The Center for Immigration Studies has an astouding new study out about how the number of foreigners employed in the US rose even as native employment declined and percentage of foreigners unemployed rose.
As the CIS folks point out, this makes the argument that the US economy needs these foreign workers into something of a joke.
The current economic slowdown represents a real-world test of the often-made argument that immigration is primarily driven by economic need in the United States. The fact that immigration has not slowed significantly since 2000, even though unemployment has increased significantly, indicates that immigration levels do not simply reflect demand for labor in this country. Rather, immigration is a complex process driven by a variety of factors, many of which have little to do with prevailing economic conditions in the United States. The idea that record levels of immigration in the 1990s were caused by a strong economy is a gross oversimplification and perhaps not even very helpful in understanding immigration.
Poor foreigners come here because they make less in their home countries, are willing to work for less than the native born Americans, and because they want the better welfare and medical benefits they can get here that the rest of us pay for. Businesses want the cheaper labor. Democratic Party politicians want them because when the immigrants (especially the less skiled ones) become citizens the vast majority will vote Democrat. Ideological big "L" Libertarians want them because the big "L" Libertarians are running a really defective model in their minds of human nature and think everyone else would think like they do if only they could be made to understand. Never mind the empirical evidence that massive amounts of unskilled immigration lead to bigger government. Ideology trumps evidence when one is a firm believer. Still others are sold on the beautiful myth that immigration of all kinds helped make America great and would just as soon not take off their rose-colored glasses and look closely at the ugly details.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2003 November 07 03:48 PM Immigration Economics|