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Legalization as a "wage floor"

A relatively new talking point from supporters of comprehensive immigration reform is that their amnesty would help American workers by preventing illegal aliens from lowering wages. This is fallacious for at least two reasons:

1. Not all jobs are open to illegal aliens; only some industries and companies are lax about checking whether someone is eligible for a job. Legalization would mean that current illegal aliens would be able to get any job for which they're qualified. That would increase the competition for a large number of job categories, leading to lowered wages in those job categories. For instance, an illegal alien nurse can't probably work as a nurse illegally. Yet, if they're legalized, they can then go to work as a nurse (licensing issues aside). That would lower wages for U.S. citizen nurses.

2. There will always be a demand from corrupt companies for illegal workers. Those far-left, racial power, and other groups that currently oppose enforcement of our immigration laws will continue opposing enforcement even if they get their "reform". Those groups will enable post-"reform" illegal immigration. That will leave us with a fresh supply of millions of new legal workers and a growing population of new illegal aliens.

Last modified May 4, 2009
Discussed in (click each link for the full post):

More ways Jennifer Rubin is wrong on immigration - 05/27/14

... of this is Texas.) 1. See the immigration wage floor page for how the first part of that is wrong. Once legalized, some or many former illegal aliens will be able to move up in the job market, negatively impacting American workers they mostly hadn't competed with before. For instance, an illegal alien working in the fields would, after being legalized, be able to compete for work on federal...

Study: amnesty could shift agricultural workers to cities, decrease wages for Americans - 01/29/13

... making for over three years on the immigration wage floor page; see the link for the details. Note that the AgJOBS amnesty had a not-exactly-new solution to the issue: indentured servitude. It needs to be noted that any tax benefits from former illegal aliens getting better jobs would be offset by lowered taxes and increased costs due to many Americans seeing their wages fall, in addition to all...

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

... this, this, and this. And, see immigration wage floor for what will actually happen: those newly-legalized former illegal aliens will now be able to compete with Americans for higher-skilled jobs (and most of those negatively affected will be Democrats). Former illegal aliens moving up the ladder will lead to corrupt businesses enablilng a new group of low-skilled illegal aliens to come here to...

Aren't those covered by Obama's DREAM Act already working? Will hundreds of thousands of work permits matter? - 06/16/12

... talking point, send them to the immigration wage floor page; it explains in detail why all those newly-legalized workers will have a highly negative impact on American workers. See the main immigration talking points page for posts about how other talking points are wrong..

10 things Obama's "Blueprint for an America Built to Last" doesn't tell you (immigration) - 02/01/12

... is a variant of the fallacious immigration wage floor argument, see the link. 7. The part about "making those living in the United States illegally take responsibility" is the amnesty require talking point. 8. Obama uses the politically-correct "undocumented workers" euphemism rather than the legally-correct term illegal aliens. He knuckled under to that long ago. 9. The reference to "border...

With millions unemployed, Ag Secy Tom Vilsack demeans American workers, promotes amnesty, opposes enforcement, uses bogus talking points, opposes eVerify - 05/27/11

... second is what boils down to the immigration wage floor. See both links. Vilsack also used the deportations false choice, saying "The reality is, if you tried to deport all 12 million it would take several hundred years. That isn't practical." See the link for how he tried to mislead. Vilsack - just as his boss, George W Bush, and dozens of other hacks have done - used the system is broken...

Obama misleads about immigration yet again (May 10, 2011 El Paso version) - 05/10/11

... used were: system is broken, immigration wage floor, immigration tradition fallacy, and secure the border. How many more can you spot? A (360kb) screengrab of my Twitter feed where I pointed out in real time additional ways he was misleading or promoting bad policies is here. If anyone believed anything Obama said in his speech, leave a comment on this post and I'll try to change your mind....

The Nation amnesty editorial lies, smears, promotes anti-American policy (Lou Dobbs) - 10/08/10

... Finally, The Nation is using the immigration wage floor talking point; see the link for a description of what that it and why it's wrong. The Nation would add new competition for millions of low-wage American workers and at the same time spur even more illegal immigration, thereby negatively affecting even more low-wage American workers. For example, let's say that we follow The Nation's...

Stephen Colbert shills for growers, supports bad policy in Congressional appearance (+rightwinger fail) - 09/24/10

... solving the situation. See the immigration wage floor page for a related discussion. c. In the first paragraph, Colbert's comments seem to suggest that only Mexicans and those from Central America are genetically predisposed to doing farm work. However, that conflicts with the second paragraph in which he says Americans might take those jobs. Why isn't Colbert working to help Americans do those...

Millions unemployed, Harry Reid wants several million new legal workers to compete against Americans (fairly) - 05/11/10

... immigration line, and the (more rare) immigration wage floor. However, American workers - especially voters in Nevada - might want to take a closer look at this paragraph: Fixing our broken immigration system is also important to strengthen America’s economy. We need to protect American workers. Workers in Nevada and across America are often squeezed by unscrupulous employers who exploit...

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

... Register has a report here. 2. The immigration wage floor page describes how newly-legalized workers would swamp the labor market, lowering wages for Americans through an increased labor supply at the same time as allowing former illegal aliens to compete in job categories for which they weren't previously eligible. For instance, there might be tens of thousands of illegal aliens who were nurses...

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

... that "level playing field", see immigration wage floor. [1] americasvoiceonline.org/pages/ the_anti_immigrant_truth_about_the_anti_immigrant_lobby

University of Denver's deceptive amnesty push (Architecture for Immigration Reform) - 12/09/09

... by their illegal status"; see immigration wage floor. c. In the second paragraph below, they use the deportations false choice, ignoring attrition (more on that in h., i., and j.) d. They claim there's increased border security, when that doesn't exactly comport with the facts. And, the far-left continually works to undermine border security and other enforcement; their report offers no way to...

Janet Napolitano falsely says she needs immigration "reform" to do her job; says border more secure; sounds like Chertoff - 11/13/09

... is completely false; see the immigration wage floor page. She also supported chain migration, saying that "Community and faith leaders have also emphasized to me that we need reform because of how difficult the current laws can be on families, especially families of mixed legal status. Our immigration system is outdated where families are concerned, and we need to modernize and streamline the...

Obama at Hispanic Prayer Breakfast: same old immigration speech (+sounds like McCain) - 06/19/09

Earlier today, Barack Obama spoke at the Esperanza National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast [1]. Others in attendance included Cecilia Munoz, Ed Rendell, and Janet Napolitano; the event was organized by Rev. Luis Cortes of Esperanza USA. Obama simply reiterated his commitment to comprehensive immigration reform as he's done several times before, and he uttered the same old canards about that amnesty...

Why is John Podesta of CAP willing to hurt American nurses and teachers? - 06/04/09

Angela Kelley of the Center for American Progress quotes her boss (americanprogress.org/issues/2009/06/no_delay.html): The question that remains is whether there is the political will, especially in tough economic times, to move a reform package. Yet as (John Podesta) stated at yesterday's event, "we need solutions that restore the rule of law while aiding our economy by making taxpayers of all...

"Reform Immigration For America": business, labor, CAP, NCLR, CHIRLA begin new push; summit, townhall meeting; John Quigley - 06/01/09

... the market into account; see immigration wage floor. And, what's missing from their definition of CIR is definitely interesting:

Mike Kingsbury /SEIU offers bad economics, bad logic (legalization as a "wage floor") - 05/04/09

... here which will be called the immigration wage floor fallacy. 3. He continues with the immigration vulnerable fallacy. 4. His use of "citizens" is open to interpretation. Perhaps he realizes that many or most of those marching are not citizens and that most citizens aren't great supporters of illegal activity. Or, perhaps he's just confused.

Simon Rosenberg /NDN: seven good reasons *not* to pass immigration "reform" - 05/01/09

Simon Rosenberg of the New Democratic Network offers "Making the Case: 7 Reasons Why Congress Should Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform this Year" (huffingtonpost.com/simon-rosenberg/making-the-case-why-congr_b_193621.html). As one might expect from the source, all seven are actually reasons *not* to pass "reform". His first reason is that we need "reform" in order to remove the "trap door"...