March 5, 2006


Jobs lure illegal immigrants to state (Karin Rives, 2/26/06, Raleigh News and Observer)

Four hundred thousand strong and they keep coming, drawn by the jobs that North Carolina employers eagerly offer illegal immigrants.

Illegal immigrants mow our lawns, paint our homes, watch our children and cook our food for bottom wages. Doing so, they provide consumers with affordable services that people in most other industrialized countries can only dream of. [...]

Businesses are the biggest beneficiary of illegal immigration and are the reason unauthorized foreigners are here in the first place.

Some employers say they have difficulty verifying immigrants' legal status, others that pressing labor demands force them to flout the law.

Few, however, express remorse.

"Let's say they got the National Guard to start pulling everybody over and sending every illegal person they find back home. Then where is your work force going to come from?" asked Paul, owner of a small landscaping and tree-cutting business in Raleigh.

Paul, who has employed two illegal immigrants from Mexico for more than seven years, agreed to speak provided he and his business were not fully identified.

"If we don't want them here, why doesn't the government send them back?" he said. "The government lets them cross the border, so why should we worry about it?"

In North Carolina, as in much of the South, any account of illegal immigration is essentially a story about Hispanics. Today, it's estimated that more than 600,000 Hispanics are in the state, roughly half of them without papers.

Of the estimated 395,000 illegal immigrants who made their home in North Carolina in 2004, 70 percent were Mexican, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, a research group in Washington. Taking into account thousands who arrived from Central America and other Latin American countries, the Hispanic portion of the state's illegal immigrant population is probably at least 80 percent. That would put the number of illegal Hispanic residents in the state about 316,000.

Last month, researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill published a study on the economic impact of North Carolina's Hispanic influx. Among their findings:

* Hispanics, legal and illegal, cost state taxpayers $817 million in 2004, with education and health care being the biggest expenses. Meanwhile, Hispanics generated $756 million in tax revenue. According to the report, that averages out to a cost to the state budget of $102 per Hispanic resident.

* More broadly, Hispanic residents contributed about $9 billion to the state economy through purchases and taxes. Their spending has led to creation of 89,600 jobs.

* Because many Latinos work for below-market wages, they also depress North Carolina private-sector payrolls by $1.9 billion annually, the researchers found. In many cases, those lower costs are passed on to consumers as lower prices.

The study was released by UNC's Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise and was underwritten by the N.C. Bankers Association.

North Carolina businesses are tripping over one another to offer products and services to this growing Hispanic consumer group.

Nativists are natural allies of the Left because slowing immigration will require extensive opposition to free market economics.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 5, 2006 10:07 AM

What's become clear is that legal immigration levels have been set way to low, particularly for Hispanics.

It's as if the gvt had set a price control on a particular product way below demand, and then everyone wondered why a black market for that product had sprung up.

If the folks who cry that they aren't opposed to immigration per se, just "illegal" immigration, want to be taken seriously they need to promote an immigration reform that will greatly increase the number of immigrants allowed in.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at March 5, 2006 11:24 AM

Is Al Quaida aware of all that?

Posted by: John J. Coupal at March 5, 2006 12:39 PM

Either them, or the French militant "youths" type. Take your pick.

Posted by: ic at March 5, 2006 1:26 PM

immigration will require extensive opposition to free market economics.

Isn't it also that the domestic harms that result (e.g. fewer jobs for the natives) are a result of things like minimum wage and whatnot? In some sense, the best thing about our sizeable illegal immigrant population is that it allows our American economy to function as though we had a free employment market -- that is, a free market, just with the lowest compensation levels (no health care, no minimum wage, minimal job safety guarantees, no social security, no employer-provided retirement) made up entirely of illegal immigrant labour. Admittedly, Americans are excluded from these lowest compensation levels, but if we wanted to allow them there, we wouldn't pass laws keeping them out.

The flip side, though, as I see it, is that these advantages would probably be greatly reduced if the illegal immigrant population were made legal, and consequently subject to regulatory oversight.

Posted by: Taeyoung at March 5, 2006 1:30 PM

I wonder if N.C. will be voting DemocRat in future elections, the way Illegals manage to cast ballots in California.

Posted by: obc at March 5, 2006 3:18 PM

Can anyone guess what the US population would be in say, 5 years if anyone that wanted to could immigrate? I'm just curious how much it would go up with no controls whatsoever.

Posted by: RC at March 5, 2006 4:12 PM

RC, not anyone, just those who want to be Americans.

Posted by: erp at March 5, 2006 4:16 PM

The untold part of the study is what happens to the children born to the illegals. If born here they are automatically citizens. They will eventually enter the work force and pay social security and other taxes thereby preventing the consequences of the "baby bust" that afflicts all of the current "advanced" nations. I suspect that the birth rate of Catholic Hispanics is not 2.1 per woman.
That is why no political party when in power has been at all serious about controlling illegal immigration. If our country does not grow in population, we will be in decline and could not maintaine our hegemon since our economy would tank.
Jim is absolutely correct, the way to solve the illegal immigration problem is to open up our legal immigration processes.
Recall that the globalization process requires the free flow of labor to areas that need workers.
We are just witnessing a replay of all the millions of immigrants who came here in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These immigrants are just from a different part of the world this time.

Posted by: morry at March 5, 2006 4:19 PM

The Mexicans are different immigrants from our forebearers, because they can and do go back frequently.

The ties are not cut as completely as ours were.

This is a different immigrant.

Posted by: Sandy P. at March 5, 2006 7:05 PM

Every second generation insists that the next wave is totally different than their parents were.

Posted by: oj at March 5, 2006 7:50 PM


Immigrants do not rant of "reconquest" on behalf of "the race."

Immigrants from Mexico or other Latin American countries should be welcomed with open arms.

Dual-citizen, unassimilated folk-enemies should not. There is a difference between wanting to become and American and wanting to infiltrate and re-conquer America.

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 5, 2006 8:37 PM

Are you suggesting I'm 2nd generation, white man?

Posted by: Sandy P. at March 5, 2006 8:53 PM

Nope, just mouthing their mantra.

Posted by: oj at March 5, 2006 9:03 PM

Whose mantra?

Posted by: Sandy P. at March 5, 2006 9:12 PM

That of every second generation which insists that the next wave is totally different than their parents were--the Buchanans and Tancredos this generation.

Posted by: oj at March 5, 2006 9:16 PM

OJ, they come across a river, took US 6-8 weeks across an ocean. It's easier for them to stay connected if they wish.

Posted by: Sandy P. at March 5, 2006 10:22 PM

Sandy, but they won't wish to anymore than other Americans who after several generation have only the most tenuous ties to the old country. My husband, for example, has only an irrational craving for pasta to connect him to his grand parents' late 19th century immigration from Sicily and Naples.

Posted by: erp at March 6, 2006 10:46 AM

The Visigoths will be friends of Rome, Lou. They simply want to share in the Pax Romana. There is no reason to be concerned.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at March 7, 2006 12:34 PM