Misleading Arguments Result from False Assumptions

jobsThe March 24 edition of The New York Times carries a long argument by NPR writer Adam Davison titled, “Debunking the Myth of the Job-Stealing Immigrant.” He argues that because immigrants can make more money in the United States than in their home country the world is richer for the migration.

He concludes that open borders would be beneficial to the United States and to the world. But he comes to that conclusion based on the misleading fact that, “The State Department issues fewer than half a million immigrant visas each year.” He then asks, if we can’t have open borders, “what about doubling the visas we issue each year?”

It’s hard to believe that Davidson and the editors at The New York Times do not know that as many immigrants are admitted each year by the Department of Homeland Security as are admitted by the Department of State. In fact the number of newly admitted immigrants is averaging more than a million persons per year.

Would Davidson have changed his argument if he recognized that his suggested level of immigrant admission has already been achieved? Presumably he would not, because he is for open borders. But some of the readers of The New York Times might understand the issue better if they had a more accurate description of the status quo presented to them.

About Author


Jack, who joined FAIR’s National Board of Advisors in 2017, is a retired U.S. diplomat with consular experience. He has testified before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and has authored studies of immigration issues. His national and international print, TV, and talk radio experience is extensive (including in Spanish).


  1. avatar
    Pragmatic Exec on

    There are two things needed to have a modern, competitive economy. First, we need access to a youthful, energetic, cost-effective workforce in order to compete with other nations. Second, because of the aging population and retiring native workers, we need a plentiful supply of new consumers. An all inclusive immigration system provides us with both. When are you lazy, stupid restrictionists going to wake up to the realities of the 21st century global economy?

    • avatar

      When are people like you going to stop living in the 19th century. It’s a whole new world, genius. You’ve heard of industrial robots and mechanization? We don’t need any flood of new workers. And the youngest of the baby boomers are still 10 years from retirement. But babble away.

  2. avatar

    This is the comment that I submitted to the New York Times in response to the Davidson article:

    The sad truth is that for amoral economic elites, “Overpopulation is profitable.” While Davidson has neglected the economic law of supply and demand regarding wages, glutted labor markets drive down wages and facilitate illegal employment discrimination against older workers, women, “historically under-represented” groups, and handicapped workers. That is trend number 1 that benefits the amoral economic elites.

    The second trend is that immigration-stoked population increases bid up the prices for the necessaries of life such as shelter, transportation, and food. Most of the economic benefit from this latter trend also benefits the amoral economic elites.

    To learn more about these harmful trends, please search by title for the PDF version of the 2012 article, “How Record Immigration Levels Robbed American High-Tech Workers of $10 Trillion” Additional details are found by searching for the PDF version of “The Greedy Gates Immigration Gambit.” The first article was published in 2007, with a follow-up having the same title in 2014.

    Another thing that economic elites can do is to buy media outlets to promote their viewpoints. The world’s wealthiest man, Carlos Slim, now has a 17% ownership stake in the New York Times, per the January 14, 2015 NYT article titled, “Carlos Slim More Than Doubles His Stake in Times Company” Of course, it takes much smaller amounts of cash to induce hungry journalists to disseminate the elite’s point of view. 🙁

    • avatar
      Pragmatic Exec on

      In order to achieve the GDP growth levels needed to compete with larger countries in the 21st century economy, we must grow our population base. The best way to do that is with significant increases in immigration. Of course, there are some native born people will get left behind because they can’t compete with younger and more adaptable immigrants, but this is an unavoidable by-product of the efficiency and creativity of global capitalism.

      • avatar

        Population growth doesn’t lead to a better qulity of life. China and India along with others have tons of people and nobody in their right mind would want to move to any of those cesspools.

      • avatar

        I wish that greedy, foolish, unethical people like you that want more and more population growth would practice what you preach and get on a plane and move to China or India instead of lobbying to ruin the US for the American people who don’t like what you are peddling. Since you are such a talented global capitalist I am sure they would welcome you in Shanghai or other city where you would have an endless supply of cheap labor to exploit, and won’t have to worry about the cost of providing a safe working environment, days off, time off other than to sleep, etc. and when your workers commit suicide like the workers at Apple’s supplier Foxconn, good news! China has over a billion people so there will be a long line of desperate, homeless starving workers for you to exploit! Goodbye and good riddance!!!!

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  4. avatar
    Brent Damery on

    As always, there is much more to this issue than most realize. Apart from the economic concerns that seem to be the most trumpeted in the debate on immigration, the racial, ethnic, and cultural aspects are overlooked, while they are by far the most important. Furthermore, this is relevant in ALL nations founded by Europeans, as nearly all of them are letting in masses of third world immigration. Most arguments on the left AND the right make the false assumption that all groups of people are equivalent. Since the 1965 immigration laws in the US, the white population has declined from almost 90% down to around 65%. As this slide continues, the US will become a third world nation as its majority population builds the third world societies from which they fled. There is a reason virtually ALL black and brown nations are third world, and it involves traits inherent in those populations. White people can continue accepting the blame of the shortcomings of all the world, but it will not change the fact that third world populations cannot build first world societies. They cannot even maintain one when it is handed to them. All over the world, former colonies are fallen back to third world status as the colonial populations granted them self-rule. We are never going to learn until we have allowed ourselves to be wiped from the planet. FYI, that will not benefit anyone.

  5. avatar

    How does an immigrant taking a US job away from a citizen for less pay help the world, when the citizen could have had it for higher pay? This person is only looking at it from one side – the immigrant’s side, not the net effect of a downgrade in earnings. Geeze, I abhor ignorant liberals.

    • avatar

      I am a liberal and I resent being called ignorant. Please do not paint us all with such a broad brush. I am on this site because I support reasonable and responsible immigration policies. I do believe that President Obama has over reached his authority in his recent Executive Actions both with DACA and his more recent action legalizing 5 million plus illegal immigrants. I hope that the current case moving through the courts will over turn permanently those actions. Now, having said that I think it’s time for the GOP to do something about the situation, whether it be that they demand the laws that are on the books be enforced or whether they legislate new laws in a veto proof manner, just do something.

      • avatar
        Larry Glickfeld on

        Unfortunately this is not simply a “left vs. right” issue. On the one side you’ve got the liberals that tend to want open borders for humanitarian reasons, and on the other the conservatives who like the cheap labor. And both sides who will do virtually anything that they think will get them votes.
        Seems like neither side has the interests of the American citizen at heart. Almost none of the politicians are willing to consider both the economic damage caused by giving so many of our low-skill jobs to (illegal) immigrants, as well as the environmental damage caused by our ever-increasing population. This is especially frustrating at election time, when there’s often no good candidates to vote for.

  6. avatar

    Does anyone think that once unlawfully present persons who have the so-called jobs legal residents don’t want gain amnesty and work,permits that they won’t go after jobs legal residents do want. So more competition for the more desirable jobs. And when they leave the less desirable jobs, just more openings to draw more unlawfully present. Note, I don’t say immigrants because that is not what immigration law calls them. Cascade effect that eludes even the sharpest idiots.

  7. avatar

    How Old is Davidson?

    60+, maybe 70?

    I see a lot of people pushing for open borders now, that already got the last good years out of America before recent overpopulation; they’ll be dead before the overpopulation manure hits the fan really bad…

    • avatar

      I’m 54 and they were taking gobs when I was around 20 this is not news and I know it! our government is a joke! Don’t you agree? And having open borders is going to get killed….

    • avatar

      I’m 54 years old they were taking jobs away when I was 20 . When are they going to wake up our government is a jokeI’m 54 years old they were taking jobs away when I was 20 when are they going to wake up?? Our government is a joke!

  8. avatar

    If you link to the original article and then to the comments section, most are negative and many of the negative ones begin with “I’m a liberal, but…”.

    In all the chatter about the Rolling Stone “rape” story, few people are noting what really occurred. Which is, the magazine let the “victim” set limits on who and could not be interviewed. Which is why the story fell apart. We have a media that goes for the sensational, like Ferguson, and then the facts turn out otherwise.