Immigration can speed economic recovery

April 10, 2009

 Diana Furchtgott-Roth

– Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. –

It’s welcome news that President Obama will turn his attention to immigration reform this year, as was announced on Wednesday by Deputy Assistant to the President Cecilia Muñoz. Economic recovery will happen more quickly if both high- and low-skill immigrants are permitted to enter the United States and work legally.

Two years ago, when Congress was considering comprehensive immigration reform, both President Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers and the Congressional Budget Office, headed by Peter Orszag, an economist closely identified with the Democratic Party, estimated that the benefits of additional immigrants outweighed the costs. If Congress allowed more immigration, then American taxpayers would come out ahead financially.

Yet, after Congress refused to pass President Bush’s plan to allow most undocumented workers to receive work visas and wait in line for citizenship, the Bush administration’s immigration policy deteriorated into a series of arbitrary raids on different companies, rounding up undocumented workers and deporting them, in many cases separating husbands and wives, parents and children.

We can do better. Although the unemployment rate reached 8.5 percent last month, the jobs are going to come back, and, as has been the case in the past, native-born Americans will want jobs that are different from those of immigrants, according to economics professor Giovanni Peri of the University of California at Davis.

Congress needs to overhaul immigration law and create an expanded temporary worker program with a path to citizenship, along with more verification to prevent workers from working illegally, and monitoring of tourists and students so that they do not overstay their visas.

A rational immigration policy would have numerous advantages:

  • Undocumented workers would pay taxes to federal and state governments rather than to grey-market check cashing services.
  • Payments for health care through insurance could be collected more easily, rather than burdening hospital emergency rooms with immigrants without health insurance.
  • Foreigners who want to work here could pay the government for visas rather than pay smugglers for unsafe, illicit transportation.
  • Improvements in security. Legal visas and bank accounts would make it far easier to identify and track potential terrorists, dubious financial transactions, and those who simply overstay visas.

A rational immigration policy would solve several real problems the United States faces with regard to immigration. The international economy is tremendously dynamic; our immigration system is not. Temporary workers must spend months applying for admission, and due to the pile-up in April of every year, may not even get a visa.

Few low-skilled workers have a legal and reliable method to enter this country and work legally, and few Americans want to do the jobs, such as fruit picking and cleaning, that these workers want to pursue. And even high-skilled workers trained at U.S. colleges and universities, often at taxpayer expense, might have to wait years and spend thousands of dollars to become permanent residents of the nation.

Mr. Obama might want to consider transferring the authority of setting quotas from Congress to the Labor Department. The Labor Department already has the presumptive authority to judge whether demand for foreign labor is justified, through its foreign labor certifications. If the Labor Department is allowed to determine whether or not a foreign worker would displace a native one, it could also be allowed to calculate visa quotas.

High-skilled workers educated in America ought to be able to stay; otherwise, our investment in their education becomes lost to another country. If the Labor Department determines that a foreign worker would not displace Americans, that worker should not be barred from entering the country due to an arbitrary quota. And people who want to enter this country in order to work in jobs Americans are not willing to take ought to have an easy, legal way to do so.

Mr. Obama has the opportunity to craft a sensible and dynamic immigration system. All Americans should wish him success.


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A “rational immigration policy” would be one where we enforce the laws already on the books, deport those who are in this country illegally and stop using the word “undocumented workers”. They are criminals despite your opinion or position on the subject.

The “jobs Americans don’t want” is a fallacy and myth wrapped in a far left ideological lie. And if there are a few jobs Americans don’t want why not look at why? improve the working conditions and wages to the required level and people will want those jobs.

People like you would rather see illegal immigrants working to pay taxes than make those industries relying on such slave labor change their HR policies and wage structure to employ Americans who need jobs. I personally feel that those who share your opinion are traitors to citizens of this country who want fair wages and stable employment. Your ideology wreaks of disdain your fellow Americans and unfortunately you’re too blind by your cause to be embarrassed.

“Bush administration’s immigration policy deteriorated into a series of arbitrary raids on different companies, rounding up undocumented workers and deporting them, in many cases separating husbands and wives, parents and children.

We can do better.”

Yes, we certainly can. We can continue to enforce the laws on the books in this nation without prejudice and with more diligence such as shutting down corporations profiting through the use of illegal labor. Economic recovery in America will only occur when Americans have jobs, not foreigners.

Posted by Todd | Report as abusive

I believe this journalist should simply say she is for free immigration.
No need to figure out some weird reason to let foreign people enter.
Any other comment is a nonsense in my opinion.

Posted by Allen Grimspain | Report as abusive

When it comes to economic recovery the answer is not amnesty. Many native Americans are struggling right now and you would like to kick the door open to more of the same. Run away population in is a concern for our world and our nation. American’s are tired of falling for the banana in the tail pipe trick. I believe Pres. Obama will experience a grand opposition in any attempt to grant amnesty.

Posted by George | Report as abusive

How the heck does Amnesty for criminals help the economy?

How does Amnesty get 13,000,000 unemployed Families back to work?

How does Amnesty stop the flow of illegals into this country?

The answer is Amnesty hurts this nations citizens and the American unemployed and it will only encourage more illegals to come to this nation like the misguided Amnesty of 1986!

Posted by HernandezUSA | Report as abusive

This is another form of slavery.You cannot be so naive as to think this isn’t wrong.A decent livable wage must be paid for ANY job.Wealth must be more fairly distributed.Years of disparity have destroyed the American dream.To encourage action like this will welcome revolution.Maybe this would be a good thing.Every house needs a good cleaning out once in a while.

Posted by jerry | Report as abusive

I do not believe Ms. Roth would feel the same way if one of these immigrants were a journalist and successfully took her job away from her for lower wage than she was paid. Then she would loose her house and starve like the rest of us unemployed.

I hope people like her get a “taste” of their own “do do”

Posted by unemployed | Report as abusive

Its always about the money, isn’t it. No thought at all about laws that are intentionally ignored because they happen to serve someones special interest group or their personal “feelings”. No thought at all about the millions of Americans who haven’t realized the “American dream” for themselves yet, just more competition for the American worker. These pseudo intellectual policy people don’t care at all about American citizens, they only care about what serves their purpose. They’re willing to reward the millions of law breakers with legality, which just encourages more illegality because it establishes the precedent and they can justify law breaking because “its good for the economy”. What they REALLY want is another voting block and cheaper labor. They willing to make American residency and citizenship the cheapest in the world because it serves their agenda, in the mean time, your children’s future is sold to the lowest bidder. Its not the late 19th or early 20th century anymore. We don’t need more people to work in heavy industry at low wages. We want the best and the brightest, but were taking the lowest and most dependent.

The census for births was released just last week. It showed that there were more Americans born in this country than at any other time in history. Way more than is needed to replace the population. What about their futures? Will they get the country that was passed on to you?

88% of the people in American DON”T WANT THIS TO HAPPEN. But the socialist don’t care what you want, they only care about what they want.

Welcome to the United Corporate / Socialist States of Mexico.

Posted by Brian shaheen | Report as abusive

Well written Todd. I agree with most everything you said but I’d like to add that another reason the illegal immigrant is willing to take these low wage jobs is because they tend to go against the traditional American lifestyle of a one-family residence. Instead they opt to live with siblings, nieces, nephews, etc oftentimes placing 8-15 people in homes that were designed for 4-5. But how else can they afford to live in America with the wages they are being paid? They can’t, which is why the employers need to stop being greedy and pay what Americans are willing to accept for “low skill” positions.

Also, the immigration laws are VERY biased. I married a woman from a foreign country and spent thousands of dollars and countless hours filing the proper paperwork to get my wife to the US legally. It then took over one year to process and approve the visa. And because not many tourist visas are issued to residents of my wife’s country, I now have a slew of close relatives that are not able to visit my daughter.

So, my blood boils when I hear comments like this:

“Bush administration’s immigration policy deteriorated into a series of arbitrary raids on different companies, rounding up undocumented workers and deporting them, in many cases separating husbands and wives, parents and children.”

Stop blaming the government for separating families and trying to engage the emotions of naive, ignorant Americans. Each and every immigrant (regardless of legal status) makes a conscious choice to leave their families or risk being separated from their families.

Posted by Jeff | Report as abusive

Oh yeah, I forgot.

Legalizing millions of law breakers also means that these people have more rights then you. If you or I break a law, we get the punishment that the law describes. They break the law, live on the benefits that this country has to offer, then get rewarded with legal status because they are more important to politicians and corporate interests than you or I. Ms. Furchtgott-Roth should spend some time living in the real world where people have to compete for jobs, produce as expected or be fired, and be responsible for themselves and others. I’d like to see how long she would last having to produce more then just some wonky policy paper where there is no downside for her being wrong.

Posted by Brian shaheen | Report as abusive

These fools conflate the economy with the country. Two different things. We can pack in a billion people here to “grow” the economy, but the country will resemble Mexico on steroids.

“Mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent.” – Adam Smith, economist and ethicist

Everything you need to know about immigration and what to do about it humorously told. 8I

(Roy Beck and NumbersUSA are the “gumball” heroes) fQ

Posted by WandaGB | Report as abusive

After every American has realized the American dream, then we’ll consider immigration.

Posted by Brian shaheen | Report as abusive

Another fine propaganda piece by Furchtgott-Roth. The American dream has died with “free” trade, outsourcing, robotics, building American corporate facilities overseas and tolerance of illegal immigration. What American in their right mind wants a middle class, minimum or sub-minimum wage job which is worth less than it was 30 years ago? How can an American compete with a few billion workers around the world who will work for $2-$3 a day?
It’s a great worldwide labor leveling pushed by corporate interests while they work for even more tax cuts, both personal and corporate.
Goodbye America. Hello U.S. Banana Republic. It’s as certain as the sun rising with world-wide corporations running the world and its governments.

Posted by Ray | Report as abusive

The author states, “Legal visas and bank accounts would make it far easier to identify and track potential terrorists. . .” What would prevent a potential terrorist from entering the country illegally and continue living here without documentation? Any changes to the system will aid those interested in obeying the law.

I would desire stricter employment laws requiring some demonstration that there is, in fact, no US citizen interested or qualified to perform a job. If the minimum-wage jobs paid sufficiently to allow an individual to support his or her family there might be more US citizens interested in the jobs that are currently considered “unwanted.”

Posted by Jtg | Report as abusive

This lady is absolutely loyal to Israel and the Jewish interests, and cares not for the USA, workers, or US voting majority will.

Posted by Augustine | Report as abusive

I wonder if Diana Furchtgott-Roth ever had to worry about getting laid off, or does she have lifetime tenure like many other academics? I wonder if she ever had to face wage competition in a shrinking labor market where real wages have been at best flat, or are her skills developing deep theories she congers up at the Hudson Institute so in demand that she has no fear of an economy shrinking under her feet. In the real world, people think about these things.

Maybe she should get a real job and see what its all about.

Posted by Joe 6pack | Report as abusive

We cannot pick and choose which laws to obey or which may be applied to us (ourselves) as individuals or members of sub-groups.

We cannot ignore the laws we do not like and only follow those we do, nor should we encourage or promote this behavior in others.

What this person, Diana Furchtgott-Roth, is doing is actually advocating exactly that. Yet, the whole concept is kindred to things such as racism, cronyism, favoritism and pure and simple bigotry. It is a separate privilege from which only others may benefit and it is fundamentally illegal at its core.

This article is so hopelessly and completely wrong that it defies description. How could someone write such preposterous nonsense and attempt to claim any credibility?

I have a challenge for you Ms. Diana Furchtgott-Roth: we each (you and I) may pick one law to choose to ignore (and revoke), one law the suppression of which would affect only a sub-group of people now living in this country. It seems quite obvious that you have already decided to ignore several laws; immigration, residency, entry and border laws, smuggling, etc. I however will only choose to ignore (and revoke) the law of “citizenship based on birth-soil” (14th Am.). No more will persons be citizens of the USA simply by being born in this country. From now on, you are a citizen by birth if and only if your parents are USA citizens. That is the law I choose to ignore and to revoke.

Do we have a deal Ms. Diana Furchtgott-Roth ? Will you help to overturn the 14th Amendment ? If you do, I will support your laughably specious arguments to overturn the plethora of laws you appear to want eliminated or revoked. 1 each, yours and mine.

Laws we don’t like? NO! … Laws we do like? YES!
Is this how it is to be Ms. Diana Furchtgott-Roth ?

Before you get started – this is not the same thing as fighting a Civil War to end the horrors of slavery. This is not about civil disobedience to protest laws on abortion, Selective Service or draft, etc. This is about choosing to ignore laws so that a small group may gain special and anomalous benefits. Don’t you dare try to equate freeing slaves to allowing foreign nationals to break a plethora of the USA’s laws. I sincerely hope that not even an intellectual charlatan such as yourself would stoop so low.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

I support the immigration reform and I hope it will happen this time around. The few who are against it in this country are a loud ignorant minority whom will have to just suck it up this time.

Posted by Joseph | Report as abusive

Prosecute and punish all who live here and don’t obey ALL our laws, or our laws become meaningless.

Posted by spud | Report as abusive

Barack Obama ran on a platform of comprehensive immigration..and WON!

GOP voters nominated John McCain, who also endorsed comprehensive immigration reform. Why didn’t GOP voters nominate an immigrant flame thrower like Tom Tancredo, Mitt Romney, Duncan Hunter, Fred Thompson, etc?

Latino voters are THE reason he won Florida, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico. abs/2008/11/the_gops_growing_latino_prob le.html

Florida ALONE is reason enough to court Latino voters. The GOP is not a viable national party without Florida.

The coasts plus Florida (not to mention Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada) guarantees Obama re-election in 2012…and a lasting Democratic majority.

Will Growing Number of Latino Voters Turn Texas into a Blue State? 6&page=1

Posted by Fat Man | Report as abusive

As a society, we should make an effort to structure work in a way that makes it palatable. I have a friend in his 60’s who told me that as kids they were permitted to leave school in the fall to pick apples. Now we make certain that our kids remain in school so that they are fully indoctrinated in the corporate system. One feature of this system is the formation of “think tanks” that support big agribusiness with the white papers that they “produce.” Mainstream media is indoctrinated as well and prints these same white papers without the caveat: “Beware! This article was “produced” by a big agribusiness flack!”

Posted by Matt Holbert | Report as abusive

I agree with most posters. I would suggest that we do a few things before we even consider changing our laws.

First, prior to deportation, all illegals should be fingerprinted and have their DNA recorded in a federal database accessible by ALL law enforcement in ALL jurisdictions. There is no way we can know if these people are wanted for solved or unsolved crimes committed in the U.S.

Second all of their aliases should be recorded with the other info, including criminal records from here and their country of origin, again accessible to all law enforcement.

Third, if they were using a social security number, that number, along with the name it was used under, should be forwarded to credit reporting agencies, to see if it was used to create a parallel person. If yes, the detainee should be held over for id theft charges and, in addition to jail, fined the amount of money the actual owner of the SS# will have wrongly reported due to their actions, be it credit card balances, mortgages, etc. Their credit accounts should be automatically flagged for their protection and the illegal one monitored by the FBI for further activity and prosecution if any exists.

In the interim, the only law that should be changed is the amount of the fine for hiring illegals, any discretion allowed the INS or the courts should be removed, jail and asset seizure should be required if fines are not paid or a payment plan is not worked out or falls into default. A second offense results in seizure of the business. Period.

Then and only then, can we talk reform.

Posted by Julie | Report as abusive

“native-born Americans will want jobs that are different from those of immigrants”

I always wondered where they got this data from. In spite of numerous raided businesses losing the majority of their workers, never did I hear of one of them going under because they couldn’t find anyone to replace their illegal staff.

Somehow I don’t think they hired more illegals. I think they found native-born Americans who were willing to do the work, for possibly an increase in pay over what their illegal counterparts were earning.

Ever see a news story written from this angle?

Posted by Julie | Report as abusive

It seems to me exceedingly irresponsible to advocate an increase in immigration while we are in the grips of the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression. Liberal economist Paul Krugman has argued that low wage and illegal immigrants create downward pressure on wages (that’s why Americans won’t work those jobs) and put a strain on social services. He further argued that low wage and illegal immigrants do not significantly benefit the American economy. Shouldn’t we find jobs for the unemployed who are already here before offering them to immigrants?

Posted by Robert Sedgwick | Report as abusive

Hello nail, meet coffin…

So much for the Obama administration. A man that would bow to fake, fascist royalty has no clue.

No country can survive with an unbalanced amount of immigrants coming into the country. When we are losing hundreds of thousands of jobs for Americans every month, admitting over a million illegal immigrants, assuming they are all going to get jobs, will further unbalance the financial stability of our country and put more people out of work.
This is easily understood by a middle schooler.

Posted by tropicgirl | Report as abusive

Everyone who complains about the COST of keeping immigrants in the US should advocate abolishing all welfare and government-funded social services.

Everyone who complains about terrible WAGES and living conditions should advocate abolishing the federal reserve and the criminal inflationary policies of the government. With natural money circulating we will not have massive boom and bust cycles or out-of-control inflation that forces two or more breadwinners to seek income while abandoning the children to the care of the state schools or unsupervised homes. With stable prices and incomes from natural money (not paper money) Americans CAN afford to pick apples or build widgets to till their heart is content and keep a decent standard of living while they are at it.

At the end of the day immigration is basically about employment, therefore only individual employers/companies should be in charge of hiring anyone they want – immigrant or local. The Feds will never know the appropriate number of immigrants to allow or deny from entry. Only individual companies in each individual community/city can allocate that number of workers efficiently. This efficient allocation will keep our economy running at it’s optimal level. Too many or too few immigrants allowed to join our economy will only hurt our productive capacity. It is IMPOSSIBLE for the Feds to every get that number right.

If there’s no work and no welfare then folks will just have to go home to their native country. If they come and add value to our economy (without committing theft or violence) then they deserve a right to stay.

Posted by chico | Report as abusive

“Mr. Obama” – more than once.

That’s President Obama to you Diana. Pretentious arrogance does not exclude you from the mandate of using the correct title.

Posted by Todd | Report as abusive

is this person righting this on something. what person who gets a free pass amnesty will work in a field. the only reason they do is because they cant work legally if all of a sudden these employers are made to pay minimum wage will get rid of them and hire more illegals . who will work for less. we have almost ten million workers out of work and it may take years for the jobs to come back this will only start chain migration they have no plans to stop the inflow because they think that they can import a vote and taxes this must be stopped enforce the law stop chain migration then deal with talk about some sort of a immigrant plan

Posted by wtobias | Report as abusive

America doesn’t need anymore people. All we get out of more immigration is more politicians. I wish Reuters would remove this lady from their blogs.

Posted by jason | Report as abusive

This is just another example of our democrat administration trying to buy more votes. I’m looking forward to the howling of Obama’s supporters as more and more of them lose their jobs-perhaps then they’ll begin to wise up.

Posted by Kathy | Report as abusive

i keep hearing the crying of separating familys but a country that drive its people away like Mexico because of the way it treats its people they are the ones separating familys by its human rite violations so instead of dealing with this our government with its lack of backbone will not stand up to a tyrant Calderon but instead bows to him and helps him separate even more family we support tyrants and drug lords gang bangers killers and criminals a lot of the arms the drug lords get are sold by the Mexican military guns that our government funded rumor has the drug lords have been offered black hawk helicopters on the black market

Posted by wtobias | Report as abusive

If immigration can speed economic recovery,
why no other countries do that?

Posted by EricSmith | Report as abusive

It’s so disturbing to me, to hear/read all those hateful discriminatory comments. USA should be a civilized country. Americans “should act like one”
We are not a superior race. Europeans are full of immigrants and culturally rich. Where does all the hate come from?
You go take a landscaping job, clean bathrooms for $5 and then you will have something to talk about.
Instead of asking so much from your country, be willing to give something instead. Maybe that’s what USA needs.
People are People!!! No matter of their background, national origin or language. It’s in the constitution the your American forefathers signed. Read it!!!

Posted by Carina | Report as abusive

We’ve heard the conservative position loud-and-clear. How about a perspective from a liberal environmentalist. The population of the country has grown by 50 million people over the last 25 years, largely through immigration. That’s 50 million people that need houses, cars, toilet paper, and everthing else. Millions of acres of farmland paved over. Billions of tons of coal burned to make the extra electricity. More rivers depleted and polluted.

If this is how Ms. Roth thinks growth should work, I strongly disagree.

Posted by R Lucier | Report as abusive

The billion dollar border fence is a waste of money. It will stop low skilled immigrants taking the low paying jobs. But the high paying service jobs like software programming, web design, accounting, legal are going to be outsourced anyway, through the Internet. If labor cannot move freely around the world as capital, then we don’t really have a market economy.

Posted by Elias Magana | Report as abusive

Wow, I can’t believe this. Let’s do the “witch hunts” and burn them all! This makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? Let’s focus on 12mil “illegal” people already integrated in our economy instead on 280mil or more workers who trully taking our jobs away! overseas i.e.: customer service workers in India, cheap manufacturing labor in China and list goes on. For example, I am a graphic designer, my work is taken away every day because someone in Philipines can design a magazine page for $10. I can’t, it takes me at least 3 hours to do it and I can not live on $3.30 / hour or less! They can! All you doing is finding someone to blame for our nation’s miserable economy. Even if you think you are right and you manage to deport all illegal people from US you will find out that it did not make any difference! The difference can be only made when our government blocks job outsourcing into the undeveloped countries exploiting their cheap labor and using them as slaves! Holocaust seemed similarly as a good idea at the time but now we all know what a horrible atrocity it was! Do not make the same mistake again! Gather more objective information before you shoot!

Posted by Jason G. | Report as abusive

I am happy to see that all my thoughts and opinions have already been stated. We are a nation founded on logic, not emotion. All your claims play merely on emotions and wishful thinking. There is no factual evidence to support anything you say. Competent thought disproves your argument.

Posted by Alexander | Report as abusive

The vast majority of the people coming in are working age. They don’t come to start getting unemployment benefits or social security, or wait around for plush jobs, or live off their parents. We should stop worrying about foreigners depriving U.S. citizens of jobs they don’t want. Stopping employers from offering low-wage jobs attractive to immigrants will be about as easy as stopping Americans from consuming illegal drugs provided by the cartels. The immigration procedures have been made so onerous and time-consuming that they provide an incentive for desperate people seeking work to simply enter illegally. If they start off illegally, how can we expect them to honor all other U.S. laws? We need to make it far easier for those wanting to work to get here and stay here as long as they want to, provided only that they work. If they need health care, they’ll find more of it back home, and much cheaper than here.

Posted by charles manning (manning120) | Report as abusive

Jeff..I like this quote

Each and every immigrant (regardless of legal status) makes a conscious choice to leave their families or risk being separated from their families.

Posted by vine | Report as abusive

The republicans want the illegals here for cheap labor. The democrats want them here for their votes. It does not matter what the American public wants. (The public no longer controls the bureaucrats in Washington, they control us). The “American” dream died decades ago. There is no dream only existence. Both parents work and pay high taxes which go to places like Iraq, Afghanistan and 2.8 billion dollars in aid for the Pakistani military in addition to the civilian aid–1.5 billion dollars a year for five years and this is only a sample. Obama did not inherit Pakistan’s problems, nor are we at war with them, that is his decision. I don’t think Obama had math at his mighty Harvard. The only math knowledge he has is that he can control anything with enough money. Is it the modern American dream, to bust your ass for a fool. Oh, and don’t forget the ghettos. Like he told Joe the plumber, we must spread it around. If the Mexicans will work for $5.00 a day then we are all obliged to do the same. If we don’t then we are labeled as capitalist. The American dream. Spread it around so that those on welfare are making more than those who support them.

Posted by Old Mo | Report as abusive

it does not sound to me like the majority of voters are for this and its seems like an equall amount of democrats and republicans feel the same now if we could only find a common ground on our other problems but one thing at a time

Posted by wtobias | Report as abusive

Mr Obama this is not the change that we asked for. Remember, it’s not only hispanic Americans that voted for you. With millions of unemployed Americans you are going to do this Please help us. Stop talking and we need your help Disappointed with Obama.

Posted by debug | Report as abusive

If you are worried about someone with a 3rd grade education who doesn’t speak English taking your job, you really need to take stock of what you have done with the opportunities you have been given so far.

Separating someone else’s family isn’t going to improve your life very much.

Posted by DFNCheney | Report as abusive

No amnesty for foreign invaders. End the flood of cheap foreign labor that is depressing our wages. Require all applicants be screened by the E-Verify program.

Hussein Obama will lose this fight.

Posted by H1B_GO_HOME | Report as abusive

No one is buying this lying propganda. There are millions of Indians in the country illegaly working as software engineers, test managers, project managers etc etc. These are jobs that pay 6 figures and Americans want them. You have also failed to mention the millions of people that are trying to get in legally. We have immigration quotas for a reason.If we need more then raise the quota but do not allow people that start out breaking the law to be rewarded, this will only encourage more to break the law. You are so dead wrong! And, if it is allowed, I suspect many Americans will vote the Democrats out of office.

Posted by Gupta | Report as abusive

The majority of economists and evidence does show immigrants are good for our economy. Most Americans agree that we need to pass comprehensive immigration reform. It’s too bad the rapid and xenophobes are hurting our country by standing in the way of progress.

Posted by Heather | Report as abusive

“It will stop low skilled immigrants taking the low paying jobs. But the high paying service jobs like software programming, web design, accounting, legal are going to be outsourced anyway, through the Internet. If labor cannot move freely around the world as capital, then we don’t really have a market economy.”

Did it just dawn on you that the market economy is failing miserably? Those low-wage paying jobs are at that wage level precisely because the nation has been flooded with uneducated, unskilled, ignorant labor by the advocates of labor flexibility and unregulated capital flows and investment instruments.

Posted by Randolph Matamoros | Report as abusive

When India removes the LAWS on its books making it ILLEGAL to hire AMERICANS there, then come back and talk to me about “free movement of goods and people”.

BTW, Wal-Mart has been banned from opening in India because it would put 21 million native Indian retailers out of business. How’s that for “protectionism”?

It seems “free movement of goods and people around the world” applies to some countries, but not to others.

To paraphrase Orwell, “Some countries are more global than others”.

Oink. Oink.

Posted by Bobo | Report as abusive

According to a 2007 U.N. and International Labor Organization study, Americans are ranked #1 in world worker productivity. Most other studies rank workers from India at 124th among all nations. People are just people? I don’t think so.

Perhaps importing 4 million workers ranked 124th in productivity and replacing workers ranked #1 in productivity by the millions – in jobs “no one wants to do” – such as, say, SOFTWARE is the cause of our problem.

Where are the millions of imported workers from Japan, Germany and Australia? They are obviously highly skilled engineers -especially Japan. Why are we only importing 3rd world workers.

Name one invention or new industry created by India or China and given to the world.

California has the highest foreign-born population of any state in the U.S. but it also has the worst state economy in the U.S. Logic then tells us that immigrants do not help the economy.

Posted by Bobo | Report as abusive

“native-born Americans will want jobs that are different from those of immigrants”

Who, exactly, did they think was doing those jobs before illegals took them away?

Why is there no mention of AMERICANS and what they want. Americans, by a landslide, DO NOT WANT MORE ILLEGALS. Job competition is fierce enough.

H Warren

Posted by Hal warren | Report as abusive

The problem is twofold. On one end, it’s professionals coming on H1 visas and like, displacing American professionals and depressing pay for the ones still working/looking for work. On the other end, the flow of uneducated, unskilled, mostly not even speaking the most basic English immigrants, mostly over porous Mexican border, who then take low paying menial jobs no American would take.
The answer to the first part: there’s no lack of qualified professionals, particularly in my field (IT). There’s though a severe lack of qualified IT professionals willing to work for $18/hour on 1099 with no benefits whatsoever. I know the number – that’s what was paid the guy I had to “transfer knowledge” to before I was laid off a few years ago. No new laws actually needed – just enforce the existing ones about the bona fide effort the employer must make to fill the position with an American or Green Card holder before applying for H1. Tricks like posting the job with the pay level way below the prevailing rate, or requiring to fluently speak the language of the country from which, incidentally, the H1 worker is recruited, should not be allowed.
Here’s the answer to the second part (no American would take low paying menial job). Millions of Americans spend years on welfare rolls. Cut the welfare – and all of a sudden these jobs will become attractive. The only exception should be made for welfare recipients who are studying in a course that may increase their chances for meaningful employment.
In case there is a real shortage of labor in certain area, the ways to bring in workers on temporary work visa should be figured out. But temporary must mean exactly that – not a step to the Green card.
And as for accommodating illegal immigrants – what part of the word “illegal” is hard to understand? The only accommodation should be deportation. Or jail, if they broke other laws in addition to illegal entry.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

Ms. Furchtgott-Roth is being paid by India’s NASSCOM lobby and Wipro’s master conman Azim Premji who is orchestrating all this PR.

Posted by Bobo | Report as abusive

“majority of economists…” ya, like look at the splendid job these brilliant anonymous “economists” did for Wall Street. Yes, that is it, appeal to authority like a good socialist.

Anyone with a brain can see that our schools are filled with 3rd world children. Who pays for that genius? Their Dad works at Denny’s for $8.00/hr and their Mom clean bathrooms under the table – that means not taxed, genius.

Who pays for their house full of children born in US hospitals? Taxpayers are sick of the cost, not the people. The people are smart friendly, wonderful, hard working people. I say let’s keep them and ship out the halfwit socialist scum that are too stupid to think. Then we can all be happy.

Posted by harrymetsally | Report as abusive

Foolish Dolts suggest the illegal aliens have third grade educations and are not a threat to the American People. That is not correct for starters, and at a secondary level, those people are illegal aliens. The American People, and by a substantial margin, clearly polled as being apposed to amnesty since 1987, and for diminished immigration levels generally. I suspect the idea of a national vote on the issue in the coming election scares the wits out of the power brokers in Washington, and Obama has to get that dealt with and fast.

Those who want the immigration laws enforced however, have a giant ace in the hole. The States are far more seriously connected to the citizens of this country and I don’t think they will allow this country to be railroaded as Washington would have. Washington may simply ignore the wishes of the people, but the States won’t. Keep in mind that the polls have clearly shown the American People want the illegal aliens deported, and want the level of immigration turned down and significantly We will win in the end. The only real question is will the Federal Parties yield before there is bloodshed.

Posted by Joel E. Wischkaemper | Report as abusive

“No amnesty for foreign invaders.”

So…when and how did your family get here, H1B_GO_HOME? And what is the punishment, then, that we give to “Foreign Invaders?” If there is no “amnesty”? Do we just ship them out, despite how long it’s been that they invaded this continent?

Posted by nezua | Report as abusive

What a crock. Legal citizens will do any work if the price is right. The Laws of Supply & Demand auto-adjust this. If we had a shortage of labor there would be no need for anyone to be on welfare. Cheap alien labor benefits only those who exploit it — the large corporate farms. Illegals may get you cheap lettuce but you pay for it in many other indirect ways. This is typical Government (Economic) Speak. Start with what you want and find an argument to support it, while ignoring the truth.

Posted by Rocky | Report as abusive

Wow this is the same drivel the author wrote like a month or two back. Let me translate the article “Hi there’s not enough jobs to go around, so bring in more people to work for less money and all around things will be better.”

So basically things will get better for rich bastards in this country that don’t want to pay living wages so they will have access to cheap labor and can then walk all over these second rate non-citizens.

So in the end this article is rubbish, there are stories of Americans applying for low end jobs that are being recently vacated due to immigration raids, so that shoots the story out of the water too about Americans not being willing to do the work.

Don’t get me wrong the immigration situation is complicated and definitely needs serious work, but when some dingbat economist comes out saying immigration helps the economy when there aren’t enough jobs to go around it makes you really wonder. Economists are the reason we are in such a deep crap hole right now. May be if we have some people that focus less on computer models and data, and instead focus a little more on rubbing some brain cells together and figuring out a human solution that involves the well being of human beings I can go to sleep without waking up in the morning feeling like I wanna hang me a banker or an economist.

Posted by Chris | Report as abusive

To all of you remember when Mr Bush push for CIR and it didn’t pass….one week after you hear the media “Credit crisis , housing crisis……recession… etc !!? so now think about it if they can’t pass it this time…. may be no more social security retirement or….try to figure out the future news !! And by the way the same top economist that inform Mr Bush now tell President Obama to push for it but some people think it’s about politics between democrat and republican -wining vote ,blue collar jobs…and all the no sense !!! hahah they’re some people talking about socialism , am conservative and i believe 100 percent that we live in capitalism so“If You Snooze, You Lose” in other word if you can’t pay your mortgage or pay your bill get out and let new people to do it !!
Peace all

Posted by faybond | Report as abusive

As an American born, skilled and licensed tradesman, I’ve found a foreign illegal worker relative to an legal worker will work for less money, produce lower quality results and won’t question poor work practices required of them by management because they can’t risk losing their jobs by questioning the poor work practices.

In the trade world, companies benefit by using illegal immigrant workers (directly or more often indirectly), due to workers lower pay and an the company’s ability to ignore safe working practices which saves time and money. Companies don’t necessarily profit more by using these workers, but it allows them to bid and win jobs at a lower cost than their competitors who are less reliant on illegal immigrant workers.

I mentioned above the use of illegal immigrant workers either directly or indirectly by companies and I alluded to the preference for indirect workers. If a company can avoid directly hiring an employee they aren’t directly responsible for employee health and injury costs, a big plus in today’s world of high and ever rising health costs. The use of indirect workers comes about via the hierarchy of contractors and subcontractors and workers on a typical job.

Some subcontractors hire day labors typically illegal workers, paid by cash on a daily or weekly basis. If day laborer gets sick or injured, they get replaced by a new day laborer and the one being replaced is left to deal with their sickness or injury on their own (a trip to the emergency room ultimately paid for by the taxpayers).

Unless illegal immigration of low skill trade workers is stopped, when the current set of illegal workers were made legal, there would still be a new set of illegal workers that will work for less and be willing to work under poor working conditions to take the newly legal and US born workers.

I write from the perspective of a construction tradesman but I have strong evidence that the use of illegal workers have the same impact upon business practices in the areas of farming, landscaping, food preparation and serving, housekeeping and janitorial work. I know people that used to work in all of these areas and would happy work again in these area if they could work safely and at a livable wage.

The bottom line is not that companies can’t find legal workers to work for them, IT IS that companies can’t find legal workers to work for them at the the wages and conditions they are required to pay to stay competitive with companies that use illegal workers.

Posted by jerry | Report as abusive

I don’t understand what the big deal here is. Why not make them residents and let them contribute more to American society? I mean, the majority of them are paying taxes anyway, but it would increase the government’s revenue if they ALL paid. The Congressional Budget Office has said numerous times Immigration Reform will have a net positive impact, not a negative one. The sooner we solve this, the better.

Posted by Al | Report as abusive

“And even high-skilled workers trained at U.S. colleges and universities, often at taxpayer expense…”, Diana – I don’t get it! Unless you’re talking about students working illegally – the F1 visas are paying pretty well – around $50K for community/state 4year education in CA. Anyhow as for the general dilemma – many things are true – you’re saying, as well as the upset comments I’ve read. The bottom line may be: Will USA take care of its own people (free education by all means – including clarification of the words “life, freedom and pursuit of happiness”) and not just import skilled labor!? Why aren’t people in this country stimulated somehow for progress and better future, but rather let rot in misery and lack of enlightenment on welfare and fed media crap and cheap entertainment? Are back in Rome BC? I understand efficiency – Indian engineer, schooled for $500 masters degree and comparable salary, versus US $60,000. But who really benefits from the efficiency. I don’t think GREED will let corporations offer market prices lower, accordingly!? They have the power of lobbying and going around antitrust laws sometimes, which maintains artificial monopoly and price setting…!? And again why would someone invest $50K today in higher education in USA – when tomorrow the H1B cap can be increased to 200K+ and his expected salary WILL NOT JUSTIFY the benefits or maybe not even cover the loan and interest!? And about the unskilled labor exuberance – where are our children going to get summer jobs at? Or what happens to the industries that feed on cheap labor until open market reaches equilibrium and prices start to go up, – would it be a smooth adjustment then?

Posted by Alex Sim | Report as abusive

I can not agree to allowing illegal immigrants into this country and then giving them citizenship. Jobs, o.k., but citizenship, no. Allow them to come in on temporary work visas only. And who do you think will take the jobs that “no one here wants” when the children of these illegals grow up and won’t settle for less either. What will happen is that the future of our own children will be compromised when this next generation goes into the job market. By any manipulation of the word “illegal”, it is still the same thing; Or, as it says on a recent bumper sticker I saw, “calling an illegal immigrant an undocumented worker is like calling a drug dealer an unlicensed pharmacist”. Once you get past the intended humor of that bumper sticker, it is quite accurate.

Posted by hooey michaels | Report as abusive

Congratulations for this article. American indians descendants are the only ones that could call themselves originally native americans. As Brazil, the United States is a country made of immigrants, people from all parts of the world that are building nations which strenght is the diversity, tolerance and solidarity. The skin color cannot be a reason to discriminate. The world from the space has no borders, this was a view from an American astronaut. Practicing freedom is louder than shouting the word freedom. May God continue to bless America and America continue to be a blessing and example to the world.

Posted by Makoto Shimizu | Report as abusive

My wife is a LEGAL immigrant. She is from the center of Russia and it took her 8 years to do everything right. If she can then Diana Furchtgott-Roth needs to can the amnesty idea along with everyone else. By the way, my wife now makes a well deserved high six digit figure here in Kansas City. Doing things right and obeying our laws matters!

Posted by Paul Stein | Report as abusive

What’s the FINAL conclusion on the immigration? So many people tried to do the reform and the answer is the 12 million increased illegals. Better fix it now and else it going to increase the pain of USA.

Posted by John C | Report as abusive

What a ridiculous article.

Hey lady, we already DID Amnesty in 1986, did that work?

Of course not, because the DAY AFTER Amnesty was signed NEW ILLEGALS came pouring into the country.

We had 0 illegals the day Amnesty was signed in 1986, ow we have 12 million. If we sign amnesty now we’ll just have ANOTHER 20 million in 20 years.

Illegals LOWER WAGES for Americans and cost WAY MORE in taxes than they contribute. Even by making them legal they are such low-skilled workers they will still not even COME CLOSE to what we pay for them in taxes. And because they are citizens they will be eligible for FEDERAL benefits.

And if they want a raise because they’re now legal, the business will just fire them and hire an illegal that will inevitably come to the US.

Your arguments make no sense, we’ve already tried your plan, it failed miserably.

Posted by Jojo | Report as abusive

BTW, your argument that Americans don’t want to do “fruit-picking” is completely misleading.

Just 4% of illegals work in agriculture, meaning 96% do not.

Illegals work in manufacturing, restaurants/other service professions, and increasingly, construction. You know, jobs that Americans do.

Posted by Jojo | Report as abusive

“If Congress allowed more immigration, then American taxpayers would come out ahead financially.”

I remember when Al and Bill told us that if we just passed NAFTA we would have no more flood of people at our southern border.

I think the American taxpayer has had about all the help they can stand, and financially support.

Posted by rick g | Report as abusive

This has to be one of the dumbest things I have ever had the displeasure to read. I just wasted five minutes of my life I can never get back. We tried giving these people amnesty in 1986 and guess what : It failed big time. Now this woman wants to reward even more illegals for breaking our laws and crossing our border illegally ?? Are these Liberals mentally disturbed or do they just not get it ?? At what point will they finally wake up and come to the realization that we need strong border enforcement and we need jobs for people whom are born here and those who go through the process of becoming a citizen legally . Rewarding criminal behavior will only encourage more of it.

Posted by Kenneth | Report as abusive

I don’t understand how someone can be so dumb. This is absolute nonsense.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

We’ve given the highly educated elites of this country too much credit and way too much rope, the rope that legal law abiding citizens are being hung with every day. The Government by the government and for the government with its arrogant and confiscatory attitude have robbed us of our greatness and our sovereignty. We can not be complacent and allow these lobbying duplicitous people to ruin our future, and our children’s future. Allowing Immigration to occur when it is strictly enforced is the only way to go. The problem is the big government is incapable of enforcing its own laws. Living in the United states is not a given right it is an earned right. And you don’t earn that right by criminally entering this Country. IMHO

Posted by dumb Schmuck | Report as abusive

So, legalizing will mean all these illegals will magically start paying taxes! What crap from the left wing media. I am myself a naturalized US Citizen and came to the US as a legal immigrant and waited for years to get my green card and then the 5 year wait for US citizenship. There are millions like me who are patiently waiting their turn. To allow school drop outs from Mexico to walk across the border and all of a sudden be called “undocumented” as if they forgot to bring their papers along with them is everything that is NOT America, a nation of law abiding citizens. We still have a refugee policy for those who are fleeing religous and other persecution. But just to walk in to this nation and demand US citizenship? We might as well make Mexico another state of the US. Because in 10 years we will have 20 million undocumented aliens. Immigration to the US should be based on our needs not the choice of school drop outs to break our laws and squat here uninvited.

Posted by ben | Report as abusive

Illegal immigration is rapidly turning the USA into a third-world country. These ideas would only accelerate the process and encourage more illegals to come to get their share of the pie. Until the USA stops birthright citizenship the pregnant masses will do everything they can to get here and have a child inside our borders.

Posted by Paul | Report as abusive

I applaud her for what a remarkable nail biting truth about where we are as a country right now, and its future. Though i have to admit, I’m disappointed at comments by some of you fox who came here as immigrants long years ago, this country has fruitfully done you all wonders and prosperity than you ever imagined, but now, you don’t see any necessity of these wondering undocumented immigrants to better start contributing to this country and their families so that they can be as thankful as you documented immigrants are, what a sinking soul.

The immigration system needs an over-whole improvement in all areas, and taking into consideration the competitive economic future and prosperity for all its citizens, i agree with the article.

Posted by Nelson M. | Report as abusive

I’m really tired of the argument that we need to fast track citizenship for illegals because they only do jobs that few Americans want. In my area, illegal immigrants have all but taken over the construction trades. They get paid less which holds down wages in general, but since THEY DON’T PAY TAXES, the take home pay for them is not that much less. Plus they get whatever benefits they milk from society. The employers get to skate too because they don’t have to pay their part of fica, medicare, unemployment tax, etc., as the workers are “off the books.” On top of that, these are opportunities lost for resident, tax paying Americans who are losing their homes, cars and whatever else because they can’t find work. You, Ms. Furchtgott-Roth, may not want these types of jobs, but I assure you there are millions of
resident Americans that do. I say NO to citizenship for all illegal immigrants and I also say we put a BIG HURT on the employers and politicians (of both parties) that are selling out America for their own personal gain. Deal with the illegal problems first, then welcome in the many respectful people that are willing to become part of America the legal way.

Posted by Jahaz | Report as abusive

Its time to sympathize with the status of being undocumented. I agree strongly with the article.

Posted by Nelson M | Report as abusive

It is time for a reality check Diana. Overseas remittances are down from the U.S. by immigrant workers. This is probably due to rising unemployment and significantly smaller paychecks for those still employed. You are correct in your assertion that we need more highly skilled workers. This has been a need for decades that our nation has not addressed. We do not produce the number of engineers and computer scientists we need. We grant visas to fill barely one third of the skilled positions available. In all this time we have not begun to increase the number of engineers our schools produce. Compared to the economic meltdown and global warming such a task appears to be mundane. Why have we not produced more engineers and scientists?(Rhetorical question)

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive

Quit simpering. Drive the illegals into the sea. Prosecute their traitorous supporters. All jobs will be performed at some pay-rate. Let those pay-rates rise as needed … or let the sweatshop owners go broke.

Posted by noshellswill | Report as abusive

“Its time to sympathize with the status of being undocumented. I agree strongly with the article.”
– Posted by Nelson M
Nelson M and other illegal immigration champions,
What part of the word “illegal” is not clear to you?
Illegal property acquisition, aka theft, is rewarded with jail time. What makes you think that illegal entry should be rewarded with anything else, particularly with the open path to citizenship? The only form of leniency to illegal aliens should be deportation, and only because imprisonment would put an unnecessary burden on the tax payers.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

Since Microsoft, Dell and many others who’ve spent years send our work overseas for cheap labor why not shift the load. Send our educated and qualified work force there. Oh wait; those countries don’t want us there, only our business. I know, I worked for Spanish International Network in the US and when I tried to go to work in Mexico City I was told they needed to fill their positions with their people.
Until corporate America bring those jobs back, American’s should boycott all companies who’ve allow billions to go into the pockets of the founders and upper management while paying sweatshop wages to the rank and file of their contractor’s overseas.

Posted by am_underground | Report as abusive

Once again, employers see an opportunity to flood the market with cheap labor with low costs, no benefits, etc.

They are suggesting that American workers accept the fact that they should be happy to live in dormitories, or worse

When will these so-called “jobs” that Americans seem “unwilling to do” be called exactly what they are?

“Jobs that pay so poorly Americans can’t afford to take them”!

Posted by Hoyt | Report as abusive

If there is no immigration reform in this country, it will turn out to be in the future a country with illiterate citizens.
Right now the majority of the immigration cannot even access higher education. In the next 10 years, these immigrants will become a large piece of the population doing jobs that no one wants and with families that barely finish high school.
Is this the future that this country wants?. A middle class that cannot afford school and an illegal immigrant class that is banned from doing so?.

Posted by Teresa | Report as abusive

Wow. When did Americans lose their ability to reason out a problem? People are so busy defending their “values” and “culture”, that they can’t just stop and find a solution.

Yes, illegal immigration is a problem. But why is it problem? The reason is not baby-toting immigrants from third world countries who want to swindle Americans out of money and jobs, and then have babies here to take over our culture too. The reason is because America has jobs and money, and their country doesn’t. It takes YEARS to be able to get into the country and work, meanwhile their family is starving.

So now that we know the problem, we can find a solution. Making it easier and quicker to get a temp work visa would go a long way to solving the problem. Put a cap on the number of people coming in for a certain period to prevent a large influx of people. Actually enforce the illegal immigration laws on companies to make cheap labor not so cheap. As for amnesty for current illegals, take it on a case-by-case basis. Some of the people living here illegally actually deserve to be here.

Come on people. This is only a problem because we’re making it so.

Posted by Billy | Report as abusive

After a recent trip to western europe recently, I was amazed at all of the nationals doing labor that Americans supposedly “shun”. I do not buy the argument that native born Americans are unwilling to do jobs that illegal immigrants are. This is merely a muse by big business to keep labor cost low. It is also intellectual fodder for those that debate these issues who have no contact with those involved with the Americans with whom compete with illegal undocumented workers.
All countries in the world have sovereign borders. All countries enforce those borders and have immigration controls (except perhaps Afghanistan and Somalia). All countries have a process for gaining citizenship that does not involve walking across the border obtain a job illegally and, then, eventually hope to gain citizenship
“because were here”.
I, as an American, worked illegally in a western european country as well as Japan fora total of 2 years when I was in my 20’s. I knew full well at that time -if I was found out, I would be deported. I did not expect them to be lenient with me and expect them to grant me a work visa and residency status. This is a realty.
In addition – the concept of an “anchor baby” (having a child here granted citizenship) is also wrong.

Posted by Bill Martin | Report as abusive

What this is really about is governments failure to fix festering problems. Take Social security. In the beginning, there were about 20 payers into the system. today there are about 10. In the near future there will be about 2 payers into this entitlement program and that makes it unfeasible. What they are trying to do is to stuff as many people into the U.S. as they can to bring the numbers of payers into entitlement programs back to a number that will alleviate some of the shortfall. as they can. This along with the added benefits to pandering politicians for a voting block and cheaper labor to corporations. So for the politicians and their corporate lap dogs, this all makes sense for them. They don’t care a bit about what it will do to the country and the environment from having to feed, house and maintaining the 400+ million people who are forecast to be living in the country in 2050.

If this passes and millions of illegals are given amnesty, expect a very bad reaction. It would mean that your American citizenship is the cheapest in the world.

Posted by Brian | Report as abusive

I believe we have to get used to the idea that this country was built by immigrants and that’s the reality. Immigrants are willing to do the work Americans don’t want to do. Our economy is worst then ever due to the American greed and their egos. On the other hand, China and India are on the rise. They produced the best engineers, doctors, and everyone in between. The US is losing lots of money by no allowing immigrants to work legal. America has become lazy and enriched other countries by buying their cars, technology, furniture, etc. We do not care if our company is doing good or not as long as we get our hourly rate. What happened in Detroit? I don’t understand how can a person making 30-50 dollars an hour for 20-30 years are losing their home and everything else. I wonder why? I would continue with my point of view but I actually need to go back to work. Peace.

Posted by Tony Sparks | Report as abusive

Nothing is mentioned about the true costs of illegal immigration to state and local governments as well as a population of 450 million in the US by 2050! Think we have have traffic problems, water problems and pollution problems, wait until we reach half the size of China! Go to FAIRUS.ORG to see how you can help create immigration policies that are in line with the true interests of US citizens and taxpayers. Congress won’t get it until citizens are ringing their phones off the hooks.

Posted by Tim | Report as abusive

Temporary worker program yes. But WITHOUT a path to citizenship. The country doesn’t need millions of new unskilled citizens, only left-wing politicians want to expand their voter base at the conutry’s expense.

Posted by James | Report as abusive

Well, this article was so much half truths and propaganda it’s amazing.
We do need better immigration policy. Has the author seen the line outside the building in Los Angeles? People want to get into our country legally, at least good people do.

But there are so many issues like ‘Z’ visas, that people flatly reject. The populations in prisons are proof they don’t just come here to pick lettuce. So, all the twisted half truths don’t wash in this story.

I bet AP has a similar story, since they’re so dependably left wing also.

Can’t they just reform the INS paper pushing log jams, then adjust the immigration quotas to be more realistic where needed?

Posted by Roger | Report as abusive

This is the type of vermin who staffed the Department of Labor for the last few decades.

Posted by Randolph Matamoros | Report as abusive

Can’t she speak about anything else? America doesn’t need anymore people or workers. All more immigrants are going to do is create more politicians and more of an employment and economical problem than we already have. Our politicians need to start standing on the principals of our constitution. We are a republic and we should be acting like one. We don’t need more politically ignorant citizens in our country voting for the likes of obama, clinton, bush, or mccain and letting them get away with not obeying our laws. We already have far too many here now as it is.

Posted by jason | Report as abusive

The “jobs that Americans won’t take” are jobs that aren’t paid according to skill level and experience. And with benefits. Many contractors will go to Home Depot, put a bunch of illegals in their truck and go to a home construction site, whereupon the inexperienced illegals make big mistakes in roofing, hanging drywall, plumbing, you name it. Why should any American get paid correctly when illegals will work for practically nothing. Sorry, but this “Americans won’t do” argument is just hogwash. Plus, there is the extra added disaster of breaking the law. Criminals will work for practically nothing.

Posted by Debbie | Report as abusive

I love hearing elitist speak about “jobs that Americans wont take” I think what she really means is “jobs like white breads like me find underneath me”

Pretty much any job that pays a fair wage is gonna get grabbed up. I mean yeah most ppl wont haul away trash for 8$ (hard smelly back breaking work) But were I use to live they had no problem finding ppl with 14$ a hour wages. By the same token most of the ppl I have talked to who support cheap immigrant labor just want to be able to staff there hotels with minimume wage staff.

Oh and LOL at the whole immigrant workers and health care bit, I mean come on, this lady actually believes that an illegal is sudden going to be able to afford health care if he/she becomes legal?

Posted by eron | Report as abusive

The problem is Mexico not the United States. Mexico ‘dumps’ their most valuable asset on our doorsteps. The 100 families that control 95% of Mexico’s economic wealth don’t give a damn. Better to send the ‘la gente’ north than have them start a revolution in the country.
Until they have a ‘comprehensive economic reform\'(revolution) we, the United States, will continue to pay the penalty for Mexico’s internal problem.

Posted by dusty | Report as abusive

Why do we get the sense that what she really wanted to say is : ‘Well, it’s cheaper to let the retards take the crap jobs that nobody wants’. This is the voice of the RICH who have a pathology for obtaining OBSCENE margins (and therefore paying obscenely low wages). If these jobs payed well enough, the RICH would have no problem finding workers. (Don’t hold your breath – it’s a fetish thing).

Posted by Sanat | Report as abusive

When enough of them get here and drive the wages of enough jobs down far enough, no one will want to work as an architect, plumber, engineer, doctor, lawyer, etc. That’s like burning someone’s house down and then saying, “Well, you didn’t want to live in a burned out house anyway”.

Posted by Lyle | Report as abusive

what garbage. all’s we hear from these self serving pundits is politically biased comments from some tenured economics professor, who more than likely have never run a business or gotten their hands dirty doing hard work.

americans would take those jobs, but the employers have been immersed in a culture of cash-under-the-table for so long that they feel it would be cost prohibitive to do it over the table. and they are right. the cost of complying with all the government mandates is why the employers continue to hire illegals. and that is why there would be no rush by illegals to become citizens.

what would you do if you had the choice? live with multiple false id’s, pay no income tax, get free medical care, free government assistance, free education for your kids, and get paid cash, OR join the ranks of american citizens, the over taxed, unemployed, cannot afford health insurance, etc., etc.

a native spanish speaking individual can walk into a mexican consulate here in the U.S. and get a legal mexican ID with absolutely no verification whatsoever. and then come back a week later and get another, then another, and so on.

And that’s what they do. And that’s what I would do if I could. And so would most of you if you had a choice.

this woman is out of touch with reality.

Posted by Bill | Report as abusive

This commentary could only be written by a rich privileged fat cat of the district who wants to have their gardening,dog walking, house cleaning and laundry done on the cheap. Out in the real world of working men and women – we know American jobs should be done by American citizens. The Democrats have pulled off the greatest illusion trick in the history of illusions – the rich have convinced the poor they are their greatest champion while in truth they continue to manipulate the country so the rich get richer.

Posted by John MacIntosh | Report as abusive

What exactly is a job that “an American is not willing to do?” Perhaps the employer isn’t paying enough or is abusive to their workers because illegals have to put up with it.

Posted by Jeff M. | Report as abusive

In my economics courses we were taught that this sentence is incomplete: “People who want to enter this country to work in jobs Americans are not willing to take ought to have an easy, legal way to do so.”

The proper wording is “People who want to enter this country to work in jobs Americans are not willing to take AT THE PRICE (or wage) BEING OFFERED….”

How can an economist leave out such an important part of the equation?

Economists seem to be engaging in a lot of sloppy thinking lately.

Posted by Ed | Report as abusive

It is obvious that Diane Furchtgott-Roth is painfully out of touch with the viewpoint of most Americans. Over 95% of the responses to her article are NOT in favor of granting
citizenship to illegal immigrants that are taking jobs from Americans who are willing to
do them. The problem is not lazy Americans – it is opportunistic, ILLEGAL immigrants.
They are by law here breaking the law, should be deported along with family members,
and by no means given a chance at citizenship.
A Berkeley Liberal

Posted by bill Martin | Report as abusive

One way to get Americans to work is to pay them an adequate salary.

Perhaps the problem here is that Americans don’t want to work for inadequate salaries and immigrants haven’t yet developed an awareness of what is inadequate because they come from places much worse than ours.

Pay Americans an adequate salary and they’ll take those jobs. After all, lots of garbagemen are native-born Americans.

Posted by marik7 | Report as abusive

This writer is out of touch with reality:Doesn’t she knows country these people broke the law by illegaly entering our country. If they are granted what they want, another 12 millions of them will do the same.: Enter our country illegaly.

Posted by George | Report as abusive

Employers want more immigrants because they can pay lower wages and get their work done. This is the sole reason and it has nothing to do with “jobs Americans can’t do”. Not all professions are related to rocket science that they require some specific immigrants to be imported from specific third world countries; nor do these jobs require a very high IQ. These are jobs that any American would be able to do , especially in these times.
In other words, Diana is saying (on behalf of the American employers) that Americans should also start working for low third world kind wages, or get displaced by immigrants. Even if suppose the Americans start working for lower wages comparable to that of the immigrants, the latter would still demand lesser wages (to desperately come to America, “the land of dreams”) in competition with the American workers. In the end, both the immigrants and the American workers end up suffering. The only people who would gain from it are these employers who have nothing to lose.

Mark my words people, Diana is being funded by the elite immigrant lobby of professionals, academicians etc (largely from India, Indonesia etc) to further their agenda of pushing more and more immigrants from their countries to the US.

By large scale immigrations for different kind of professions, both the countries of the immigrants and the US are at loss. This is because the native countries lose their professionals to the US and end up remaining underdeveloped, and the Americans end up facing heavy competition from the immigrants, and in some cases, end up being unemployed.

Posted by Fallen monk | Report as abusive

With a hyphenated name, she already smacks of elitism. Her Pollyanish statements about “work that Americans will not do” are tired, trite, and completely wrong. Making illegals “legal” will keep them beholden and subservient to the current Afro-Marxist machine for decades. The iPod-water bottle-American Idol apathy of American citizens will allow this wholesale violation of American law, culture, and soil. The GOP has disappeared, and the Justice Department refuses to enforce immigration regulations, while the Homeland Security Department settles in under the leadership of a former governor who failed in border-keeping responsibilities. Will the Times ever print a contrary view to its suicidal view on illegal immigration?

Posted by Marc | Report as abusive

It is not a matter of whether Americans “will” or “can” do these jobs. We are willing, and we CAN. Pointed out in the previous posts, employers are grateful in these times to pay an illegal worker a quarter of the wages he would have to pay a legal citizen. In these times, millions of Americans have been laid off, millions of families are without insurance, and struggling, and soon to become homeless, or close to. These same Americans are applying for these jobs that we supposedly “cannot” or “will not” do, and being turned down for them! WHY? Because it costs too much. Americans with degrees cannot get jobs because an employer would rather pay someone who can do that same job, without that degree, and pay them less. This is hurting our economy, and hurting our nation. Illegal immigration has a hand in bringing our economy to where it is today. Had our government enforced this immigration long ago, when asked to do so, we wouldn’t have the issue of having possible jobs yanked from under us, only to be given to someone less qualified. Not to mention that most of these illegal workers, are taking their earnings back to their home countries, TAX FREE… what does that do for our economy? Absolutely nothing but hurt us even more. They raise OUR taxes, to support the big guy’s spending, and give more of our money to the illegals, who in turn only spend half of their earnings in our country. We are losing more than we are gaining by allowing the illegal immigration to continue.

Posted by PJ | Report as abusive

I would also like to add, to my previous post, that this is a vicious cycle.

Bob Doe who owns Company A pays 10 American employees $10.00 each to work daily for him. Bob Doe is affected by our current economy, in that because people are being laid off, he is not getting as many calls for jobs. Bob Doe has to lay off 4 American employees.

Along comes Illegal Immigrants X, Y, and Z. They tell Bob Doe that they will work for $4.00 an hour, unreported. Bob Doe sees the opportunity to take that big job that he finally got called for, for half the cost. Not only does Bob Doe keep three American men’s wages by paying three illegals to do the same job, for just over the cost he was paying ONE American worker, he doesn’t have to report them on HIS taxes. That makes Bob Doe quite a bit of profit from this job.

Now the end of the week comes, Illegal Immigrants X, Y, and Z go back home to their country, with 100% of their earnings. That is twice that money has escaped taxation.

Next week, Illegal Immigrants X, Y, and Z bring along their cousins, Illegal Immigrants A, B, and C. They tell Bob Doe, these guys will work for you. Bob Doe then lays off four more of his LEGAL staff, and pays Illegal Immigrants A, B, and C a total of what he would have been paying ONE of the Americans he just laid off.

Now Bob Doe is back up to 8 workers, (six illegal, and two legal). However, when he had 10 American workers, he was paying an average of $100.00 per hour. He now has only two less workers, but is now only paying $44.00 per hour for labor. He just increased his profits, not only by not paying taxes and reporting his workers, but he can still take all those jobs that actually are calling, because he is still only two men short of where he started.

And this is supposed to help our economy how?

I agree. Cut small business owners taxes. Raise American workers wages.

Employers expect to be able to pay a guy with 20 years experience $16.00 an hour for his job, but expects that same worker to perform at a $30.00 per hour rate.

Where is that right??

Posted by PJ | Report as abusive

[…] the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) shows that fixing the broken immigration system could bring us one step closer to economic recovery.  […]

Posted by Data Supports Benefits of Immigration Reform in a Bear Market Economy | The LA Progressive | Report as abusive

This lady is a fool no matter what degrees she has. If third world illegal immigrants are such a boon, why aren’t the places they come from the envy of the world? Furthermore, what does she expect that they will buy with their low wages and high dependence on social welfare? A house? I would like to kindly remind that banks are actually underwriting loans now, as they have not in about 5 to 8 years.

Politically correct idiocy.

Posted by concerned | Report as abusive

[…] a former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, wrote last week that “(e)conomic recovery will happen more quickly if both high- and low-skill immigrants are permitted to enter the … and work legally.” An El Diario/La Prensa editorial said Tuesday, “The legalization of […]

Posted by Labor Federations Announce Support For Immigration Reform … With Conditions « Feet In 2 Worlds, Immigration News | Report as abusive

Wow! The hatred in some comments is astounding. The conservative logic is simple. The millions of illegal immigrants have jobs. How do we know this? Because if they didn’t we would wake up each morning to thousands of starving immigrants in the streets. Allowing a path to citizenship immediately turns immigrants into taxpayers that generate millions of dollars into our system. Seriously, the sky won’t fall on us. In fact, all Americans will benefit. It is time we all act less selfish and more compassionate and humane. I appreciate what Diana Furchtgott-Roth expressed and hope we all put away senseless anger.

Posted by Frank Beaudine | Report as abusive

a current economist wrote “the former and current economists in the government are largely idiots and wrong about most of their predictions” further he wrote “if they as experts are frequently ‘surprised’ when actual data contradicts their predictions and arguments, how expert really are they?”.

Posted by Concerned | Report as abusive

Just a few definitions of those not members of La Raza (The Race). “Undocumented” = “Illegal.” Typically Mrs. Diana Furchtgott-Roth cannot even utter the word. Unfortunately for her, illegal is the word that most Americans know truly describes the status of “undocumented” immigrants. They broke the law; they didn’t lose their paperwork. Next, “jobs Americans won’t do” = “jobs Americans won’t do for $2.00 an hour and no health insurance.” Mrs. Furchtgott-Roth delusional assumes a racist notion that Americans (White people) are just evil lazy people who won’t work. The fact is that they simply know that our country has a minimum wage and minimum standard of living. Then, she encourages ignoring that wage and standard by hiring workers who cannot say a word about others breaking the law, since they themselves are criminals. Finally, “rational” = “a racist and criminal policy that satisfies elitist hunger for illegal foreign slaves.” Oh, and it would help if those criminals felt indebted to one political party that might just need to pad the voter rolls, especially when they insist on trying to pass legislation that most Americans oppose.

Posted by mark | Report as abusive

The problem will not be solved by the program outlined by this writer, only worsened. The United States is either a country of laws, or it is not. Simply erasing the crimes of these illegal entrants is inequitable, unless we are going to open the doors of every prision in the country.

More to the point, it is ridiculous to suggest that these immigrants will begin paying taxes, and suddenly pay their hospital costs. The vast majority will not only not pay income taxes, but will be net RECIPIENTS of tax refunds due to earned income credits. They will not suddenly become responsible citizens, covering the cost of their own healthcare, either. How many will pay the $1,200-$1,500+ per month necessary to maintain family health coverage? They’ll still be a burden on the health system, and a growing burden on the school system. Take a family of 4….2 kids in school, at a relatively low cost of $5,000 per year each for healthcare, and $5,000 per year each for the kids in school. It adds up to $30,000 per year in costs that few, if any, will pay. IF we are so stupid as to provide them with family visas, we will multiply those numbers by 4x (system average for family visas v. work visas). The burden on our systems of adding at least 30 million MORE (non-working) immigrants will strain every system we have (schools, health, law enforcement) to the point of collapse. Obama can kiss universal health coverage goodbye if he burdens it with tens of millions of immigrants.

Posted by John B | Report as abusive

We need people into the country that are not willing to dish out $1500 on family health insurance per month.

ONLY idiots want to dish out $1500 a month on health insurance. A workforce less willing to splurge money on rapacious health insurance costs should be encouraged because it is a sign of intelligence and would drive down the costs for everybody and improve the intelligence quotient of a nation of dummies.

Since when do you go out to a supermarket and pick items off the shell without knowing how much they cost? How about someone making the choice for you of what you need to put in your cart, pass it through the register, take your credit card and then tell you to go home, you will get the bill in the mail?
Isn’t that what happens when you use your health insurance? What HI offers now is like a discount card but it will only work for the items it wants, when it so wishes, and it is free to change the terms of service at will. Like you want beans but you’ll be getting split peas instead. And don’t complain, you’re lucky to get split peas. Any extra coupons have terms attached, see back.

That is, of course, the mentality of the current consumer who feels like complaining but still accepts to pay $1500 a month for an IF (IF it happens that you get hit by a locomotive at home in your sleep, IF you are hit by an asteroid at work, IF you drown in the sea off South Dakota, IF you don’t buy insurance you’ll have a heart attack. That headache you got? is actually a brain tumor)

Given a choice between getting SCAMMED out of $1500 per month or use the free health care available, what do you think is the best option? The $1500 a month can go to a health savings account for those emergencies, for the kids braces, for that broken leg the kid got skating off a rail or that nasty infection you keep getting in your toes)

I think going against the reform of the legal avenues of immigration into the country is only distracting from real issues and genuine concerns. It’s easy to play with prejudice and pit groups against one another in order to
rule at will. Which is what the lobbies in Washington are doing today.

Posted by Dan Dan Dan | Report as abusive

Does it really matter whether the wall against the much much less affluent is built territorially? The pressure to reduce our standard of living, what a vaguely defined idea – is still there. This country doesn’t live on another planet. If the presure doesn’t come from within -it will come from without. Won’t it!

IT doesnt matter what side of the political spectrum describes the problem, the medical bills seem to doom any fix. I haven’t been able to afford it in years and at $1500/year and climbing I never will again. I called it quits when it passed $1500/year over 15 years ago.

I know people who hate illegal immagrants because they are themselves less productive, due to old age and ill health, and appreciate that they are in fact less valuable to the country than the able bodied and fully productive that are replacing them. They know they are not needed, are a burden on the system and were paid more their whole life than those who are replacing them. They may very well be costing the system more now than they were paid. Rather like decommsiioned old nuke plants, they cost more to dispose of then they actually were avble to produce during their working lives.

That’s where all the hatred is coming from and it do well for most of us to be more polite about the writer – she is only pointing out the situation. But it is obvious that she is proposing to write off a lot of the marginal citizen population in favor of fance jumpers and basically more ruthless but also brave and/or desperate, fresher, hungrier and more capable, illegal immagrants.

It’s such a stinking, raw and obvious statement about the tenuous grasp so many of us have on the homeland. I credit her with being somehwat “compassionate” but in a way that could well be strained to the point of raw violence as this situtauion is when seen in other countries of the world.

I think her point of view will win but the man who described the true bottom line – many of the new legals – if they ever become so, will quickly go either to the first class and the rest will still stay in steerage with a lot of native borns. Considering that productive labor in this country, both legal and illegal, is still surrounded by billions of much lower paid people whether they ever neter this country, will still pull the cost of living down and the age is driving the cost of actually being productive (profitable to the system) doesn’t look like it will ever be fixed.

The economist doesn’t mention the percentage of new immagrants destined for the upper decks and how many go down with the ballast? Rich people don’t keep many servatnst any more. They have been too expensive for almost a century.
My immigrant grandparents didn’t have health insurance. The system prospered because in many ways they were largely exploitable livestock with working brains.

Posted by Paul Rosa | Report as abusive

[…] a former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, wrote last week that “(e)conomic recovery will happen more quickly if both high- and low-skill immigrants are permitted to enter the … and work legally.” An El Diario/La Prensa editorial said Tuesday, “The legalization of […]

Posted by Labor Federations Announce Support For Immigration Reform … With Conditions | Feet in 2 Worlds, immigration news | Report as abusive

[…] immigration, then American taxpayers would come out ahead financially. – Diana Furchtgott-Roth Immigration can speed economic recovery | Analysis & Opinion | Reuters *bows* – […]

Posted by A triumph fer first mate Pelosi – U.S. Politics Online: A Political Discussion Forum | Report as abusive