About a month ago on Anderson Cooper 360 he brought out a couple people to give the two sides of the story. Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, who argued in favor of relaxing immigration laws, made the following statement:
VALDES-RODRIGUEZ: And this is taking -- it's really not a valid debate because this was an issue two years ago -- it was three years ago. You need to -- you all need to ask yourself why this is an issue now because it's deflecting attention from the White House onto brown people.
-- as if she's trying so hard to be a liberal that she completely fails to realize that this is the one issue on which she and the White House agree.
Brad DeLong, a Berkeley economist, has a weblog where he posts various interesting bits and makes me think that I should have gone into Economics instead of Philosophy way back when. He recently posted about the Open Letter on Immigration, drafted by a bipartisan collection of economists.
In the comments on that post I see things like the following:
"Immigration in recent decades of low-skilled workers may have lowered the wages of domestic low-skilled workers, but the effect is likely to be small, with estimates of wage reductions for high-school dropouts ranging from eight percent to as little as zero percent."
I'm sure that "studies have shown" this, but I do not believe the studies. In any case, immigration is only part of a continued, multi-pronged attack on American labor, and not just unskilled labor. Hence the country-club conservative support for immigration, along with the other parts of the attack. -- link
Here it's the country club conservatives supporting immigration loosening -- oh, them and Brad DeLong, the guy who calls for Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld to be impeached in every third post.
I'm particularly fond of the "I do not believe the studies" comment. It's emblematic of an era where, despite volumes of careful data collection and scientific study, we'd prefer to form our opinions without looking at any facts whatsoever.
For the philosophers out there, this is the modern version of the contingent a priori.
This whole discussion misses the point. The main problem with too many immigrants is not a matter of economics--it's the blight of overpopulation. This country is too crowded already. We don't need a whole bunch more people here. Our natural environment does not need a whole bunch more people here. I shake my head when I hear economists say that Americans benefit from immigration. Not American plants and animals, not American wilderness areas. -- link
There is a point here, but it just seems orthogonal to the debate. We should keep immigration down to protect the environment? Have these people seen the environment in developing industrial nations? Also, maybe the poster lives in Manhattan, but looking around from where I'm at I see almost nothing but open land in a 200 to 800 mile radius (save for Austin). I figure we could fit a few more people in somewhere.