Has massive illegal immigration helped California's economy?
The California Economic Strategy Panel, a quasi-governmental group, commissioned a new study called "The Impact of Immigration on the California Economy" that supposedly shows that massive immigration - legal and illegal - hasn't resulted in California falling into the ocean. Here's the PDF file, and the S.F. Chronicle discusses it in a report that is surprisingly not as biased as one might expect: "What immigration brings California: Study evaluates the costs, benefits of a huge influx of foreign workers".
The new California report seeks to quantify migration trends since 1990 and assess their impacts at the broadest economic level. Its principal finding is that California, with its high rate of immigration, has done better than the national average over the past 15 years according to such measures as wages, job creation and unemployment.
A few economists support massive immigration being good, however:
Harvard economist George Borjas argues that labor competition from immigrants has a much larger impact on wages. To use the same example, if foreign-born workers in the $10-per-hour job category increased by 10 percent, Borjas would expect wages to be whittled back 30 cents or more... "California is a prosperous state,'' Borjas said. "Its prosperity masks the impact. But California is less well off than it would have otherwise been without this immigration."
Amidst all this "big picture" talk, the reporter manages to find the time to interview two "immigrants" who say they never took an American's job. Oh what a wonderful world it would be if anecdotal evidence and false generalizations weren't logical fallacies.