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  • Edición impresa de Marzo 1, 2011

Letter to the Editor

Many people on all sides of the immigration issue share a belief that immigrants take jobs that would otherwise go to native-born workers – or that they at least lower wages by competing against other workers for existing jobs. After all, doesn’t the law of supply and demand dictate that a greater supply of workers will inevitably lower the value of their labor? Well, actually, no.

Certainly, if the slums of Calcutta were emptied and the inhabitants somehow transported instantly to downtown Goshen, the consequences would be catastrophic. This is a hypothetical extreme. At the other extreme, human beings cannot survive in isolation. Robinson Crusoe, alone on his island, was a fictional character. In reality, human beings have always lived in social groups. Somewhere between absolute isolation and teeming, wretched masses, there is a happy medium.

The good news is that we are much closer to a happy medium than we are to the extremes. Furthermore, research shows that native born workers benefit from immigration – and this is true of both legal and illegal immigration. As immigrants fill lower level positions, native-born workers move up to higher-skilled and supervisory jobs.

There is nothing ambiguous about the research. Study after study shows that the U.S. gains from immigration. To read more on the subject, a good place to start is the independent, non-partisan Cato Institute, cato.org/immigration. Just one example from Cato: “Since [immigrants] are willing to take a chance in a new land, they are self-selected on the basis of motivation, risk taking, work ethic and other attributes beneficial to a nation.”

The facts are clear and indisputable. What we do with those facts is up to us.

 

 


 

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