"All our base will belong to them" (Pro-Immigration Argument)

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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.

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  1. 33 or 32 of 39 is running rather deep on the list. How do the top 5 fare?

  2. “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.”

    I smell Spin.Why not concentrate on largest group of all – the Mexicans?I mean,if we’re honest,this whole debate is about them,right?

  3. Isn’t it likely that immigrants’ kids are outperforming native-born Americans’ kids specifically because the immigration laws have skewed the demographics of immigration towards people who are already highly educated when they come over?

  4. Human beings are like currency: There are many more nickels than one thousand dollar bills.
    There are also some conterfeits that need to be destroyed.

    But to assume humans across some made-up border have lesser value is a display of ignorance.

  5. I smell Spin.
    So did I. But nobody’s going to be surprised that the 30-some groups of people from China, Vietnam, etc, do better than the general population.

    Why not concentrate on largest group of all – the Mexicans? I mean,if we’re honest,this whole debate is about them,right?
    Why not? Because the bulk of pro-(Mexican)immigration people are not honest, and because Nth generation Hispanic education levels are not good.

  6. “There are also some conterfeits that need to be destroyed.”

    isn’t this one of the premises of the new Battlestar Galactica?

    ” Because the bulk of pro-(Mexican)immigration people are not honest”

    glad to see the hardcore analysis continue.

  7. joe,
    Not unless they were born to H1-B recipients. Most immigrants get here on reunification or through the random lottery. Since the lottery is random, they would have a similar stupid gradient.

    Of course, I guessing the lazy members of other countries are unlikely to decide to uproot and move thousands of miles away. So that may skew it.

  8. “Isn’t it likely that immigrants’ kids are outperforming native-born Americans’ kids specifically because the immigration laws have skewed the demographics of immigration towards people who are already highly educated when they come over?”

    Since 2nd gen kids are all citizens, and nothing here seems to denote only legal immigrant status of the 1st gen, this argument doesn’t seem relevant.

    Nonetheless, by country of origin, Mexico is the source of nearly 25% of immigration, with the rest of the top five each floating in the 2-5% range (China, India, and any two of the following depending recent timeframe and source Philippines, Cuba, Vietnam, Ireland). By number 10 on the list, it’s under 1% of total immigration.

    Unless there’s a huge relevance to the performance of the kids of the 32 immigrants per year from Luxembourg, the stats listed in the article about education aren’t very useful or informative.

  9. ” Because the bulk of pro-(Mexican)immigration people are not honest”
    glad to see the hardcore analysis continue.
    And others are just stupid.

    Unless there’s a huge relevance to the performance of the kids of the 32 immigrants per year from Luxembourg, the stats listed in the article about education aren’t very useful or informative.
    ‘Twas clearly propaganda, not information.

  10. You have no chance to survive make your time.

  11. Just like all those slope-headed southern and eastern European types (not to mention Jews) who came over and destroyed our economy and failed to keep up academically with the native-born WASPS, Germans, and Irish.

  12. Because the bulk of pro-(Mexican)immigration people are not honest

    Oh yeah, this utterlly discredits everything said by anyone in favor of freer immigration. And of course it’s impossible to find anything questionable ever said by anyone against freer immigration. Simple as that.

    Actually Nick, this is a very, very bad stat.

  13. “liars, damn liars, and statisticians” — Mark Twain

  14. oh my gawd, fyodor. that’s soooooo dumb 😛

  15. Actually VM, the whole world is stupid except for me.

    And sometimes I wonder about me!!

  16. I must concur with the distaste for the the child rankings stat. Using ranking statistics in general raises a red flag — much like the people addressed by the laws against eastern European immigration in the 1920’s! Rankings are used when the real stats don’t tell the story the writer wants to tell.

    In this case, the story is supposed to be about unskilled immigrants. Using the rankings they cite puts one deep into the H1-B contributions as well as into wealthy people from wealthy countries wanting to get wealthier in the US.

    The most quotable line in the piece was up toward the beginning:

    immigrants create their own work

    That simple statement says it all.

  17. Everybody is right. That’s a bad stat. It ought to be weighted by people, not number of groups. If Maia Szalavitz were here she would be brutal.

  18. Meanwhile, for those in this universe, here’s Dan Walters of the SacBee: All in all, therefore, fewer than 15 percent of African American and Latino youngsters who begin the ninth grade will be prepared for four-year college admission…

    And, of course, in our economy $7 billion is less than a drop in the bucket.

    And, all that foreign serf labor leads to propping up inefficient industries that should be done overseas, such as picking strawberries. We should be designing and building crop-picking machines, not importing foreign serfs who have to retire (in this country) at 45 because of the nature of the work.

  19. hey everybody! IR is back as “TLB”

    woo hoo!

  20. Somebody set us up the bomb!

    – Josh

  21. HA HA HA HA….

  22. VM, that’s not IR, it’s our old friend THE LONEWACKO!

  23. Move every Zig right back to Zigland where they came from!

  24. Stevo,

    For great justice.

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