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Economist’s Immigration Debate: Missing The Point

In last Sunday’s (7/9/06) NYT Magazine, Roger Lowenstein has a piece titled The Immigration Equation. In it, he begins by discussing the two different economic theories that are being debated in regard to immigration — specifically “poorly educated” immigrants and, even more specifically, Mexicans.

One theory, espoused by George Borjas, a professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, holds that “immigrants hurt the economic prospects of the Americans they compete with.” The other theory is, simply stated. “on balance, immigration is good for the country.”

So far, so good! It’s a factual discussion of the impact of immigration on the economy . . . but then Lowenstein, in true New York Times fashion, twists the issue when he relates Borjas’ theory to the debate in Washington.

“It lies,” he states, “at the heart of a national debate, which has been encapsulated (if not articulated) by two very different immigration bills: one, passed by the House of Representatives, which would toughen laws against undocumented workers and probably force many of them to leave the country; and one in the Senate, a measure that would let most of them stay.”

Yes he casually mentions that the debate in Washington is over “undocumented” workers but he glosses right over that inconvenient fact . . . that inconvenient fact that IS the topic of debate.

Most Americans have no problem if economists and politicians reach a rational decision over how many immigrants from each nation the United States should allow into the country; what ‘bites my butt’ and the butts of most Americans, is that our government has allowed this country to be overrun by millions of ILLEGAL immigrants. That, Mr. Lowenstein is what is at the heart of the national debate. It’s UNCONTROLLED immigration that has caused the problem not immigration numbers.

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