My colleague Steve Camarota reports that the decade of the aughts saw a net loss of 1 million jobs, but the arrival of 13.1 million immigrants, legal and illegal combined. During just 2008 and 2009, we lost a total of 8.2 million jobs but admitted 2.4 million new immigrants.
First — What the heck were we thinking?
Second — It’s pretty clear that immigration is not a purely economic phenomenon, as the hoary “willing worker/willing employer” formulation would seem to suggest. While illegal immigration does seem to show some sensitivity to economic conditions (though it continued even during the worst parts of the recession), legal immigration does not, and most immigration is, after all, legal.