So it is only fair to note that on Friday, balanced against a wooden pro-immigration essay by Clinton Cabinet Affirmative Action Hispanic Frederico Pena the Tribune ran a fine piece by former Governor Richard Lamm
Illegal immigrants are 'cheap labor' for some, costly to rest Friday, September 12, 2008
Lamm really understands the issues
It is easy to see why illegal immigrants are attractive to employers. These are generally good, hardworking people who will quietly accept minimum wage (or below), don't generally get health or other benefits, and if they complain they can be easily fired. For some employers it is an abused form of labor. Even minimum wage is attractive to workers from countries whose standard of living is a fraction of ours.Lamm points out that the shift towards working immigrants bringing and having families has changed to whole cost equation because
But that is not to say it is "cheap labor." It may be "cheap" to those who pay the wages, but for the rest of us, it is clearly "subsidized" labor, as we taxpayers pick up the costs of education, health, and other municipal costs imposed by this work force.
That has become a substantial and growing cost as the nature of illegal immigration patterns has changed.
no minimum-wage workers, or even low-wage workers, pay anywhere near enough to pay for even one child in school. Even if they were paying all federal and state taxes, Colorado's estimated 30,000 school-age children of workers illegally in the United States impose gargantuan costs on other taxpayers.He then devastates the ”Illegals pay taxes” falsehood:
The dilemma is compounded by the fact that approximately 50 percent of illegal workers are paid in cash, off the books. Go to any construction site almost anywhere in America, and you will find workers paid cash wages. Virtually every city in America has an area where illegals gather, and people come by to get "cheap" cash wage laborAnd notes the impact on wages:
Cheap labor drives down wages as low income Americans are forced to compete against these admittedly hardworking people.This is as succinct and up-to-date immigration-skeptic article as I have seen in quite a while; and I commend it to emailing VDARE.com readers.
Even employers, who don't want to wink at false documents, are forced to lower wages just to be competitive. It is in many ways a "race to the bottom" fueled by poor people often recruited from ever more distant countries by middlemen who profit handsomely. Harvard professor George Borjas, an immigrant himself, estimates that American workers lose $190 billion annually in depressed wages caused by the constant flooding of the labor market from newcomers.
Pena's essay in contrast, is a tired recital of partisan sources, and relies primarily on sleight of hand rather than reason. For instance:
Â» Immigrants unduly tax our health care system, especially our emergency rooms.Emergency Rooms, of course, are obliged by the Federal Government to treat regardless of ability to pay. A rational illegal may therefore not see the purpose in going to a private doctor. But more importantly, the issue is not how comprehensive immigrant health care is: it is the extent to which what they do get deprives the native born of appropriate treatment—or drives up the cost.
A recent study conducted by UCLA's School of Public Health found that immigrants are actually underutilizing the system given their health needs. Why? Because undocumented immigrants are less likely to be insured, they are also less likely to visit a doctor, clinic or emergency room.