Immigration boosts Americans’ wages, says a New York Times (NYT) article written by three reporters, including one of the newspaper’s White House journalists.
The remarkable April 21 claim was used to dunk on President Donald Trump’s unprecedented April 22 promise to help Americans recover jobs and wages by trimming legal immigration.
“Of course the [NYT] claim is embarrassing,” said Rosemary Jenks, the director of government relations for NumbersUSA. “You can’t take that position in public anywhere … [because] you will get laughed off the stage. If someone has the opportunity to talk back, you lose.”
But NYT reporters are isolated in a progressive bubble, and they want “to be on the right side of the issue, which means they have to be on the side of the immigrants, not Americans,” she said. The NYT‘s claim is “virtue signaling,” not reporting, she said.
The New York Times reporters, led by White House reporter Michael Shear, wrote on April 21:
While numerous studies have concluded that immigration has an overall positive effect on the American work force and wages for workers, Mr. Trump ignored that research on Tuesday, insisting that American citizens who had lost their jobs in recent weeks should not have to compete with foreigners when the economy reopens.
The NYT‘s claim was intended to undermine Trump’s far-reaching proclamation, which said:
Excess labor supply affects all workers and potential workers, but it is particularly harmful to workers at the margin between employment and unemployment, who are typically “last in” during an economic expansion and “first out” during an economic contraction. In recent years, these workers have been disproportionately represented by historically disadvantaged groups, including African Americans and other minorities, those without a college degree, and the disabled.
The NYT‘s claim is contradicted by an increasing number of reporters, progressives, and establishment figures who grudgingly admit that Trump’s curbs on migration have boosted wages for blue-collar Americans.
The reality that labor supply shapes wages has been admitted by independent academics, the National Academies of Science, the Congressional Budget Office, executives, The Economist globalist weekly, more academics, the New York Times, the New York Times again, state officials, unions, more business executives, lobbyists, employees, the Wall Street Journal, federal economists, Goldman Sachs, oil drillers, the Bank of Ireland, Wall Street analysts, fired professionals, legislators, the CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 2015 Bernie Sanders, the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board, construction workers, New York Times subscribers, Robert Rubin, a New York Times columnist, author Barack Obama, and President Barack Obama.
Shear and his two peers linked to just one paper by one author to justify their claim. But the pro-migration author admitted in her 2018 paper that “research suggests that an increase in the share of low-skilled immigrants in the labor force decreases the price of immigrant-intensive services, such as housekeeping and gardening, primarily by decreasing wages among immigrants.”
The paper, by Madeline Zavodny, was posted in May 2018, as Trump’s curbs on migration began pushing up wages.
She also posted her article two years after the 2016 blue ribbon report by the National Academies of Sciences. On page 171 of its September 2016 report, the academies’ experts agreed to a formula that shows that immigration imposes a 5.2 percent tax on Americans: “Immigrant labor accounts for 16.5 percent of the total number of hours worked in the United States, which . . . implies that the current stock of immigrants lowered [Americans’] wages by 5.2 percent.”
Nearly all of the economic evidence shows that immigrants enhance American growth and jobs. Former Federal Reserve economist Madeline Zavodny, now at the University of North Florida, examined state employment levels and immigration for the National Foundation for American Policy in 2018. States with surges of immigration like Texas and Iowa had low jobless rates. “Having more immigrants reduces the unemployment rate and raises the labor force participation rate of U.S. natives within the same sex and education group,” she found.
But even the WSJ editors did not try to make the NYT’s claim that “immigration has an overall positive effect on … wages for workers.”
The White House slapped down Shear’s claim:
In reality, it’s the NYTimes that has “ignored” the research of its own writers…
NYTimes’ liberal economist Paul Krugman: “Immigration reduces the wages of domestic workers who compete with immigrants. That’s just supply and demand.”
— Kayleigh McEnany (@PressSec) April 23, 2020
“I’m not aware of any study which shows that immigration of the type we’ve been having for the last two decades is a benefit to workers,” said Jessica Vaughan, the director of policy at the Center for Immigration Studies. “It may make the economy bigger, but that does necessarily mean that American workers are better off. … The National Academies found that the beneficiaries were immigrants and employers, not [American] employees.”
High immigration “does have a positive impact on part of the workforce — for the elites who can hire cheap nannies, au pairs and housekeepers, and for the business owners who can hire cheap dishwashers, waiters, and whatever else,” said Jenks. “They’re ignoring all the research studies — the National Academies, and [George] Borjas, and are picking the studies they want,” she said, adding, “A little thing called supply and demand: If you increase the supply of labor, you decrease the price for it. No way to get around that. Kinda like gravity.”
“The Times is basically adopting the same language and narrative as the cheap-labor proponents and the open border proponents, which is that there is a general good to immigration and there are no negative side-effects for workers,” Vaughan said. “This is the unholy alliance of the cheap-labor interests and the open-borders, ethnic-grievance organizations who see immigration as a human right.”
The reporters’ personal priorities cannot dent their emotional commitment to open-borders immigration, Jenks said. “They are in denial about the impact of the policies they are championing on their own [economic] interests, on their kids, on their social circles. They have yet to realize how this will affect them in the long run … how it affects immigrants, [and] about how it affects the environment.”
The reporters likely started their careers as eager truth-seekers, she said, but are now “willing to suspend all of their judgments and principles as long as big business is an ally on the immigration issue.”
Trump’s proclamation has supercharged the public debate over migration, visa workers, jobs, and wages, and it allows journalists to follow the money to see who gains or loses from blue-collar and white-collar immigration, said Jenks.
But the New York Times‘ reporters won’t take the opportunity, she added. “I don’t think there is a single chance they will want to that”:
All foreign graduates at US colleges should get green cards & white-collar jobs, says #FWDus, a cheap-labor lobby for Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates & other investors.
Blue-collars were smashed by GWBush's policies: Biz targets white-collars for 2021+ #S386
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) March 5, 2020