Saturday, April 7

Immigration: Saved or Ruined Our Cities?

Found this over at Urban Onramps.

From this Wall Street Journal article: Save Our Cities
During the nine-day trial that concluded last Friday, Mayor Lou Barletta argued that some 10,000 undocumented immigrants have ruined Hazleton’s quality of life: Violent crime has doubled in the past two years, unreimbursed medical expenses at local hospitals have jumped 60% and the annual school budget for teaching English as a second language has soared to $875,000 from $500. Yet business owners and landlords argued the opposite — that immigrants had revitalized Hazleton’s moribund economy, filling once-vacant apartments and patronizing once-declining businesses. As a result, Hazleton’s budget has been in the black for three years — a far cry from its $1.2 million deficit in 2000.
Urban Onramps reader Glen Peterson left this comment:
April 5th, 2007 at 8:11 am

So, what would a economic conservative view of immigration really be? Would labor move as freely as capital across international borders? Would there be less regulation on who could migrate as long as it lowered the price of labor?
I disagree. Human talent is not simply a "product" with which to trade with. Though I do believe in free market economics in regards to labor, immigration is more than the movement of labor--its the migration of lives, futures, hopes, and dreams of men, women and children. There has to be a higher, ethical approach to dealing with the challenges of immigration. It has to be in an orderly, safe, and legal way. While we certainly treat our migrant population--legal AND illegal--much, much better than say in Mexico, our system is very much in need of a major overhaul, among other things!

Me thinks many people are asking the wrong questions in regards to immigration. It's why its almost an impossible topic to debate in a calm, rational way.