Sunday, November 15, 2009

Immigration Reform: A Path to Citizenship?

It is said that millions of illegal aliens in the United States make an economic contribution by doing jobs that other Americans won’t do. This is one of the key arguments made by proponents of immigration reform who advocate amnesty, a path to citizenship for those living in the shadows of American life.

On purely economic grounds, apart from considerations of the rule of law, the argument might make sense in the context of a full employment economy. But does it hold with unemployment exceeding 10 percent. If those having dropped out of the labor force no longer seeking work and others looking for full-time jobs but can only find part-time work are included, the total exceeds 17 percent. In these economic conditions, legalizing millions of illegal immigrants is less compelling. The combined rate is forecast to rise in 2010 and remain high during the next few years.

One suspects that advocates are more concerned with winning Hispanic votes than insuring an adequate labor force to do work Americans won’t do.

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