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Thread: The Truth About Illegal Immigrants

  1. #1
    No issue ****s the knees of Californians " indeed, all Americans " as much as illegal immigration and its effect on the state and the nation. One reason that it tends to elicit pre-programmed responses across the political spectrum is that the information available on the subject has traditionally been of two kinds: bad and nonexistent.

    The slack is normally taken up by cant and supposition: Illegal immigrants take jobs from native workers, drive down or hold down wages, impose a uniquely heavy cost on society and so on. For the most part, these are perceptions masquerading as conclusions, which is not to say that they should be lightly dismissed. They drive the politics of immigration, after all, and thus influence the prospects of immigration reform.

    So it's encouraging that a panel of state economic officials and other leaders is about to receive a dose of actual facts about illegal immigration and its effect on the state. The instrument is a report prepared by the Center for the Continuing Study of the California Economy, an independent think tank in Palo Alto, which will be presented today in Sacramento to the state's Economic Strategy Panel. This 15-member group is appointed by the governor and legislative leaders and chaired by Victoria L. Bradshaw, secretary of the state labor and workforce development agency.

    What's important about the report is that by deflating numerous myths about illegal immigration it underscores the genuine issues and points us toward the best policies to address them. Chief among its findings is this: Immigration, legal or illegal, while imposing net fiscal costs on this state, produces a net economic benefit for the country.

    The imbalance between national economic gains and local fiscal costs reminds us that the federal government's evasion of its responsibility to help states and municipalities with the staggering costs of hosting illegal immigrants " especially in the education, healthcare and criminal justice systems " is inexcusable. There has always been an abstract recognition of this responsibility in Washington, but until federal lawmakers understand that the nation genuinely benefits from immigrant labor, it will always remain abstract. (In other words, underfunded.)

    The center's report is not a brief for illegal immigration. "As an economist, I have nothing to say about the argument that 'illegal is illegal,' " Steven Levy, the center's director, told me this week. On the other hand, he says, the report "repudiates that there are wide pockets of poverty and imbalance in the California economy due to immigrants. They're fitting in."

    The study focuses largely on the California economy since 1990. The date is significant because it marks the beginning of the illegal immigration flood tide; just over half the state's legal immigrants arrived before 1990, but about 86% of the 2.4 million illegal immigrants living in the state today have arrived since then. (They're currently arriving at a net rate of 75,000 to 100,000 a year, mostly from Mexico and other Latin American countries.)

    The researchers looked at several economic trends in that period. They found that California unemployment, which was as much as 3% higher than the national rate during and after the recession of the early 1990s, largely closed the gap after 1994. By this year, it was nearly identical to its rate in 1990.

    Average wage levels in the state, in contrast with those in the nation, have soared. In 1990, the report says, the average wage was 10.9% above the national average. By 2004 it had moved to 13.4% above the average. Meanwhile, job growth has remained strong " exceeding the national rate from 1994 to 2000 and pacing it since then.

    Clearly, California has remained an impressive economic engine throughout the period of heavy illegal immigration. It's worth noting that the period includes two major economic setbacks " the aerospace-driven recession of the early 1990s in Southern California and the 2000 tech bust in the Bay Area " without which California might well have had the rest of the country eating its economic dust. Of course, neither bust can be remotely traceable to immigration.

    What about whether illegal immigrants are displacing native-born Americans in the job force? The arriving workers are concentrated in a few low-wage sectors " although they comprise 4.3% of the U.S. workforce, in 2004 they held 19% of jobs in farming, 17% in cleaning and 11% to 12% in food preparation and construction.

    But there's no evidence that they've increased native unemployment or significantly suppressed wages in those trades. A 1997 study by the National Academy of Sciences cited by the new report found only a "weak relationship" between the number of immigrants and native wages. A report this year by the president's Council of Economic Advisors placed the effect at less than 1% in wages for every 10% increase in the number of immigrant workers. In any event, California's minimum wage ($6.75 an hour) sets a floor on how much an unskilled worker can be paid.

    The virtue of the center's analysis is that, unlike most other surveys, it's not a snapshot of immigration's near-term effect. It shows that, on average, immigrants rise on the socioeconomic scale the longer they're in the country, as do subsequent generations. The more successful they are, of course, the better it is for the general economy.

    Implicitly, this calls for a realistic immigration policy " not necessarily a full amnesty for those who came here illegally, but some recognition that their presence sets the groundwork for a fuller contribution to the economy, such as a guest worker program with the promise of a green card under certain circumstances " very like the Bush administration's proposed temporary worker program, but perhaps more generous.

    In the long run, won't that be more profitable than trying to corral them all and ship them home, only to wonder once they're gone how to fill the jobs they were doing while they were here?

  2. #2
    No issue ****s the knees of Californians " indeed, all Americans " as much as illegal immigration and its effect on the state and the nation. One reason that it tends to elicit pre-programmed responses across the political spectrum is that the information available on the subject has traditionally been of two kinds: bad and nonexistent.

    The slack is normally taken up by cant and supposition: Illegal immigrants take jobs from native workers, drive down or hold down wages, impose a uniquely heavy cost on society and so on. For the most part, these are perceptions masquerading as conclusions, which is not to say that they should be lightly dismissed. They drive the politics of immigration, after all, and thus influence the prospects of immigration reform.

    So it's encouraging that a panel of state economic officials and other leaders is about to receive a dose of actual facts about illegal immigration and its effect on the state. The instrument is a report prepared by the Center for the Continuing Study of the California Economy, an independent think tank in Palo Alto, which will be presented today in Sacramento to the state's Economic Strategy Panel. This 15-member group is appointed by the governor and legislative leaders and chaired by Victoria L. Bradshaw, secretary of the state labor and workforce development agency.

    What's important about the report is that by deflating numerous myths about illegal immigration it underscores the genuine issues and points us toward the best policies to address them. Chief among its findings is this: Immigration, legal or illegal, while imposing net fiscal costs on this state, produces a net economic benefit for the country.

    The imbalance between national economic gains and local fiscal costs reminds us that the federal government's evasion of its responsibility to help states and municipalities with the staggering costs of hosting illegal immigrants " especially in the education, healthcare and criminal justice systems " is inexcusable. There has always been an abstract recognition of this responsibility in Washington, but until federal lawmakers understand that the nation genuinely benefits from immigrant labor, it will always remain abstract. (In other words, underfunded.)

    The center's report is not a brief for illegal immigration. "As an economist, I have nothing to say about the argument that 'illegal is illegal,' " Steven Levy, the center's director, told me this week. On the other hand, he says, the report "repudiates that there are wide pockets of poverty and imbalance in the California economy due to immigrants. They're fitting in."

    The study focuses largely on the California economy since 1990. The date is significant because it marks the beginning of the illegal immigration flood tide; just over half the state's legal immigrants arrived before 1990, but about 86% of the 2.4 million illegal immigrants living in the state today have arrived since then. (They're currently arriving at a net rate of 75,000 to 100,000 a year, mostly from Mexico and other Latin American countries.)

    The researchers looked at several economic trends in that period. They found that California unemployment, which was as much as 3% higher than the national rate during and after the recession of the early 1990s, largely closed the gap after 1994. By this year, it was nearly identical to its rate in 1990.

    Average wage levels in the state, in contrast with those in the nation, have soared. In 1990, the report says, the average wage was 10.9% above the national average. By 2004 it had moved to 13.4% above the average. Meanwhile, job growth has remained strong " exceeding the national rate from 1994 to 2000 and pacing it since then.

    Clearly, California has remained an impressive economic engine throughout the period of heavy illegal immigration. It's worth noting that the period includes two major economic setbacks " the aerospace-driven recession of the early 1990s in Southern California and the 2000 tech bust in the Bay Area " without which California might well have had the rest of the country eating its economic dust. Of course, neither bust can be remotely traceable to immigration.

    What about whether illegal immigrants are displacing native-born Americans in the job force? The arriving workers are concentrated in a few low-wage sectors " although they comprise 4.3% of the U.S. workforce, in 2004 they held 19% of jobs in farming, 17% in cleaning and 11% to 12% in food preparation and construction.

    But there's no evidence that they've increased native unemployment or significantly suppressed wages in those trades. A 1997 study by the National Academy of Sciences cited by the new report found only a "weak relationship" between the number of immigrants and native wages. A report this year by the president's Council of Economic Advisors placed the effect at less than 1% in wages for every 10% increase in the number of immigrant workers. In any event, California's minimum wage ($6.75 an hour) sets a floor on how much an unskilled worker can be paid.

    The virtue of the center's analysis is that, unlike most other surveys, it's not a snapshot of immigration's near-term effect. It shows that, on average, immigrants rise on the socioeconomic scale the longer they're in the country, as do subsequent generations. The more successful they are, of course, the better it is for the general economy.

    Implicitly, this calls for a realistic immigration policy " not necessarily a full amnesty for those who came here illegally, but some recognition that their presence sets the groundwork for a fuller contribution to the economy, such as a guest worker program with the promise of a green card under certain circumstances " very like the Bush administration's proposed temporary worker program, but perhaps more generous.

    In the long run, won't that be more profitable than trying to corral them all and ship them home, only to wonder once they're gone how to fill the jobs they were doing while they were here?

  3. #3
    Someone12
    Guest
    The US of A's economy will not collapse if 10-11 M illegals are shipped home - it would probably surge ahead.
    This carefully-managed so-called study was designed to support some half-a$$ guest worker amnesty BS program - which would result in these same 10-11 M illegals being rewarded while law-abiding foreigners wonder why they didn't try to scam their way to this country.
    No phoney-baloney study that filters information is going to persuade out-of-work Americans in construction, for example, that their unemployed status, thanks to illegals taking jobs for pennies an hour (by comparison) is somehow benefitting the United States.
    No doubt illegals work in many industries that many Americans might not choose to work in (note the word 'might') - except that unscrupulous and greedy employers pay far less than any living wage without benefits (while enjoying huge windfall profits themselves) and thus few AMericans could take those jobs and survive.
    If we dry up the cheap labor pool, employers will be forced to raise wages to attract workers (simple supply and demand, for Econ 101 buffs) - so, why not try it?
    Oh yes, we will hear tall tales of $200-a-head lettuce and $1000 a night hotel rooms - in reality, raising wages by even as much as 30% across many industries would result in apples costing 10-12c more a pound, hotel rooms up by $2-4 a night and more people mowing their own grass....big deal. The major 'impact' would be CEOs of companies that s u c k l e at the teat of cheap, illegal labor might not get a new corporate jet every year or might not buy that villa in Italy.....my my my....how our hearts bleed for these "poor" folks.
    Illegals are also stealing jobs and opportunity from law-abiding foreigners waiting their turn to immigrate legally - and this is the best reason to send all 10-11 M illegals home and cool their heels for a few years and let the responsible folks take their turn.
    As for those mentally-challenged and desperate types that marry some illegal, well, too bad. Your illegal spouse is going to get some 'time off for bad behavior' [ignoring or violating the sovereign nation and its laws] - and it may be a few years before they can return....buy some Kleenex and send postcards.
    Hospitals and schools would breathe a major sigh of relief if these 10-11 M illegals were deported; then these institutions could focus their resources on the very people who can (and do) pay for them - the American taxpayer instead of the foreign visa-cheat, border jumper and irresponsible dodger of medical bills.
    Send 'em home tomorrow....our country won't fold up and grind to a halt.

  4. #4
    You are right about the tall tales of price increases in produce and services because the labor spenditure is a non-significant percentage of the overall cost of business. What I do know is that there is a big problem with Immigration and the goverment has not shown any effective way to fix it. It seems like they are waiting for it to get as worse as it can be, before they finally choose to fix it.
    No worker program is going to fix the problem and building a wall isn't either! (a good just and humane immigration reform needs to be implemented and enforcement at the border is what will fix the problem.)

  5. #5
    Is H.R. 4437 going to fix the problem?

    Have you ever worked in the company employing illegal aliens and Americans together?
    If so you should know that Americans do a little in comparison with illegal aliens?

    Do illegal aliens displace Americans and cause unemployment? No, unemployment in US is one of the lowest in the world even if 11 milions of illegal aliens found a job here.
    5% is nothing.
    These 5% they are only Blacks or Ricans who are too lazy or are too stupid to do any job.

    You had an example of NYC union strike how hard Americans work. Dispite very good wages (more than 55K) thay wanted 8% salary increase each year.

    Why do you hate all of those 11 milions?
    They simply could get it done legally. The only way for them to get a job waiting for them in the states was either overstay or jump over the border.

    Someone12 is an American Goebels.

  6. #6
    Maria, how can you possibly ask why someone hates anybody. Why are you hating on ricans and blacks. like i have said before, we dont need anymore haters in this country. If Mexicans are so hard working and great, then why not stay in Mexico? Why come here to complain about everyone else? I have worked with Mexicans, and I kept up with the best of em! My husband is Mexican, but he doesnt talk like you. There are many lazy mexicans. If they all worked hard, Mexico would be in much better shape.

  7. #7
    Another politically-correct study, designed to promote a pro-illegal-immigrant agenda.

    If illegal immigrants are genuinely such a benefit, then why are Americans so vehemently opposed to illegal immigration? Surely, if the benefits of illegal immigration were so evident, then Americans would not be so upset about the issue.

    Furthermore, it is NOT only the financial burden imposed by illegal aliens that is important. You also must consider the considerable social costs.

    The vast numbers of people who refuse to learn America's language or assimilate to our culture; the vast numbers of people who routinely use fake identification and have several different names and "identitites;" the general lawlessness and violence that accompanies illegal immigration.

    I could go on, but my blood pressure is rising!!!

    Furthermore, if illegal immigrants are supposedly - according to Maria - more productive than Americans, then why is America the best country in the world? Obviously, in addition to being anti-American and a racist, Maria is as dumb as a box of rocks. Hey, Maria, aren't you an illegal alien?

    Enough said.

  8. #8
    You guys love controvercy, don't you?
    And just as much avoid calm, rational conversation.

    SunDevil, why did you dodge the question I asked you on the other thread?
    It's here:

    http://discuss.ilw.com/eve/forums/a/...21#63410377921

    As far as "Maria" goes, she is not an immigrant, much less she is illegal and way too far from mainstream American.
    Obviously she is one of the puppets of John Tanton, her only purpose here is to make anti-immigrants look good.

    It's obvious to everyone, except "Maria"

  9. #9
    Furthermore, if illegal immigrants are supposedly - according to Maria - more productive than Americans, then why is America the best country in the world? Obviously, in addition to being anti-American and a racist, Maria is as dumb as a box of rocks. Hey, Maria, aren't you an illegal alien?
    SunDevil,

    I myself often wonder how America managed to reach a position of dominance in the world. I guess, many factors had their influence but I would have to say that probably a lot has to do with the fact that it was founded by Europeans. Maria is correct: blacks are lazy for the most part. Just look at South Africa as a shining example of what happened to a formerly prosperous country when the power was transferred from the whites to the blacks. In the eighties I remember that South Africa was always mentioned among the world's most industrially developed nations. When the system of apartheid was destroyed, the country went down the drain. I was working for a company that had an office in South Africa. After the collapse of apartheid all white employees used every opportunity to leave the country, immigrating to Australia and New Zealand just to guarantee a safer future for themselves and for their children.
    Yep, blacks surely do know how to bring a country to ruin. So, enough about all races being equal - the realities of the world teach us that they are not.

  10. #10
    ImmortalE: With all due respect, I already told you that - in my opinion - your question was dumb and irrelevant. That is the only answer that you will get in this regard, no matter how many times you ask.

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