Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Brat on Immigration

Tea Partier Dave Brat defeated Eric Cantor in a huge primary upset, which has immediately been labeled as the death knell for immigration reform this year.

Brat is an economic professor, yet his stance on immigration suggests a hazy conception of supply and demand.

When addressing the issue of immigration, we must start by securing our border. An open border is both a national security threat and an economic threat that our country cannot ignore. I reject any proposal that grants amnesty and undermines the fundamental rule of law. Adding millions of workers to the labor market will force wages to fall and jobs to be lost. I support proposals that will secure our border, enforce our current laws, and restore an orderly and fair process to allow law abiding individuals to work towards becoming citizens of this great nation.

Leave out the absurdity of calling the border open. Instead, look at this discussion of amnesty. He says that granting amnesty will add millions of workers to the labor market. But those people are already here, making in some cases illegally low wages! How does giving them legal status make them come here when they're already here?

If you give them legal status, their wages will rise, which will have the opposite effect of what Brat claims. If migrant wages go up, then native wages will either stay the same or go up.

If you take the "enforce our current laws" to its logical conclusion, then at least in theory it means Brat supports massive deportation, which would be unbelievably costly and hurt the economy to boot (just ask farmers).

I guess voters believe these arguments if they come from an economics professor. But they defy common sense.


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