Immigration - Putting Our Fears to RestSubmitted by marlow on Thu, 02/18/2010 - 23:59
The following is an except regarding immigration laws from Mary Ruwart's extaordinary book "Healing Our World In an Age of Aggression":
"Those of us in developed nations have great resistance to welcoming refugees and immigrants. We fear that hordes will "invade" our cities, taking our jobs from us, living off welfare that our taxes supply. Our fears, logical though they may seem, are largely groundless.
Many people want to come to developed nations because of the poverty and strife in their own. Moving to a strange country, especially one with a different language or new customs, is difficult. Most Third World immigrants leave their native land only in desperation.
However,...a great deal of the war and poverty in Third World nations is actually created by the developed nations. If we stopped funding dictators who oppress their own people and ended the trade barriers that keep the poor from entering the global marketplace, fewer people would feel the need to leave their homeland.
A common belief in the developed nations is that immigrants are a drain on the economy. In the United States, however, immigrants pay more in taxes than natives do because immigrants tend to be healthy, young adults of working age rather than juveniles or retired dependents. For the same reason, immigrants use fewer tax-subsidised programs (i.e., welfare, health services,and social security) as well. The average immigrant puts $1,300 more per year into the "system" than he or she takes out. (J.L. Simon, Immigration: The Demographic and Economic Facts (Wahington, DC: Cato Institute, 1995) pp. 31-32).
Of course, a drain on "public" resources would not be an issue if such services were private. People would help refugees to the extent that they chose to do so. No one would be forced to support someone else.
But do immigrants take jobs away from the native population? Apparently not! Numerous studies have shown that immigrants do not cause native unemployment, even among low-paid minorities. Wages for natives do not decrease either. (For a review of these studies, see Simon, pp. 19-30).
[George Washington said, "...the bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respectable stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions, whom we should welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges".]
The most concentrated immigration influx in modern U.S. history is often referred to as the Mariel boatlift. In 1980, Castro announced that he would allow anyone wishing to go to the United States to leave by boat. Within a couple of months, 125,000 refugees had flooded Miami, increasing the city's workforce by 6-7%. However, Miami's unemployment rate did not increase more rapidly than other areas of the country. Wages for natives, even for low-skilled blacks, were unaffected.
Most of the refugees had few skills and little English. In addition, about 5% were violent criminals or mentally unstable. Some of these "undesirables" were slated for deportation and held in detention camps. However, the Miami economy quickly absorbed the rest of this "wretched refuse". (D Card, "The Impact of the Mariel Boatlift on the Miami," Industrial Relations Section Working Paper #253, May 1989).
[It may be instructive to some immigration opponants at the Dialy Paul to consider the inscription on the Statue of Liberty's pedestal, "Give me your tired, your poor, Your hudled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door".]
Like other immigrants, most Cuban boat people created jobs for Americans by becoming consumers and created jobs for themselves by doing things that Americans wouldn't. For example, immigrants often start their climb up the Ladder of Affluence by picking produce - hard, backbreaking work - all day in the sun. Americans might take these jobs if the pay were better, but costs would be so high that most farmers would would mechanize. More produce would be imported from Mexico or Chile. Without the immigrants, grocery bills in the United States would increase dramatically, harming every consumer.
California gardeners, New York garment makers, and live-in nannies are predominantly immigrants. Without them, Californians would likely have fewer gardens, New York would lose the garment industry to overseas competition, and many career women would find child care so expensive that they couldn't afford to work. (G. Gavin, "No Fruits, No shirts, No Service: The Real World Consequences of Closed Borders, "Reason Online, April 1995).
As immigrants move up the Ladder of Affluence, they create jobs for native-born Americans. Foreign-born immigrants are more likely to be self-employed (Simon, p. 30) and hire others. Many immigrants excel in the technical and engineering sciences and have been key players in the U.S. dominance of the computer industry, which creates jobs for thousands upon thousands of Americans. U.S immigrants help their employers interface with companies in other nations, giving American companies a competitive edge in foreign trade over nations without a diverse cultural base. (Garvin, op.cit.).
[George Gilder, author of Wealth and Poverty, states, "The United States would not be remotely dominant in high-technology industries without immigrants...And at every important high-tech company in America, the crucial players, half of them or more, are immigrants".]
Immigrants often have to work harder because they must overcome employer aversion to their accents and customs. They are less likely to be hired for public relations, telephone, and sales jobs than native-born applicants. Consequently, they substitute hard work in the fields or long hours in the laboratory to create a niche for themselves in the marketplace ecosystem. They create wealth in arenas that workers from the developed world are abandoning. As exploitive as this may seem, immigrants generally feel that working hard in the United States is a much better opportunity than they could get in their native land. They wouldn't relocate othrewise!
More than 40% of Hong Kong's population consists of refugees, yet Hong Kong boasts one of the highest rates of wealth creation in the world. (A. Rabushka, From Adam Smith to the Wealth of America (New Brunswick, NJ; Transaction Books, 1985) p 127). Indeed, in a poll of top economists, 81% agreed that immigration is "very favorable." Another 19% claimed immigration was "slightly favorable." None said that immigration was "slightly" or "very" unfavorable or that they didn't know. (Simon, pp. 47-48)."
Ruwart went on to briefly address the goal of freedom lovers with respect to immigration:
"Without the aggression-through-government that prevents homesteading, all land would be privately owned. Immigrants could only enter with the permission of the owners, who would defend against trespassers. In such a society, churches and other charitable groups would provide a point of entry for new immigrants."
I suspect many businesses would also bring in talanted foreigners when the domestic populace does not provide the needed expertise.
It would be nice to now see immigrant bashing cease on teh Daily Paul.