Monday, November 1, 2010

Don't buy what immigration fearmongers are preaching

Posted By on Mon, Nov 1, 2010 at 2:12 PM

You have to wonder about people who hate entire segments of the population, especially when they're encouraging you to do the same. What we hear from a few people in local government — notable locals include Rep. Sue Myrick (she's running for re-election in the 9th District), Jim Pendergraph (former Mecklenburg County Sheriff and current County Commission candidate) and Bill James (he's running unopposed for county commission) — who have made their political careers on hating, demoralizing and criminalizing immigration, is that undocumented workers equal crime and tough economic times.

But, here's the rub: They're wrong.

While they scream and holler about all of the woes immigration causes, back in reality land illegal immigration is down (thanks to the economy) and that's bad news for us since those undocumented workers often pay taxes into the system without receiving any benefits in return, they boost business production and discourage our companies from relocating to other countries. That's not to mention all of the spending they do in local economies.

Here's more from The New York Times:

Over all, it turns out that the continuing arrival of immigrants to American shores is encouraging business activity here, thereby producing more jobs, according to a new study. Its authors argue that the easier it is to find cheap immigrant labor at home, the less likely that production will relocate offshore.

The study notes that when companies move production offshore, they pull away not only low-wage jobs but also many related jobs, which can include high-skilled managers, tech repairmen and others. But hiring immigrants even for low-wage jobs helps keep many kinds of jobs in the United States, the authors say. In fact, when immigration is rising as a share of employment in an economic sector, offshoring tends to be falling, and vice versa, the study found.

In other words, immigrants may be competing more with offshored workers than with other laborers in America.

We see the job-creating benefits of trade and immigration every day, even if we don’t always recognize them. As other papers by Professor Peri have shown, low-skilled immigrants usually fill gaps in American labor markets and generally enhance domestic business prospects rather than destroy jobs; this occurs because of an important phenomenon, the presence of what are known as “complementary” workers, namely those who add value to the work of others. An immigrant will often take a job as a construction worker, a drywall installer or a taxi driver, for example, while a native-born worker may end up being promoted to supervisor. And as immigrants succeed here, they help the United States develop strong business and social networks with the rest of the world, making it easier for us to do business with India, Brazil and most other countries, again creating more jobs.

Read the entire article, by Tyler Cowen, here.

So, what are these fat-cat bureaucrats squealing about again? Right: The "other" people threatening their white-bread homeland. Don't be fooled, their rants aren't about national security, jobs or the economy — they're about the reality that white folks aren't going to be the dominant race in America for much longer.

Instead of recognizing humans as humans, these divisive politicians are asking us to judge our neighbors based on superficial qualities they can't change, like the color of their skin, their country of origin or their native language. I say, the American thing to do would be to embrace our differences, talk to each other and find common ground. This land is big enough for all of us to share.

This video is about the Latino vote in America. Skip to 1:40 to bypass the overdone thank yous.

Rhiannon "Rhi" Bowman is an independent journalist who contributes snarky commentary on Creative Loafing's CLog blog four days a week in addition to writing for several other local media organizations. To learn more, click the links or follow Rhi on Twitter.

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