Take action now:

Viveca Novak of Fact Check misleads about immigration impact on jobs

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.

1. It includes this highly misleading claim:

But whether they’re legal, as in the CFAW ad, or illegal, as in our two other examples, really doesn’t matter for the purpose of answering our question: The truth is that immigrants don’t "take American jobs," according to most economists and others who have studied the issue.

Obviously, it matters a great deal. Some small number of immigrants (such as successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs) might create many more jobs than the one they took (there's only so much venture capital available at any one time and funding is in a way a "job"). Meanwhile, a much larger number of low-skilled "immigrants" (i.e., illegal aliens) working as, for instance, janitors might have taken all of their jobs from Americans. Those Americans might become long-term unemployed and in effect invisible to the corrupt establishment. In this case, if so many low-skilled workers had not arrived, the Silicon Valley entrepreneur would have still created new jobs and the low-skilled Americans would have kept their jobs for a net gain in jobs rather than a wash. If the situations were reversed and massive immigration of high-skilled bureaucrats was causing a rise in blue-collar jobs while putting American bureaucrats out of work, Viveca Novak would loudly get the message to sing a different tune.

2. Vivica Novak states: "The people pictured in the elevator in CFAW’s ad aren’t likely to be competing with immigrant labor for positions." I don't know about those pictured, but the ad references "high-tech, construction, and auto workers... engineers" who've been put out of work through massive immigration. She should try her line with construction workers who can't find work due to massive foreign competition. That competition is great for general contractors, but not so great for lower-level workers. She can also try that line with engineers who are unemployed even as business interests try to raise the H1B cap. Vivica Novak is detached from reality.

3. Viveca Novak states: "The consensus that immigrant workers expand the U.S. economy is broad, and crosses party lines." Support for massive immigration isn't really a partisan issue: there are plenty of people in both major parties willing to shaft American workers for various reasons. Those she uses to buttress her claims are indeed a motley crew:

Immigrant workers "create almost as many" jobs as they occupy, "and maybe more," said Madeleine Sumption, policy analyst at the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute (note: they're only "nonpartisan" in the New York Time sense), which is funded by a range of foundations, corporations and international organizations... David Griswold (sic: Dan Griswold), director of the Center for Trade Policy Studies at the libertarian Cato Institute... ...economist Heidi Shierholz of the Economic Policy Institute - a liberal think tank that has been funded in part by U.S. labor unions... ...the White House of Republican President (George W Bush)...

4. The only pro-American worker economist she quotes is George Borjas; notably she doesn't quote someone like Andrew Sum. In regards to the latter, see "Teen unemployment rate 25.5% in August 2009, highest since 1948". Perhaps Viveca Novak would like to explain that statistic for us.

5. The subtitle of her article refers to "hurt[ing] American workers", but the article only concentrates on jobs. There are, of course, many non-employment ways in which massive immigration harms Americans, such as by giving even more power inside the U.S. to foreign governments, impacting Congressional apportionment, and on and on (and on). Novak should have either eschewed subtitles like that, or acknowledged the massive fiscal and non-fiscal impacts of massive immigration. See the immigration economics page for a partial list of studies that fail to acknowlege all the costs.

Sat, 05/15/2010 - 15:16 · Importance: 4