Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Deep Thoughts: Part Two

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been surprised at the number of logical fallacies and blantant misinformation circulating in the pro-immigration camp.

I laughed to myself when I heard William Kristol of the Weekly Standard defend the Administration's policy on FoxNews:

I'm a liberal on immigration.... What damage have they done that's so great in 20 years [since the 1986 amnesty]?... What's happened that's so terrible in the last 20 years? Is the crime rate up in the United States in the last 20 years? Is unemployment up in the United States in the last 20 years?

And they've been contributing to the U.S. economy and not damaging U.S. society. There have been marches with Mexican flags, which conservative talk radio is up in arms about. I mean, are these people serious? Are these people—what, are they going to be traitors to the U.S.?

... I am pro-immigration, and I am even soft on illegal immigration.

For one, crime has increased because of immigration, ceteris paribus. Kristol knows this. He doesn't care. Kristol also knows that immigration has suppressed real wage growth among the unskilled and uneducated. Unless he thinks there is some sort of exception to the laws of supply and demand for immigration.

As well as depressing wages, there is considerable evidence that the recent influx of illegals is driving low-skilled immigrants from the labor force. In 2000, unemployment was 10% for native high school drop-outs. More recently, in 2005, the unemployment rate for this group was 15%. During this same period labor force participation among this group shrunk from 59.1% to 56.3%. while the percent working (out of total population) declined to 48.2% from 53%. Further, immigration has contributed to the rising cost of housing, healthcare, and auto-insurance.

The proper question is not whether America is better off today, but whether America is better off because of illegal immigration. The fact that America is doing reasonably well at the moment (at least if we ignore the population most adversely affected) does not necessarily mean we are doing reasonably well because of illegal immigration. In fact, the truth may be to the contrary--that America has prospered despite massive increases in illegal immigration.

Some links: For a thorough discussion of the effect on native unskilled workers see the excellent CIS backgrounder "Dropping Out." Blogginhead heads discusses immigration and Kristol's comments here.

Lawrence Auster of amnation in a post I don't completely agree with gets one thing very right about Kristol's comments:

He comes right out and says on national television that he couldn’t care less about the mass invasion of this country by illegal aliens. He looks at 500,000 illegals and their co-ethnics demonstrating in Los Angeles,—illegal aliens demanding favors from the government of this country while carrying Mexican flags and signs saying that this continent belongs to them, not to us—and it has no effect on him. He’s pleased to inform us that personally he’s not bothered by it. Even Brit Hume was put off by Kristol’s smiling demeanor.

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