Harvard economist George Borjas recently gave an overview of the economic impact of immigration on the United States in a lecture at the Cato institute (see the issue brief on the subject).
Borjas’ insightful analysis is backed-up by scientific data yet many choose to dismiss his work if not ignoring it altogether. As he explains, the immigration policy of the U.S. is not determined by facts and numbers. No matter how accurate and telling figures are, policy-makers are guided by their own sets of values, or shall I add, agendas.
It comes down to this: If policy-makers cared more about the immigrant then they do the American worker, they would design a policy that allows large-scale immigration despite the highs costs on American workers. The opposite is also true: if the American worker was top on the list, the U.S. immigration policy would be more geared towards controlling immigration flows. According to Borjas, it all boils down to one question: Who are policy-makers rooting for?
We are all familiar with the current’s administration immigration policy. What is not openly declared, however, is the type of country those in charge want the United States to be (or rather become). What we don’t have is a clear answer to a simple question. And so today, I ask, who are you rooting for Mr. President?
It is crucial to keep in mind a number of Borjas’ key points:
- High-skilled workers settle in places where skills are most valued. A country attracts highly-skilled workers when it gives a high rate of return to skills in comparison to other countries. A country that subsidizes low-skilled labor will attract low-skill workers. This is what the U.S. is doing nowadays, opening its doors to unskilled labor.
- We are witnessing today a slowdown in the economic assimilation of immigrants. The larger the immigrant group, the slower the assimilation. Large-scale immigration today leads to the formation of “ethnic enclaves.” What immigrants needed to do in the past to improve their economic status (like learning English, moving to a different town, changing occupations) is no longer necessary. Current immigrants believe they are doing well WITHIN these enclaves.What we learn from this is that immigrant groups that are largest in size in the U.S. assimilate at a slower rate. This applies to Mexican immigrants, the largest immigrant group in the U.S. today.
- Today’s immigration generates losers and winners. The losers are the American workers. The winners are both the immigrants and the employers of immigrants. It is a simple equation: when immigrants come in, the wage of competing workers goes down. Look at it from a supply and demand perspective says Borjas: immigration’s supply of workers leads to the price of labor going down. Conversely, for a particular group of labor that does not include immigrants, the price of labor goes up. So, American workers are the big losers today. American employers of immigrants share the winning stand with the immigrants.
Knowing all this, which immigration policy should one advocate? As Borjas stresses, immigration policy is not guided by economics. It has to do with the kind of country we want and the people we care about the most, the low skilled American worker or the low-skilled immigrant?
Immigration policy comes down to one simple question:
Who are you rooting for? That is a question President Obama needs to answer.
obama is trying to make sure the dems. dont lose the senate and they are willing to sabatage our country if they have to in order to make sure that dosent happen.
in short obama is a traitor and has always had a need to be a dictator.
HAHAHA! Bob you are worse than a BAT!……try the GOP or Republicans……
The President is the son of an immigrant, which certainly is reflected by his policies. The Republicans are interested in cheap labor, as reflected by the GOP in Texas which refuses to pass E-verify, and the U. S. Chamber of Commerce pushing for amnesty. Bob, it’s not about Dems and Reps, as much as the Dems thinking they are do-gooders, and the GOPers just follow the money to people like S. Addelson, the hotel maven and the Texas Perry clan , home-builders.
Arnlof, I guess the rest of us should not believe our lying eyes! Are you daft? Even Stevie Wonder can see that these folks are not in the shadows and have more children/ paychecks here than their counterparts back home. How is that possible? Who pays the freight? How would you like to use an ITIN and get about $10,000 from US government for children whom have already been subsidized by US and/ or kids who do not live here? How can any of those folks pay into the system to cover the HUGE costs we have incurred to pay for them?
Jamie it is not your eyes… it is just simply u r not aware and know nothing about illegal immigration…. when u go to restaurants u support illegals immigration……..for example…..u see u did not even know it S…ignorance is a bliss….
America used to be WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) as a country which shared similiar values and similiar customs. It has morfed into a fractured society with competing interests pulling in all kinds of different directions. The former was a great place to live with a future, the latter a cesspool with nowhere to go but down.
David really?????…..I thought there used to be African Americans and Indians as well….. to the point…. Indians , mulato…….with blue and green eyes were spotted running through through the woods back from Jamestown moving forward…….u must be old…….. where have u been living man!!!!!!! Ha!!!!!
Chinese……etc etc….th@@ civil rights…….:hahahaha!!!
If theuUnited States doesn’t drastically cut immigration and refugees, America will be ruined.
England will be 40%muslim in 30 years at current rates, over 50% of births in london are to foreign mothers, Islamic protests are a common thing in England. This is what will happen here. Lloyds bank of London no longer charges muslims for overdraft fees or interest fees because muslims complained, said it was against their religion. As their numbers grow their demands grow.
There is no law that says Americans have to take care of the world or change our culture for others. Statue of liberty….. That was long ago. Times change.
Blacks have a 16% unemployment rate yet our black pres wants millions more immigrants to compete for jobs. Its no longer low wage jobs either, our area is overrun with hundreds of Bosnian truck drivers, most own their own llc. If they weren’t here those hundreds of jobs would open up.
No u don’t see illegal begging on the street, the ones that don’t work have access to many programs.
I cannot go to the emergency room and get my bill waived even though i dont have insurance but illegals and immigrants can, just by saying no income. That is bs.
Our local schools are being overrun with immigrants, our county school system has over 1500 esl students, doubled in the last 5 years. This takes many teachers, many books and many classrooms, this costs millions in this small county, multiply by 1000s of other counties, then add the cost of free lunch, bussing, etc!
Nobody has the guts to say its hurting our school systems because that’s not politically correct, which is bs.
Time for drastic changes Americans before its too late!
Illegals have no access to any programs…..u have to show u r legal and second if their kids were born here the they r Americans……I am not saying I agree or disagree but that is the reason we need immigration reform else things will get even much worse Chad….. at least u r above 50 and will not be impacted by thus….
No access to social programs? Are you kidding?
The average total cost for K-12 education in the US is $12k/year per child http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=66.
Does anyone think that the parents’ rent payments (part goes to property taxes) and minimal taxes covered that cost? What about emergency medical, free lunch programs, section 8 housing? All of which are FULLY available to illegal aliens WITHOUT a social security number. If they have a child in the USA, the family instantly qualifies for Welfare and additional social services. Obviously, those children would not have been born in the USA without their parents, therefore they are an ADDED cost to the US taxpayer.
Frank since you are so knowledgeable…….then do some math if you can handle it………….330M the population ….10M illegals…….3% or so….most if not all work….a fraction of the 3%…..OK now us……Welfare the majority whites following african Americans then hispanics……SOLVE THE AMERICAN WELFARE FIRST!!!
where’s the comment I types??
Sometimes they r censored….
The problem all goes back to the 1965 INA. And please stop everyone harping on “illegal immigration.” LEGAL immigration is doing fine destroying the middle class and enriching the elites all on it’s own.
You’re correct. Legal immigration should be cut way back.
The level of education in these enclaves being as low as it is, its only a matter of time till they demand a vote via the U.N. to join Mexico.
Your genes come from the same pool…… and u r being so demeaning about your own….. there are many Hispanics and Mexicans that are productive and controbute to the US
I am also Hispanic, and proud of it. But I see nothing demeaning at all about Mr. Jimenez’s post. The problem with many Hispanic immigrants is that once they get here, whether legally or even illegally, they make problems for this country, like starting to cry racism for every little thing and demanding amnesty. They have no loyalty at all for this country, they just enjoy all the benefits and freebies they are able to get. They have no desire to assimilate or be American. And no I am not over 50.
Great Issue Brief Nayla!
Peace is determined through our involvement today. Yes we could have a guest worker program, a comprehensive immigration movement. Let’s get on board with two things: are they (the potential immigrants) financially a benefit to our economy, are they educated and ready to assimilate as Americans? If not then we should close our welfare programs to aid them in staying here. Why should we be continuing to burden a system that is failing and cannot keep up with our own.
That is the first logical and smart comment so far…
wow,this Harvard guy just figured out what I knew 15 years ago,I have an 8th grade education and been working since I am 13 years old.I started with nothing(still have it) but earn a decent living around 46k a year.Low life illegals only come here for free money and free stuff.I wish the feds would grow a sack and secure the border for good,[edited for content],ILLEGALS ARE NOT WANTED.
Free money?…..for your info……I have seen yet an illegal on the city streets asking for money……bit only Americans…….they work harder than u do and by the easy u show an 8th grade education no differently from the prof………u too need to travel and study our way of life and legal system….
“Current immigrants believe they are doing well within these conclaves.” Of course, because the taxpayers pick up many of the costs of raising their families. Food stamps, low cost school meals, medical treatment by going to the emergency room, housing assistance, it’s a long list of government welfare programs that these people get because many are low income and have American born children that make them eligible.
In spite of all the comparisons to “when your great grandparents came here” and heated rhetoric about tearing down the Statue of Liberty, the fact is that those programs simply did not exist back then. You worked and paid for your family, not the taxpayer.
How about the other scientific papers that say the opposite? U combine all Di ided by the same amount and get your answer with + and -…….and we would still need more data….be a use it is just that…..scientific studies……..