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10/16/09 - A Washington D.C. Lawyer Says Even If Peter Brimelow Were King, Immigration Attorneys Would Be Necessary; James Fulford Replies

A Canadian Reader Says New York's Non-Assimilation Problem Is Low Wages, Not Culture; Matthew Richer Replies; etc.

From: Bruce J. Wellington (e-mail him)

Re: Matthew Richer's Column: Escape From New York—Into America

Richer's column about escaping New York resonated true and painted the city's troublesome picture well.

But I quarrel with certain passages from Richer:

 "If living in New York has taught me anything, then, it is the myth of Hispanic assimilation.  Puerto Ricans, many of whom have lived in New York for generations, plant their Puerto Rican flags on everything—front lawns, cars, clothing, luggage—you name it."

Richer's interpretation of Hispanics as racists who are unlikely to assimilate overlooks the fact that their problem is poverty and not anti-American sentiment. Therein lies the problem with "cultural" arguments against immigration.

When Hong Kong and Singapore developed economically, the entire society moved up to higher value-added jobs. As a result, the cities some time ago arrived at Western standards of income despite being Third World islands in distant oceans.

What happened is that workers moved around, trained and re-trained others thus causing a domino effect in their labor markets that reached all the way down to society's bottom rung.

This philosophy is referred to as the "Knowledge Economy," moving up to better jobs, a concept that escaped Richer.

Western cities should be the same: symbolic islands of advanced economies and social conditions.

However the Western economic paradigm is immigration which keeps employment markets soft and prevents this economic progress.

Without immigration, New York should have moved up economically long ago while possibly contracting in size.

In Toronto, some estimate that a truly tight labor market that would result if there were no immigration would increase wages at the bottom some $5 an hour, or possibly as much as $10,000 a year.

In the end, as Richer should acknowledge, the problem in New York is wages, not culture.

Wellington is a Toronto-based activist who has worked on immigration issues for nearly two decades. His previous letter about Canada's immigration problems is here.

Matthew Richer replies: I disagree with Wellington's "culture does not matter" argument which we hear a lot from Libertarians. There's no reason to believe that economic security for Hispanics will translate into cultural assimilation.

First, Wellington assumes that the Hispanics and Puerto Ricans I wrote about are all poor. But that's not what I wrote because it isn't true.

In New York, you see plenty of fancy cars adorned with Puerto Rican flags. And there are many Hispanic celebrities, such as Jennifer Lopez, who participate in the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor isn't poor. But her Ivy League education and high standard of living haven't prevented Sotomayor from displaying an obvious animus toward white America.

What about Sotomayor's colleagues in the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund or the National Council of La Raza, two aggressively anti-American organizations?

The 2005 Democratic nominee for New York Mayor was Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, a very wealthy man but also a diehard Puerto Rican nationalist. 

The Libertarian argument that culture does not matter is simply an abstract fantasy. As George Borjas says, ethnicity matters, and it matters for a very long time. 

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A Virginia Reader Says Agribusiness Owners Who Rely On Illegal Alien Are Thieves

From:  Deena Flinchum (e-mail her)

Re: Edwin S. Rubenstein's Column: More Claptrap From Cato On Immigration 

[ note: Ed was refuting Restriction or Legalization? Measuring the Economic Benefits of Immigration Reform (PDF) by Peter B. Dixon (email him) and Maureen T. Rimmer (email her)]

Rubenstein it nailed on farm mechanization when he wrote that:  

"Stricter border controls would tend to create labor shortages in most of these occupations. But eventually, market forces would kick in: wages would rise, more native-born Americans would enter the workforce, employers would invest in productivity enhancing equipment. That would be good for most workers, although profits might take a hit—no-no as far as Cato is concerned."

Here's how I look at it.

IIf a farmer buys a piece of complex machinery, he has to house it, feed (gas) it, maintain and repair it and replace it when it finally can't run anymore.

When he rents it, his costs are included in the rent. The farmer can, of course, apply his costs as an expense against taxes on his profit. This is a legal, sound business practice. 

On the other hand, if the farmer hires illegal aliens and pays them as little as they will accept (which will be too little to live in the U.S. without supplementing his income with costly social services that we provide), he bears only the cost of their wages and possibly employment taxes if he us honest and pays them on the books.

The extra costs of their housing, food, health care, and possible eventual inability to work is pushed off onto the community at large through direct costs like emergency rooms, food banks, housing subsidies, and often long-term care like multimillion dollar dialysis treatments.

The illegal immigrants also create social costs that are disruptive to a functioning community like overcrowded housing, loitering day laborers and crime.

Only the farmer benefits from paying low wages while he passes all the extra costs onto Americans who don't share in his profits.

Remember too that the large, expensive piece of equipment the farmer may have to purchase won't produce baby machines that will need years of K-12 schooling at the expense of state and local governments before they become productive, wage earning, taxpayers assuming they ever reach that status.

Plus, unlike some illegal aliens that form gangs like MS-13 that wreak havoc on our citizens, machines don't turn into marauders named the "Back-40 Hay Balers"

To a fault, America helps out those who need it.

However, our being forced to subsidize the ag business' cheap labor addiction is their theft of our money.

If I found a way to pass my electric bill onto my unsuspecting next-door neighbor, I would save about $1,000 a year. I could also go to jail.

The crimes that the ag business industry commits against us are no different.

Flinchum's most recent letter asking why the New York Times protects the $PLC is here. Her previous letters are archived here.

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