Via the National Economics Editorial’s report on illegal immigration in America.

Illegal Immigrants Lower Wages For US Citizens By Distorting The Labor Market

Let’s jump right into it.

How do illegal immigrants lower wages for American workers?  Two ways:

I. More Illegal Immigrants Mean A Bigger Labor Supply

You’ve heard of the law of supply and demand?  It’s a tool we use to help us understand how prices are determined in a free market.

All you need to know is that when demand goes up, prices go up (more people are bidding up the price); when supply goes up, prices go down (there’s lots to go around, so there’s no urgency); and vice versa.

This holds true when it comes to the prices of apples, oil, or a person’s labor—if there’s lots of workers who can do a job, then employers don’t have to pay as much to get a qualified employee; if there’s a shortage of workers, then employers have to pay more to hire someone.  Simple.

America’s labor market has been flooded with illegal immigrants looking for work.  This increases the supply of labor, which decreases the price employers must pay for workers (wages).

There’s no way around this logic: if you accept the law of supply and demand, then you must accept that illegal immigration decreases American wages.

End of story.

Of course, the facts bare this out.

You can see in the below graph how  real wages (adjusted for inflation) for American workers have stagnated for quite some time.  Part of this is due to offshoring (which basically does the same thing as illegal immigration, but on a bigger scale), but part of it’s due to illegal immigration.

real vs nominal US wages

II. Migrants Work Off The Books

Undocumented workers not only increase the labor supply, but they’re also off-the-books, meaning that they work for less than minimum wage, they don’t get benefits that citizen’s would get etc.

Basically, illegals undercut the labor market’s mandated floor, pulling the rug out from American workers—there’s no way a minimum wage worker can compete against someone working for $2 a day.  It’s not going to happen.

Wages aside, employers like to hire illegals because they have leverage over them: if the illegal misbehaves they can fire them without recourse; they can force the illegal to work long hours or in unsafe conditions using the threat of deportation as their leverage etc.

Aside from the obvious moral problems here (I’ll get to those later), this makes it impossible for American citizens to compete with illegal immigrants for the same jobs.

This is why the black and youth unemployment rate is so high (because black, and young, Americans filled the labor market niche that illegals are now filling)—fast food places used to be operated by teenagers, now they’re stuffed with illegals.

illegal immigrants picking fruit

10% of illegal immigrants work in the US agriculture industry.

Debunking The Economic “Benefits” Of Illegal Immigration

I’ve heard it all before: every leftist and libertarian (ironic bedfellows) who loves illegal immigration then starts harping on the same 2 points: either they’ll say that (I) illegals do jobs Americans don’t want to do, and therefore don’t impact wages, or (II) that the economic benefits outweigh the costs.

Claim I: “Illegal Immigrants Do Jobs Americans Don’t Want To Do”

This isn’t true.  Why?

I.  There are 23 million unemployed Americans right now.  There are 11 million illegal immigrants—even if you deported every illegal and gave that job to an American, the unemployment rate would still be around 7% (the real unemployment rate, not the nonsense number the government spouts off).

II.  Americans are willing to work the jobs illegals do, and they currently work them in states where there aren’t illegal immigrants.  If you check out this document published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you’ll see that there are literally millions of Americans, white, black, and Hispanic, who are employed as janitors, laborers, store clerks—everything.

It’s simply not true that Americans won’t do these jobs—they can’t, because they’re being undercut by illegal immigrants.  Meanwhile, millions of Americans are unemployed.

Believe it or not, but people in states without high levels of illegal immigration (for example, Montana or Ohio) can still afford McDonald’s and Starbucks—they just hire teenagers to do the jobs.  The same goes for entire countries like Canada or the UK.

The entire economic argument in favor of illegal immigration is predicated upon the fact that there’s no way to fill the jobs without them—that’s just not true.

Unemployed teenagers, and black and Hispanic Americans would fill the job vacancies in California or Texas (just like they do in Pennsylvania or Indiana)—the reason they don’t right now is because they can’t compete with illegals (whom employers can underpay, overwork, and otherwise abuse with legal impunity).

Even without people to fill the voids, most of the jobs could be done by machines anyways (which, thankfully, don’t require government welfare checks).  Funny that.

A final note on this point: there was a time before illegal immigration.  How do you think the jobs got done before that?  We hired teenagers and invested in better processes and technology to improve our efficiency.

Here’s a damning piece of evidence: the standard of living (in real terms), as measured by disposable income grew much more rapidly before we opened the immigration floodgates.  In fact, it’s actually declined for most Americans.

Clearly all these illegal immigrants aren’t making us any richer.

declining middle class chart

Claim II: “The Benefits Outweigh The Costs”

This just isn’t true.  Illegal immigration does more economic harm than good.

As I’ve already discussed, the massive drain on government resources, which leads to higher taxes, itself puts this claim on shaky ground—you can’t have illegal immigrants and low taxes, it just doesn’t work.

Likewise, the drain from remittances, while not massive in the grand scheme of things, is significant when you remember that most illegal immigrants are concentrated in a small number of states (California, Texas, New York, Florida, Arizona etc.).

There’s an opportunity cost associated with spending on illegal immigration.

For example, the American Society of Civil Engineers predicts that America’s infrastructure deficit (the money we need to spend to maintain our roads, ports etc.) will reach $3.6 trillion by 2020.

Given that the illegal population hasn’t changed too much since 2010 (and assuming it won’t change much until 2020), if we spent the money on infrastructure instead, we could’ve cut this deficit by nearly half—not to mention that something as mundane as traffic jams cost America $124 billion a year—good infrastructure is more economically valuable than illegal immigrants, by far.

I’d also like to point out that the USA is the only country in the Western world that imports millions of illegal immigrants to work in its service jobs—Canada, Japan, the UK are all getting by just fine without illegal immigration.

The whole thing is a scam by the elites to better their quality of life at the average American’s expense.

As you can see, Japan’s GDP per person growth actually outpaced America’s during the period of high illegal immigration, despite the fact that Japan didn’t have any of the “advantages” of illegal immigration, nor free trade, as a matter of fact.

The mainstream economic narrative just doesn’t mesh with the facts.  It’s wrong.

Japan vs USA GDP per capita

I’ll tell you what: university professors, senators, news anchors aren’t losing their jobs to illegals.  It’s guys who work construction.  Gals who work in malls.  Ordinary folk.

I can guarantee you that if all illegal immigrants were Pulitzer-winning writers and famous actors that the borders would be shut up tighter than the gated communities where Hollywood’s elites live.

So there you have it folks.  Do with this information what you will, but please, stop pretending that illegal immigrants are an economic panacea.  They’re not.

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Posted by Spencer P Morrison

JD candidate, writer, and independent intellectual with a focus on applied philosophy, empirical history, and practical economics. Author of "America Betrayed" and Editor-In-Chief of the National Economics Editorial. Say hi on Twitter @SPMorrison_

8 Comments

  1. What a fantastic article which just shouts the same incorrect conservative viewpoints into my ear over and over. So to start tearing into this pathetically written article right away let’s use your handy supply and demand force to prove that immigrants help communities over the long run, shall we? If a community has more people, this includes immigrants, even though the initial shock may include some displacement those immigrants must consume, which increases demand. More consumers will then increase local revenues allowing for businesses to expand and accept more labor, growing to equilibrium, and levelling out the wages back where they belong. Secondly “the facts bear this out” oh boy did I have a good laugh at this. He showed a chart of real wages going down and said immigration increased. Yeah buddy I didn’t even know weak correlative arguments like this even existed anymore, you could say this for any number of things that have increased while wages have stayed the same. For heaven’s sake, real GDP has increased substantially over this time how do you know this wasn’t the cause? Simply slapping a graph on your post and then saying that it means what you want it to mean because you really want it to mean it is a fallacy committed mostly by 5th graders. What’s more likely is that America’s record breaking retained earnings contributed to dwindling wage numbers, employers are keeping more and more of their money as profits because there are no regulations in place to stop them from doing so and their competition domestically and internationally are at all-time lows and have no reason to compete over talent, but this is once again just a theory based off of a correlation not a statement of fact however just as likely. As for the off-the-books labor, once again pal you’re dead wrong. These workers work in industries like farming not by chance(and because 75% of illegals are visa overstays NOT border crossings) but because they have to, people will start throwing out accusations of illegal working if they’re fired or their wage is lowered in the service sector because hundreds of people see those workers a day it is MUCH more difficult to get away with rather than some farm hand helping agriculture. As for the American workers willing to work agriculture jobs: nope. Just look at what happened DURING THE RECESSION
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2013/05/15/north-carolina-needed-6500-farm-workers-only-7-americans-stuck-it-out/?utm_term=.9646140c25b8
    But I can understand if reading isn’t your forte, I could’ve already guessed being as though you purport the government gives false unemployment rates. Hey psst little secret pal they also release the “real” unemployment numbers both on the BLS and on the Federal Reserve statistics, but hey once again the reading and searching things up thing clearly isn’t your strong suit. Oh god and the black unemployment rate this is probably the worst part about the whole article, you truly think illegal immigrants account for all of black unemployment? Blacks are much more likely than other groups to live in urban poors and ghettos where there are less jobs and less wealth to go around, this is why their wages are so low and employment so high.
    These pie charts by the way PURE GENIUS. They are a flawless non-correlative evidence that quite frankly is inarguable. So I could tell what you were trying to do I guess? I think you are saying more “other” spending results in higher standards of living. Look at your own freaking graph dummy according to the median expenditures people just traded their disposable income for housing expenditures which yeah would make sense considering the entire recession was based out of the housing crisis rising housing prices to ridiculous numbers and costing Americans a fortune. And so im guessing you put in the median ones because you realized the mean ones made no sense for your argument because the last four stayed the same which were the years with THE HIGHEST IMMIGRANT ENTRY LEVELS. Quite frankly its so dumb I find arguing against it is an insult to me and a waste of my time for me to even read it. According to the pie charts other spending went up in the latest decades so like what? What is even the argument? The median one is useless ad it just shows the average American has a higher housing expense as would be expected during the housing crisis, and the mean one counters your own point. Japan argument once again correlative I could say it correlates with any increasing statistic if I wanted it to.

    So you can keep your populist lies, short blog posts, and nationalist fervor to yourself quite frankly you disgust me and you serve no purpose other than to shout ridiculous uneducated claims at people who don’t understand them Mr. “Intellectual”

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    1. Spencer P Morrison March 9, 2017 at 9:56 pm

      You put a lot of thought into your reply, glad I could stir up some debate.

      Of course, I disagree with you. Here’s a quick summary of why:

      1) Your critique regarding supply & demand is nonsensical. Why? You’re

      (i) falsely equating the size of the economy with it’s prosperity (the distribution of wealth)—more people probably means a bigger economy, but it doesn’t mean it’s more prosperous per person—

      (ii) your argument is premised on the broken windows fallacy (more people means more spending and thus liquidity, but not necessarily more wealth), and

      (iii) you’re forgetting that the money lost due to remittances decreases the overall amount of currency in the economy that could be spent (thereby mitigating your point about there being more consumers—they’re not consumers when they send their money abroad & live off government handouts).

      2) You don’t seem to know your facts. Read this article.

      http://www.nationaleconomicseditorial.com/2016/12/06/9-charts/

      3) They don’t release the “real” unemployment rates—the number is not much better than a political tool to vindicate the government in question. For a blatant example of them fudging the numbers (the U6 number, which I assume you’re referring to), if you follow the link in the below article to the BLS report “behind the numbers” and look at footnote 3 in the .pdf report you’ll see that they counted 1.5 of 1.7 million people as having dropped out of the labor force (not counted as unemployed) for “other reasons”, although in the footnote they say that 1.5 million of “other reasons” were “could not find work”.

      http://www.nationaleconomicseditorial.com/2016/11/27/14-million-unemployed-americans/

      The fact that you’re this patronizing despite being fucking dopey is a little aggravating.

      That’s enough for you to chew on for now. Cheers.

      Like

  2. Reblogged this on A White Woman's Perspective.

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  3. Yes, it is true, but you cannot convince the fanatics in support of illegal immigration with the facts.

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  4. Crystal C Weston March 3, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    It is true., I got laid off from my job in 2010. I live in Los Angeles and when I got laid off of my job I did not qualify for any job because I am not bilingual so it automatically disqualified me and I am black. I finally got a job just a couple of months ago in a law firm but because I had to start as a entry level employee because of how long it I was unemployed. I am in my middle 40 and the pay is okay but not as it should be. I am getting paid the same amount as I was in 2010 as a legal admin assistant. So with all the illegal immigrants working here and with the fake social security cards accepting what ever pay it makes it hard for the average american to maintain a comfortable lifestyle.

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    1. Spencer P Morrison March 3, 2017 at 2:16 pm

      Really sad to hear your story. Worst part is that it’s happening to millions of Americans. Hopefully things will change with Trump in charge.

      Best,

      SPM

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Crystal C Weston March 3, 2017 at 2:27 pm

      Yes, thank you. I believe it will little by little, people are waking up and are coming together and taking a stand. Being in in Los Angeles makes it a little harder but we wrong cant prevail forever.

      Like

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