Tyler Cowen and Daniel Rothschild have an excellent op-ed in the Los Angeles Times: "Hey, don't bad-mouth unskilled immigrants: You don't have to be a computer genius to be good for the U.S."
The basic point: That even the much-maligned low-skill immigrant brings considerable benefits to these United States. "Even [economist George] Borjas–the favorite economist of immigration restrictionists–admits that the net gain to the U.S. from immigration is about $7 billion annually."
Some argue that we should employ a more restrictive policy that allows in only immigrants with "needed" skills. But this assumes that the government can read the economic tea leaves. Most bureaucrats in 1980 did not foresee the building or biomedical booms of the 1990s, or the decline of auto manufacturing.
We should not trust government to know what kind of laborers we will need 20 years from now. The ready presence of immigrant workers–including the unskilled–makes all businesses easier to start, and thus spurs American creativity.
And then there's this heartening vision of a future in which immigrants' kids kick native-born ass at school: "Second-generation children have, on average, higher education and wages than the children of natives. Of the 39 largest country-of-origin groups, the sons of 33 and the daughters of 32 of those groups have surpassed the educational levels of the children of natives."
Whole thing here.