The Case for More Low-Skill Immigration

Chart shows what the future will hold — check the demographics of various age groups in the USA

Whatever one thinks of the legality or propriety of the President Obama’s move to end the threat of deportation for roughly five million illegal immigrants, the correct policy would be to allow more low-skilled workers to either enter legally or remain in the country.

The fact is that low-skilled immigrants, like their high-skilled counterparts, aren’t the only ones to benefit by moving to America. We all benefit.

The issue of low-skilled immigration naturally provokes intense nativist sentiments. According to the Pew Research Center, roughly 47 percent of illegal immigrants haven’t completed high school. And household earnings for illegal immigrants are considerably lower than that of native-born and legal immigrants. So it makes some sense that native-born Americans worry that an influx of cheaper unskilled labor will depress overall wages and take away jobs from native-born workers.

However, lower-wage immigrants are not a competitive threat to most Americans given that only 12 percent of the native-born population doesn’t have at least a high school diploma. Moreover, uneducated Americans have a competitive advantage because of their fluency in English. As a result, lower-skilled natives tend to specialize in higher-paying jobs that require the ability to communicate in English while the immigrants concentrate in lower-paying manual labor jobs.

Economists have shown that low-skilled immigrants typically do the “non-language jobs” that the average American simply doesn’t want (e.g., manual farm labor, roofing, and lawn care). As economist Benjamin Powell explains, “free trade in labor, like goods and services, allows people to do what is in their comparative advantage. Immigrants free up natives to take more valuable positions”…

That implies a steady inflow is required as the second generation won’t do those jobs either. Net effect: population replacement: already well underway.

  • BillyHW

    Scary chart.

  • Uncle_Waspy

    The future belongs to those who show up.
    ~ Mark Steyn

  • Dana Garcia

    What a bunch of crap straight from somebody’s economics textbook.

    Meanwhile in the real world, here’s a file I saved from 2003:

    An estimated 51,000 people with either fake documents or none-at-all work in the construction industry in Clark County. They now make up 70 percent of the total construction work force, to the dismay of American citizens who have worked in the building trades for years.

    One of those Americans is William Ennis, who was recently forced out of his job as a house framer.

    “I started out making $800 to $1,200 a week here for a 40-hour week,” he said. “It got to where I was having to work seven days a week, 12 hours a day, just to make $600 a week. And that’s just in the past three or four years. The wage has gone down that bad.”

    Ennis blames employers who hire illegals in ever-increasing numbers, well aware that they will work for less pay.

    • Pete_Brewster

      The writer distorts the work of George Borjas, a Harvard man who has made the study of immigration his life’s work. He finds, again and again, that throwing the floodgates open to immigrants results in lower wages and natives being pushed out of jobs in favour of the immigrants. If you’re an economist, no skin off your nose if you’re passed over for tenure at Harvard—there’s always Wall Street. If you’re a factory worker with rent to pay and a wife and children to feed, you’re in trouble.

      The profession is deaf to anything Borjas says, obviously. They have no more concerns for people who work for a living than do other tenured parasites—and maintain even less pretense of caring much.

      • So when are you off back to Ireland then?

        • Pete_Brewster

          For what it’s worth, coming to North America in the first place wasn’t my idea—my father accepted arranged employment in the Cleveland, Ohio area.

          I actually came to Canada myself because no US employer hiring in my field wanted to hire a US citizen (as I was by then) if he had a choice, unless said US citizen was a Harvard man (which I assuredly am not). God had mercy on me—by the time the Canadians agreed to hire me I was tempted by a job in Lebanon.

          I doubt my Canadian employer would have hired someone like me today. Top management, naturally, are all white Canadians, born and raised in good (rich) families. They rarely hire white English Canadians who aren’t secretaries or interns on short contracts. A Yank? Forget it.

          By all accounts top brass are furious that Ottawa may force them to actually try to find white English Canadians who can do the actual work. Of course, they refuse to raise wages to levels that would tempt good Canadians to stay here rather than try their luck in the States.

        • b_marco

          Sometimes you comment as though he’s not a composite character.

          • There’s some debate on this subject. The Phantom among others has long been convinced that he’s a moby troll (Pete also comments or used to comment at Small Dead Animals as Dick Slater). I used to subscribe to this idea. After all, I reasoned, nobody would really claim that the psychotic who shot Gabby Giffords, or the bastard who tried to assassinate Pauline Marois, and did manage to take out a stage technician, or, God help us, Baruch Goldstein – nobody would claim that these men were heroes.

            But no one could put this much effort into trolling. It’s not possible. So I think he’s real.

          • b_marco

            Someone with a long term goal of, oh, “maximum disruption” just might.

  • Xavier

    Doomed by our elected officials.

  • minuteman

    When America is “majority minority”, which it will be when the current young people grow up and he old people die, it will be a third world dump like every other Latin American and black country on the planet. How could it be anything else? Civilization is dying all over the world and we are heading for a new dark age which will last for a thousand years.

  • Linda1000

    So by the end of this 21st century, if not before, there will be very few white people left. What does the graph mean by Asian as I thought China had the largest population in the world and then add all the large Asian countries like Indonesia and India, it seems that the “blue” for Asian on the graph should be more than black or Hispanic? I wonder how the white muslims will fare in this inverse of race population. I say muslim because there won’t be any white Christians or infidels left as it seems we’re already dead. It’s going to be hell for all the younger (under 30) white people of today after 2050 or maybe 2070 – that’s only 35 to 55 years. It’s a double hit with Islam and population replacement.

  • Pete_Brewster

    Comparative advantage? So open borders let economists do what they’re best at—telling rich thieves and traitors what they want to hear—and Mexicans do what they’re best at—cleaning toilets and making nice dinners out so the economists don’t have to do housework or even go shopping. Good to know.

    And what are working-class white people best at? Taking it in the backside from their masters?