Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Some Sources on Immigration

This article claims that "evidence that immigrants have harmed the opportunities of less educated natives is scant." This one suggests that immigrants’ effects on wages are minimal. Alan Krueger has demonstrated the same thing. Here’s a paper that goes so far as to suggest that the reverse is true; that "overall immigration generates a large positive effect on the average wages of U.S.-born workers."

Tyler Cowen tells us, in this op-ed, that "Americans have heard from politicians for more than 200 years that immigration will cause the sky to fall. Yet each time it has only made us stronger."Rachel Friedberg writes in the Quarterly Journal of Economics that mass immigration into Israel has had no adverse economic effects. Several other economists have reached the same conclusion. Richard Vedder and Lowell Galloway demonstrate here that native-born Americans are far more likely to become public burdens than are immigrants.

Did someone claim that there was no scholarly literature showing that immigration was anything but bad for the economy?

Discussions - 37 Comments

Well, I always love fighting city hall. I wish I could start new threads instead of defending old ones...I guess my point of view will necessarily lose given a rigged game like this!

Still, NLT has been over all this before. I can match you scholar for scholar on the issue of the economics of labor migration, as I did here over a year ago. And frankly, instead of wasting an enormous amount of my time doing it again, I’ll repeat the point I made so long ago -- the most serious problems with legal and illegal immigration have NOTHING to do with economics. They are social and political.

And please, leave Israel and other countries out of this. Of course more Jewish immigrants help Israel, and across the economic, political and social spectrum. John, we aren’t living in Israel.

I wish I could start new threads instead of defending old ones

You could always start your own blog. I’m not trying to be snotty here--I’m dead serious. I’d read it. You have a lot to say on just about every subject, and when you can refrain from getting personal it’s often intelligent and insightful. I was hoping that we could have a discussion about immigration without it degenerating into a flame war (I realize that this is only partially your fault). After sifting through the invective, I often find your comments helpful--although you and I have very different ideas of what constitutes culture, and therefore we are unlikely ever to convince one another of the relative merits of our positions on this issue.

Well, fairly said. Physicians often go into practice with others because of time constraits and to share the overhead costs...and that’s one of the reasons I don’t start a blog. Just no time for such stuff...despite what some might think, I do hold down a job. It’s hard enough just keeping up with you folks!

I too would prefer to keep things cordial...but you have so MANY trolls on this board. And, unfortunately, turning the other cheek has never been one of my strong points (too much of the ol’ Scotch-Irish, I’m afraid). But a kind word doth turn away wrath, as you have done here.

I really don’t hate these hard-working illegals, but they will change the things I care about. I’d prefer if they’d stay home and fix their own country. Mexico is not Chad...they have resources. What they need is a political make-over...and that may require economic and social pain in the short term. Too bad, but necessary in my view.


I looked at your links and they were mostly abstracts. They just stated the conclusions of the paper, without giving data, etc.

I was curious if you had read the papers, and how the papers define "wage." If the papers defined wage as money paid then it might be true it had not gone down, but fringe benefits (such as health care, matching 401(k), etc.) might have been stagnant or gone down. These fringe benefits would be a truer definition of "wage."

Although my personal observation counts for little, it has been my observation that illegal immigrants have hurt wages (in money) in construction trades, especially rough carpentry and drywalling. No rough carpentry crew could compete with illegal immigrants on a cost basis, and as a result many went out of business.

"And please, leave Israel and other countries out of this." "John, we aren’t living in Israel."

If that is the case, you should stop talking about Germany and Turkey instead of the U.S.

Israeli immigration is unique, Ed. It is selective, homologous, and religio-political rather than economic in nature. On the other hand, Muslims moving to Germany as a part of a guest worker program is one of the few analogies to our situation that makes sense. I could discuss the failures of the bracero program, if you’d prefer.

Dain- The German-Turkish situation, while similar in the sense that it involves guest worker programs, differs in important and specific ways. In the case of the Turks, they are a highly distinct group with a strong Islamic heritage. The problem that has arisen there, as well as in France, is politico-religious message of hate and seperatism, especially among the second and third generation. The case in America is different. The illegal immigrants, while predominantly Mexican, are reflections of a variety of Latin American and South American countries. These latinos typically only share the religious connection of being Catholic. The last I checked the Catholic church was nowhere promoting terrorism and destruction of all western countries.

Certainly it is possible to point out crime associated with immigration and immigrants, but that alone does not prove that we should not liberalize our immigration policy. I’d certainly be open to hearing a more detailed explanation why an American guestworker program could not work.

The German problem with Turks predates the current problems with radical Islam. Indeed, that Turkish population hasn’t been very radical at all...Turkey itself has been the most overtly secular state in the Middle East. The point is relatively simple...the Turks became permanent residents...the guest worker program utterly failed. The same will happen here...would that they remained staunchly Catholic, but they will be introduced to identity politics (just as more established Hispanics have been). Religion hasn’t been the primary problem in either Germany or America.

In exactly what way would Mexican immigration change our culture, why do you think it would happen, and if so why is that really so bad?

Well, Morris, I’d say the formation of Aztlan would be pretty bad...our culture would simply be uprooted and/or severely changed. Don’t laugh..we did it to them (Texas).

Another problem we are already seeing is that Hispanics now constitute the U.S.’s largest minority group. Pandering to them will become to the political sport. Do you think pandering to minorities is a good thing? Check out our central cities.

1 in 3 prisons in Federal penitentiaries is Hispanic.

Mexico is not considered the "jewel of Latin America," now is it?

I could go on...was your question a serious one?

Well, I can see that the Senate has betrayed the American people (again). Our great and glorious RINO President got this turkey of a bill passed by 62 Senators -- more than half of them Democrat. He betrayed us, and he betrayed his own party.

Unless the House stops this, I’m done being a Republican. Regardless, I’m done with Bush.

What else did you expect from the President? I agree with you totally.

What did I expect? More.

The problem is that we didn’t to this to them.

The area that comprises Aztlan wasn’t very populated by Mexicans or anyone else, for the matter. Mexico allowed the immigration to help populate the land.

Today is much different, the area is well populated and the U.S. does not need any help in keeping it such.

Dain- If your problem with the Turks in Germany is that they stayed, then I suppose I can’t argue against that. I don’t fear millions of latin Americans staying in the United States for the simple reason that they are already here. From what I can tell the latest wave of immigrants into America is no worse than any previous wave of immigrants. I honestly see very little reason not to let them into the country. I’d rather do it legally and possibly through a guest worker program so that we can prevent many of the social and political ails you worry about by starting to make them American from the day they start working here.

African-Americans are fully ’American’, and yet we have racial difficulties. The recent marchers in the streets were mostly 2nd generation legals and therefore ’Americans’, but that didn’t stop them from hoisting the Mexican flag. The London bombers were "English" and yet their loyalties laid elsewhere. In short, burying your head in the sand and saying "it’s OK with me...we’ll Americanize them" is just naive. But I learned a long time ago that people with your attitude weren’t particularly reasonable on the issue.

Dale, the fact that the Texican uprising and subsequent Mexican-American war occurred in different circumstances than those that prevail today doesn’t matter one bit. We are talking ideology, grievance, and social mobilization. The fact that the Spanish probably didn’t sink the Maine didn’t stop us from smacking them around, now did it? The will to power doesn’t need much pretext. When Aztlan becomes majority Mexican, nothing will stop a segment from advocating separatism. Guerilla war and terrorism in the streets of LA...sounds just wonderful. And you know what...I won’t be able to blame them...America would probably deserve it for being so short-sighted.

Besides your woefully disappointing generalizations about people you know little about, I’d like to actually here a real solution from you Dain. What would a supremely wise person like yourself do to solve this problem. Please tell. Since we are all so unreasonable, what is the reasonable approach?

My solution? Easy...first, enforce the law. That means catching and DEPORTING illegals, penalizing the people who employ them (such enforcement is WAY down from the Clinton era), and making it clear to Mexico that we aren’t their economic backup system.

Second, I’d reduce legal immigration by half, and eliminate the "family repatriation" part of the law.

That would be a start.

I would like to know how the people who think Dain is racist, Ethinicist, or "crazy," or whatever reacted to France’s and Holland’s Muslim immigrant population problems? When these things occurred I remembered reading lots of blogs/conversative commentary about how France and the Netherlands were stupid, and almost got what they deserved, because they let people with such different values systems immigrate into their countries. I remember when all of this was happening I wrote something like, while we may be amused now, who is to say that Mexicans will not do the same thing to us in the future? I do not remember anyone raising an uproar at that time. Nor do I think Dain is altogether wrong. Mexico, for one reason or another, has never had a stable law and order regime, and this must be partly as a result of their habits as a people. I suppose illegal immigration shows a lack of respect for the law, as does forgery (presenting false Social Security Cards and Driver’s Licenses), driving without a lawful license (although I think CA gives licenses to illegal immigrants), committing perjury for every job one applies for (IRCA makes it perjury to falsely state one is authorized to work in the US), and committing tax crimes by not paying income taxes. This debate is about the rule of law, although it does relate to Mexicans generally, but only because they, as a people, do not seem to respect law much (although they may have perfectly good reasons for not respecting it, such as corrupt colonial rulers). If anyone can show me how illegal immigrants do respect the rule of law in general I would be happy to retract my criticism.

Hey Sparks, get your facts straight. Dain describes *himself* as ethnocentric. "That’s a sensible stance to take."

Again, Steve-O, you snipe, albeit in a mediocre way. Are you claiming not to be ethnocentric? I’ve generally found that claims of moral superiority are based on self-delusion.

See what I mean Sparks? He isn’t even pretending anymore. Now his reply is basically "So what. Everyone else is probably a racist too."

I think CA gives licenses to illegal immigrants

No we don’t., that’s not what I mean. People are self-interested, and we tend to favor our own group over others. Do you deny it? What I’m talking about is purely defensive...I’m not into der Ubermensch or the white man’s burden or any of that nonsense.

And you know, buddy, you haven’t contributed a single thing to the thread yet...just names and nastiness. I guess that makes you a self-righteous jerk...prove me wrong.

A good way to get economic growth in Ashland would be to hire illegal aliens to teach history classes. They would probably do it for a third of what John Moser gets paid. Cut Moser’s pay by 75% and see how quickly "history professor" becomes "a job Americans just won’t do."

These illegal won’t be able to afford health care for the their pregnant wives. But you can build a county hospital for them (again, more economic growth).

Moser won’t go on the dole, he can re-tool for something else; maybe an administration job.

"...just names and nastiness." ha ha ha. Could you describe yourself any more accurately? Maybe you should take 5 minutes to re-read the spew you put out this week.

Again, Steve, waiting for a contribution...good thing I’m not holding my breath.

I punched this in on another thread and got a reaction from Dain. I would like reactions from others of you, if you’d be so kind. I think this could work:

Temporary Worker Program:

1. Temp agencies incorporate in the U.S. but set up franchises in Mexico and any and all other countries they wish to franchise;

2. All unskilled alien workers must sign up at franchises in their home countries in person and provide thumbprints;

3.No American companies may hire unskilled alien workers except through these franchises and criminal penalties will attach to the employers for violations;

4. All wages will be paid by employers to the franchises and no money will change hands from employers to unskilled alien workers. In order to receive their pay, unskilled alien workers must return to the franchises in person and provide a thumbprint;

Tell me what you think of it.

Like I said in my last comment.

Uncle Guido:

I will respond to your idea, but keep in mind that I know almost nothing about immigration law, other than IRCA.

I think everything in your proposal, except for point #4 is already in place. Do not US companies have to claim there are no US workers with the skills they need in order to get certain kinds of VISAs? I think I remember reading about this concerning Indians and high tech computer jobs. The US government sets a limit to how many Indians can come in per year, and this limit is based on what employers state they need. I am pretty sure that employers "sponser" the employee so the Indian cannot come over unless the high tech employer has already hired him or her.

I could have swore I read that California issued licenses to illegal immigrants. Do not illegal immigrants get in state tuition to California universities? Maybe the newspapers misreported these stories. As I learn more about the law, I also learn that reporters usually miss all of the nuances of the legal issue they are discussing.

I could have swore I read that California issued licenses to illegal immigrants.

No. It came up in a referendum in ’04 and was soundly defeated. Even the governator was against driver’s licenses for illegals.

I think everything in your proposal, except for point #4 is already in place.

If it is in place, it’s being ignored. And #4 is the cornerstone of the whole thing. They have to go home to get paid. If the penalties to employers for non-compliance are severe enough, such as losing their business licenses, they’ll comply.

Do not illegal immigrants get in state tuition to California universities?

I could be wrong about this, but I don’t believe CA has "in state tuition."

I also learn that reporters usually miss all of the nuances of the legal issue they are discussing.

What do you expect from people who learned all they know by watching "Judge Judy?"

I sent my suggestion to David Drier, my congressman, yesterday. No response yet. I think I’ll try Tancredo(sp?) tomorrow.

A good way to get economic growth in Ashland would be to hire illegal aliens to teach history classes. They would probably do it for a third of what John Moser gets paid. Cut Moser’s pay by 75% and see how quickly "history professor" becomes "a job Americans just won’t do."

Now, Contrarian, why don’t you take a few moments and ask yourself why that hasn’t happened already. I’ll give you a hint--it isn’t because Ashland University’s Board of Trustees is concerned about my welfare.

John, I think Contrarian’s larger point is that it’s easy for the college-educated white collar folks to be indifferent about immigrant labor. The same is the case concerning off-shoring. But I’ll wager, along with Contrarian, that lots of suburban folks will change their tune REAL soon. Lots of services being offshored now...have you ever heard of Baumol’s disease?

Nope, I hadn’t, but according to Brookings it’s already been cured. So I figure it ranks somewhere behind Avian flu as a concern.

Whistling past the graveyard, John. The strong uptick in services productivity is a one-time shot due to computerization. Speed of light is pretty fast...I don’t see many more improvements down that road, at least no improvements that lead to a sea change in productivity.

Another thing to keep in mind, John. Service industries that enjoyed that uptick in productivity due to new technologies are precisely the ones that are most easily offshored. Your job, for instance, is relatively safe because it’s medieval (face to face interaction is necessary). Same is true for doctors. But then ol’ Baumol’s disease kicks in.

We need to face the fact...our government needs to look after our economy. That’s what happened in the past (making us a great power) needs to happen again.

By the way, have you ever studied Great Britain’s period of "free trade." Please do so, if you haven’t.

CA does have in-state tutition rates.

CA also used to have people who mowed their own lawns, vacuumed their own carpets, and raised their own children. But why bother with such quotidian matters when you can get an illegal to do it? And why worry about American citizens who cannot get a job putting up drywall, cleaning an office building, or working in a slaughterhouse for anything but below poverty wages? After all, the jobs of the tenured remain secure.

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