The Corner

Replacing Americans

Supporters of mass immigration tell us we’re running out of warm bodies to do all the scut work our economy demands, so we need to import more from abroad. Well, my research director has done a brief report on immigration and employment in Georgia that debunks this notion and may illuminate some of the public passion about the amnesty bill. Just from 2000 to 2006, as immigration has increased, the proportion of less-educated Americans over all in Georgia who are working has declined, the proportion of less-educated black Americans who are working has declined, and the proportion of American teenagers who are working has declined. In fact, the number of these native-born Georgians who aren’t in the labor force is several times larger than the total number of illegal workers there. True, the Americans thus displaced almost certainly are the least productive part of the labor force, but that just puts the question this way: Who do we want dealing with workers least-suited for success in the modern American economy? Businesses forced by a tight labor market to incorporate them into the life of work, or the social-welfare and criminal-justice bureaucracies? Seems like an easy choice to me.

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