June 23, 2013 50 Comments
One of the claims regularly made by pro-open-borders folks is that immigrants (illegal + legal) are not in fact any sort of ‘drain’ on our social system, at least not at any higher rate than natives. They say that this is what research shows, and I have no reason to doubt that. Of course, any such research is, by definition, a Large Calculation. How are the researchers separating out and isolating the effects exactly? How do they know their data is complete? I don’t know. I haven’t checked the research in detail. (And neither have the open-borders folks.)
But let’s assume the result is correct. Then there is a puzzle.
Because equally part and parcel of the case for allowing unrestricted immigration is that immigrants are poorer than the average American. They’d have to be, wouldn’t they? After all (or so we are told):
- Lots of American employers ‘want to hire’ immigrants. Why would this be?
- Because, presumably, immigrants are cheaper/more efficient to hire. Why would this be?
- Because, presumably, they’re willing to do the same job(s) at a lower wage than natives would. Why would this be?
- Because they’re poorer.
I mean hey, if you’ve got a better explanation, let’s hear it.
Another big prong in the open-borders case is that it increases the utility function of the world. But why would it do this? Why would an immigrant moving to the U.S., in and of itself, increase the utility function of the world? Might it be:
- Because he was poorer where he was than he’ll statistically be in the U.S.
- Which is to say, on average, he’s poorer than the average U.S. person.
Okay, so again, we see that if we take pro-immigration arguments to heart, they make sense only on the assumption, belief, expectation, or empirical observation that the immigrants we’re allowing to enter are poorer than the average native.
Poorer. But at the same time they don’t use social services at any higher rate.
How can this be? Why would it be? What is the open-borders explanation? Do you believe it?
Do immigrants, as a rule, have social strictures or taboos against making use of government services? That’s almost like you’re saying that immigrants are somehow culturally-different than Americans, which would be Racist.
Is the idea supposed to be that in the U.S., government social-service providers are, as a class, really good, motivated and efficient at weeding out immigrants and withholding taxpayer-funded benefits from them? (RELATED: IRS Sent $46 Million in Tax Refunds to 23,994 ‘Unauthorized’ Aliens — All at the SAME Address in Atlanta.)
Is the idea that illegals, being off the books, ‘pay taxes too’ (e.g., payroll taxes) but will never collect (since obviously, it goes without saying, they’ll never be naturalized or given amnesty)? Hence they produce revenue but will not, never ever ever (to quote one of my favorite poets Taylor Swift), end up as a Social Security/Medicare liability? I think the technical term for this assertion is ‘Accounting Fraud’. Of course, it is the same assertion being made by the CBO when they say that increased legal & illegal immigration will reduce deficits (=more revenue, and we don’t have to worry about more liability, because that all comes Later). And CBO is an acronym. So I guess I have no right to protest.
So it’s just a puzzle. What’s the solution? You tell me.