Mass Immigration's Economics: Bad For Americans Then, Bad For Americans Now
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Letter writer Jim Rossi pointed out in's Saturday Forum [January 10, 2009] that, since mid-20th-century, American families have done well economically when immigration rates were relatively low and badly since immigration rates exploded.

Despite the ceaselessly-peddled romance of America as a "nation of immigrants," essentially the same phenomenon that Rossi notes was visible a century earlier. In 2004, historian Otto Graham wrote about this (The Unheeded Second Thoughts Of John Higham), focusing on the period from the 1830s to the mid-1850s :

[T]he first large waves of immigration came to the eastern seaboard, mostly from Ireland and Germany. Eastern cities were swamped by incoming migrants from the rural hinterland and overseas, and life was hard for all. But the immigrants seemed to intensify all existing problems and bring new ones.


[E]conomic historian Robert Fogel writes that the flood of immigrants arriving in America from 1841 to 1851, more than had come in the previous two centuries, put severe downward pressure on wages and job opportunities. American workers ”suffered one of the most severe and protracted economic and social catastrophes of American history.”

It's worth remembering, when the immigration hucksters (e.g. Tamar Jacoby) emit their usual smoke clouds about how things always work out and that any objections are—and have always been—mere bigotry, that mass immigration has been a repeated economic disaster in American history.
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