Monday, July 16, 2007

Straight talk for the "NO AMNESTY!" set--and an explanation of why they are called bigots.

Wrap your heads around this one: If the mass deportation of group X would cause an economic recession, group X is not a drag on the economy.

Mass deportation is, by definition, what the "NO AMNESTY!" crowd advocates, and they've taken lately to justifying it by poiting to statistics such as those found on as though such figures alone constitute an argument that the presence of illegal immigrants makes us worse off.

That's a subtle matter, and even subtler still is the question as to whether, supposing the impact on the rest of us is negative, it would be positive were illegals' status regularized (amnesty) and, if it is currently positive, how much better off we'd all be were there an amnesty. Merely looking at wages, as the uneducated hayseeds who make up the bulk of the "NO AMNESTY!" set tend to do, isn't enough.

As was discussed today on Classically Liberal, a recent Udall Center study quantifies the net impact of immigrants, legal and illegal, on Arizona's economy, as well as the effect of removing the illegals from the picture. Not only is the net effect positive, one can't argue that a few superstar legal immigrants are distorting the picture. Removing the illegals results in, as expected, recession. 15% workforce reduction in agriculture, 15% workforce reduction in construction, 10% workforce reduction in manufacturing; one can't find that many unemployed good white folks citizens whose "jobs were stolen" to fill the gap, and even if one did, other things wouldn't be done. It bears repeating: that sort of shrinking of an economy is what's called a recession! would have you believe that the story may be told by government outlays alone--without even taking into account the taxes paid by undocumented aliens, let alone the economic impact calculated by the Udall Center scholars! The dishonesty isn't very subtle, but it plays right into what the "NO AMNESTY!" crowd wants to believe. Even if we take into account only the impact on the welfare system, undocumented aliens are putting in more than they take out. Among others, Shikha Dalmia of the Reason Foundation has worked out the net effect. Illegals pay taxes, and don't get much in return save (lousy) schooling for their children.

Of course, they commit "identity theft"--if paying taxes using someone else's Social Security Number can be considered stealing an identity--to do so, because the government gives them no choice! Open immigration would mean people could choose to not cross the desert, choose to not commit document fraud, etc. But that doesn't mean anything to the "NO AMNESTY!" set. "Illegal is illegal is illegal", "what part of ILLEGAL don't you understand?", they're all trespassers and thieves, to be hated because they work, hated because they draw welfare without paying taxes, and hated because they pay taxes.

It's often said by the sensitive "NO AMNESTY!" screaming souls that calling them bigots is unfair and an attempt to shut down discussion. Let's suppose that the above attitude is the result of a sincere--sincere meaning the tail is not wagging the dog--belief that the presence of undocumented immigrants makes us worse off and that such a situation would not be remedied by amnesty. By citing--never mind the factual accuracy or lack thereof, and never mind the incompleteness of the style numbers as justification to deport people (deporting them all is what "NO AMNESTY!" means), they are reducing the question of just treatment for particular individuals to one about group identity. "You yourself may be an upstanding member of the community, but a group in which I may place you is, on average, dead weight, so you must go." That is the very definition of bigotry.

C'est donc quelqu'un des tiens...
--La Fontaine: Le loup et l'agneau

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