Thursday, April 30, 2015

Why Immigration Is Good For The US

Anti-immigration politics have been spreading around much of the developed world.  In the US anti-immigration sentiment is usually disguised as opposition to illegal immigration.  That disguise has been uncloaked in this article.  The Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker, who is running for the GOP presidential nomination, gave the game away in his discussion with Glenn Beck.  Walker told Beck that he was against legal immigration because he wanted to protect US jobs.  Apparently, the anti-union governor is really a friend of labor.  Or perhaps, he really wants to capture the anti-immigration sentiment in the GOP base.

Noah Smith makes a strong case against Walker's claim that restricting immigration will protect US jobs.  US firms can hire immigrants in the US, or they can hire non-domestic workers in countries where they relocate.  Immigrants, hired in the US, will spend money in the US, and that will expand the US market.  When they hire non-domestic workers the spending will occur in a foreign location and expand the foreign market.  Businesses prefer to locate in large markets.  Shrinking the US market by restricting immigration is bad for US workers. Smith offers Japan as example of a country that has restricted immigration and has shrunken its domestic market.  Japan has been unable to maintain the level of growth that is needed to attract investment into the Japanese market.

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