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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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?

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.

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?

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.

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”!

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.

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.

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