Helping Immigrants by Hurting Immigrants
We realize there are workers willing to do work and businesses who need those workers. Those workers stimulate our economy by buying goods and services from local sellers.
But there is no reason for that work, and the economic side effects, to occur outside the law.
Agreed. Forcing immigrants to operate outside of the law has several undesirable consequences. First, and foremost, in my opinion, it hurts the illegal immigrants, who tend to be extremely poor people looking for a better life. By being forced to operate outside of the law, illegal immigrants can’t expect the same degree of police protection and contract enforcement as legal citizens. As a result, they are more likely to be subject to violence.
Second, it increases the likelihood that an immigrant will commit a crime in two ways. Immigrants who would rather obey the law are less likely to immigrate if it means they have to break the law, while law breakers see immigration as potentially more attractive. So, their illegal status changes the composition of immigrants to include more law breakers. Also, once immigrants arrive in the United States, they are more likely to break other laws, because they are already here illegally. Violence may even be used as a contract enforcement mechanism, because recourse to the courts is out of the question.
Finally, the illegal status for most immigrants decreases the overall amount of immigration, because preventative measures increase the costs of migration. This means the U.S. will have less of the most valuable resource on the planet: the human mind. Not only does an increase in population through immigration help our economy for the reasons the Globe lists, but more minds leads to a better chance for technological innovation.
So, it seems natural to conclude that the governor made a mistake, and should instead petition federal legislators for an easing of immigration restrictions. Instead, the Globe concludes:
[The bill is] a big improvement over current state law, which simply takes away tax credits and abatements as a penalty. Combine those with federal punishments, and employers now have severe consequences to fear.
Wait … what? The Globe seemed to agree that immigration benefits the U.S. economy, which includes Missouri. And an increase in legal immigration would entail more open borders. Here is the author’s rationale:
People who work in the United States should be paid a fair wage and granted certain workplace rights. Employers should not be able to take advantage of a worker’s legal status by paying substandard wages and offering no benefits.
Apparently, the author has never been to Mexico. There is a reason so many Mexicans migrate here illegally in order to work for employers “paying substandard wages and offering no benefits.” In Mexico, the wages are even lower and the benefits are worse. Simply by moving here, they improve their lot. If the issue is a concern for the welfare of the illegal immigrants, letting them come here illegally is much better than not letting them come at all.