On the plus side, the bill addresses the 12 million undocumented aliens living in the U.S. by providing a way for most to obtain legal status with minimal disruption to their lives or employers. ...One of the most frustrating aspects of the immigration debate is how often restrictionists often approach the issue entirely (at least publicly) from a legalistic standpoint. Disregard for the law is irritating, but there are several other externalities that dwarf it as a consequence of our lax immigration policies.
Restrictionists are calling this "amnesty," but they were going to slap that label on anything this side of mass deportation.
Still, if what's bolded above isn't the definition of amnesty, I'm not sure what is. Yes, they should not be here! Yes, their employers should not be employing them! But not only must we refuse to punish them for it, we must do whatever is necessary to allow them to continue unabated!
Simultaneous 'Gestapo'-style raids by SWAT teams with guns blazing, targeting tens of millions of aliens and unfettered, open-bordered amnesty are not the only options available. The op/ed board notes that a minority of Americans favor the former, a point that is persistently trumpeted by the open borders crowd. But a smaller minority favors the latter, suggesting that if the question is posed in such a binary fashion, deportation will win out.
That's pedantic speculation, though. History suggests that for every illegal deported, seven or eight will leave voluntarily. Further, a few high-profile raids have led to a 30% year-over-year decrease in the number of apprehensions along the border--a reduction somewhere in the area of 75,000 fewer illegals stopped annually. No need to take to the field in full-force--a few crisp half-volleys in warm-up will do the trick.
Unbelievably, the board has the audacity to run another piece on the same print page entitled "Bernanke's False Dichotomy"! Staggering.
Another major part of the legislation is more problematic: This would shift immigration away from family ties and toward a merit-based model that favors better-educated immigrants with higher skills. The stated justification for this change is that the U.S. currently admits too few skilled workers due to unchecked "chain migration," which facilitates the entry of unschooled and unskilled kin.I've long-argued for a merit-immigration system. The bill would put proportionally more emphasis on merit than family sponsorship, but chain migration visas would still outnumber merit visas by 170,000 annually, and the total number of visas issued each year would increase.
A blatant lie follows:
That's hard to credit, however, considering data that show the typical legal immigrant already has a higher skill level than the typical American.According to the US Census' detailed report on America's foreign-born population, natives are more educated than their alien cohorts (p5). The percentages of attainment for each group follow:
Less than 9th gradeThe percentages of natives and the foreign-born, respectively, earning more than $50,000 a year: 44.0% and 38.6%.
9th to 12th grade (no diploma)
High school graduate or some college
Bachelor's degree or more:
Those numbers are buoyed enormously by European and Asian immigrants. The foreign-born from Latin America do not come, by any measure, anywhere near the success of natives. Latin American migrants are nearly three times as likely as natives to make less than $25,000 a year. Similarly, natives are three times as likely as Latin American migrants to make $50,000 or more per year. Keep in mind, that native figure is being weighed down substantially by the poor performance of American blacks.
The only way this disingenious assertion might be defended as veracious is if the op/ed board was referring specifically to those with post-graduate level educational attainment. Of course, among natives and the foreign-born alike, PhDs are not "typical". However, a rigorous and strictly-enforced merit immigration system could change that!
Gigot and company would never dream of running Dow Jones like it wants We The People to run the country. Give every applicant a job, even if he is sure to cost more in pay and benefits than he'll bring in through his production or if he is a raging Marxist who wants a maximum income of a few hundred thousand a year and the nationalization of every industry under the sun--hah! The boys won't even let their critics have a voice, unapologetically slandering Tom Tancredo and Lou Dobbs in the worst ways without granting either man a forum to respond.
Still, the op/ed board doesn't like the idea of running the world's largest economic unit like the businesses it champions run their own economic units.
Reading thus far had my Irish blood boiling. This paragraph relieved the tension, replacing it with astonishment:
Foreign workers make the U.S. more productive because they complement us at both the high and low ends of the skills spectrum. Remove the low-end leg of the stool, and you make the economy less productive and natives worse off. Why? Because we'll be using our human capital less efficiently. Natives may end up doing jobs they're overqualified to do, or those jobs will disappear altogether and diminish our quality of life.Where to begin? Point by point: Low-skilled workers are less productive than high-skilled workers. They create less value. That's why they are paid less. To argue that more unskilled laborers will make the economy more productive than more high-skilled workers will is another blatantly incorrect assertion.
If unskilled immigrants make natives better off, then why are natives fleeing in droves from the same cities that are being flooded by immigrants? The op/ed board should ask Michael Barone for an answer.
The ultimate goal insinuated--to maximize per capita potential--is one few people consider paramount, economists especially. The goal should be to maximize productivity per capita.
The difference is crucial and obvious. Is it better to have a nation of menial laborers doing jobs that push their abilities to the max if those jobs consist of sweeping floors and digging holes, or is it better to have a nation of high-IQ individuals engaged in professional occupations, many of whom are building and programming machines and robots to do those same menial tasks, if some of the relatively less-endowed professionals are (reliably) sweeping floors and digging holes?
While the innovation is taking place, another rhetorical: Is it better to have an engineer with an IQ of 120 and a lawn care worker with an IQ of 80, or an engineer with an IQ of 140 and a lawn care worker with an IQ of 120? What an inane argument. Even tasks of minimal cognitive challenge are more efficiently and effectively completed by people of greater intelligence--in The Bell Curve, Murray and Herrnstein use the example of a busboy, but an infinite number of other unskilled tasks work the same way.
Is over-qualification a bad thing? So college kids shouldn't be working, I suppose. Nevermind that being overqualified is exactly the thing to spur people into doing something more productive, like starting a business or developing a more efficient production method. If a current taskload is absorbing every ounce of intellectual firepower that a person has, further innovation stagnates. That a putatively free-market mouthpiece would assume that total skill-level is a zero-sum game, in which there are a limited number of high-end positions and a set number of mindless jobs to be filled, brings to mind a question Steve Sailer habitually asks: "Why is it that smart economists' IQs drop 50 points when they try to think about immigration?"
None of the preceding repudiations even deal with 'non-economic' externalities like pollution, disease, cultural balkanization, and crime, where the real downside of unskilled third-world immigration comes into play.
The air-tight arguments keep coming:
Immigrants comprise 14% of U.S. workers, though everyone knows they're overrepresented in such lower-skill occupations as farming (47%), construction (27%), food preparation (24%) and custodial work (36%). Less well-known is that these are the same businesses that the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts will experience high demand for future jobs. Any "merit-based" system that is too rigid runs the risk of putting immigration policy out of sync with the needs of an expanding U.S. economy.Because the BLS takes demographic trends into account! These are all warm-body industries--the more people, the greater the demand for them becomes. If the US decided, free-of-charge, to house the entire world's prison population within its borders, the very same domestic industries would grow by leaps-and-bounds.
A healthy nation is one in which high-value adding industries are growing faster than low-skilled inudstries are. Japan, with more than half the world's working robots, is mechanizing its way out of a need for menial labor. A Google search for "growing industries in Japan" brings up information on semiconductors, tech-sector manufacturing, cutting-edge entertainment, and medical devices.
The op/ed board also complains about the complexity of the bill, while the Chamber of Commerce is pleased with the Senate, astutely realizing that this complexity (those awarded "Y" visas would have to return to their countries of origin for a year in between stints in the US) is a guarantee that even these paltry restrictions will not be enforced.
If you haven't read the WSJ op/ed piece, do so now. While you're reading, remain cognizant of the fact that this is the best the open borders crowd can do. This is as convincing as they get. You're surveying the words of the top pontificators at the nation's second most circulated, and arguably the world's most influential, newspaper.
Yet the fluff is riddled with inaccuracies, employs little other than disparaging adjectives to smear the opponents whose arguments it won't touch, and fails to mention increased entitlement usage, greater criminality (a straight news feature on another page reports that the Department of Homeland Security estimates that 15%-20% of immigrants would be ineligible for "Z"--amnesty--visas due to their criminal records), lower IQ and educational attainment, greater income disparity, more poverty, more disease, less affordable living, increased gang activity, or any of the other negative externalities that characterize the US' current immigration situation.
This is a disaster we have to stop. The bill is heading to the Senate floor next week. Fire messages off to and call your Senators and House Representative, letting them know that a vote for this 'compromise' (changing laws that weren't enforced in the first place is a compromise?) is simultaneously a vote against them in all of their future re-election campaigns.