More Misinformation from the Media:
President Trump has endorsed legislation that would slash legal immigration in half. . . . The only way to understand Mr. Trump’s support for such an obvious turkey is as yet another attempt to energize his dwindling base of right-wing and nativist supporters. . . . This bill falls into that category. Its central premise—that it would help American workers is false. It’s true that an influx of workers can cause short-term disruptions to the labor market, but the impact on wages of native workers over a period of 10 years is ‘very small,’ according to a comprehensive National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report published last year. [Link]
Moreover, as studies have repeatedly shown, immigration boosts productivity and economic growth; restricting it would have the opposite effect. — Trump Embraces a Senseless Immigration Proposal, The Editorial Board, The New York Times, 8/7/17
Fact Check: Contrary to the claim of this article, support for the legislation, the RAISE Act, extends far beyond President Trump’s allegedly “dwindling” base. A Politico/Morning Consult poll found that voters strongly support the key provisions of the legislation. Forty-eight percent favor cutting legal immigration by half, compared with 39 percent who oppose that reduction. Forty-five percent support an end to family connections of immigrants being the primary means of selecting who comes here, while 39 percent support the current system.
The report cited by the article did say that the overall impact of immigration on U.S. workers’ wages was small. But it failed to reveal what else the report said. It found that immigration had a significant negative impact on the group of American workers who can least afford it, specifically those with limited skills and education with relatively low wage jobs. Data from the report shows that the wage suppression they suffer because of immigration is of benefit to wealthier classes which profit from cheap labor. In effect, immigration creates what might be called a Robin Hood in reverse effect. It takes from the poor and gives to the rich.
The assertion of the report that the negative impact of immigration doesn’t last long is based on speculation instead of hard data. Harvard economist George Borjas was one of the authors of the report. He observed that “[T]here is a huge caveat that the report repeatedly emphasizes and that I know will be left out of much of the media discussion. The zero average wage effect in the long run is built in by the mathematics of the model that purportedly describes the American economy. As the report puts it: . . . . ‘[T]his result is built in by theoretical assumptions.’ Put bluntly, the claim that the long-run effect of immigration on the average wage is “very small” has nothing to do with the data. That claim is instead a by-product of a mathematical assumption.
Immigration advocates claim the economic sky will fall if we reduce legal immigration, now around one million a year to 500,000 annually. But during the seventies and eighties immigration averaged around that level of half a million, and the economy then was hardly a disaster. Indeed it was better in some ways during those decades, with a higher percentage of Americans in the middle class and less of a divide between wealth and poverty.
If Times’ Editorial Board truly wants to reflect on what is “senseless,” it should consider its unwavering support for unending mass immigration.