Illegal immigration to the United States is on a massive scale. More than ten million undocumented foreigners currently reside in the United States, and that population grows by about 700,000 people annually . On the one hand, the presence of so many foreigners is a powerful testament to the attractiveness of America. On the other hand, it is a sign of how dangerously open our borders are. The typical illegal alien comes to America primarily looking for better jobs and in the process adds value to the US economy.
However, it also detracts from it by weakening the national security and legal environment. When three out of every hundred people in America are undocumented (or, rather, documented with false or forged papers), there is a profound security problem. Although they do not pose a direct threat to security, the presence of millions of undocumented migrants distorts the law, diverts resources and effectively creates cover for terrorists and criminals. In other words, the real problem with illegal immigration is the issue of security, not the supposed threat to the economy. In fact, efforts to reduce the economic influx of immigrants actually exacerbate the security dilemma by pushing many of these workers into the underground economy, thereby encouraging an illegality mentality.
A temporary work program for foreigners is an essential component of border security, but only if it is the right program. It is important to intelligently design a temporary worker program. Although there are numerous issues that are part of such a program – many of which go beyond the subject matter of this article, the evidence shows that the net effect of labor immigration is economically positive. With this in mind, there are fourteen principles – looking at the financial incentives involved – that should be included as part of a temporary worker program.
The costs and benefits of immigration An honest appraisal recognizes that illegal immigrants bring real supply-side benefits to the American economy, and that is why the business community is opposed to simply making hunts. There are also economic costs, given America’s generous social security institutions.
The cost of securing the border would, of course, exist regardless of the number of immigrants. The argument that immigrants hurt the American economy should be rejected outright. The population today includes a much higher percentage, 12%, of foreign-born Americans than in recent decades.
However, the economy is strong, with a higher total gross domestic product (GDP), higher GDP per capita, higher productivity per worker and more Americans working than ever. Immigration will not have caused the economic boom, but it is insane to blame immigration for hurting the economy at a time when the economy is doing well. As Stephen Moore wrote in the Wall Street Journal: “The increase in the immigration flow has corresponded with a constant and substantial reduction in unemployment from 7.3% to 5.1% in the last two decades. And unemployment rates have dropped by 6% for blacks and 3.5% for Latinos. ” Immigrant labor, whether skilled or unskilled, increases national production, enhances specialization, and provides a net economic benefit. The 2005 President’s Economic Report (ERP) devotes an entire chapter to immigration and reports that “A comprehensive accounting of the benefits and costs of immigration shows that the benefits […] exceed the costs” .
The following are among other points of the ERP: Immigrant unemployment rates are lower than the national average for the United States; Studies show that a 10% increase in immigrant work results in a reduction of approximately 1% in native wages — a very small effect; Most immigrant families have a positive net fiscal effect in the United States, adding $ 88,000 in revenue for the treasury to what they consume in services; and Social Security payroll taxes paid by improperly identified (undocumented) workers have resulted in a surplus of $ 463 billion.
The macroeconomic case for immigration is especially compelling in the case of highly educated individuals with backgrounds in science, engineering and information technology. The growing concern about outsourcing work to other nations is one more reason to attract more jobs to America by importing labor. If workers are allowed to work within the United States, they immediately add value to the economy and pay taxes – something that does not happen with jobs that go abroad. Therefore, limiting the number of H-1B visas constrains America’s ability as a brain “magnet” to attract highly skilled workers, thereby threatening the competitiveness of American firms.
Congress increased the number of H-1B visas in November 2004 by 20,000 after the annual limit was used on the first day of fiscal year 2005. On August 12, 2005, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it had received enough H-1B applications for 2006 (which began on October 1, 2005) and would not accept any more applications in the next selection lottery.
These and other figures show that more outside workers are needed, not less. Still, critics of this type of labor import worry that jobs will be lost to US citizens by foreigners for lower pay. Recent data suggests that these fears are greatly exaggerated. While the unemployment rate has remained below 5% in the past year, unemployment in information technology is at a four-year low of 3.7%
. Although the presence of unskilled immigrant workers can be interpreted as a challenge for native workers of the same level, the economic effects are the same as those of free trade – a positive net effect and an important cause of economic growth. A study by David Card of the NBER (National Bureau of Economic Research) concluded that: “Overall, the evidence that immigrants have harmed the opportunities of the less prepared natives is scarce”.
The consensus of the overwhelming majority of economists is that the vast economic gains from openness to trade and immigration far outweigh the isolated instances of economic losses. In the long term, as has been documented in recent years, the gains are even higher.
American companies need incentives for the program to work. Immigration reform will be successful if — and probably only if — companies support its passage and enforcement. A new law should therefore avoid both burdensome bureaucracy (for example, requiring the exhaustive search for native workers before a job can be offered to migrants) and any provision that makes it easier to hire temporary workers than native workers (for example, waivers of payroll taxes for temporary while there is to pay them for natives).
Perhaps the most important incentive is a negative one: A new law should include funding to create an internal compliance system that serves to monitor and prosecute companies that violate the law. Temporary worker status should not be a path to citizenship and should not include American social rights. If the incentive to work in the United States is artificially enhanced by the promise of future citizenship, there will be an overabundance of foreign migrants. Citizenship carries with it tremendous benefits (eg, social spending and entitlement to social benefits) that should be given only to American citizens.
For example, unemployment insurance benefits should never go to foreign visitors. Granting benefits such as unemployment insurance, welfare, Head Start, and other miscellaneous payments to visiting workers would significantly distort the incentives to immigrate to the United States. The equivalent legal status of temporary workers is that of tourists who are temporarily residing in the United States and who are subject to American law, but who are not entitled to citizenship or the benefits that accompany it.
Effective legal entry for temporary workers is a necessary condition to ensure compliance. Existing illegal immigrants should leave the United States and then allow them entry through border checkpoints with strict conditions of identification, documentation, and compliance with United States laws. But if instead the temporary worker program suffers from long waits to re-enter or lotteries for work visas, immigrant workers already in the country will have little incentive to comply with the law.
Furthermore, these reforms will be perceived as attempts to reduce the supply of migrant labor and will be resisted. However, an efficient legal entry program for immigrants who meet biometric identification will not discourage compliance, but will encourage foreigners to use formal channels of legal entry rather than sneaking across the border. An effective legal entry system should include a short waiting period that allows law enforcement the time necessary to scrutinize incoming workers.
A waiting period of at least a few days would give law enforcement agencies time to compare the biometric data of incoming visitors with the criminal and terrorist databases. The rules for efficient legal entry will not be an amnesty, nor will it be “opening the floodgates.” Such a system would actually encourage many immigrants to leave, knowing that they could return under reasonable standards. This is in stark contrast to the status quo in which the difficulty and uncertainty of being able to re-enter the United States actually discourages foreigners from leaving the country. Documented migrant workers would enter with a new status: not citizens, not illegal, but temporary workers.
When it comes to opening the gates, the reality is that they are already open. More specifically, labor markets operate to effectively balance supply and demand, and these markets are currently in equilibrium. Creating a new category of legal migrant workers would not change that balance, nor would it confer unfair benefits on undocumented foreigners over others, nor would it be tied to obtaining citizenship, but it would improve security.
Government agencies should not micromanage migrant labor. Any federal attempt to license immigrants for their occupation – to micromanage the migrant labor market – would set a dangerous precedent and likely fail. The socializing planning of any market is inferior to the free market and its implementation is dangerous on many different levels. First, allowing government management of the migrant labor market would be a terrible precedent for later interference in all of the country’s labor markets. Second, it would be open to abuse, vulnerable to corruption, and inefficient even if administered by angels.
For example, in the case of a certified avocado picker who has skills as a carpenter that his employer would like to use, why do both have to ask a bureaucrat from the Department of Labor to review the worker’s skill certification? Equally implausible is a program that requires immigrants and companies to know each other before entering and submitting applications. Labor markets don’t work like that. Such plans would soon prove ineffective and bring us back to the status quo. Real labor markets function informally and market power must be used to make the temporary worker program work efficiently.
The temporary worker program should not be used as an excuse to create another great federal bureaucracy. The risk inherent in authorizing a new temporary worker program is that a bloated new federal bureaucracy will be established that will overwhelm its budget and powers. Critics allege that the federal government is ill-equipped to handle the significant influx of people who would enter the United States with a temporary worker program.
They also mention the long accumulated delays that plague other immigration programs, most particularly, the case of the “Green Card” program. One way to alleviate the problem is to involve the private sector in the visa process, just as gun retailers are integrated into buyers’ criminal background checks. Much of the temporary worker visa process could be made easier by outsourcing certain parts of it, including paperwork, interviewing (if necessary) of visa candidates, coordinating with DHS and federal law enforcement agencies for background checks. , facilitate the placement with potential entrepreneurs and the facilities to leave when the visa expires.
As long as the private contractor has no conflicts of interest with the visa selection or placement processes, that system would be better than yet another federal bureaucracy. Bonds should be used to promote compliance with the law upon entry into the country.
There are many smart ways that bonds can be used to manage the immigrant quota. In one system, temporary workers would have to post a bond on entry that is refundable on exit. An individual who wanted to get the money back would have to meet all the requirements of the temporary worker program and other US laws, effectively acting as a self-reinforcing network and discouraging undocumented, unsecured migrants. Another possibility would be that American companies pay the bonds to have the right to hire a certain number of workers.
If Congress feels obligated to limit the number of temporary workers, the bonds can be treated as land titles to find out the market price of a temporary worker. In both cases, the monetary value of the bond would be reimbursed after the immigrant’s departure, but the migrant would lose it if he / she entered the black market economy.
Temporary workers should find employers to sponsor them within a month (or other reasonable period of time). The employer would verify with WORKER-VISIT that a specific worker meets the conditions required to work in the United States. If the immigrant cannot find an employer in that period of time, the law will require that they leave the country. A sponsorship system is an efficient alternative to government management of the supply and demand of migrant labor.
It would also be self-checking because it could require employers to periodically submit a record of payroll payments for automatic review, which would identify the location of temporary workers. When employment with a sponsor ends, the worker would be allowed a reasonable period of time to find a new employer. Currently undocumented workers could relatively easily find sponsorship with their current employers, so leaving the country and re-entering would not reduce adherence to the law or at the expense of legal migrants.
Day laborers should be required to find long-term sponsoring employers. The presence of tens of thousands of day laborers in the United States appears to be a challenge for immigration reform, but this job market should not be granted exceptions. A WORKER-VISIT program that works would probably motivate the creation of intermediary companies that would employ the day laborers and put them in touch with clients in a more formal market that would be developed together with outsourcing companies already active in areas such as gardening, house cleaning , concierge, accounting and night security. Intermediary firms would offer workers in teams of varying size, allowing companies to avoid the burdens of sponsorship and paperwork for documentation.
Skeptics might protest that most outsourced jobs are routine (even regularly scheduled), while day laborer work is by its nature last minute and unpredictable. However, this is not really true as a whole, especially when compared to other emergency industries such as plumbing, flood control, or emergency towing. Competitive companies can meet demand quite efficiently as long as free market incentives are in effect.
Migrants and entrepreneurs who do not comply with the new law should be penalized. Migrants who refuse to register and are subsequently arrested within the country should be punished with more than just deportation. Deportation is not a disincentive. The Cornyn-Kyl bill (S. 1438) contains a good proposal along these lines: a ten-year ban on being able to participate in the temporary work program for those who do not comply with the new rules.
Congress should also consider a lifetime ban on applying for and granting American nationality to offenders. The law should also introduce heavy penalties, including imprisonment and confiscation of the assets of undocumented workers and their employers. There is no justification for working outside the system, especially a free entry system. The law would establish a date after which all immigrants in the United States must register or face these penalties.
The lifetime ban on the possibility of acquiring US citizenship would be a strong incentive for undocumented migrants to enter the registry system. Likewise, firm penalties consistently applied against employers would create appropriate incentives for law enforcement. All immigrants must respect American laws and traditions. The requirement to obey all laws is not optional for new citizens and should not be for visitors. While we promote and insist on the primacy of American values for those who want to join our workforce, we ourselves should also remember the full range of these values.
The Statue of Liberty reminds us that we are all equal, regardless of race, origin, or even degree of misfortune, and that America will continue to be a land of opportunity. conclusion The century of globalization will witness the descent of America towards timid isolation or the affirmation of its openness. Throughout history, great nations went into decline because they built walls of insularity, but America has been the exception for more than a century. It would be a tragedy for America to adopt a false sense of security just as China is rising through openness, Western Europe is falling into isolation, and the real solution is very obvious from our own American heritage. ??
* Information obtained from: observatoriocolef.org
Do you have questions about immigration?? We advise you we are SERNA & ASSOCIATES PLLC.