Should we be debating about immigration in light of free movement of labor? As I posted in my previous post, someone asked the question,
"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?"
If it was that simple (free market labor), we would have found a solution long time ago. The issue is not the free movement of labor. The issue is the lives, dreams, and hopes of millions of human beings trying to make a better life for themselves.
To be clear, hope, dreams, and aspirations in no way justifies breaking the law. This in no way excuses illegal immigration, nor should it remove someone from the potential consequences of illegal immigration. But, the debate needs to be shaped in terms of human lives, no movement of labor. We are talking about People people!
Otherwise, the debate gets shaped in a way that would favor the businesses that have perhaps most benefited from being able to pay below standard wages to illegal immigrants. I'm against minimum wage caps, and subsidizing labor, but I'm also against the unjust reduction of fair wages in the course of normal free market enterprise as a result of illegal activities.
That's not capitalism, its not conservatism, and its not right.
What am I saying? I'm saying I don't agree with those who would argue in favor of a all-out amnesty for illegal immigrants on the basis of economic need. That may well be part of the reasons, but it's not just about economics.
If I heard our politicians calling America to be merciful, and to show compassion,...well, at least there is an honest argument to be had there (though I don't believe in "compassionate government"...there is no such thing). The debate on immigration cannot and should not be dictated strictly by the business lobby or on economic needs. We have to consider the social and human impact--the consequences of illegal immigration, not just on our country but on the immigrants themselves, as well as to our communities.
Here is what I think: illegal immigration
immigrants. Illegal immigration hurts immigrants. Illegal immigration hurts marriages, children, and communities. Its that simple folks.
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.
Is Corporate America Pushing the Cost of Illegal Immigration on Taxpayers?
Robert Bluey reports on new research
by Heritage Foundation's Robert Rector.
Low-skilled workers in America cost taxpayers about $22,000 annually, according to the Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector, who has produced a new study that should open everyone’s eyes on both sides of the aisle as Congress gears up to tackle immigration reform. Rector’s study concludes that in 2004 low-skilled workers paid $9,689 in taxes but received $32,138 in benefits. He estimates about a quarter of low-skilled workers are immigrants — both legal and illegal.
The part that caught my attention in the following video is where they talk about employer's who are "sacrificing" human lives for the sake of profit, and passing on the costs to the taxpayers. Free market economics works well within the boundaries of ethics and moral restraint. When corporations are willing to go outside the bounds of the law to make a profit, it gone beyond free market economics.
Only second in importance to the border fence, the government needs to do something about employer's who are hiring illegal immigrants. Hiring illegal immigrants is not good for the country, it's not good for the taxpayer, and more importantly, it's not good for the illegal immigrants who are victimized by our broken immigration system.
Here is the YouTube video of Rector on CNN.
There are some other articles referencing the new study at The Washington Times
, and from Deborah Simmons, an op-ed also at the Washington Times
, and an article in WorldNet Daily
Hyper Connected Hispanics
I found a report on a study on the NSHP.org website
, entitled "Conexión Cultural/Connected Culture," that included results from a "poll of more than 2,600 18-55 online Hispanics that consume some Spanish language media weekly." Very interesting data. The original article was published on Hispanicad.com
Online Hispanics in the U.S. are "media mavens," consuming and adopting media and technology at a higher rate than the general population, according to new research released by Yahoo! Telemundo and Experian Simmons Research. The study found that Hispanics lead the general market in "media meshing" and use of key mobile phone features as they spend more than half of each day engaged with television, Internet and technology gadgets. Overall, Hispanics identified 51 hours of total daily activities, including 14 hours with technology and 13.5 hours with media.
I thought this one line was revealing, and perhaps worth doing further research. It used to be that immigrants wanted to watch more English language media in order to master the language quicker. Perhaps this shows this is no longer the case. I don't have a problem with Spanish language media, but if that is all that Latino immigrants are watching--spanish TV--then it leaves them isolated and disconnected from the mainstream culture. Not that TV has all that much positive values as far as the culture is concerned in my opinion, but thats a whole different story.
Online U.S. Hispanics regularly combine TV and Internet to enrich their media experience and would like to see more online options in Spanish.
Michele Madansky, vice president, global market research, Yahoo! shared his comments on the study.
"In Hispanic households, TV serves as a backdrop to everyday living," said Michele Madansky, vice president, global market research, Yahoo!. "Layered on top of that, Hispanics engage with online content and use both cell phones and the internet to enhance personal connections. Hispanics are heavy users of ubiquitous media and technology because they help them stay connected to what matters most to them – culture, community, friends and family – in both the U.S. and their countries of origin."