Dan Griswold of the Cato Institute was one of the inspirations for George W Bush's incredibly anti- and un-American guest workers program, one that would have reduced previously middle-class wages by flooding the labor market with lower-wage, skilled foreign labor (video here: peekURL.com/vsaprax).
Now, Griswold offers "Will Democrats err in immigration reforms?" (link), complaining that in her recent speech Janet Napolitano didn't call for a guest workers program. Griswold's proposal is built on a fantasy; he's peddling snake oil:
By all accounts, IRCA (the 1986 amnesty) was a failure. The one-time legalization temporarily reduced the number of illegal workers, but their numbers soon began to rise again as the U.S. economy continued to create job opportunities for low-skilled immigrants. With no legal path for entry, workers from Mexico, Central America and elsewhere crossed the border illegally or entered on nonworker visas and overstayed.
A temporary-worker program would recognize the reality that the U.S. economy benefits from low-skilled immigration. As the United States shakes off a deep recession, it is only a matter of time before job growth resumes, including lower-end jobs in retail, landscaping, food preparation and service, and home and commercial cleaning that attract low-skilled immigrants.
Large numbers of low-wage workers do contribute to the economy, but most of the benefits go to their employers (whether growers or nanny-employing Beltway hacks), with everyone else picking up the bill. The "profits are privatized and the costs are socialized" as they say, and that would seem to be a violation of libertarian principles, such as they are. And, massive immigration gives foreign countries political power inside the U.S. and gives more power to far-left groups, something Griswold isn't including in his analysis.
At the same time, the cohort of U.S. workers who have traditionally filled those jobs, namely high school dropouts, continues to shrink. In the past decade, the number of adults 25 and older without a high school diploma fell by 3.2 million, and their ranks will fall by another 2 million to 3 million in the next decade. Yet our current immigration system offers no legal pathway for anywhere near a sufficient number of foreign-born workers to fill that growing, structural gap in our labor market.
The teen unemployment rate was 25.5% in August. I suspect there's something Griswold isn't taking into account.
...A temporary-worker program will not aggravate the unemployment problem. If no jobs are available, immigrants will leave and potential immigrants will stay home.
That is, needless to say, fantastical. Corrupt businesses - those currently advocating for an amnesty and a guest worker program - will continue to do then what they do now: seek the lowest-cost labor they can get, no matter the cost to the U.S. as a whole. As with the H1B program, employers will push the program to its limit, basically having in effect "guest-only" jobs through various loopholes. And, as can be seen currently, most illegal aliens are staying in the U.S., and with many it's probably because they think they're going to be amnestied. A similar scenario would play out in the case of Griswold's plan, with the Democrats promising yet another amnesty of some kind, causing many unemployed "guests" to remain in the U.S. And, the network effect would be involved, with friends and family of the "guests" coming here illegally. And, of course, there's the matter of those "guests" who'd have U.S. citizen children; as can be seen, most are reluctant to return to their home countries.
He also references this earlier Cato report; see the link for why that was wrong too.
Tue, 11/17/2009 - 12:41 · Importance: 4