to American-born kids of immigrant mothers, a munificent sum to a newcomer from a peasant village. The clerics also were pressing local schools to teach the newly arrived kids in Spanish, so they wouldn’t “lose their cultural heritage.””

See also “Victor Davis Hanson: Two Californias”

“In two supermarkets 50 miles apart, I was the only one in line who did not pay with a social-service plastic card (gone are the days when “food stamps” were embarrassing bulky coupons). But I did not see any relationship between the use of the card and poverty as we once knew it: The electrical appurtenances owned by the user and the car into which the groceries were loaded were indistinguishable from those of the upper middle class.

By that I mean that most consumers drove late-model Camrys, Accords, or Tauruses, had iPhones, Bluetooths, or BlackBerries, and bought everything in the store with public-assistance credit. This seemed a world apart from the trailers I had just ridden by the day before. I don’t editorialize here on the logic or morality of any of this, but I note only that there are vast numbers of people who apparently are not working, are on public food assistance, and enjoy the technological veneer of the middle class. California has a consumer market surely, but often no apparent source of income. Does the $40 million a day supplement to unemployment benefits from Washington explain some of this?”

Read it all.

Karen May 29, 2013 at 10:08 am

jerseycityjoan,

Earned Income Tax Credit is welfare. Food Stamps are welfare.

I don’t know whether people are very crafty or whether the government is very lackadaisical or whether the rules just don’t make sense. When I filed my daughter’s taxes she qualified for $358 EITC on app. $4,300 working as a research assistant for a professor for the summer. So she was among the “working poor.” (Now, if she had no income or under $3800 or $3900 we could have claimed her as a dependent and that might have saved more money for all I know. But how can you tell her not to work when she wants to work?)

How did they ever come up with the idea of the Earned Income Tax Credit, anyway? That has to be another disincentive to people getting married and their combined incomes putting them over the EITC limits.

albatross May 28, 2013 at 3:19 pm

The line of reasoning you’re talking about has way deeper implications than immigration, though it seems pretty obvious that it has a lot to do with how advisable more low-skill immigration is. If Wal-Mart can afford to pay its employees relatively little because poverty programs make up the difference, then it’s sort-of like taxpayers are paying part of Wal-Mart’s salary costs.

I wonder how differently this works with means-tested benefits (like medicaid or AFDC) vs stuff that’s just provided for everyone free of charge (like public schools or police protection).

Suppose you live somewhere with very good, well-funded public schools, where a new child adds $X to the operating costs of the school. Each new family that comes into your community brings some tax revenues and some kids–if the family has 3 kids and pays $Y/year in school taxes, then it’s $Y/3. If $Y/3 > $X, then this family moving in will work out okay for the school, at least modulo scaling effects.

Suppose in such a community there is a plastics factory that wants to move in. They will pay their 100 workers something a little nicer than minimum wage and few benefits. The community will be able to collect some taxes on that factory as well. Let’s suppose that it all works out (this is a thought experiment, so we can just handwave this) that each child of an employee of this plastic factory will end up bringing $X/year in extra tax revenue to the school system. $X<$Y.

Now, imagine two cases:

CASE 1 The factory will employ almost all new people moving into the community from outside, and the opening of the factory will result in a hundred new kids coming to the school, and $100X new dollars coming in, and $100Y spent.

CASE 2 The factory will employ almost all existing unemployed people already in the community, and the opening of the factory will result in no new kids coming in, and an extra $100X in tax revenue coming in (from people who formerly weren´t paying taxes).

It´s obvious that CASE 2 is better for the local school system. It also seems clear that CASE 1 is worse for the local school system, though it may be better for other parts of the community, and may very well be better for the kids of the new workers. My impression is that many communities who suspect a new factory moving in will be more like CASE 1 try to keep it out, while communities who suspect it will be more like CASE 2 try to bring it in.

Karen May 29, 2013 at 10:59 am

Where I live (western New Jersey), the mission of local government is to try to keep new residents out. There is no possible way that they pay enough in taxes to cover the school expenditure if they have kids. I just looked up the per pupil cost for middle school (app $13,000) and high school (app $16,000). A McMansion will pay about $20,000/year property taxes so if theres more than one child in school from that house, the McMansion is not paying its way.

I live about a mile from 2 garden apartment complexes. In 2000, I found an apartment for my mother in one of them and she lived there for years. It was almost all elderly people. My old mailman lived there and he told me that when he and his wife moved in they were the youngest people in the complex and he was 53 at the time. In just the last 7 or 8 years those complexes have completely turned over to young families who appear to be Hispanic. They are mostly small one bedroom apartments, very few 2 bedrooms and nothing larger. I have watched 40 children (I counted!) get off the school bus. Thats just elementary school; there are also kindergarten, middle and high school buses. There is no way those aparment complexes are paying the taxes for those children to be in the local schools and if there are language or other problems (and there are!) the burden on the local taxpayers is more than the average per pupil.

And how are they living in those small apartments? It frightens me to have that a mile from my home because those kids will become teenagers and they are going to be very resentful teenagers. But at least its a mile away (and a steep hill). I am outside of the municipal limits but I did watch the debate for the local mayor’s office (it pays a $4,000/year stipend for the mayor and all 3 candidates offered not to take it). The convenience store across the street from those apartments where the men go to wait to be picked up for possible work was the most prominent issue, as it is in the local paper. The people who live in single family houses near there – no doubt the less wealthy people of the community who always bear the brunt of goody-2-shoesisms – really, really do not like it, having those men milling about. The municipality would like to buy that convenience store out but he won’t sell.

AND FOR WHAT??? So people can get their lawns cut or some other landscaping kind of job? There was a big thing in the local news about McDonalds efforts to hire only Hispanics so theres that, too, maybe some of them work at food places.

MPC Micro God May 28, 2013 at 4:28 pm

You are such a nerd, Cowen! Go back to writing crappy comic books and stop posting about immigration you get schooled everytime by people who don’t have autism. Stand down, boy!

MPC Micro God May 28, 2013 at 4:36 pm

It has come to my attention that you are not Bryan Caplan autistic comic book author but Tyler Cowen the autist raising another mans child. Can we say cuckold? It’s hard telling you autist apart.

Hole's Meltdown May 28, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Is it true Tyler that you love outsourcing so much that you outsourced paternity to another man who wasnt a jaffer?

Floccina May 29, 2013 at 10:00 am

I think that immigrants (especially from China) have made it better for poor people in that they provide services cheap and being better behaved than the native poor, dilute the bad behavior of the poor in some areas.

Karen May 29, 2013 at 11:12 am

When we lived in New York, my husband was once called for jury duty in Brooklyn and the case (I think it was a federal case) was prosecuting Chinese gang members. Thank God he got out of it. He has a bit of a hearing problem and he told the judge that he would be afraid that he would rely on other jury members perceptions too much. If we think the Chinese immigrants are so wonderful and law abiding its probably because we don’t pay attention to them normally, because of the language barrier. I remember seeing a speaker on C-SPAN say that the Chinese language newspapers have loads and loads of articles and ads about how to get on various welfare programs and how to get your parents over and how to locate the parents in the highest welfare-paying states.

I mentioned my late mother being in the apartment complex that turned over to Hispanics within the last 7 or 8 years. I moved her out of there because I was afraid. She was on the ground floor and the men would sit outside and drink and fight. A few years ago, we had the first local murder in a long time, 2 Hispanic men at that apartment complex fighting over the wife/woman of one of them.

Peter Schaeffer May 29, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Karen,

A generation ago, the Chinese coming to American were almost all white-collar professionals who did very well in the U.S. Think of Amy Chua’s parents (Ms. Tiger Mom). Times change.

The Chinese who came to America in the 19th century (California Gold Rush and later) were not elite at all. They were working class, but did well in the U.S. over time. Of course, America was a different country back then and far more able to assimilate and integrate immigrants. Times change.

Karen May 29, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Peter,
The one strong impression left from the Tsarnaev brothers immigration story is that our government has no idea (and doesn’t try much to know more) about what is going on with this vast immigrant population from all over the world, including and especially places many/most Americans couldn’t find on a map. I never heard of Dagestan before the Tsarnaevs. The Chineses immigrants are not all one people.

Our government is not policing the immigrants and those communities run on their own with their own enforcement mechanisms, I’m sure. That in itself is a danger to the rest of us.

My brother the farm inspector was telling me about recent local efforts in upstate New York by a team of lawyers to go around to the towns and look at their land use laws to plug loopholes so that the towns have something to stand on against the billion-dollar natural gas fracking companies. I’d like to see that kind of effort for the local towns here to control occupancy of residential spaces.

Peter Schaeffer May 29, 2013 at 3:17 pm

@Karen,

“Peter, The one strong impression left from the Tsarnaev brothers immigration story is that our government has no idea (and doesn’t try much to know more) about what is going on with this vast immigrant population from all over the world, including and especially places many/most Americans couldn’t find on a map. I never heard of Dagestan before the Tsarnaevs. The Chineses immigrants are not all one people. ”

The basic rule is zero enforcement. Exceptions exist. Of course, if an immigrant (or would be immigrant) plays by the rules and follows the law, the system is a bureaucratic labyrinth. If you just ignore the law, you have to do something quite exceptional for anyone to take note of your legal status. A few years ago, the GAO took at look illegals in the criminal justice system (Federal, State, and Local). The typical illegal (in the criminal justice system) had been busted 6-7 times without anyone even checking their immigration status. Of course, they were prosecuted for their non-immigration crimes. However, essentially no one checked if they were here legally or made any effort to deport them after they served their sentences (a program Secure Communities has changed this somewhat).

Take a look at Obama’s family. Onyango Obama was ordered out of the U.S. in 1992 (by a court) and was busted for a DUI last year. He’s still here of course. Then we have Zeituni Onyango. She was ordered out in 2004 but is also still around (with the help of high-priced lawyer and presumably family). Quote from

“The Continuing Saga of Obama’s Illegal Alien Aunt & Uncle”

“If you want to get angry, really angry, watch this video. Americans were rightfully livid after hearing the story of this unapologetically arrogant woman who blamed our system for giving her so much; a place to live in public housing, $51,000 in disability payments and regular welfare payments of almost $700 per month, not to mention the taxpayer-funded hospital stays and treatments.”

So much for illegals not being able to exploit the welfare system. Of course, the only unusual thing about Obama’s relatives is that they are his relatives. In other respects, they are just commonplace illegals. Welfare abuse, DUIs, ignoring court orders, etc. are nothing unusual in the immigrant community.

Michelle Malkin wrote a book about this ” Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces (2002)”. The bottom line was simple

“It ain’t over until the illegal alien wins”

Her summary of the book follows.

“Invasion shows how every component of immigration enforcement has failed — from overwhelmed consular offices, to overwhelmed borders, to overwhelmed detention centers and deportation proceedings. I tell the buried stories of dozens of Americans who died as a result of lax and incompetent immigration enforcement: grandmothers, teenagers, rookie cops and veteran troopers brutally murdered by criminal aliens on the loose. I analyze the immigration failures that led to September 11, and I expose the shocking stories of torturers and other suspected war criminals who waltzed through our front doors along with foreign terrorists.”

projektowanie stron wroclaw May 29, 2013 at 1:23 pm

I’ve read a few excellent stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how so much attempt you put to make this kind of great informative website.

rapcollabz May 29, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Have you ever thought about publishing an e-book or guest authoring on other websites?
I have a blog based upon on the same ideas you discuss and would really like to have you share
some stories/information. I know my readers would value your work.

If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an email.

rapcollabz May 29, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Wow, that’s what I was searching for, what a material! existing here at this webpage, thanks admin of this web page.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: