The Post Gets It Wrong on Immigration

A century ago, a prominent sociologist [Edward Ross] lamented the scourge of immigrants in American society. . . . Now comes Donald Trump, who lacks Ross’s academic pedigree but matches his analytical acuity on immigration issues. “It’s disgusting what’s happening to our country,” Mr. Trump snarled at a rally in Dallas. . . . “We’re the dumping ground for the rest of the world.”

[Immigrants] are . . . a net positive for the economy . . . contributing to its vibrancy and growth, and to the ability of employers to fill lower-wage jobs that most native-born Americans don’t want. They [illegal immigrants] . . . paid nearly 12 billion in state and federal taxes in 2012, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. . . .

[T]he United States remains a magnet for immigrants . . . because it generates jobs in an economic and political system undergirded by the rule of law. . . . [I]mmigrants . . . tend to possess . . . entrepreneurial drive. . . . The United States is fortunate to have them. America’s Immigration ‘Dumping Ground’ Contributes to Vibrancy and Growth – Washington Post, Editorial Board, 9/15/15

Fact Check: According to the Post, Trump “snarls,” so presumably one shouldn’t pay any attention to what he says about immigration. Well, maybe the Post doesn’t snarl, but its lack of factuality on this subject should persuade people that it is far less reliable than even the “snarling” Trump.

So immigration is an economic “net positive” and a source of “vibrancy and growth?” Maybe the pundits of the Post can imagine such conditions, given their isolation in the high ranks of elitist privilege. Alas, conditions are much different in the rest of the country. Despite fifty years of mass immigration, which supposedly has worked to make us richer, we find ourselves with a significantly shrinking middle-class, growing extremes of wealth and poverty, and stagnation of wage levels.

If immigration indeed creates such wonderful economic benefits, then we must repeat the question that an old lady asked in a hamburger commercial some years ago: Where’s the beef? In reality, immigrants, on average, are not more entrepreneurial than native-born Americans. And even though immigrants do pay taxes, as the Post notes, they take out more in tax-paid benefits than they pay in taxes.

The claim that immigrants only take jobs that most Americans don’t want is not true. In almost every job category, native-born Americans are the majority of workers. Therefore, the immigrants in those jobs are competing with Americans and lowering wages. This is particularly the case with unskilled and semi-skilled U.S. workers.

The Post recycles the tired and worn-out claim that mass immigration will work out just fine today because it did in the past despite fears that it wouldn’t. The reality is that it worked out in the past, most specifically in the previous century, because those fears were legitimate and they prompted the immigration restriction acts of the 1920s. The acts, in turn, promoted assimilation and more economic opportunity for workers, native-born and foreign-born alike.

Sadly, the Post and its ilk are not willing to learn anything from history. Thus we have a growing failure of assimilation, and particularly with unchecked illegal immigration, the undermining of our country’s rule of law. Ironically, mass immigration (legal and illegal) is overwhelming the very national character that—in the view of the Post—makes America attractive to immigrants.


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