2003 August 20 Wednesday
Bush Favors Kolbe-McCain-Flake Immigant Worker Visa Bill

As part of their continuing campaign to get around the opposition to a general illegal immigrant amnesty George W. Bush and his allies are shifting toward supporting legalization of illegals via a temporary worker visa program.

"The president was enthusiastic about the bill," said Kolbe. "He is supportive and told us to take the legislation up with his staff."

The controversial guest-worker proposal would allow millions of foreigners including illegal immigrants already in the United States to live and work here with temporary visas.

This is a steath amnesty program. Illegals will be able to be legals and therefore eligible for more benefits and more due process legal rights. They will be able to have children here who are automatically citizens at birth. They will be able to start down the road to more permanent residency rights from a position of being legals rather than illegals.

Another consequence is that more illegals will come in. When someone can work here legally that person then has a larger choice in jobs with employers who will not hire illegals. Those employers who will hire illegals will then go looking for replacements for the now legal workers who move on to more desireable jobs. Therefore a new wave of illegals will find job openings available to them that were opened up by legalized workers who move on to other jobs.

Update: I get seriously annoyed when I read statements based on fallacies about economics:

The proposal recognizes that 6 million to 10 million undocumented workers in this country are, in Kolbe's words, "performing invaluable services to all of us."

How about a reality check?

  • People who are paid low wages are doing something that the market considers to be of low economic value. Invaluable? If a good or service has a high economic value and it is difficult to get it done then its price will rise until someone will do it.
  • Prices do not always embody total costs. For instance, production of a good or service can result in harmful pollution whose cost does not show up as part of the price of the good. Such external costs are present with immigrant labor when, for instance, the immigrants get government-funded health care, welfare payments, or education for their kids that far exceeds what they pay in taxes.
  • Before the massive wave of illegal immigrants basic services got done. The trash was collected. Houses were built. There were restaurants and laundromats. Some of the prices for those services were higher. But the prices more accurately represented total costs.
  • Immigrants are political actors as well as economic actors. As a group that does more poorly economically grows as a percentage of the total population it is inevitable that that group will vote for more goods and services for itself. Immigrants are already much bigger users of welfare than natives.
  • Higher prices for labor are an incentive for companies to develop and buy capital equipment to automate processes. Therefore, cheap low-skilled immigrant labor is a disincentive for innovation and modernization of physical plant.

Our political leaders short-sighted and pursuing their own re-election interests at the expense of the longer term interests of the commonwealth.

Update II: Here's an example of external costs that do not show up in the price of illegal alien labor:

Emergency medical care for the undocumented cost nearly $1 billion last year by one federal estimate. They received 30 percent of Medicaid payments and 31 percent of welfare payments, often because their children were born here, and are therefore American citizens.

Note the Owellian newsspeak by the reporter above with her use of the term "undocumented" workers rather than illegal aliens.

Update III: Steve Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies outlines the some of the economic costs of immigration to Californians.

Camarota's data showed that the average taxes paid by Mexican immigrants in California amount to about $1,535 per year, while native-born Californians pay $5,600 in taxes.

While Mexican immigrants pay one-third the taxes of native Californians on average, they also consume roughly three times more welfare, Camarota said.

Employers benefit. But the rest of society pays.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 August 20 11:55 AM  Immigration Border Control

Muhammad said at September 5, 2003 3:56 PM:

if that is true then i shall really sport the president, not just i have sympathy to those who are illegal, there are here any way and some how they are working to servive, it is not them, but it is government who is in loss, in the form of taxes and others. those undocumented people who are here for long time, obviously they have build up the grounds and hard for them to go back and start from scrach. they people are here for better life and live in a civilized society. i strongly sport for totally amnesty for all nationalities and hope for every body to begin a new life and get united to make US more stronger than ever.

Angelico said at October 21, 2003 6:52 PM:

I think Pres. Bush is just right in supporting the reform on immigration. Right now the government cannot do anything on those illegal immigrants who are making a living here. So, why not offer them the opportunity to legalized themselves here. Well, we can all protest about this law offering practically an amnesty for people violating our immigration laws but we should accept the fact that these people are here now and we are not doing anything about it. The government is inutile, and there are American employers who are willing to employ these people.

Randall Parker said at October 21, 2003 10:06 PM:

Angelico, I can't make it any clearer: some immigrants create more costs than benefits.

As for whether illegal immigration can be stopped: yes, of course it can. But the government doesn't try to stop it.

Neil said at November 25, 2003 10:32 AM:

An amnesty is a must considering that millions of undocumented people are being separated from their families, are working on jobs that us Americans don't even wanna get close to doing, and have no healthcare coverage. I support the president in passing it into a law, because legalizing the illegals means a stronger America. After all we are a nation of immigrants and let's not forget at some point us or our ancestors were in the same position before everything worked out for them and look at where they brought this wonderfull nation of prosperity.

Maria Moreno said at May 11, 2005 9:11 AM:

I think that mexican immigrants have given a great look at life. Being one my self i truly beleive that the U.S. would be unfair and unequal without us dont you? I thik we give great pleasure in our cheaper labor, and our hard work and effort. And immigrants take jobs that many others do not. Yes many may think we will take thier jobs but they have a degree. how can we take your job if you are smarter. People dont think and thats the problem with the Unied States.

stephanela said at May 11, 2005 9:16 AM:

i am an immigrant and i hate president bush!

too many illegals.wat too many beans said at September 27, 2005 6:49 AM:

illegals love the system,and the system loves beaners.THEY ARE A DRIAN ON THE U.S. BUT THEY LOVE FREE GOODIES LETS STOP THEM .

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