Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 29, 2006 / 29 Adar, 5766

McCain-Kennedy is more a capitulation to the tide of illegalimmigration than a true effort to set and enforce an immigration policy that isin the national interest

By Robert Robb

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I confess that I don't fully understand protest politics.


There appears to be something in the psyche of the left that finds gratification in the act of protesting. The immigrants and their advocates who amassed in Phoenix and other cities about immigration reform clearly felt good about what they had done.


Presumably, however, there was also a desire to affect an external audience, to cause others to think or feel differently about the issue. In this regard, the protests were probably ineffective, if not counterproductive.


Effective protests usually bring attention to some moral point: ending segregation, stopping a war.


The moral right to leave a country is generally recognized. And there are those who believe that anyone living in oppression or deprivation has a moral right to set up residence in the United States or anywhere else they want.


That, however, is a decidedly minority point of view. Most recognize that countries have a sovereign right to set immigration policy, to determine who to let in and in what quantities.


Simply put, Americans are not likely to accept the proposition that they have no moral right to limit immigration or enforce the immigration laws that exist.


Now, there are issues of humaneness involved in immigration reform. The United States has not effectively or seriously enforced its immigration laws. There are those who have taken advantage of this to establish well-settled lives here. Deporting them doesn't seem fair.


This becomes particularly poignant when it threatens the breakup of families, or the deportation of children who grew up here and really don't know their country of origin.


There is also something good about offering people, particularly those struggling with poverty in their country of origin, a chance for a better life. That's always been part of the American experience.


There are, however, other issues of fairness and equity involved in the immigration reform debate — fairness to native workers facing competition from immigrant labor, and fairness to local taxpayers shouldering an increasing burden for education and social welfare costs associated with absorbing a large number of relatively unskilled and uneducated immigrants.


The immigration reform measure sponsored by Sens. John McCain and Ted Kennedy, largely adopted by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, gives short shrift to the fairness concerns of native workers and local taxpayers. Arizona Congressmen Jeff Flake and Jim Kolbe are also sponsors of this approach.


McCain-Kennedy not only gives legal status to existing illegal immigrants, it provides legal acceptance of the current volume of new illegal workers that arrive annually, some 400,000.


There are responsible economists who have produced studies on both sides of the question of whether illegal immigrants have a positive or negative effect on the wages of native workers. The dispute hinges on the substitutability of immigrant and native labor, and whether the national or local labor market is the appropriate point of reference.


The best guidance, however, probably is to be found in broad wage trends.


And these are indisputable: inflation-adjusted wages for U.S. workers with less than a high school education have been declining and wages for those with just a high school diploma have been stagnant.


There are reasons other than immigration for this. Economic transformations are providing higher returns to education.


Nevertheless, a declining or stagnant price for unskilled labor does not suggest a shortage requiring 400,000 new unskilled workers a year.


Moreover, McCain-Kennedy allows employers to set the price at which the lack of a willing American worker is to be demonstrated, in essence giving employers of unskilled labor monophony power.


Making legal what is currently occurring illegally, which is what McCain-Kennedy basically does, will also exacerbate the economic burdens on communities for the education and social welfare costs associated with a fast-growing unskilled labor class.


McCain-Kennedy is more a capitulation to the tide of illegal immigration than a true effort to set and enforce an immigration policy that is in the national interest.


A sense of fairness indicates that the law should accept those who have established lives here in the interstices of U.S. enforcement of its immigration laws. What happens on an ongoing basis, however, should be based on the national interest.


The U.S. economy undoubtedly needs more than the 10,000 unskilled immigrant laborers that current law permits annually. The best evidence, however, is that the 400,000 or so who are coming here illegally each year are having an adverse effect on the wages of native workers and excessively burdening local taxpayers.


There is a number somewhere in-between that balances the considerations of fairness and equity. That golden mean, however, isn't to be found in the politics of protest, or the emotion-laden rhetoric on either side of the debate.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Robert Robb is a columnist for The Arizona Republic. Comment by clicking here.

Robert Robb Archives

© 2006, The Arizona Republic

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles