Immigration isn’t the enemy; inequity is

Immigration isn’t the enemy; inequity is – Full article
Posted on Sun, Nov. 4, 2007

Though this article does not speak to the US desire to have everything as cheap as possible, which I believe greatly contributes to this issue, it does speak of the competition for working-class jobs and the anxiety many US working-class families feel regarding the immigration issue.

This article seeks to shed some light on the reality of the situation while understanding the concern of many US families:

So, what did we find? You might think the laws of supply and demand would be the deciding factor here. You might suppose that a lot more workers means lower wages for the folks with whom they compete. But it turns out to be more complicated.

In fact, there is little evidence that immigrant competition has lowered the employment or earnings opportunities of native-born workers. To the contrary: The presence of more low-skilled immigrants appears to have raised the incomes of some of us, by leading to cheaper services than would otherwise be the case.

This next quote is interesting because it does touch on the issue of cost without really getting into it:

What about the folks with whom new immigrants compete? If more immigration means, for example, that those of us with big lawns pay less for landscaping, doesn’t that mean native-born landscapers must be taking a hit?

The statement “those of us with big lawns pay less for landscaping” speaks to the issue of cost and that US families want things cheaper. If price wasn’t an issue for patriotic consumers who want to support their fellow citizens then there wouldn’t be a huge industry dependent on new and illegal immigrant labor.

In speaking about the anxieties these new immigrants cause in working-class families he writes:

Even if the actual losses are smaller than is widely believed, I want to reiterate that those who favor “welcoming” immigration reform have too often denied the anxiety of many working families. These anxieties are real and well-founded. They’re based on the loss of high-quality jobs, the weakening of unions, the unraveling of health care and pension coverage, and worst of all, the fear that for the first time in generations, your kids won’t do better than you did.

Finally concerning the historical view of the current issues he writes:

Consider the 1990s, when, for a brief time, the rising tide was lifting most boats, regardless of nativity. The incomes of native-born and immigrant working families rose smartly in those years. Tensions with immigrants were less then, even though the immigrant flow was greater then.

What changed? In the 2000s, soaring inequalities have left working families fighting over crumbs. So it’s no accident this debate occurred – and got ugly – in this decade and not the last.

Sadly, rather than look into the facts and find the best way to makes things better for everyone the anti-immigrant crowd uses hate speech, fictitious numbers regarding immigration to make people feel as though the sky is falling. These groups use the anxieties of working class families to push their very questionable agendas.

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