Just to get everyone in the mood for the mass amnesty the Bush administration is secretly planning, the Washington Post blared across its front page this week a report of a new study that claims "Immigrants Account For Half Of New Workers: Report Calls Them Increasingly Needed For Economic Growth." [by D'Vera Cohn, December 2, 2002.]
Well, now, if immigrants are "increasingly needed" for economic growth, surely no sane American can be opposed.
By cleverly playing on desire for material gain and fear of losing what is "needed" for it, the Post managed to manipulate public opinion toward favoring mass immigration.
The study in question has just been released by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University and happens to have been commissioned by the Business Roundtable, a gaggle of Big Business leaders who just happen to like mass immigration and the cheap labor it imports. In fact, what the study tells us about cheap labor is probably more important than what the Post chose to report at all. [VDARE.COM note: The report can be downloaded from the Business Round Table's website. Abstract; full report, PDF]
The study found that 80 percent of new male workers in the United States over the last decade were immigrants, and of the 13 million, legal and illegal, who entered the country in the 1990s, 8 million joined the labor force, "in a period when the total number of new workers was 16 million." Therefore, half the new workers were foreign-born.
Just in case you're not convinced by now, the Post drives the lesson home. "Without new immigrants, the labor force would have experienced no growth in New England and the New York region," it preaches, though it also acknowledges that "in the fast-growing southern and Rocky Mountain states ... which drew population from elsewhere in the country, immigrants had less of an effect."
The study seems to regurgitate the stale chestnut that "immigrants take jobs Americans refuse to take" and also seems largely to ignore the possibility that mass immigration takes jobs from Americans or forces their wages down or both.
The Post does rather grudgingly admit that "the report cited evidence that the entry of many poorly educated immigrants into the workforce has held back wages of the lowest-paid American-born workers."
But the truth is that this is the whole point.
One of the major reasons the American ruling class has permitted mass immigration on such a huge scale for the last 30 years has been precisely to drive down wages, gain cheap labor and undermine the bargaining position of labor.
What the new study tells us is that the plan has worked.
Harvard economist George Borjas estimates that immigration has already reduced wages for lesser skilled American-born workers, but his estimate may be too low. A study from the Columbia University Economics Department by economists Donald Davis and David Weinstein, released last May, finds that "the magnitude of losses for U.S. natives may be quite large—$72 billion per year or 0.8 percent of Gross Domestic Product." [Download full report in PDF] For some reason, the Post story didn't get around to mentioning either Professor Borjas or the Columbia study.
But it did emphasize yet again that immigrants are just so needed. "The American economy absolutely needs immigrants," Andrew Sum, the study's director, told the Post. "Some people get very angry when I say this, but our economy has become more dependent on immigrant labor than at any time in the last 100 years."
The argument for the "necessity" of immigrants is that economic growth can't take place without them (not true, since Japan managed to grow significantly for 40 years with hardly a single immigrant and with virtually none of the much-vaunted "diversity" so gabbled about in the West) [VDARE.COM note: click here for Peter Brimelow's Forbes article on immigration and the Japanese economy] and that many companies wouldn't be able to expand without low-wage immigrant workers (since Americans won't take the jobs).
The example the study offers to support the latter contention is 7-Eleven, which expanded by several hundred stores each year in the last decade because of the low-wage immigrants who work in them.
But the company could also have expanded by hiring low-wage minority youth or low-wage elderly people, both categories Americans.
Moreover a good deal of the low-wage jobs for which immigrants are said to be so "needed" could simply be automated, as most fast-food palaces already virtually are, despite the immigrants who work at them. Fully automated 7-Eleven's might be even more efficient than they are now.
The point is that entrepreneurs will find ways to lower costs, even if the cheap and easy (and exploitative and culturally destructive) way of importing a new underclass is denied to them.
Despite the Post's best efforts to prove that mass immigration is "needed," it failed to make the case.
What's really needed is to protect what remains of the American-born workforce by shutting off mass immigration now.
[A selection of Sam Francis' columns, America Extinguished: Mass Immigration And The Disintegration Of American Culture, is now available from Americans For Immigration Control.]
COPYRIGHT CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
December 05, 2002