Bryan Caplan  

David Is Right, If I Understand Him Correctly

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Employers and Immigrants: Resp... IGM on High-Skilled Immigratio...
David's latest reply on illegal immigration is excellent, and I freely concede his two main points as I understand them.  Namely:

1. A narrow segment of illegal workers would lose in the short-run from legalization:
I had in mind a specific group of illegal workers who I think would have a reasonable probability of losing their jobs if there were amnesty. If they were just a little below the minimum wage, they could well be in good shape. But that small group who are well below the minimum wage could lose their jobs.
2. A narrow segment of employers of illegal workers, though none of the illegal workers themselves, would lose in the long-run from legalization:
Like Bryan, I can't imagine many people spurning green cards. But because his original claim was about employers, that's not the test. The test would be this: "Is it plausible that employers of illegal workers who are earning well below the minimum wage would be upset if those same workers got green cards?"
David, do we have a meeting of the minds?



COMMENTS (4 to date)
David R. Henderson writes:

@Bryan,
"David, do we have a meeting of the minds?"
On point #2, completely.
On point #1, almost. If you change your statement, "A narrow segment of illegal workers would lose in the short-run from legalization," by adding the words "their jobs" after "lose," then I agree. There is more to life than jobs. I think almost any worker would accept amnesty even if meant he would lose his job in the short run. Overall he would gain.

Eli writes:
But that small group who are well below the minimum wage could lose their jobs
Presumably that group is currently working off the books, so why wouldn't that group just continue working off the books for below minimum wage?
David R. Henderson writes:

@Eli,
I answered your question.

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