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Welcoming Immigrants Means Higher Wages

'Immigration represents an opportunity rather than a threat to our economy and to American workers.'

UncleSamForeignNativeBornpublic domain"The benefits that immigration brings to society far outweigh their costs," declares an open letter to congressional leaders and President Donald Trump. The letter, published on Wednesday and signed by nearly 1,500 economists—including six Nobel Prize winners—notes that immigrant entrepreneurs start new businesses that hire lots of Americans; that immigrants are far more likely to work in innovative, job-creating fields such as science, technology, and engineering; and that they bring diverse skill sets that keep our workforce flexible, help companies grow, and increase the productivity of American workers. A new study parsing employment data between 1991 and 2008 confirms that immigrants significantly boost both the productivity and the wages of workers.

The paper, published this week in the journal Economic Geography, compares how 160 U.S. metropolitan areas are faring according to the statistics compiled by the Census Bureau's Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics program. (This dataset has information on more than 30 million workers at 1.2 million businesses, including their sex, age, race, wages, length of employment, education, and country of birth.) The authors, economic geographers Abigail Cooke of SUNY-Buffalo and Tom Kemeny of the University of Southampton, note that "inclusive institutions" encourage trust, lowering costs and fostering cooperation. To get a handle on how inclusive various American cities are with respect to immigrants, the two researchers devise two indicators. The first measures how widespread social capital is in each city, and the second accounts for pro- and anti-immigrant ordinances adopted by local governments.

Social capital consists of the connections of trust between individuals and entities that can be economically valuable. The authors constructed their indicator for social capital by assessing data from the County Business Patterns on the number of social, political, advocacy, business, professional, and labor associations per 10,000 residents in each metropolitan area. They also take into account the number of gathering places, such as specialty food shops, restaurants, cafés, bars, hair salons, corner stores, fitness centers, sports clubs, and bowling alleys.

For a stark contrast between places with inclusive institutions and those without, the researchers focus their analysis on the cities that scored in the top and bottom third of their social capital indicator. Municipalities with the highest social capital included Appleton, Wisconsin; Des Moines, Iowa; and Trenton, New Jersey. Those with the lowest include McAllen, Texas; Fayetteville, North Carolina; and San Bernardino, California.

Next they develop an inclusiveness indicator based on pro- and anti-immigration ordinances enacted by various metropolitan areas. They note that most of the ordinances specifically focus on undocumented immigrants, but they argue that their adoption indicates residents' attitudes toward immigration more generally. Some cities pass English-only rules or try to punish employers who hire undocumented immigrants; others pass sanctuary laws. In their analysis, they include the 160 urban areas that alternatively crossed thresholds in which at least 50 percent of their municipalities and counties had adopted either pro- or anti-immigrant ordinances. Metropolitan regions with more mixed policies were excluded.

Among the cities scoring highest on the pro-immigrant indicator were Salem, Oregon; Austin, Texas; and Fresno, California. Anti-immigrant areas included Charlotte, North Carolina; Green Bay, Wisconsin; and Harrisonburg, Virginia.

On top of all that, the researchers used the Census data to determine what percentage of people in each urban area is native and foreign-born. They also follow people's work and wage histories.

The results? "What we found was remarkable. In cities that are unwelcoming to immigrants, as diversity rises, people's wages either don't change, or they go up by only a small amount," said Cooke in a statement released by SUNY-Buffalo. "In cities that are welcoming to immigrants, as diversity goes up, people's wages go up, and by a lot."

If the intent of anti-immigrant laws is to boost native-born wages, it does not work. To the contrary, the researchers find that "the average worker in a metropolitan context featuring pro-immigrant laws receives a 36 percent wage increase." In addition, scoring in the top third of cities on the social capital inclusiveness indicator correlates with a 21 percent increase in the average worker's wage.

What appears to be happening is that in urban areas that welcome them, immigrants' economic and social diversity helps increase overall productivity, which in turn boosts average wages. How? Among other things, immigrants bring different skill sets, higher levels of ambition, and a greater likelihood of adopting more outside-the-box approaches to solving problems.

This new study strengthens the open letter's argument that "immigration represents an opportunity rather than a threat to our economy and to American workers." Hindering immigrants makes our country poorer than it would otherwise be.

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  • Jerryskids||

    Goddammit. Pro Libertate is gone? That sucks a big fat one.

  • Juice||

    I don't necessarily disagree with the conclusions, but the methodology seems kooky to me. Quantifying something called "social capital" by seeing counting the number of social organizations? Huh? Did they factor in the total membership numbers? You can have a ton of very small clubs or one really big club. And that still doesn't mean you've calculated the amount of "social capital", does it? Then they try to make quantitative calculations based on the number and nature of local ordinances, which are all worded differently with all sorts of different intentions and methods of enforcement? I mean, all I can do is shake my head. I welcome immigrants, even ones that don't start businesses, but let's not let dubious research muddy the anti-anti-immigration argument.

  • Jerryskids||

    Yeah, I'm not paying 113 bucks to see the study, but I had questions about how they tracked the growth of the social capital alongside the growth in immigrant labor (the summary doesn't suggest that they did, it sounds like they took a snapshot of the social capital) just to see if they've got the cause/effect a little backwards - richer communities can afford to be more welcoming toward immigrants and provide them with better opportunities. Or the two things may just be correlated and not a cause-and-effect, immigrants with high-dollar skills go where they can maximize their opportunities just like everybody else. It's sort of a chicken/egg thing.

  • Arturoman||

    Why pay to see a social science study with a bunch of made-up weighted factors for another bunch of made-up subjective variables like "immigrant-friendly", "pro-immigrant laws".

    Also, correlation isn't causation. Immigrants may be more inclined to move to cities that have high salaries, meaning the high salaries cause the immigration and not the other way around.

    Save your money.

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    it sounds like they took a snapshot of the social capital

    They did. And they cited some research showing that "social capital" is pretty static.

  • GILMORE™||

    I welcome immigrants, even ones that don't start businesses, but let's not let dubious research muddy the anti-anti-immigration argument.

    exactly.

    these statistical exercises have enormous amounts of bullshit embedded in them (see the last time someone tried quantifying terrorism). By the time you've parsed it all, you've probably done more damage to any pro-immigration argument than you have fortified it.

    everything requires you accept dubious narrow premises.

    e.g. ""If the intent of anti-immigrant laws is to boost native-born wages, it does not work""

    i don't think "Anti-immigrant Laws" have any intent other than to prevent illegal immigration. I don't know of any "Anti-immigrant laws" that affect legal immigrants other than quotas - and quotas aren't "anti" anything, they're just caps on things like H1B visas.

    basically, the thing they're setting up as the test is a straw-man - the goals of most immigration regulations aren't limited to pure 1-dimensional economic arguments. No one is trying to "boost wages" in exclusion of any/all other factors. They're trying to assert legal control over their borders, and enable screening of criminals/other undesirables.

  • chemjeff||

    "i don't think "Anti-immigrant Laws" have any intent other than to prevent illegal immigration."

    That just begs the question though.

    Why is illegal immigration 'illegal' in the first place? If strict immigration controls aren't there in order to benefit the native-born population in some way, then why are they there in the first place?

  • GILMORE™||

    If strict immigration controls aren't there in order to benefit the native-born population in some way, then why are they there in the first place? why are they there in the first place?

    Did you not read the last paragraph?

    No one is trying to "boost wages" in exclusion of any/all other factors. They're trying to assert legal control over their borders, and enable screening of criminals/other undesirables.

    your comment doesn't actually identify any question-begging. it seems like you didn't even read what i wrote.

    calling "immigration law"= "ANTI-immigration law" is rhetorially dishonest.

    these laws don't prevent immigration = they enable it.

    The fact that there's any distinction between legal + illegal immigration is because we DO maintain legal controls over our borders. and those legal controls are maintained for a wide range of legitimate reasons that have nothing to do with "boosting wages" or some other 1-dimensional staw-man.

    Chinstroking about "But why do we need legal controls of our borders anyway?!?" seems to me to be a pretty stupid non-argument which doesn't need addressing.

  • chemjeff||

    "They're trying to assert legal control over their borders, and enable screening of criminals/other undesirables."

    Fair enough, screening criminals is something I think everyone can get behind. But the screening out of "undesirables" has an economic component to it as well. I bet that if you ask a lot of Trump voters why they favor strict border security, I guarantee you that a fair number of them will complain about the illegals stealing their jobs and depressing their wages because they work under the table. They might perceive border security as having a potential for a positive economic benefit for themselves. I don't think anyone is arguing that the SOLE reason for border security is so that native-born wages can be higher. But I do find it strange that you seem to categorically reject that higher native-born wages can't even be considered one of many "legitimate" reasons for border security.

  • GILMORE™||

    you seem to categorically reject that higher native-born wages can't even be considered one of many "legitimate" reasons for border security.

    You just completely inverted the entire (#*@()$ point.

    The claim made above was the following =

    .g. ""If the intent of anti-immigrant laws is to boost native-born wages, it does not work""

    the retort in response was THAT IS NOT THE INTENT. Sure, its could be a nice side-effect, or someone COULD justify immigration laws based on some economic protectionist theory, but its basically besides the point = debunking whether or not immigration controls achieve those effects is not a debunking of the purpose of immigration controls writ large.

    its pretending that 'higher wages' are the sine qua non of immigration policy. Its not.

    Its like saying, "weed doesn't cure cancer, ergo it has no possible value"

    BUT! others note- it actually has dozens of various medical benefits which may not "cure" cancer, but aid in the use of chemo (reducing nausea).... and simply asserting some 1-dimensional criticism is INSUFFICIENT.

    I'm not "rejecting" whether or not something 'can be considered'. Go ahead and consider it. But its a red-herring and/or a straw-man to pretend that "they fail to boost wages" is a sufficient criticism of immigration policies. It doesn't even address their core purposes.

  • chemjeff||

    "The claim made above was the following =

    .g. ""If the intent of anti-immigrant laws is to boost native-born wages, it does not work""

    the retort in response was THAT IS NOT THE INTENT."

    That is not the intent from YOUR point of view.

    For plenty of people, including many Trump voters, that IS the intent, at least to a substantial degree - you know, the ones who think that the Mexicans are stealing all our jobs.

  • marshaul||

    What's rhetorically dishonest – in the extreme – is the mendacious assertion that "laws enable immigration". Sorry, wrong. Behavior is permitted by default, until a law proscribes it. This includes movement across borders.

    Nobody needed a government to tell them how to use their feet, or even to drive a car or buy a plane ticket.

  • GILMORE™||

    You seem to have missed the point where i said you can skip the philosophical chinstroking. we're not debating some anarchist principles vs. the very concept of sovereignty. we're talking about the practical implications of law.

  • pxm||

    " note that "inclusive institutions" encourage trust, lowering costs and fostering cooperation."

    And to tests this, we've devise our own custom metrics trust and cooperation and to everyone's surprise they support our hypothesis.

  • pxm||

    " note that "inclusive institutions" encourage trust, lowering costs and fostering cooperation."

    And to tests this, we've devise our own custom metrics trust and cooperation and to everyone's surprise they support our hypothesis.

  • pxm||

    " note that "inclusive institutions" encourage trust, lowering costs and fostering cooperation."

    And to tests this, we've devise our own custom metrics trust and cooperation and to everyone's surprise they support our hypothesis.

  • pxm||

    " note that "inclusive institutions" encourage trust, lowering costs and fostering cooperation."

    And to tests this, we've devise our own custom metrics trust and cooperation and to everyone's surprise they support our hypothesis.

  • Arturoman||

    First, as of yet, no one has disallowed immigration. Illegal immigration is still illegal. Immigrants from a few Muslim-majority countries are temporarily suspended.

    And whatever Marxist nonsense "social capital" means. It's a vague, ideological statement.

    Why even bother calling this site reason.com? You might as well call it strawman.com.

  • Jerryskids||

    However bad Reason gets, there's always the wonderful commentariat that's quick to post relevant, rational, thought-provoking rebuttals to the proffered argument in a helpful manner. For example, if there's an off that needs fucking, I'm sure you would be the first to offer a clear statement as to why you should be chosen for the mission.

  • CZmacure||

    I know, let's throw all "immigrants" in a bin, so that the highly skilled and highly unskilled are evaluated in the same way.

    That'll be a great analytic mode, bound to lead to great understanding.

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    Lowest Social Capital

    McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX
    Fayetteville, NC
    Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL
    Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA
    Bakersfield-Delano, CA
    Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood, TX
    El Paso, TX
    Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX
    Fresno, CA
    Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX

  • Loss of Reason||

    As someone that lives in Houston (right outside). They love immigrants! It's illegal all around. So why do we, and El Paso have the lowest social capital?

    Btw way, wages compared to the standard of living, in Texas have been increasing a lot.

  • marshaul||

    If you had an iota of self-awareness, you'd see you answered your own question. cf. your conflationary "they love immigrants" with "it's illegal all around".

  • KathyL||

    Wishful thinking and progressive bullshit. And this is called "Reason" mag?

  • Loss of Reason||

    I didn't expect this from Bailey...it's like the Spanish Inquisition

    Social Capital is such a made up term. They should have called it Super Happy Fun Sharing coin!

    Again, no-one or very few are against immigration. People are against Illegal Immigration and people that don't assimilate into American culture . I know it's hard to believe that people dislike people who don't learn the language and wave say the Mexico Flag asking for things.

    Reason, please tell me how many Asian immigrants we have arrested. What about Canadians?

    I know Reason loves immigrant in all forms. It's because of Global warming we need to let everyone in.

  • chemjeff||

    "Again, no-one or very few are against immigration."

    I really think that the immigration restrictionists need to realize that there are basically two camps of restrictionists.

    One camp wants to reduce illegal immigration because it's an affront to the rule of law. But if those same people were to enter the country legally, they would have no problem with those immigrants, because the migration was conducted lawfully. Adherence to the law is the primary concern, and the nature of precisely who is immigrating, or the effects thereof, is a secondary concern (if one at all).

    The other camp wants to reduce BOTH legal AND illegal immigration, primarily for cultural and economic reasons. They are afraid that immigrants (both legal and illegal) are stealing the jobs of the native-born, and they are afraid that immigrants (both legal and illegal) are slowly turning the US into a third-world state. They want to kick out the illegals, and KEEP them out by shutting down legal immigration as well.

    Those in the second camp often couch their objections to illegal immigration in terms of concern for the rule of law, but it's my view that simple strict adherence to the law is not the animating force for their beliefs. It's primarily economic and cultural anxiety.

    So I would argue quite strongly against the idea that only very few are against legal immigration. They are the ones in fact who are the loudest pro-Trump voices demanding for the wall to be built.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Well, I believe that the purpose of the wall this to restrict it illegal immigration. Under our current regime nobody legally is just walking across the desert and arriving in Nogales Arizona.

    There's also different view some have to this. For instance some people argue that we could employ a more European or Canadian style immigration system. That's a system in which to immigrate legally you have to prove your Worth to the collective before they let you in so the immigrants they allow in skew heavily young and educated.

    I would suspect that the Trump voters would probably agree with that type of immigration system.

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    I would suspect that the Trump voters would probably agree with that type of immigration system.

    I suspect Hillary voters would too.

  • chemjeff||

    I concede that I did perhaps overgeneralize in my characterization of the two camps. But my ultimate point is that it is NOT true, at least among restrictionists as a whole, that they are only really concerned about illegal immigration. Their stated concerns span the entire range of the legal statuses of immigrants. It is just a rhetorical game that they play. They will complain about illegal immigrants in terms that apply to ALL immigrants, but when someone tries to rebut their complaints in likewise terms, they suddenly shrink the goalposts and try to claim that they're only really talking about illegals. For instance, are we seriously to believe that the restrictionists who complain about illegals "stealing our jobs", would be fine if those same jobs were "stolen" by legal immigrants? Of course not. Either way, the presence of a non-native-born person is depriving a native-born citizen of that same job, at least if you view the job market as a zero-sum game, which many restrictionists tend to do. Would they be happy if those day laborers working under the table were granted amnesty and were now working legally? No, they'd be even more outraged. Their lack of a legal status is not the big reason why they're upset. They're upset because those people are even here in the first place, legal or not.

  • retiredfire||

    Glad to see you have inherited the libbie's mind -reading capabilities.
    Conservative are never, really about what they say, unlike the progs, who are always truthful about what they are going to do.
    Amirite?

  • chemjeff||

    No, everyone has concealed motives. Including me. :)

    And I don't claim to be able to read anyone's mind. I do claim however that I can cut through the bullshit at least partially, and try to see where someone is making a fake argument that is stronger than the real one that they hope to advance. It is easy to draw broad support for kicking out illegals based on support for the principle of the rule of law. It is much harder to draw broad support for kicking out illegals based on the notion that they are corrupting the purity of American essence. Progressives pull this same type of trick too, of course. I am just not willing to stand for the bullshit on either side.

  • Spinach Chin||

    Cultural preservation is an important consideration, wouldn't you say?

  • chemjeff||

    No. Culture is a continually evolving thing. No central authority can enforce or engineer any specific culture among free people. A community with a static culture is a dead community.

  • retiredfire||

    Yet, what we have seen, over the last 50 years, has been a central authority that has worked to engineer a rejection of the evolved culture. How's that working out for us?

    I'll let Thomas Sowell answer:
    "You cannot take any people, of any color, and exempt them from the requirements of civilization — including work, behavioral standards, personal responsibility, and all the other basic things that the clever intelligentsia disdain — without ruinous consequences to them and to society at large."

  • chemjeff||

    No one is saying anyone should be "exempt from the requirements of civilization", where those requirements are broadly understood. What a strawman.

  • marshaul||

    No. The entire concept of "cultural preservation" is question-begging and, if carried out by government, fundamentally illiberal (in the classical sense – which only needs saying because the commentariat has been overrun by thoughtless Republicans).

  • Harry Jones||

    marshaul, it's thoughtless and arrogant to claim only thoughtless Republicans are the ones overrunning the commentariat.

  • Careless||

    immigrants are far more likely to work in innovative, job-creating fields such as science, technology, engineering, and math

    Let me guess: they controlled for education. Oh. they provide no sources, links, or anything. But good on them for using the Oxford comma.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    "notes that immigrant entrepreneurs start new businesses that hire lots of Americans;"

    Does anybody remember the open hostility that the black community had towards the Korean Community during the LA riots in the early nineties? Because Koreans owned all the businesses? I do.

  • Longtobefree||

    As soon as you realize this makes no distinction between legal immigration and illegal border crossings, give up and move on. Nothing to see here.
    It's like conflating health care, and health care insurance; two problems, two solutions.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Until the retards that write for reason can distinguish between legal and illegal immigration there really is no point in reading any of the articles posted here about immigration at all.

  • chemjeff||

    Why?

    Many of the arguments against illegal immigration made by restrictionists also apply to legal immigration.

    "They're stealing our jobs"? Both legal and illegal immigrants do that, from their point of view.

    "They're destroying our culture"? Both legal and illegal immigrants do that, from their point of view.

    "They're voting for liberals"? Both legal and illegal immigrants do that, from their point of view, and that goes doubly for illegals according to Trump.

    Yes, it is true that illegal immigrants are different than legal ones in that illegals have broken the law just by virtue of being here, and legal immigrants have not.

    But your cries that "it means nothing unless you distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants" is really just a copout.

  • marshaul||

    n.b. that there is never a coherent argument to support this premise. It's always a bare assertion, or it begs the question.

    Why is it important to distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants?

    I contend that it is not; that law influences basic human behavior so little as to be essentially irrelevant. cf. prohibition.

  • Spinach Chin||

    What does the study say about illegal immigration?

  • buybuydandavis||

    Surprised that Bailey went for "social trust" here.

    Well known result that increased ethnic and cultural diversity weakens social trust. Not just between groups, but within groups.

    It's one of the major talking points of the Alt-Right.

  • marshaul||

    It's nonsense, and it's why there are no alt-right libertarians.

    Any libertarian could tell you that, if there is a weakening of "social trust" concomitant with increasing "cultural diversity", it's because of a lack of inclusive economic institutions. This is why socialist Europe is failing so badly at integrating its immigrants.

  • retiredfire||

    Actually a segment of the "alt-right" is more libertarian that the average poster, here.
    It isn't all Nazi's and White Supremacists. In fact that is a small portion, just the one the progs love to associate with the group, entirely.
    Her's a good breakdown, co-written by Milo:
    http://www.breitbart.com/tech/.....alt-right/

  • buybuydandavis||

    The major theoretical change on the Right hasn't been white identity politics, although that is a part of the more general effect. It's an acknowledgment that the Left cheats, and the Right has lost thereby for a century, and will continue to lose until it fights back in kind.

    Racism bad, m'kay? We've heard that for a long time.

    But the Left defects, and calls their antiwhite racism Social Justice. So now some say "identity politics for all, or identity politics for none", and others say "identity politics for all, let's roll".

    Sexism bad, m'kay? We've heard that for a long time.

    But the Left defects, and calls their antimale sexism feminism. So again, some say "identity politics for all, or identity politics for none", and others say "identity politics for all, let's roll".

    Authoritarianism bad, m'kay? We've heard that for a long time.

    But the Left defects, and calls their authoritarianism "The Living Constitution" and "The Progressive State". So again, some say "rule of all for all, or rule of law for none", and others say "authoritarianism for all, let's roll". (Libertarians should know this part more than anyone else).

    The Left Defects on Civilization. The Alternative Right most broadly are those who have faced that and believe in fighting back instead of losing for another century.

    One way ceasefire is suicide
    One way rule of law is subjection
    One way civility is subservience

    Fight back or be cucked

  • buybuydandavis||

    "The Government inhibited The Market" is the all purpose explanation for all undesirable outcomes.

    "The Devil"
    "The Patriarchy"
    ...

  • Gracchus||

    The paper, published this week in the journal Economic Geography, compares how 160 U.S. metropolitan areas are faring according to the statistics compiled by the Census Bureau's Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics program.

    Don't metropolitan areas support immigration? Last I checked, it was the folks out in the depressed rural areas who opposed immigration, probably because the benefits of immigration tend to concentrate (like economic growth in general) around major metropolitan areas.

    If that's the case, why is Bailey whipping up a dead horse?

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    Tell that to the out-of-work Black dry-wallers in SoCal who have seen their jobs go to Hispanic immigrants.
    Only "pointy-headed intellectuals" would advance, or believe, that argument in favor of immigration virtually without controls.

  • ranrod||

    The amnesty price tag will be 10x what this article is reporting: Amnesty tax: $15,000 per household, $1.2 trillion..
    http://www.washingtonexaminer......le/2606575

    ICE Agent: "My Job Obsolete, Borders Now Wide Open;" Career ICE Official:
    "We're Being Kept in Dark;" 40 Mlln Amnesty, NOT Just 5 Mlln
    http://www.debbieschlussel.com.....st-5-mlln/

  • ranrod||

    The amnesty price tag will be 10x what this article is reporting: Amnesty tax: $15,000 per household, $1.2 trillion..
    http://www.washingtonexaminer......le/2606575

    ICE Agent: "My Job Obsolete, Borders Now Wide Open;" Career ICE Official:
    "We're Being Kept in Dark;" 40 Mlln Amnesty, NOT Just 5 Mlln
    http://www.debbieschlussel.com.....st-5-mlln/

  • Peter Schaeffer||

    Completely fake news. Immigrants are not (on average) entrepreneurial (compared to Americans). Check out

    Reconsidering Immigrant Entrepreneurship — An Examination of Self-Employment Among Natives and the Foreign-Born by Steven A. Camarota

    What Explains the Myth of Immigrant Entrepreneurship?

    Read it all. Just more pro-Open Borders, pro-cheap labor BS.

  • Peter Schaeffer||

    For anyone interested in the truth about immigration, go read "Berlin Gets Bad News From PISA" by Anatoly Karlin ("evil russian oppressor'). If you make it through the article, you will see one very clear conclusions. The children of migrants are performing abysmally in many (but not all) countries. For better or worse (clearly worse), these countries are importing a permanent underclass. Some typical numbers. The average German (native) PISA score (2009) is 533. The average second generation migrant score is 463 (first generation is slightly worse at 458).

    Will these children succeed in Germany? Of course, they will succeed as welfare recipients, ISIS volunteers, criminals, etc. Will they contribute to the well-being of the German people? That's laughable at best.

  • Peter Schaeffer||

    Like it or not, Bailey isn't troubling himself or his readers with truth. The illegals ("migrants") coming to Europe and American are about as necessary as a migraine headache.

    "Sweden takes in more refugees per capita than any other European country, and immigrants – mainly from the Middle East and Africa – now make up about 16 per cent of the population. The main political parties, as well as the mainstream media, support the status quo. Questioning the consensus is regarded as xenophobic and hateful. Now all of Europe is being urged to be as generous as Sweden. So how are things going in the most immigration-friendly country on the planet? Not so well, says Tino Sanandaji. Mr. Sanandaji is himself an immigrant, a Kurdish-Swedish economist who was born in Iran and moved to Sweden when he was 10. He has a doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago and specializes in immigration issues. This week I spoke with him by Skype. "There has been a lack of integration among non-European refugees," he told me. Forty-eight per cent of immigrants of working age don't work, he said. Even after 15 years in Sweden, their employment rates reach only about 60 per cent. Sweden has the biggest employment gap in Europe between natives and non-natives. From Davos to Brussels, the conventional wisdom is that a massive influx of immigrants is needed to prop up Europe's welfare states. Unexplained is how the unemployed are meant to pay for the pensions of the retired."

  • John Rohan||

    So why send it to Donald Trump? He has nothing against immigrants, just illegal immigrants, who tend to have higher crime rates, are not terribly entrepreneurial, definitely don't add to the tech sector, and tend to send a huge amount of their earnings home as remittances.

    But I do have questions. If immigration is great for the economy,

    1. Why has Japan been able to prosper?

    2. Why is China surging?

    3. Why isn't Europe surging the most in the world right now? Particularly Sweden?

  • Peter Schaeffer||

    Let's take a look at some facts from the Netherlands..

    "Of the country's 16.9 million people, 2.1 million are non-Western migrants, mostly Turkish and Moroccan, and their Dutch-born children. Pew Research calculates that about 1 million of those — 6% of the population — are Muslim. The number of Muslims increased by an estimated 1% annually over the last ten years.

    While 2.9% of the overall population receives welfare, a worrying 49.9% of non-Western migrants do. While an average of 27% of all youngsters drop out of school, more than 50 percent of non-Western migrants do. The overall Dutch unemployment rate is 6.9%, but it's 15.2% for non-Western migrants. The police have detained over 60% of Moroccan-Dutch boys under age 23 at least once, many of them five times or more. In 2014, there were 81,000 arrests of non-Western migrants out of more than 2 million living in the country, compared to 111,000 arrested non-migrants out of a population of 13.2 million."

  • Peter Schaeffer||

    More Fake News. The migrants who entered Germany will be a burden (crime, welfare, failed education, terrorism, hate, family chaos, etc.) forever. Here are some useful facts.

    "1.2 MILLION migrants arrived in Germany in two years: just 34,000 or 2.8% have found a job"

    The problem really isn't the one or two viciously poisonous grains (terrorists) in each bag of rice. The problem is that the entire bag is bad (inevitably with a few exceptions). Europe has decades of experience with large scale immigration from MENA (Middle-East, North-Africa). The result are poor. Even after several generations, the "immigrants" (and their children) are poor, welfare-dependent, violent, socially isolated, unemployed, uneducated, crime-prone, etc. Note that I not referring to a few "bad grains". The "bad grains" are the overt terrorists. My comments apply to the median MENA immigrant.

  • Peter Schaeffer||

    Of course, they (immigrants) do bring a certain type of "vitality" to Europe. Look up the word "tournantes" for the fun these folks bring with them.

    However, a word of warning is needed here. Don't for moment think that the editors of Reason don't know all of this. They do. You can be sure that they keep their families as far from these people as possible.

  • Peter Schaeffer||

    "Municipalities with the highest social capital included Appleton, Wisconsin; Des Moines, Iowa; and Trenton, New Jersey. Those with the lowest include McAllen, Texas; Fayetteville, North Carolina; and San Bernardino, California."

    In other words, social capital is highest in places with the fewest immigrants.

    That's almost certainly true.

  • Peter Schaeffer||

    The economic arguments against MENA (Middle-East, North Africa) immigration to Europe and America are overwhelming to be sure. However, even with the disastrous economic, mass immigration to Europe would still be a catastrophe. The immigrants coming to Europe have brought devastating social problems with them. Immigrant crime is rampant. Immigrant slums are (now) commonplace. Assimilation is marginal at best. Of course, welfare state exploitation utilization is near universal.

    For better or worse, the typical European criminal is now an immigrant (of the offspring of immigrants). Apparently, a major of serious crimes in Europe are now committed by first and second generation immigrants. Because of liberal/left-wing cover-ups actual statistics are hard to come by. However, Muslims are (apparently) a major of prison inmates in most European countries. Given that prison inmates have typically committed the worst crimes, that should tell you something.

  • Peter Schaeffer||

    Of course, as bad as the actual crimes are, the cover-ups are even worse. Repressive political correctness has presented any honest discussion of immigrant crime throughout Europe. In the UK, the Rotherham rapes, kidnappings, and sexual slavery of children went on for 16 years before they were revealed. Apparently, protecting the fantasy PC worldview is more important than protecting children. Quote

    "The Rotherham, England, child sex scandal offers a powerful example. An official inquiry found that for sixteen years, 1997-2013, a ring of Muslim men sexually exploited – through abduction, rape, gang rape, trafficking, prostitution, torture – at least 1,400 non-Muslim girls as young as 11. The police received voluminous complaints from the girls' parents but did nothing; they could have acted, but chose not to."

  • Peter Schaeffer||

    In Germany, the Cologne attacks were completely covered up until the story broke out into social media. Without social media, the Cologne attacks would have been completely unreported by Germany's lugenpresse (Lying Press). Germany's media specially refused to report the murder of Maria Ladenburger after she was killed by an Afghan "refugee".

    However, imported crime is just one of woes immigrants bring with them. For better or worse, mass immigration has brought Europe massive racial/ethnic slums. Europe didn't have racial/ethnic slums a generation ago. Now it does. They are just one of the bitter fruits of mass immigration. How bad are these slums? Take a look at the articles below.

  • Peter Schaeffer||

    "Molenbeek broke my heart - A former resident reflects on his struggles with Brussels' most notorious neighborhood" by Teun Voeten (in Politico)

    "Does Europe Have No-go Zones?" by Richard Pipes

    The truth is that mass immigration has brought Europe a Tsunami of crime. Does Europe really need to import criminals? Mass immigration has brought Europe racial/ethnic slums that have little or no precedent in European history. Does Europe really need imported slums? The sane answer to all of these questions is no.

  • Peter Schaeffer||

    A few years ago the economics of immigration were studied in Norway. Predictably, the results were dismal. Quotes.

    "Immigration Will Bankrupt Norway"

    " Finansavisen [Norwegian financial newspaper] has gone through figures released by SSB [Norwegian Bureau of Statistics] and concludes that each non-Western immigrant, on average, costs Norwegian society NoK 4.1 million ($700,000).

    The sums are astronomical, especially when considering that in 2012 alone, 15,400 non-Western immigrants arrived in Norway.

    When Sigrun Vågeng was the director of NHO [The Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise] she presented a study which concluded that the entirety of Norwegian oil-generated wealth would disappear if this non-profitable immigration wasn't halted. Back then the story was mostly ignored. In the meantime several years have passed, and today the numbers are even higher. Even so the MSM and politicians keep describing the official immigration policy as strict.

  • Peter Schaeffer||

    The figure is NoK 4.1 million:

    This figure includes all taxable incomes minus public expenditures," according to Erlend Holmøy, senior researcher for SSB.

    Based on the approximately 15,400 non-Western immigrants that arrived here in 2012 this means an outlay of NoK 63 billion ($11 billion). This is the equivalent of two foreign aid budgets, or roughly half of the NoK 125 billion ($21 billion) taken from the Norwegian oil fund (wealth fund) that the authorities intend to spend this year.

    "The cost of it all will have to be covered by the average Norwegian taxpayer, or it will lead to a reduction in capacity and quality of various publicly funded services," says Holmøy to Finansavisen

    If the non-Western immigration continues on a level equal to 2012, the funding costs will soar to NoK 2,900 billion ($493 billion) in the period between 2015-2100."

  • Peter Schaeffer||

    Some actual facts, not Fake News.

    "But Sarrazin is more interested in the failure of the Muslim background Turks and north Africans—about half of Germany's ethnic minority population (which altogether is now about 15 per cent of the total). And he describes the failure in shocking and pitiless detail. The poor German spoken by third-generation immigrants, the abysmal performance in school (72 per cent of Turks living in Germany, aged 20 to 64, have no qualifications at all), the high crime rates, the fact that they take far more out of the welfare state than they put in (only 33 per cent of Muslim Germans live mainly from their labours). According to Christopher Caldwell—who is wrongly described by Sarrazin as British and liberal; in fact, he is American and conservative—the number of foreign-born residents rose from 3m to 8m between 1971 and 2000, but the number of employed foreigners stayed the same at 2m."

  • Peter Schaeffer||

    "This prison is majority Muslim -- as is virtually every house of incarceration in France. About 60 to 70 percent of all inmates in the country's prison system are Muslim, according to Muslim leaders, sociologists and researchers, though Muslims make up only about 12 percent of the country's population."

    "In Britain, 11 percent of prisoners are Muslim in contrast to about 3 percent of all inhabitants, according to the Justice Ministry. Research by the Open Society Institute, an advocacy organization, shows that in the Netherlands 20 percent of adult prisoners and 26 percent of all juvenile offenders are Muslim; the country is about 5.5 percent Muslim. In Belgium, Muslims from Morocco and Turkey make up at least 16 percent of the prison population, compared with 2 percent of the general populace, the research found."

  • Peter Schaeffer||

    From Borjas (America's leading immigration economist)

    "There's also been a lot of fake fog thrown into the the question of whether immigrants pay their way in the welfare state. It's time for some sanity in this matter as well. The welfare state is specifically designed to transfer resources from higher-income to lower-income persons. Immigrants fall disproportionately into the bottom part of the income distribution. It is downright ridiculous to claim that low-skill immigrants somehow end up being net contributors into the public treasury."

  • RT Deco||

    Same old, same old. How many strawmen have to be sacrificed for this topic?

    Oh the strawmanity!!

  • Douglas Kubler||

    Let me try to reason about the topic. If low-cost immigrant labor replaces American laborers then the average wage of employed Americans goes up. But who is accounting for the newly unemployed Americans?

  • SDN||

    Ronald Bailey is ignorant of the law of supply and demand. Ignore him.

  • Homple||

    Shorter Bailey: "The law of supply, demand and price does not apply to labor because studies."

  • Mark22||

    Immigration of people who make net contributions to society is good. Illegal migrants overwhelmingly are not in that category.

  • Peter Verkooijen||

    Americans don't want higher wages, innovation and growth. Americans want their entitlements, Social Security, government propping up their stocks and home values, a big bloated welfare state. This generation of Americans is an insult to the ideals America was founded on.

  • adampeart||

    Spot on!

  • Harry Jones||

    People who generalize so broadly are an insult to the ideals (classical liberalism) America was founded on.

  • Mark22||

    Well, judging by election outcomes, it's about 1/3 of Americans who want lots of free crap, 1/3 of Americans who still like the traditional values, and about 1/3 of Americans who don't care.

    Among illegal migrants, it's probably 3/4 who want lots of free crap.

  • adampeart||

    Jesus fucking Christ Reason, who is this written for? Richard Spencer? Aside from him and his ilk no one is against LEGAL immigration! Pakis open bodegas, Indians are tech wizards, and Chinese build dim sum houses, we get it! I think it's safe to say that the issues at hand are the illegal immigrants who siphon off the welfare system and "refugees" with borderline retarded IQ levels from a culture incompatible with western culture being heaped upon us. The major flaw in this article is that the definition of "immigrant" is never given. It's like saying "fat is good for you" but fail to define what type of fat is good versus the fat that's bad.

  • Mark22||

    Conflating illegal border crossings with legal immigration is a deliberate propaganda strategy. Some stupid people fall for it. People like Bailey do it on purpose to manipulate their readers.

  • Peter Schaeffer||

    Lee Kuan Yew had some important comments on immigration. Predictably he told the truth, even if it wasn't PC. See

    https://goo.gl/tx5CX5

    Quotes

    Charlie Rose: "And immigrants have been America's strength." Lee Kuan Yew: "Absolutely … But, mind you, immigration of the highly intelligent and highly hard-working, very hard-working people. If you get immigration from the fruit-pickers [chuckles for several seconds at the idea], you may not get very far!"

    The vast majority of the immigrants coming to the US and Europe are low-skill workers with minimal education. Of course, notable exceptions exist. However, the means and medians are dismal. Worse, the children (of these immigrants) typically fail as well.

  • KevinP||

    Economist George Borjas: Yes, Immigration Hurts American Workers


    Quote (but read the whole article):
    ... it's not too farfetched to conclude that immigration has barely affected the total wealth of natives at all. Instead, it has changed how the pie is split, with the losers - the workers who compete with immigrants, many of those being low-skilled Americans - sending a roughly $500 billion check annually to the winners. Those winners are primarily their employers. And the immigrants themselves come out ahead, too. Put bluntly, immigration turns out to be just another income redistribution program.

    Once we understand immigration this way, it's clear why the issue splits Americans - why many low-skilled native workers are taking one side, and why immigrants and businesses are taking another.
  • XM||

    These are aggregate stats and pretty much ignore the realities and nuances of the immigrant experience in the United States.

    Most immigrants are insulated in big cities in a handful of states and will likely hire one of their own or Latinos for the labor. If by immigrant "entrepreneurship" you mean something like Yogurtland or Forever21, yes, they're a force in the economy. But the people in who work there aren't making living wages or making significantly more than "natives" who work elsewhere.

    Have your heard Mexicans say "We want millions of more Asian immigrants, because their small businesses give us jobs!" You don't. Because in real life, people don't think this way. If immigrants had a verifiable record of offering reliable wages to typical low / middle class Americans, amnesty would have happened 20 years ago. But it just doesn't happen.

    America is an economic GIANT and will almost certainly host thousands of successful immigrants who will offer high paying jobs in STEM and elite fields. But in a country this size where the poor could form its own country, it's a drop in the bucket. Most immigrants will never work in tech and only 4% of them work in farms. Count with your hand how many of your friends, relatives, and immigrant associates make decent wages working for a strictly "immigrant" business. Anyone without college degree making 15 bucks for a Korean noodle house?

  • Page Turner||

    History from the vast immigration in the early 1900's which ended with an almost complete halt from 1924 to 1964 to enable assimilation and wages to stabilize disprove this economist's claims and study.

    Further, looking at the decline in international standing of the US in 1964 in education when Teddy Kennedy succeeded in opening the US to 3rd world immigrants to today shows that social capital has decreased, not increased.

    As Milton Friedman observed, you cannot have open immigration AND a welfare state.

  • pxm||

    "that "inclusive institutions" encourage trust, lowering costs and fostering cooperation. "

    And to prove this out, we've devised our own two metrics of what we consider trust and cooperation. To everyone's surprise, these metric proved our hypothesis.

  • macsnafu||

    "...In cities that are unwelcoming to immigrants, as diversity rises, people's wages either don't change, or they go up by only a small amount," said Cooke in a statement released by SUNY-Buffalo. "In cities that are welcoming to immigrants, as diversity goes up, people's wages go up, and by a lot."

    So, merely having immigrants doesn't improve society. Instead it's more dependent upon how the residents perceive the immigrants. This is rather awkward, even disturbing, as it will tend to lead towards self-fulfilling prophecies, and actually somewhat weakens the pro-immigration argument. On the other hand, it does rather support individualism and personal belief, and that positive thinking will tend to bring greater benefits than negative thinking.

  • macsnafu||

    "In cities that are unwelcoming to immigrants, as diversity rises, people's wages either don't change, or they go up by only a small amount," said Cooke in a statement released by SUNY-Buffalo. "In cities that are welcoming to immigrants, as diversity goes up, people's wages go up, and by a lot."

    In other words, it's not merely immigration that helps the economy, but the residents' perception of immigrants that affects how much they help the economy. This is a bit troubling, because it undermines simplistic pro-immigration arguments. On the other hand, it does seem to indicate that positive attitudes towards immigration pay off more benefits than negative attitudes, so it could still be considered as supporting pro-immigration.

  • macsnafu||

    Darned squirrels!

  • Ray W||

    OMG what is it with the morons that write columns for Reason these days. Can these people not understand the difference between ILLEGAL immigration and LEGAL immigration?? When we limit illegal immigration, people in the news constantly talk about limiting 'immigration'. They're apples and oranges. We have a department in the US that does nothing but go through the process of admitting people from other nations to become citizens. That's their job. All we are asking is for everyone to go through the official process and apply to become citizen rather than run across a patch of land in Texas or Arizona or climb a wall to get here illegally.

    Of course I'm sure they understand. The only logical explanation is that they are pushing a narrative. A lie, if repeated often enough, sometimes becomes a 'fact'. I guess that is what they are aiming at. They're hoping enough people will be duped. I really wish there were real repercussions for people in the media that lie like this. They should be sued, investigated, or lose their right to publish articles. Go do something productive and become a car repair technician or an Uber driver or whatever because I'm really tired of you clowns. If I want to see people like you, all I have to do is turn on my favorite fake news channel CNN or MSNBC or whatever else.

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