Earlier today, the Center for American Progress, the Immigration Policy Center, and professor Raul Hinojosa Ojeda of the University of California at Los Angeles released a study making the deceptive and fantastical claim that legalizing all illegal aliens would increase Gross Domestic Product by $1.5 trillion over 10 years. Exactly how deceptive the study is remains to be seen, once professional economists weigh in. In the meantime:
1. Angela Kelley of CAP offers a juvenile Q&A at americanprogress.org/issues/2010/01/av/kelley_transcript.html, Andrea Nill of ThinkProgress deceives her readers about the issue at
wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2010/01/07/legalization-immigration, the main study page is at americanprogress.org/issues/2010/01/raising_the_floor.html, and the OC 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 in their home countries but who aren't able to work as nurses due to their status. Once legalized, they'd be able to compete for nursing jobs with American citizens. That would be good for them, but not good for American nurses. Those behind studies like this don't care 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 deportations. Despite the fact that no political leaders are calling for mass round-ups, Nill says: "Hinojosa also predicted the effects of an enforcement-only strategy that several right-wing politicians and anti-immigrant activists are advocating for in the place of immigration reform. Hinojosa found that while native-born workers would experience a wage increase, any mass deportation strategy would reduce U.S. GDP by $2.6 trillion over ten years. This number doesn’t take into account the additional $206 to $230 billion it would cost just to physically deport undocumented immigrants over a five-year period." Note that she's discussing two separate proposals: "enforcement-only" and "mass deportation" are not the same thing. And, the last sentence is a reference to an earlier, highly-deceptive CAP study.
5. Hinojosa-Ojeda is a Chican@ studies professor who in 2005 started a company that tried to profit from the money that legal and illegal immigrants send home. According to this, it's share price is $0.0006, i.e., you could buy over 1600 shares for a dollar. Whether they're effectively out of business isn't known. In any case, he clearly isn't an unbiased researcher.
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 15:10 · Importance: 4