It’s also worth considering that the correlation between native unemployment rates and the share of an occupation that is comprised of immigrants is .80. The square of a correlation, in this case .63, can be interpreted to mean that the presence of immigrants in an occupation explains 63 percent of the variation in native unemployment rates across occupations.
As the report details, immigrants are primarily involved in the same lines of work as are members of the native working- and underclasses (since 2000, immigration has increased the size of the US workforce with less than a high school education by 14%, while only increasing the size of the total workforce by 3%).
At yesterday’s Democratic radio debate, Hillary Clinton brought up the potential for ‘mass deportation’, stating:
The best estimates I have is that it would take about $200 billion over five years to round up 12 to 14 million people. It would take tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of new law enforcement officials. It would take a convoy of 200,000 buses stretching 17,000 miles. People in America would be outraged at the loss of their privacy, and the invasion of their homes and businesses.
Her cost is more than twice that of what ICE officials estimated it would be just a few months ago. And even the latter’s numbers strain credulity.
Indeed, deporting 14 million illegal immigrants would be impossible. The great majority would leave of their own volition long before ICE agents got around to them. She is creating a strawman by arguing against something that cannot exist.
The historical precedent set by Operation Wetback in 1954 suggests that for every migrant forcefully removed, seven or eight will leave on their own. Given the downturn in construction, the voluntary exodus might be even higher.
There is anecdotal evidence from Arizona and Oklahoma that the pattern holds today. Both states have passed tough laws rendering the harboring of an illegal a felonious act alongside strict punitions for employers who hire them. The laws came online a couple of weeks ago in Oklahoma, while activists in Arizona have drawn up a challenge to the current interpretation of the 14th Amendment’s putative granting of birthright citizenship that could conceivably send the issue to the US Supreme Court.
Prior to the laws going into effect, and without the powers of deportation (states do not have this power, as it is delegated to the federal government), hundreds of illegal immigrants were estimated to be leaving each of the states on a daily basis. No buses, no armies of ICE agents, no billions of dollars spent. Yet tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands (heh), were removed nonetheless.
In response to John Edwards’ contention that illegal immigration is depressing American wages, NPR’s Jennifer Ludden comments:
The main groups hurt by illegal immigrants are uneducated Americans and, ironically, legal immigrants, who compete for low-wage jobs. A number of studies, notably by George Borjas of Harvard University, have found that illegal immigrants drive down wages for this group by 3 percent to 7 percent.
For everyone else, having undocumented workers in the marketplace seems to be either a wash or a slight gain.
Then is it fair to say that aiding the most vulnerable Americans is not one of the federal government’s primary objectives in the eyes of Democratic frontrunners like Hillary Clinton?
The “wash or slight gain” is derived from the effects on wages. It is missing the taxes paid to shore up the net governmental deficit illegal immigration creates. That tab is disproportionately picked up by middle and upper classes. Nor does it take into consideration technological innovation, although such innovation is retarded by an abundant availability of cheap labor.
Underclass immigration hurts most Americans in one way or another. That holds true across the political spectrum. Immigration reform is a populist issue that pits the public against the various arms of the Establishment.
The pro-sovereignty forces have won several defensive victories over the course of the last year. It is now time to go on the offensive. Voicing support for the SAVE Act, which has been introduced in both the House and Senate, offers an opportunity to do so. Let your representatives know where you stand.