The NYT this weekend
describes why those durn imgrants taking our jurrrbs again probably aren't
causing economic harm. Without them, farmers need to find prisoners to do the labor. Maybe that's a sign they really aren't taking our jurrrbs?
What's really pathetic is that Dana Rohrabacher (the stupidest man in congress) originally proposed this as a solution
to the immigration non-problem. This solution doesn't sound too promising though.
Under the program, which has drawn criticism from groups concerned about immigrants' rights and from others seeking changes in the criminal justice system, farmers will pay a fee to the state, and the inmates, who volunteer for the work, will be paid about 60 cents a day, corrections officials said.
With the start of the farming season looming, Colorado's farmers are scrambling to figure out which crops to sow and in what quantity. Some are considering turning to field corn, which is mechanically harvested. And they are considering whether they want to pay for an urban inmate who could not single out a ripe watermelon or discern between a weed and an onion plant.
"This is not a cure-all," Mr. Pisciotta said. "What our farm laborers do is a skill. They're born with it, and they’re good at it. It's not an easy job."
So, the prisoners don't have the skills, there aren't enough of them, and represent a public safety threat and logistical nightmare to transport. Further, it seems clear that Americans aren't interested in doing this labor (consistent with the data we discussed last week
). So what benefit has there been to this immigration crackdown? It's hurting farmers, it's hurting agriculture, U.S. Citizens don't want these jobs, and we've had to resort to importing prison labor.
Once again the real economic harm doesn't come from immigrants, it comes from electing demagogue Republicans.
Well, Maybe not
. The LA Times reports on new studies showing that immigrants not only are more law abiding than US citizens, but appear to take low tier jobs that push native speakers into better-paying and management jobs.
A study released Tuesday by the Public Policy Institute of California found that immigrants who arrived in the state between 1990 and 2004 increased wages for native workers by an average 4%.
UC Davis economist Giovanni Peri, who conducted the study, said the benefits were shared by all native-born workers, from high school dropouts to college graduates, because immigrants generally perform complementary rather than competitive work.
As immigrants filled lower-skilled jobs, they pushed natives up the economic ladder into employment that required more English or know-how of the U.S. system, he said.
"The big message is that there is no big loss from immigration," Peri said. "There are gains, and these are enjoyed by a much bigger share of the population than is commonly believed."
Another study released Monday by the Washington-based Immigration Policy Center showed that immigrant men ages 18 to 39 had an incarceration rate five times lower than native-born citizens in every ethnic group examined. Among men of Mexican descent, for instance, 0.7% of those foreign-born were incarcerated compared to 5.9% of native-born, according to the study, co-written by UC Irvine sociologist Ruben G. Rumbaut.
Interesting. However, I'm not sure the incarceration rates can be accurately measured considering that deportment is often the solution for immigrants who commit crimes. This would tend to decrease their numbers in prison.