Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Letter: Illegal immigrants generate more money than they cost

I don't care for Mr Server's clunky sports metaphors, but he has the facts right, and we see this point made so rarely that it's worthy of note. Here's some research to back him up:

The Wall Street Journal, in its "Monthly Economic Forecasting Survey: April 2006," conducted from Apr. 7-11, 2006, asked 46 economists this question: On balance, has the U.S. economy benefited more than it has been harmed by its current population of undocumented workers? Two of them answered that illegals bring more harm than benefit. The other forty-four agreed that they bring more benefit. There are many more good examples of balanced studies.

There is a lot of subtle spinning around this issue to watch out for. When you see someone reference census data about illegals, for example, bear in mind that the census will more often find those illegals who are easiest to find -- settled people with families. That inflates average family size, and subsequently inflates estimates of education costs. People who actually study this issue scientifically agree that the issue of immigrant cost to society is a boogeyman.


Candace said...

O that Wall Street Journal. Bunch of very liberal communists, to quote Martha Mitchell.

Shelly Worob said...

How about the whole civil rights element? Here in Arizona, reading the Courier and the Arizona Republic, sometimes I feel like the Civil Rights Movement never took place. I wonder how to approach this issue, using MLK's inspiration, beyond kvetching with like-minded friends and teaching freedom songs to children.

Steven Ayres said...

Shelly: You're right, it didn't come up in this particular letter, but the reason we need to debunk the myth of immigrant cost is that it's so often used as a cover for racist intent. The sad truth is that many Arizonans still don't see Mexicans as people, rather as vermin and competitors. I'm optimistic that this is a problem among only a small minority, and that regularly debunking their propaganda will bring around the people who are less racist and more just concerned or confused.