The Other McCain

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Santorum Says Immigration ‘Flooding This Country’ With Low-Wage Workers

Posted on | October 30, 2015 | 14 Comments

Allan Wall calls attention to an exchange in Wednesday’s “undercard” debate in which Rick Santorum discussed the economic impact of immigration on America’s working class:

[W]e have the lowest labor participation rate in 50 years and we also have the slowest growth in wages in the history of our country, any 20-year period. In fact, the last quarter had the lowest wage growth ever recorded.
And so you look at the fact that we’ve brought in 35 million — 35 million legal and illegal immigrants over the last 20 years, more than any period in American history, we have low wages, low participation [rates]. . . .
We have an immigration policy that Senator Graham supported that brings in even more low wage workers into this country. He says he wants to solve problems, that’s great. But you’re not solving problems for American wage earners. You’re not solving problems for workers in America who have seen their wages flat line and have been disaffected enough to leave the workplace.
We need to get better training and better skills, including vocational education and . . . community colleges. But the bottom line is, we have to make sure that we are not flooding this country with competition for low wage workers.

This is important to understand. Arguments over immigration policy are always about numbers. The accusations of “hate” and “racism” flung around by advocates of unlimited immigration (e.g., Lindsey Graham) ignore the basic question of numbers. The United States is a nation of 320 million people and we could, with little difficult, absorb and assimilate 200,000 immigrants annually. But between legal and illegal immigration, we have had at least three times that number every year for the past 20 years. It is this excess immigration — especially what Santorum rightly describes as a flood of illegals from Mexico — that is the source of controversy. For the sake of having a clear policy debate, we may leave aside any questions surrounding the language and customs of immigrants and focus simply on this issue of numbers. Santorum is correct that the downward pressure on working-class wages is a major consequence of our immigration policy (or lack thereof). Economics is always about numbers, and it is important to stress this point.

Unless and until we are willing to talk about immigration in terms of a target number for annual immigration (and, as I say, 200,000 a year would seem entirely reasonable), then we will continue to be distracted by irrelevant objections. The accusation of “racism” is such a distraction. Liberals always racism everywhere in America and, because they know Americans don’t like being called racists, these accusations are used by liberals to intimidate their opponents into silence.




 

Comments

  • LIbtardian slayer

    We let in more immigrants than any other nation in overall numbers or as a percentage, but then we are called bigots or worse

  • http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/ Evi L. Bloggerlady

    That is why the Dems are so hot for these $15 minimum wages. A uuuuge percentage of the work force makes less than that because illegals keep driving wages down.

    Goodbye Middle Class

  • http://www.journal14.com/ Dana

    Can we tell the truth here? We have illegal immigration because we want illegal immigration!

    Every two years, Americans go to the polls to vote for candidates who promise to “do something” about illegal immigration, but we vote, every single day, with our economic choices, to support illegal immigration!

    How many people here walk into a Dunkin’ Donuts for a cup of coffee, see an Hispanic worker behind the counter, and just assume that he’s here legally, and buy the coffee? If you’ve bought home built in the last twenty years, you’ve bought a home built with illegal immigrant labor for the roofing, the foundation, the concrete, the landscaping, the frame carpentry and the drywall. If you’ve stayed at a hotel, you’ve patronized a business which probably has Hispanic workers in the cleaning staff; do you think that they are all here legally? If you eat at a restaurant, other than a mom-and-pop diner, in any urban area along the east coast, you were paying the wages of an Hispanic dishwasher and cleaning staff; are you sure that they all had green cards?

  • Daniel Freeman

    Hardly anyone can be persuaded by reason, and most numbers are dialectic. But some numbers are rhetoric.

    How many American women and children being raped each year is an acceptable price to pay so that libs can assuage their white guilt with open borders? The correct answer, of course, is “zero.”

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CPwBW57UAAAM-Xa.jpg

    (h/t Vox Day)

  • Finrod Felagund

    One of these days I should write up my grand immigration idea. My concept is that there are two types of illegals: those that come here to work, and all the others. If we set up something where the ones that want to come here to work can do so, then we can focus our efforts on the others that we should be keeping out of the country.

  • RS

    I married an “immigrant.” We jumped through all the hoops necessary to obtain legal status for her some 30 years ago. Sadly, she is not the type beloved by the establishment. She has a Ph.D. but is woefully incompetent when it comes to lawn care or fetching arugula for the worthies in Manhattan.

  • Ilion

    Tsk! Don’t you know that undocumented Democrats are “just doing the jobs Americans won’t do”?

  • http://alanye.com daialanye

    Santorum is the best candidate on immigration, bar none. His policies look at the basic issue, which isn’t crime but widespread unemployment and underemployment, and resultant high costs to the budget. If he were on the main stage the debates would be more substantive and possibly more exciting.

  • Fail Burton

    Why should we have any number? Are we bargaining with extortionists, illegal immigrants and the Third World now? Just shut it off.

  • Daniel Freeman

    Yes. We know what median wages would be if the old trend of matching productivity growth had continued instead of flatlining the last few decades. I say, no immigration whatsoever until it catches up.

  • DeadMessenger

    Not just illegals, but all the H1Bs that guys like Rubio want on behalf of their corporate donors, such as Disney. Experienced tech workers getting aced in favor of guys with unpronouncable names with substandard education and worse English comprehension. And the former workers are forced to train them, or no severance.

    That’s why if it comes down to Rubio and Gramma Cankles, I’m voting Dem. At least I know where I stand with her.

    I can’t believe I voted for that weasel for senate. Won’t make that mistake again.

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