January 12, 2004
"Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses..."
When President Bush released his illegal immigration plan, I didn't jump on the story. I still won't bash or praise it because in order to determine if it's a good idea one has to look beyond the immediate, "stage one" effects (to use Thomas Sowell's term from his excellent Applied Economics). It's obvious that wage rates for unskilled labor has been pushed down due to illegal workers. But it is also true that employers saved money by using the lower-cost labor. They either passed those saving onto consumers (if their market is sufficiently competitive) or invested their increased profits in some other enterprise.
National security has to be considered as well. Open borders can mean easy access for terrorists. However, amassing troops at the border to prevent any illegals from entering would draw forces away from international hotspots like Iraq, Afghanistan, and North Korea.
Then there are the cultural effects. No one knows how American society would change due to the influx of immigrants who may decide not to assimilate. Past American history shows this hasn't happened. However with the rise of organized ethinic interest groups and Leftists who feel America is evil and has to be changed, assimilation may not happen as readily as it used to.
"One Man's Verdict on Bush's Illegal Worker Plan"
"Bush Immigration Reform--No Reform at All"
[Linked to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam]