2003 June 30 Monday
Victor Davis Hanson Against Massive Immigration From Mexico
Victor Davis Hanson emphatically wants an end to illegal immigration. (my emphases added)
Simply peruse the Mexico City newspapers, read what Mr. Fox says to non-Americans, or listen carefully to la Raza (a blatantly racist term analogous to the old German concept of a pure Volk) dogma in the southwest. Papers in Mexico often mirror those in the Arab world — blaming the United States for Mexico City's own failure to address self-created pathologies. If we truly wished to help Mexico and its people, then we would not be complicit in the present corrupt status quo by allowing its ruling families to export millions of potential dissidents and would-be reformers.
It is not a moral thing for either Mexico or us to barter in human capital, as we accept tens of thousands of poor economic refugees who work at menial jobs that we say we cannot do. Both the race industry on the left and the corporate right must accept that they are on the wrong side of history, and it is time to return to the sanity of measured, documented, and legal immigration — jettisoning the charade of consular IDs, billions lost in unfunded entitlements, and everything from driver's licenses to in-state tuition discounts for those who are here illegally. Rwanda, the Balkans, and separatist Muslim communities in southern France should remind us all of the wages of ethnic separatism, chauvinism, illegal immigration, and the creation of a second-class citizenry relegated to menial work.
Hanson has come out with a new book entitled
Mexifornia: A State of Becoming. A good article adapted from it is entitled The Universe of the Illegal Alien.
Chewey Escobar, now 38, whom I met when he was looking for work at 15, at last has noticed that all the people in the American Southwest who do the least sought-after work are, like himself, Mexicans — whether washing windows, making beds at the hotel, hauling trash, or picking lettuce. Why is this so? Chewey has a vague idea that the absence of education, degrees, contacts, perfect English, and years (if not centuries) of family roots in America can mean that you blow leaves while some pink person in slippers and bathrobe sips coffee and watches you from a glass-enclosed solarium by the pool.
Someone like Chewey cannot help but think something like: "I work, she does not. I sweat and lift and pick, and they sit and talk." Envy, it turns out, is a powerful new force in the life of the alien — especially when so often he is not mixing with America’s middling classes, but hired as a gardener, nanny, or unskilled laborer by our more affluent. That I tell him there are millions of poor whites who far outnumber impoverished Mexican-Americans makes no impression; it is the contrast — Mexican help, white helped — that he is obsessed with.
I am surprised but pleased to find such a well known conservative commentator and classical scholar in the ranks of those who think the United States is in need of drastic reform of immigration policy and greatly improved border control.
Update: Trent Telenko has an excellent post about Hanson's book with more extensive excerpts on WindsOfChange.net entitled "Mexifornia" and the Opening of the Immigration Debate.
For my own previous posts on immigration see the Immigration and Border Control archive.
Update II: Hanson has an earlier article in The City Journal on immigration entitled Do We Want Mexifornia.
Nor is there agreement on the economic effects of the influx. Liberal economists swear that legal immigrants to America bring in $25 billion in net revenue annually. More skeptical statisticians using different models conclude that aliens cost the United States over $40 billion a year, and that here in California each illegal immigrant will take $50,000 in services from the state beyond what he will contribute in taxes during his lifetime. Other studies suggest that the average California household must contribute at least $1,200 each year to subsidize the deficit between what immigrants cost in services and pay in taxes.
The irony, of course, is that the present immigration crisis was not what any Californian had anticipated. Along with the cheap labor that the tax-conscious Right wanted, it got thousands of unassimilated others, who eventually flooded into the state’s near-bankrupt entitlement industry and filled its newly built prisons: California is $12 billion in the red this year and nearly one-quarter of its inmates are aliens from Mexico (while nearly a third of all drug-trafficking arrests involve illegal aliens). The pro-labor Left found that the industrious new arrivals whom it championed eroded the wages of its own domestic low-wage constituencies—the Labor Department attributes 50 percent of real wage declines to the influx of cheap immigrant labor.
He is wrong that no Californian anticipated this. He just wasn't listening to us malcontents many years ago. He also unfortunately perpetuates a common economic fallacy:
We know what caused the tidal waves of immigration of the last three decades. While Mexico’s economy has been in a state of chronic collapse, California has needed workers of a certain type—muscular, uneducated, and industrious—to cut our lawns, harvest fruit, cook and serve meals, baby-sit kids, build homes, clean offices, and make beds in motels and nursing homes.
Let us be clear on this: The economy did not need more labor than was already available before illegal immigrants flooded in. Markets work to match up supply and demand. Labor markets are no different. Had there been less illegal immigration then people would have purchased less manual labor at higher prices and shifted their consumption patterns to use more equipment in place of labor. They would have changed their lifestyles in countless ways (e.g. plant lawns that needed less maintenance, lived closer to other family members to get child care from family members or teamed up with friends with children to share the watching of children back and forth) to reduce their need for cheap manual labor. There is no absolute level of need for labor that necessitated the importation of large numbers of low-skilled grade school and high school drop-outs.
The argument that the US economy needed large numbers of manual laborers runs up against a really basic fact: If the economy pays little for a job then that is a sign that the job does not create much economic value. How can a job that generates little economic value be necessary for the economy? To argue that the illegals created large amounts of economic value one would have to argue that the economy has some built-in inefficiency that causes it to undervalue what manual laborers do. This seems highly unlikely. It defies common sense. Highly skilled workers command much higher salaries because they can produce more. Picture a society in which everyone was unskilled. Who'd design cars, houses, bridges, factory robots, new plastics, drug compounds, and countless other items of value? Mental skills that allow people to do design and discovery of new products and to discover applications for potential or existing products are much more highly valued because people who have such skills can produce much greater value than unskilled manual laborers.
In a recent interview Hanson describes some of the cost-shifting between those who use illegal immigrant labor and those who end up paying for it.
We live in an Orwellian state, where liberal Silicon Valley executives pick up day workers on El Camino Real in Atherton, drive them home for a few hours of trench work, and then dump them off on the street at 5 P.M., as if they are going to parachute back to Oaxaca — or conservative hoteliers, farmers, and contractors who employ for 30 years hardworking illegal aliens until their bodies give out at 50, then expect the state to provide with entitlements what the employer could not with retirement plans, lament the absence of a "work ethic" among the aliens' children — all as a preliminary to welcoming another cohort, as the tragic traffic in human capital continues in some sort of surreal life cycle.
Everyone who lives in America generates costs to everyone else. One can show up at a hospital emergency ward and demand medical care. One can get in an acccident and cause others injury, death, and loss of property. One can pollute the air or water. One can show up at a public school with kids that one wants to be educated. In all of these and many more ways we generate costs. The question is for each of us can we afford the kinds of costs we generate or will the society have to pay? An immigration policy that imports additional people every day who will, on average, generate more costs than revenues is a dumb immigration policy.
you do realize hanson is a democrat, right?
He'll never write for NR again(motto:"standing athwart history,shouting US TOO).They after all gave us the computer generated "New Model American" (June Cleaver with a tan)cover photo some years ago and have morphed into a kind of opprotunistic neo-con mouthpeice.
I'm truly puzzled why so many people find it diffucult to grasp the concept that a California that is mostly Mexican will resemble the rest of Mexico.
Especialy since Mexicans have a strong blood and soil sense of nationalism and identity.
I'm not very well read on this subject... but I wonder how the utterly different political climates of California vs. Texas have affected the integration of illegal aliens in the 2 states. I would imagine that TX possibly has a *higher* % of illegal aliens in the population than CA; however, "Mexi-fornia" seems more near-term than "Mexas".
WITH ALL OF MY RESPECT, I BELIVE THAT THIS ARTICLE IS NOT WORTH READING!!! I UNDERSTAND YOUR POINT OF VIEW, BUT YOUR POINTS AND REASONS ARE JUST NOT REALISTIC. THEY ARE NOT THE TRUTH. IMMIGRANTS FROM MEXICO DO NOT USE MORE MONEY THAN WHAT THEY BRING TO THE US ECONOMY, MANY OF THEM DON'T FILED THEIR TAXES AND THE GOVERNMENT GETS TO KEEP ALL OF THAT MONEY. THE US WOULD BE NOTHIN WITHOUT MEXICAN IMMIGRANTS AND YOU KNOW THAT THATS THE TRUTH...
MANY OF THEM DON'T FILED THEIR TAXES AND THE GOVERNMENT GETS TO KEEP ALL OF THAT MONEY
I fear our allcaps friend has no idea that witholding requires an "above ground" employer and legalwork contract to begin with.... neither of which are in abundant supply for mex. laborers
Vinod, Right you are.
Plus, the illegals are earning low wages and therefore are not going to pay much in taxes anyhow. High income immigrants are what we want. Low income immigrants are a net cost to the rest of us regardless of whether they evade paying taxes.
HELLO TO YOU ALL, AFTER READING SOME OF YOUR COMENTENTS MAID, I'M DEEPLY SADDEN & DISTURB ABOUT THE ANGLO PERCEPTION, TO START OFF PLAIN & SIMPLE, MEXICANS ARE THE BACK BONE OF THIS COUNTRY, TO THE EXTENT OF THE VAST MAJORITY WHO SERVE IN THE ARM FORCES, ARE SONS & DAUHTERS WHO HAVED SACRAFICE & DIED PROTECTING OUR WAY OF LIFE , THAT IS THE IRONY OF THE HIPPOCRACY ON WHATS GOING ON, THE MAN WHO WORKS & TOILS FROM SUNRISE TO SUN SET, ON A JOB THAT THE POOR ANGLO WOULD NEVER DO. I UNDERSTAND THAT THEIR IS A FEAR AMONGS ANGLOS , BUT I SICERELY DOUGH THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IS BEING INVADED AS SOME OF YOU SAY. THIS GREAT COUNTRY HAS PROSPERED ECONOMICALLY FROM OUR CULTURE. AS IT WAS WHEN THE GERMANS, IRISH,ITALIANS ECT MIGRATED HERE. THESE ARE SIMPLY THE NEXT WAVE OF PEOPLE WHO ARE TO PROUD TO STARVE THEIR FAMILIES.IN ALL CLARITY I AGREE THEIR HAS TO BE BORDER CONTROL. BUT ITS NOT GOING TO FIXED THE PROBLEM. IF YOU WANT TO GO TO THE ROOT OF IT OUR GOVERMENT NEEDS TO COME UP WITH A PLAN OR EVEN USING POLICAL MUSCLE IN PRESSURING MEXICO INTO CRACKING DOWN ON CORRUPTION & CREATING A MORE ECONOMICALLY STABLE MEXICO, WERE NOT GOING TO SOLVED ANYTHING BY THOSE WHO WISH TO USE MEXICANS AS ESCAPE GOATS. IF YOU ASK MOST MEXICANS, THEY DIDN'T COME HERE BECAUSE THE WEATHER IS BETTER OR THE PEOPLE ARE MORE FREINDLIER NOT BY FAR, THEY CAME HERE & WILL CONTINUE TO COME UNTIL THEIR IS A DECENT LIVING IN THEIR OWN HOMELAND, THAT CAN HAPPEN IN TIME IF WE ALL WORK TOGETHR. MY FATHER SLAVED AWAY 40 YEARS OF HIS LIFE IN A SOUTHERN CALIFORNIAN FACTORY TO MAKE LIFE BETTER, THAT IS THE HUMAN SPIRIT OF ALL PEOPLE WHO WILL NOT ACCEPT DEFEAT. I'M JUST SORRY SOME PEOPLE ARE OUT THEIR WITH A RACIST MENTALITY, WHO ONLY POINT FINGERS & PROMOTE HATE, IN THE END GOD WILL BE THE GUDGE.
If you make another post with all caps I will delete it. You have been warned.
There are no jobs that "Anglos" will not do. In parts of the country with little or no Mexican immigration the trash still gets collected, restaurants have dishwashers, houses get built, and other work gets done. But the Mexican immigrants are driving down the wages of those who used to do those jobs.
Fear? No. I just do not want to suffer from higher taxes, more poor people, more crime, and more racial quotas to help people who do not do well in school at the expense of those who do well.
The Mexican people ought to solve their own problems with corruption.
The illegal immigrants will stop coming here if we enforce immigration laws vigorously and build a border barrier to keep them out. It is affordable and doable.
If your statement is true randall , I would like to see anglos picking grapes or washing dishes after college our maybe having & all white milatary.
Crime, I have seen your trailer park communities, tell your stories to the ignorent.
School & education, I agree to a certen extent,
Curruption, it will efect us all randall. We are in the same hemisphere.
About your border barrier & vigorous migration laws, we will see about it on the voting poles you can count on it randall.
If there were no Mexicans to pick grapes then the grape growers would have to buy the grape-picking machinery that the Australian grape growers use. Australian grapes get picked even though Australia has a restrictive immigration policy that keeps out the low-skilled. The fact is that lots of low-skilled immigrants have driven the wages down so far in agriculture that the growers have less incentive to buy capital equipment. Also the low wages are a disincentive for whites to do the same work.
BTW, I can tell you from personal experience (meaning I actually did this) that as recently as the 1970s all blueberries picked in New Jersey were picked by white people. I worked in the fields for part of a summer. I saw only white people.
Yes, you are right and very unusual among commentators to say that low-income immigrants are on net public subsidy. In fact, it is actually worse than that; around 80 % of the last 25 million immigrants are on net public subsidy, when the full range of public expenditures is included. The figures for 80's and more recent immigrants show a median personal income of around 15,000 dollars a year. Taxes are then only two or three thousand a year, but if they have only one child in public school for every two such adults, they are already into parasitical status. If interest on their subsidy is added , since our deficit never really goes away, the subsidy mounts up to hundreds of billions a year just to bring in this diversity of foreign blood-feeders. It is assisted immigration, which is treasonous to support. Yet if diversity could be a proper value, as we are told that it can be, the last several decades of anti-merit immigration would have made our gov't solvent. For more on these lines , may I suggest "diversity the anti-merit people" at the screenname just below...
Completely egocentric here? Yes, I believe so. I believe this is more about racism than it is about immigration. It's true, illegal immigration from Mexico has cost this country a lot of money, but illegal aliens pay taxes as well, and believe it or not there are many who don't file for income tax returns because of their illegal status. Seperate from that, the majority come to this country out of necessity. They are humans who were unfortunate enough to be born in a not so good country. The U.S. is the greatest country in the world and as I already stated they come here out of necessity, not for any "I'm gonna make their life miserable" reason. Are they really making your life that miserable? Maybe you should go see what life is like in the poor undeveloped villages or even cities, which still are many by the way, in Mexico. It's true, each country should take care of their own problems. The way their corrupt government has handled the country is ugly. But this lower class of people hasn't been able to do much against that yet. The economy over there certainly doesn't help; it's tough to have a stable job that pays enough to support yourself or the family. Life in the U.S. is like a dream when compared to the poor life over there, and it happens to be the country right next door. We have everything in this country, I love living in this country and am thankful for having been born in it and I'm sure you are to. Maybe you should let your egoism down a little. Are illegal aliens depriving you from having anything? If you say we have to pay for them, are YOU really losing that much? Is a position at McDonald's, flipping burgers, that the illegal aliens take really that disturbing to you? Even if those kind of low jobs paid more, how many people in this country would actually really want to do them? Why aren't you still picking blueberries where you say it's all white people? And if you say that the farm owners get Mexicans because they are cheaper labor, well that just makes the white owner richer, doesn't it? Plus, how many billions of dollars does the U.S. spend on war? Your comments are more racist than about immigration. Yes, I strongly believe there should be something done about this problem of immigration, not just concerning the Mexicans but everyone else who also come in as illegal aliens; it's not just Mexicans. It is a problem that needs to be fixed because completely tolerating it would, in fact, be completely unfair to us, but the way you are addressing the issue is not at all positive, but rather racist, egocentric, and narrowminded with no compassion whatsoever toward people who are largely less fortunate.
A.A., Why don't actually respond to the substance of the arguments rather than just labelling people racist?
Why am I no longer picking blueberries? Because I grew up and learned skills that let me do other things. I also no longer unload for UPS or work sweeping floors and vacuuming floors. But I'm sure there are more teenagers who'd do the work if the wages were high enough.
How much are we losing? In California that figure is well over a thousand dollars per native born person per year and that understates the cost since it ignores some of costs associated with the 3.7 times higher incarceration rate of Hispanics as compared to whites. Crime has many victims and causes much suffering.
I'm not addressing the issue in a positive way? What, you expect me to be cheery or think there is some way everyone can win when people with low skills come in and create net costs for those who are here? I'm not a Panglossian. I look at reality as it really is.
Rich white owners who get richer: They do so at the expense of the rest of the taxpayers who have to subsidize the cost of the cheap labor they get. In a nutshell the price of the immigrant labor on the market is lower than the total cost of that society has to bear.
A.A. I find your ad hominem attacks disgusting and immature.
I find it interesting when I see remarks for Mexicans on how they are the backbone of this country.
I recall the joke about the anglo in Mexico. He went on to question a Mexican about the beauty of the country, but the terrible poverty. The Mexican responded that the Anglos had stolen half of the country, the half with paved roads.
If Mexicans are so very good than where are the various hopsitals they founded, or the charities or universities?
I've nver been in California, but I understand that none of these will be found.
The idea the United States stole land from Mexico would seem to be error as well as, yes wars were fought, and lost, but land was purchased by the United States, i.e. gold transferred for the payment and California was never owned by Mexico, unless it is attempting to claim it is Spain.
The United States has many short coming, but in comparison to the vast corruption of the Mexican governemnt, it is nothing. The liberal anglos will continue to parrot the phrase, "No white person will do these jobs." Most of these never have done any real work, anyways.
On the other hand I know people, who have lived in Arizona and have shared there experiences with Mexican workers. They tell a very different story about this so-called hard working lot.
The sad irony is that Hispanics who at some point were culled out of the so-called white population are being used by both Vicente Fox and liberal Republicans and Democrats. These people care little for them, but recognize they can be useful as a tool against the majority white population as the African Americans were. It appears to me that they are being all but ignored by the Democrats now that their vote is essentially assured.
Yes, Mexicans may take over California, but what will be left? Nothing. Will they then complain that the anglo stole from them? If they spent more time studying the hsitory of Western Civilization than boasting about how important they are or what was stolen from them they might see what dupes they are.
A brief look at history would suggest that no nation founded by Spain or France has ever amounted to anything.
A look at Rome would suggest to me that much as that empire, the United States, unless the majority population has a very quick change of heart, will end or is being intentionally ended in the same way.
The white population has over indulged itself in sex, while failing to replace itself with children from its own population.(It amazes me the adds for medication to ensure great sex.) We abort our own, and lots of others as well - the black population is aborted at nearly 3 to 1 which is a very large number considering it is 12% of the poplulation.
Just as in Rome as the engineers and doctors die out the nation will begin to collapse and nothing that the European population built with last.
Sophia in Istanbul, now a mosque was designed by a Roman architect. The concrete can not be duplicated yet when built as a church, in one of the most earth quake prone areas in the world it has stood for nearly 2000 years, now as a mosque.
It is not tthe result of Islam that is stands, but by the enginnering of Romans.
I know that there have been and are American companies that have messed with the Mexican nation. Armour and other names come to mind. That is unfortunate.
Simon Bolivar hoped that Bolivia would one day be like America, not Mexico. It is sad his dream never came true.
The nation founded by Englishman and Scots, by and large, will not remain a good place to live when it stops being in the image those men designed.
It is obvious that people, who go there illegally are not people of integrity so why would they bring a positive influence? They will bring disease, poverty and hate. Diesases like MTB and Chagas. The hate is obvious.
The rich white liberals don't care as they do not have to live with these people.
I'll go a step further and say that this is merely what the Assyrian Empire did, but repackaged with modern efficiency.
Overly proud Mexicans or Hispanics will awake one day, in Mexico, but thousands of miles from whence they came and wonder how it happened.
I can only say look to yourselves. Examine what you believe.
california was mexico before white peaple came and destroyed our way of life .if there is borders her why dont they care about canadas border .and i bet more immegrants come from there.and u know something arnold is an immagrent so what his problem
u guys that beleive bobs stuff are MEXICAN HATERS MEXICAN HATERS MEXICAN HATERSMEXICAN HATERS D0 NOT TALK ABOUT US IF DO NOT KNOW US, NOT ALL MEXICANS ARE CRIMIMALS. LOOK AT ME IM AN A STUDENT AND 13.MY FAMILY HAS 5 HOMES GREAT JOBS.MY BROTHER IS EVEN AN SCIENTIST .AND IM GONA BE YOUR GOVENER ONE DAY TRUST ME ON THAT.
First of all, we the people of the United States are all immigrants only the native Americans can claim true citizenship. America was built by immigrants. From Plymouth Rock in the seventeenth century to Ellis Island in the twentieth, people from every where came to America some were fleeing religious persecution and political turmoil. Most of them came for economic reasons and were part of extensive migratory systems that responded to changing demands in labor markets. In recent year, an increase number of immigration have course many America to believe that the country are overwhelmed by immigrant and urged policymakers to create laws that discourage both legal and illegal immigrant. The controversy surrounding this and other policies has made immigration one of he most divisive publicly issues of the decade.
A common argument among those opposing further immigration is that foreigners take U.S. jobs and cause unemployment among the displaced American workers. In the July 13, 1992 edition of Business Week , a poll states that sixty-two percent of non-blacks and sixty-three percent of blacks agree that "new immigrants take jobs away from American workers." This is a widely held, if erroneous belief, among Americans. However, Julian L. Simon, author of The Economic Consequences of Immigration, states: immigration does not exacerbate unemployment...Immigrants not only take jobs, but also create them. Their purchases increase the demand for labor, leading to new hires roughly equal in number to the immigrant workers.
In the same Business Week poll, eighty-three percent of non-blacks and eighty-seven percent of blacks agree that "many new immigrants are very hard-working." The results of the poll may seem somewhat contradictory, but not necessarily negative. Those polled seem to be at least a little open-minded in their view of the quality of new immigrants. However, in order to overcome their distrust of foreigners, Americans must abandon their suspicions and recognize, as Simon has, that our lives are enhanced by immigrants creating, not taking, U.S. jobs.
A widely held belief among Americans against immigration is that foreigners "strain social service budgets." According to the same poll, sixty-two percent of non-blacks and fifty-nine percent of blacks agree "immigrants use more than their fair share of government services, such as welfare, medical care, and food stamps." This belief has its roots in the nineteenth- century, when "one of the first immigration laws was designed to exclude the entry of people likely to become a 'public Charge'," according to the CQ Researcher These beliefs are misguided and more than likely attributable to illegal immigration, which is not an issue on this topic. In actuality, immigrants are young and healthy when they arrive, and therefore, "do not receive expensive Social Security and other aid to the aged," according to Simon. In fact, Americans should be thankful for immigrants as they "contribute more to the public coffers in taxes than they draw out in welfare services" and put "about $2,500 into the pockets of natives" from excess taxes. They are, in fact, raising the quality of life of those dependant of the social services.
In his nationally syndicated column, Pat Buchanan, a past Presidential candidate, wrote "immigration should be suspended to preserve the nation." This appears to be a case of "the pot calling the kettle black." Buchanan's ancestors had to have immigrated from somewhere, so should they have been kept from immigrating "to preserve the nation"? According to Buchanan's statistics, the U.S. is currently seventy-five percent white, twelve percent black, nine percent Hispanic, and the rest mostly Asian-American. By mid-twenty-first century, "whites may be near a minority in an America of eighty-one million
Hispanics, sixty-two million blacks, and forty-one million Asians." Again, should their immigration be suspended to preserve a white majority? Buchanan seems to equate "white" with "American," and "Hispanic, black, and Asian" with "foreigner." Unfortunately, Mr. Buchanan is not alone in his opinions. The fear of encroachment by foreign-born Americans is a common one. However, they also bring with them valuable technical knowledge and skills, as well as being "fifty percent more likely...to have post-graduate educations" than Americans, according to Simon. The traditionalists opposing immigration must recognize our lives are enhanced by their knowledge and education, and that in order to "preserve our nation", they must realize we are a "nation of immigrants" and let others prove their worth.
The issue of immigration must be dealt with rationally, not emotionally. Facts, figures, and statistics must be studied by both sides in order to reach a decision most beneficial to our nation. Our lives are enhanced by the new jobs created by immigrants, the social service funds bolstered by their tax payments, and the valuable technical skills and knowledge brought with them. These benefits far outweigh any negative effects and prove the value of immigrants as they pursue the American Dream in our "nation of immigrants.