The daffyness of immigration policy
I usually avoid the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, which seems about on a par with Fox News — even though I have a high regard for much of the reporting in the paper. Today, either I have lost it or something weird happened. The editorial actually made sense regarding the highly emotional topic of immigration.
The basic idea is that immigrants have improved the quality of the so-called American pastime without any apparent depressing effect on salaries.
The editorial is based upon a study “Immigrants, Baseball and the Contributions of Foreign-Born Players to America’s Pastime,” conducted by the National Foundation for American Policy, a nonprofit organization focused on trade and immigration issues. The editorial explains that “executive director Stuart Anderson told us that the statistics he compiled about baseball point to the benefits of immigration for our society as a whole. (The full baseball report is available today on http://www.nfap.com.).
It concludes: “You don’t hear whining about foreigners in baseball, Mr. Anderson notes, because everyone understands that “they make the whole enterprise more successful, and everybody benefits.” That’s the larger history of immigrants in America. “There always will be people on the short end of a dynamic economy,” he says. “But the solution of closing the doors is never a good solution.”
As expected, however, the paper’s good sense about immigration is selective. Rather than calling for a rational immigration policy, the paper limits its call for a more open immigration policy to the granting of visas for skilled workers.
Well, things actually get worse. In a Washington Post, Max Boot (long a mainstay of the Wall Street Journal editorial page) and Michael O'Hanlon have another sterling idea on immigration.
Max Boot and Michael O'Hanlon. 2006. "A Military Path to Citizenship." Washington Post (19 October).
These gentlemen recommend that the Army recruit 50,000 immigrants in the next three years by offering them citizenship. I’m not sure what to make of their recommendations, because I am under the impression that the US military is already heavily recruiting in Latin America.
So here's what it looks like. We want immigrants to help the technology companies, Major League Baseball, and the military. Farmers need people to pick their crops. Affluent people need nannies and gardeners.
The need is so great that the US is building a fence to keep the immigrants here in the good old USA.