Is the Problem Really Unskilled Immigrants?

So people are all upset at these illegal immigrants coming in, and they think the dirty, smelly, uneducated (*cough*brown*cough*) ones are the problem, even if economists disagree that they’re a problem. But while the polite Canadian or German immigrant may be a more grokkable neighbor to you…do you really want high-skilled legal or illegal immigrants?

Mexican day-laborers are not going to be competing for your white-collar job, but those highly-educated ones will. Remember a while back when we were all freaking out about H1-B visas and Indian programmers coming in to “take ahr jarbs”? An increase in the supply of any product drives the price of that product down, whether the supply has brown or white skin. So just because Germans aren’t used to living in third world conditions for the privilege of programming doesn’t mean they won’t drive down the average salary of a programmer.

So before you say you’re “pro-immigration, but we can’t we get those highly-skilled valuable immigrants instead of more dishwashers,” you might want to think about the consequences of that statement.

For extra credit, figure out why both arguments are full of crap, even though the income effect might be measurable and real, and why I don’t support more restrictions on high- or low-skilled laborers.

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