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Economics and immigration

Supporters of massive and illegal immigration frequently use economic studies to mislead. Sometimes the studies themselves are misleading, such as using bogus methodologies. However, mostly the studies are just used to come to misleading conclusions. Some of the ways they mislead or are used to mislead include:

* Lumping all forms of immigration together and ignoring the large differences between low-skilled and high-skilled immigration...

* Bribery, sometimes using fantastical amounts of money, and sometimes using very small amounts of money...

* Using absurd methodologies...

* And, last but not by any means least, ignoring all the costs of massive immigration. For instance, promoters of a study will claim that massive immigration has a low cost or that it represents a gain. What those promoters will fail to note is that the study they're promoting only discussed direct fiscal costs. No study has ever tried to put a price tag on all the indirect fiscal costs and all the non-fiscal costs. For instance, higher immigration does drive some Americans out of work, and some of those go on to commit crimes they would not have otherwise committed. Those crimes (and any resulting incarceration, increased welfare use by relatives of the perpetrator, and so on) have a cost which economic studies don't include in their balance sheets. Massive low-skilled immigration gives even more political power to the far-left, and that too has a cost to the great majority of Americans who aren't in the far-left. It also gives more power inside the U.S. to foreign countries, such as the Mexican government (see the hundreds of posts at that link). Massive immigration also takes political power away from native-born Americans, and not just as naturalized citizens vote but also since a small number of illegal aliens do vote and especially since illegal aliens count towards Congressional representation. Some supposed U.S. legislators occasionally represent the interests of foreign citizens (see Gil Cedillo, Antonio Villaraigosa, and Martin Sandoval for starters); that has a cost. And, the main reason illegal immigration is allowed is because our elites are corrupt: they hope to benefit in one way or another from illegal immigration whether monetarily or electorally. Our elites being corrupt has a huge, non-fiscal cost to the U.S. and leads those elites to promote policies that don't serve the interests of the great majority of Americans. No economic studies of immigration include all of those and more as costs.

Last modified Jun 3, 2011
Discussed in (click each link for the full post):

CBO: Senate immigration bill means lower wages for millions of American for over a decade (S744, budget deficit) - 06/19/13

The Congressional Budget Office recently released a report containing economic projections for the Senate amnesty bill S.744 (cbo . gov/publication/44346). Much has been made of the report's claim that the amnesty bill would reduce the deficit by $20 billion per year over the next ten years and $70 billion per year in the ten years after that (both are small amounts relative to the deficits in...

Richard Trumka admits his fellow amnesty supporters use immigration to lower wages (AFL CIO) - 05/31/13

... aren't based in reality (see immigration economics). Given his intro, you might expect him to turn against Big Business and oppose comprehensive immigration reform. Yet, he's not doing that: he supports amnesty as strongly as the US Chamber of Commerce, the Koch family, and Grover Norquist. He just wants to change the numbers a bit and let his Big Business colleagues invite slightly fewer people...

How is Gene Sperling misleading on economics and immigration reform? - 03/13/13

At the White House blog, Obama economic advisor Gene Sperling offers the highly misleading post "The Economic Case for Commonsense Immigration Reform" [1]. Normally, what I'd do is dig into it and show why he's wrong in general and why he's wrong about specific points, as I've done with the Obama administration time and time again. After all, I've got dozens of posts showing why the talking...

George W. Bush Institute on "Growth and Immigration" (Matthew Denhart) - 12/05/12

Yesterday, George W Bush returned to the public eye to promote massive immigration, saying ( peekURL.com/zjd4VCT ): America is a nation of immigrants. Immigrants have helped build the country that we have become, and immigrants can help build a dynamic tomorrow. Not only do immigrants help build our economy, they invigorate our soul. [...] America can be a lawful society and a welcoming society...

Sarah Jane Glynn of CAP hypes amnesty using studies from Cato, Bush, and the Fed - 07/09/12

... various types of immigrations: see immigration economics. See also this discussion of the "veranda pitch". Note also that in 2004, Bush proposed a plan that would have opened the U.S. labor market to the world, driving down wages for large numbers of middle-class occuptions. CAP might quibble with a point here or there, but they and Bush are on the same basic side of immigration. Glynn's second...

USDA: millions fewer illegal aliens wouldn't devastate agriculture (farm labor supply economic models, guest workers) - 06/12/12

The table at [1] is from a Department of Agriculture study (link) showing the impacts of two different immigration scenarios: * One with an increased guest workers program. The increase would be due to changes to the H2A program as mandated by the AgJOBS bill. * One in which the "unauthorized" labor supply has fallen by 5.8 million people. That would be due to the use of eVerify as mandated by...

Support high immigration? Explain these shocking charts (labor force participation rates by age, gender, ethnicity) - 10/13/11

Here's a challenge for supporters and enablers of massive or illegal immigration: explain these shocking charts. The charts (from the Department of Labor's BLS, [1]) show the labor force participation rate for various ethnicities, genders, and ages, with steady drops for most groups and especially for men, blacks, and youths. Note that the rates for Asians and white women has held mostly steady...

Most new Texas jobs went to immigrants, legal and illegal (Rick Perry; who to blame; what to do) - 09/22/11

A new study (link) shows that most of the new jobs created in Texas - Rick Perry's "Texas Miracle" - went to immigrants and not native-born workers. And, about half of those immigrants who got jobs are illegal aliens. This is somewhat bad news for Rick Perry, despite the fact that he's only partly responsible. Below I'll tell you who should bear most of the responsibility and what you can do...

World Bank: immigration would increase global income $356 billion by 2025; see what they won't highlight - 07/18/11

... or 2% of the 2025 GDP. Now see immigration economics: this is right in line with those other studies. They're no doubt ignoring some fiscal costs of this increased immigration and they're definitely ignoring the non-fiscal costs: reducing the voting power of the native-born, increased risks of terrorism, increasing power for racial demagogues, increasing social welfare costs for those "old...

Ben Powell misleads about immigration (Suffolk University, Institute for Humane Studies, Youtube) - 06/04/11

... the discussion and posts on the immigration economics page. Some studies might show a net fiscal benefit from immigration in general, but no study has ever shown a net overall economic benefit. No immigration study has ever attempted to measure all the indirect fiscal and non-fiscal costs of massive immigration. Powell isn't including in his analysis all the costs of massive immigration. What...

CBO estimate: anti-American DREAM Act would reduce deficit $140 million a year (i.e., by 0.001%) - 12/02/10

The current U.S. deficit is $13,840,173,213,129 [1]. Per a new Congressional Budget Office estimate, the anti-American DREAM Act would reduce that by around $140,000,000 per year over the next ten years. Over that ten years, per the CBO, the DREAM Act would reduce the deficit by 0.01% from its current value, a miniscule amount. You can download the estimate from here, and note that they assume...

SF Federal Reserve promotes massive immigration, including illegal (Giovanni Peri) - 08/30/10

The San Francisco branch of the Federal Reserve offers "The Effect of Immigrants on U.S. Employment and Productivity" by visiting scholar Giovanni Peri of UC Davis (Wall Street Journal article here, the brief study at [1]). According to Peri, we're all rich beyond our wildest dreams due to massive immigration: "There is no evidence that immigrants crowd out U.S.-born workers in either the short...

Paul Krugman exposes "jobs Americans won't do", has "uncomfortable facts about the economics of modern immigration" - 05/28/10

I posted a paragraph of this back in March 2006 when it first appeared, but it's worth revisiting the Paul Krugman column here [see UPDATE] where he exposes the "jobs Americans wont do" talking point for what it is and raises issues with massive illegal immigration, particularly of low-wage workers. Please send or post the New York Times link above where it's appropriate: ...I'm instinctively,...

Jeffrey Passel of Pew clueless why anyone cares about costs of illegal aliens - 05/21/10

Dalia Fahmy of ABC News offers "Expensive Aliens: How Much Do Illegal Immigrants Really Cost?" (link), an article similar in scope to the recently-discussed misleading article by FactCheck. She's slightly more balanced then the other article, but this at the end jumps out: Jeffrey Passel, a senior demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center, takes the debate one step further. He points out that most...

Viveca Novak of Fact Check misleads about immigration impact on jobs - 05/15/10

Viveca Novak of FactCheck offers "Does Immigration Cost Jobs? /Economists say immigration, legal or illegal, doesn't hurt American workers" (factcheck.org/2010/05/does-immigration-cost-jobs). It's yet another misleading attempt to try to convince people that what they see happening with their own eyes is not happening.

Doris Meissner misleads, downplays border security's role in terrorism, uses bogus talking points - 05/02/10

Doris Meissner - former INS commissioner and now working for the Migration Policy Institute - takes to the pages of the Washington Post to offer "5 Myths about immigration" (link). The title is unintentionally correct: most of them have her spreading myths to varying degrees. The five are listed below in bold, followed by my comments:

What Robert Reich won't discuss about immigration and entitlements - 04/11/10

... with the other entries on the immigration economics page, Reich isn't considering all the costs involved with his scheme. What if that massive immigration has other costs - fiscal or not - that outweigh any benefits? That mass immigration will give even more power inside the U.S. to foreign governments and the far-left. Even if someone thinks the second isn't an issue (or supports it), the first...

Illinois Business Immigration Coalition: Republican gov. Jim Edgar joins with Mexico-linked ICIRR - 04/09/10

... tradition fallacy and the posts in immigration economics for why that's wrong, and note also that Edgar seems to be parroting a highly-flawed study from the far-left Center for American Progress for his claim about the costs of mass deportations (not that anyone in a position of power is suggesting that of course; see the first link in this paragraph). Given that he's just spouting false or...

CIPC bogus immigration study: "immigrants" pay their way, more likely to be employed - 01/28/10

The California Immigrant Policy Center (see who they are below) has released a new and highly misleading immigration booster study purporting to claim that immigrants in California pay their way and that they're employed at a greater rate than non-immigrants. The second might be true, and in that case that's an argument against massive immigration since some or many are taking jobs that Americans...

UCLA CAP IPC deceptive study: immigration reform would increase GDP by $1.5 trillion over 10 years - 01/07/10

... about things like that. 3. The immigration economics page discusses other studies that ignore the major costs of comprehensive immigration reform, such as giving more power inside the U.S. to the Mexican government. That's a very large cost, but it's not included in the study's result. 4. The report and those promoting it (Nill of ThinkProgress) mislead about the popularity and cost of mass...

America's Voice lies, misleads in "The Anti-Worker Truth About the Anti-Immigrant Lobby" - 12/13/09

Frank Sharry's America's Voice offers "The Anti-Worker Truth About the Anti-Immigrant Lobby" [1]. From their summary: In recent months, some of the most virulent anti-immigrant Members of Congress have been taking advantage of hard economic times to advance their same, old mass deportation agenda. They argue that blocking comprehensive immigration reform would somehow help the American worker and...

Fiscal Policy Institute, NY Daily News mislead about benefits of massive immigration - 11/30/09

The Fiscal Policy Institute has released a new report called "Contribution of Immigrant Workers to the Country's 25 Largest Metropolitan Areas"; it was sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation and a Service Employees International Union local and you can get the PDF at fiscalpolicy.org/immigration.html. They say:

Can you trust Arnold Kling's economic judgment? Find out. - 11/22/09

Independent economist and Cato Institute affiliate Arnold Kling comments on the recent Jeff Jacoby column and says (econlog.econlib.org/archives/2009/11/a_good_line.html): If you had a store that was the only place people could go to buy bread, and people had to wait for hours to get to the checkout counter, some ordinarily honest people would end up stealing out of frustration. We need to fix...

IPC: 1986 amnesty was good (just not great) for those amnestied - 11/05/09

The Immigration Policy Center has released a report called "Economic Progress via Legalization: Lessons from the Last Legalization Program" [1] which points out that the 1986 amnesty helped those amnestied improve their situations. However, there's little in their report that's remarkable and they don't take into account the balance between the benefits and costs of the amnesty; everything's...

Federal Reserve to unemployed millions: massive immigration is great for you (Tobias Madden) - 09/22/09

Tobias Madden - a Regional Economist for the Federal Reserve in Minneapolis - offers an "Economic Myth Busters" sales job asking, 'should policymakers curb immigration to “protect American jobs”?' (minneapolisfed.org/publications_papers/pub_display.cfm?id=4277) In a nutshell, no. This myth stems from the idea that the number of jobs in America is fixed, and every job taken by an immigrant reduces...

CATO promotes financial gain from illegal alien amnesty, ignores massive non-financial costs (Peter Dixon, Maureen Rimmer) - 08/14/09

Peter Dixon and Maureen Rimmer of the CATO Institute have a study promoting the supposed economic benefits of comprehensive immigration reform aka amnesty ("Restriction or Legalization? Measuring the Economic Benefits of Immigration Reform", freetrade.org/pubs/pas/tpa-040es.html). As with other "economic" studies, theirs isn't really based in economics in that they're ignoring all the costs of...

Immigration Policy Center absurd study claims immigration "reform" would help economy - 04/14/09

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) - part of the American Immigration Lawyers Association-linked American Immigration Law Foundation - has released a new, canard-rich study called "What Immigration Reform Could Mean for the U.S. Economy" (immigrationpolicy.org/index.php?content=fc011309): 1. They claim that the 2006 and 2007 comprehensive immigration reform bills would have paid for themselves....