Immigration and Economics

During the whole election-year bluster immigration debate that went on recently, both sides aregued about the economic impacts of changing immigration laws.

Well, it showed up quicker than anyone thought, I guess.

Tighter border policies has drastically limited the supply of migrant workers (both because they can’t get in, and those that are here are looking for more stable jobs because isntead of being able to come and go for the season, they have to stay, or risk not coming back). And because Congress can’t get its act together, and the right-wing republicans are balking at any sort of leniency, this didn’t change in time for the summer fruit season. Without the migrant workers to pick fruit in the fields, the growers can’t keep up with the harvest. Fruit is getting left to rot on trees, because there aren’t enough people to pick them when they’re ripe.

How’s this for an economic impact: Growers who might otherwise be enjoying a bumper crop, are throwing away tons of ruined fruit. Now, instead of a glut of ripe fruit reaching the market, supply for fresh fruit is drastically lower. The Grower suffers because he lost a major portion of his crop, the immigrant community suffers because they don’t have the work and you suffer, because fruit is about to become a lot more expensive. Where are the Reagonomics? This type of immigration policy hurts from the supply-side and all the way down. This is conservative fiscal policy in direct opposition to Republican social policy. (This is why I can’t back the current slew of Republicans; they sacrifice the conservative fiscal policies for the social policies. If I backed them for the fiscal policy, I’d lose.) This is also security policy at it’s worst. Our homeland security continues to make the mistake of focusing on the wrong things. For instance, at airports, now you can’t bring liquids onto an airplane. But it’s not the liquids that are the problem, it’s the people that blow them up. (I know this sounds like a “Guns don’t kill people” -like argument, but it’s not. I trust you are intelligent enough to discern.) Stop looking for things and start looking for people. Yes, we need to tighten our borders. But migrant workers aren’t a danger to the security of this country; they are essential to its operation at the most basic level. People who use homeland security as a veil for the racism that guides their immigration policy have to be exposed.

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One response to “Immigration and Economics

  1. I read this article in the Times this weekend and frankly it makes no sense to me. If the pear farmers were paying at least minimum wage to the illegal aliens, they should have been able to find legal workers to pick pears for $5-7/ hour. If they couldn’t find such employees they should have paid $8-10/hour and raised prices slightly if need be (considering the huge crop they probably could have kept prices constant and made up the difference on volume). If they were paying them $2/hour and not paying taxes for them (likely), this is not only illegal, it is more of a Democratic imposed problem than it is a Republican one. I agree that immigrants are needed for such types of labor, but the solution is not porous borders but a change in immigration policy/law that would allow for more immigrants to come through legaly and in a documented fashion. I have nothing against allowing more people to enter the country legaly as long as they are checked and tracked as legal migrants. The problem (both economic and from a security point of view) is when we have no control or knowledge of how many people and who enters our borders. We can’t make proper calculations/adjustments economically b/c we have no idea how many people are in the US. From a security POV, it’s not the Mexican people coming across that we necessarily fear but the fact that any terrorist could also make his/her way through the porous border in an effort to do serious harm. I agree that Republicans have not been great on this issue but I don’t think the Democrats have done much either. Allowing people to enter the US at will is not a viable solution. Admittedly, I have not followed this issue thoroughly in the news. Are there any proposals from either side of the aisle to control the border but to ensure that there are enough workers to keep the economy running?

    Rob

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