The editors of the Washington Post are finally admitting that high levels of legal immigration drive down wages for American workers, as President Donald Trump has asserted.
In an editorial by the Washington Post, the argument that immigration patriots and President Trump have made for some time now that current legal immigration levels – where the U.S. takes in more than one million immigrants in a year – is confirmed by the WaPo editors at the very bottom of the piece.
While fresh immigrants do depress wages for some low-skill and minority workers, as Mr. Trump argued, they act as rocket fuel for the overall economy. By cutting their numbers, Mr. Trump would undercut the nation’s prospects.
Still, the admission that American workers are hurt by current legal immigration levels, the undercutting of U.S. wages for blue-collar workers is not enough for the WaPo editors to oppose mass immigration.
Their reason? Continued mass immigration would “maintain economic growth.”
Yet with the U.S. birthrate at a historic low, and baby boomers starting to retire, it is a simple truth that the United States will need an infusion of immigrant labor to maintain economic growth, let alone expand it.
The WaPo editors’ admission – but still not opposition – that immigration hurts American workers is a mirrored argument from the globalist billionaire George Soros-funded ProPublica media outlet, as Breitbart Texas reported.
Of course, the question of how immigration impacts GDP is a small slice of a much broader question of how immigrants and immigration policies affect our economy. Steven Camarota, the director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies, points out that a key question in any hypothetical scenario is whether the native born population is better off. A massive increase in immigrants may add to the size of the U.S. economy, but that doesn’t necessarily make things better for the people already here.
Increased immigration has differing effects depending on education and industry. The National Academies report suggests that some low-skilled workers (such as high school dropouts) who compete with low-skilled immigrants will lose wages and income even as business owners and investors profit from the overall growth in the economy. As Harvard economist George Borjas explains, the people who compete with immigrants are losing out to the people who employ immigrants.
Those nuances are often hidden in the overall employment numbers. According to Rutger’s Hunt, when economists talk about the effect of immigration on jobs, they ask whether the employment rate for natives has fallen or risen. And from a national perspective, there is broad agreement that increased immigration does not meaningfully change overall employment rates. But those numbers don’t capture people who are forced to change jobs, for example American workers who share job qualifications with immigrant workers and might be forced to move to lower-paying or less desirable jobs. For those individuals, the effect of immigration can be life-changing.
In ProPublica’s case, researchers conceded that the last four decades of low-skilled immigration has hurt U.S. workers, but remained opposed to cuts in legal immigration solely due to their claim that it is needed for a mere two percent economic growth.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart Texas. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.