Brother John, have you seen the homeless daughters standing there with broken wings ~ Daniel Lanois from his song “The Maker”
Over the last few weeks, we’ve been chatting about immigration and sanctuary cities. Today I’ll close this thread out by taking a more personal perspective. Specifically, I wanted to articulate why, despite my background as a son of immigrants, I believe it’s
The primary reason is simple:
Fewer illegal immigrants in our country will improve the lives of lower-skilled and lower-wage American workers in the form of higher wages.
To see how a reduction in illegal immigration increases wages, simply consider the data from my home state which, according to the non-partisan Pew Research Center, has seen the largest decrease in its illegal immigrant population (on a percentage basis). Take, for example, this plot that shows how the illegal immigrant population in Arizona has changed since 1990 (source):
Choose Arizona in the dropdown menu:
Unsurprisingly, as a result of the decrease, when the Arizona economy started to pull out of the recession, Arizona businesses that have long relied on immigrant populations were forced to respond with higher wages in an effort to compete with other businesses. As noted in an article by Bob Davis in the WSJ titled “The Thorny Economics of Illegal Immigration”:
Wages rose about 15% for Arizona farmworkers and about 10% for construction between 2010 and 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
What about the claim that less-skilled immigrants are filling jobs that Americans won’t do? It turns out this claim is not supported by data because, as noted by the Pew Research Center, although “immigrants are more likely than U.S. – born workers to be employed in a number of specific jobs…”
There are no major U.S. industries in which immigrants outnumber the U.S. born.
Does this mean I’m anti-immigration? Absolutely not. I am simply of the opinion that our immigration policy ought to match supply with demand and, for that reason, should (currently) favor skilled and educated workers.
Now, some may say this puts me at odds with the words of Matthew 25:35-36:
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.
However my position does not preclude me from being sympathetic to the plight of others; providing comfort to those who are fleeing situations not of their own making; or being open to hearing (legitimate) asylum claims.
On that note, now is a good time for me to move on and start my day. Before checking out though, how about a song for our Manufacturing Peace of Mind™ Spotify playlist? Here is a song I’ve been wanting to feature for some time but was waiting for the right blog.
Written by Daniel Lanois (producer of U2’s The Unforgettable Fire), “The Maker” tells a story of someone who erred in his ways but ultimately finds redemption. It was featured on Willie Nelson’s 1998 album, Teatro and includes Emmylou Harris on vocals and Lanois on guitar. Absolutely beautiful.
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