Wednesday, May 30, 2007

response to Roy Beck/NumbersUSA video

In response to a video by Roy Beck (of NumbersUSA) sent to me by a friend.
I thought I'd share my responses with you!

1925-1965 is selective and somewhat/quite misleading
-I'm pretty sure that immigration was quite a bit greater in the 20-30 years prior to that
-for his argument (labor market tightness), the numbers should be presented as % vs. #'s
-with increasing populations, one would expect the numbers to be higher over time

-an important but overlooked issue here: since 1965, we have moved toward allowing less productive/educated workers into the country
-a crucial but overlooked issue: there is a vital difference between immigrants who come here to work, etc. (a series of mutually beneficial trades)-- vs. receive welfare and other taxpayer-financed benefits; so the larger issue is the prevalence of govt-funded programs-- in the context of education, health, and poverty
-an exaggerated point: a second generation or at least a third generation immigrant is not an immigrant but an "us" (for example, I'm a sixth generation immigrant; if he had made the presentation in the mid-1800s, I would have been a red instead of a green!)
-his stuff on fertility is correct and important in a variety of policy contexts (note also that most other developed countries actually have below-replacement rates of fertility)
-there are legitimate concerns about preserving "social fabric", but it is difficult to quantify when that becomes a problem
-as he notes, there are regional/local differences on the impact of immigration that are important to consider
-as you noted, illegal is different from legal

Legal and especially illegal immigration are tough issues-- and not conducive to 30-second sound bite answers.