January 3, 2012


GOP Candidates Betray the Spirit of Reagan on Immigration : Instead of throwing money at more enforcement, the laws need changing. (Daniel Griswold, 1/03/12, National Review)

Conservatives should be friendly to immigration, and the first to seek expanded opportunities for legal immigration. Immigration has been integral to America's free and open economy. Immigrants embody the American spirit. They are self-starters seeking opportunity to support themselves and their families in the private sector.

Current immigration is driven largely by demand and supply. Immigrants come when there are jobs available that not enough Americans are able and willing to fill. That's why immigration rates, legal and illegal, tend to fall when the economy is struggling, and to pick up as the economy grows. Immigrants stimulate job creation for natives by promoting investment, creating new products and services, and increasing demand for housing and other goods. Immigration keeps America demographically healthy while other, less open Western nations struggle with declining workforces.

Study after study confirms that immigrants help to boost the productivity and incomes of native-born Americans. A 2009 Cato Institute study by Peter Dixon and Maureen Rimmer calculated that legalizing low-skilled immigration would boost the collective income of U.S. households by $180 billion per year. A new American Enterprise Institute study by Madeline Zavodny finds that an increase in visas for both high-skilled and less-skilled foreign-born workers actually creates a net increase in jobs for native-born workers.

Contrary to fears stoked by talk radio, immigrants do not fuel an increase in crime. In fact, immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than their native counterparts. They are too busy working and don't want to jeopardize their residency in the United States by getting into trouble with law enforcement. That helps to explain why crime rates have been dropping for two decades in Arizona and across the country even as immigration rates have been rising.

If legal immigration were expanded, the kind of workers now sneaking across the border illegally would instead enter legally through established ports of entry. We know from the Bracero program in the 1950s that an increase in guest-worker visas led to a sharp drop in illegal traffic across the border. With far fewer workers entering illegally, the Border Patrol and local law-enforcement officers could concentrate their resources on apprehending real criminals.

Immigrants come to America to work, not to live off the welfare state. Their labor-force participation rates exceed those of native-born Americans

Posted by at January 3, 2012 2:22 PM

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