Thursday, February 21, 2008

response to Roy Beck/NumbersUSA video

I thought I had already blogged on this, but it was only on my campaign website. Hearing the Roy Beck/NumbersUSA video referenced on Francene's radio talk show this morning, I tracked it down and decided to republish it here.

One of the ironies of the last campaign was that I was the strongest on illegal immigration. Arguably, the Republican had the weakest approach on the issue-- despite his reputation and his use of barbed wire fences in some of his mailings.

And it's important to note that legal and especially illegal immigration are tough issues-- and not conducive to 30-second sound bite answers.

I probably agree with NumbersUSA quite a bit. (I haven't studied their stuff closely in awhile.) But there are some problems with the video that are worth pointing out...

In response to a video by Roy Beck (of NumbersUSA) sent to me by a friend, I thought I'd share my responses with you!

1925-1965 is selective and somewhat/quite misleading
-I'm pretty sure that immigration was quite a bit greater in the 20-30 years prior to that

-for his argument (labor market tightness), the numbers should be presented as % vs. #'s

-with increasing populations, one would expect the numbers to be higher over time

Other stuff...
-an important but overlooked issue here: since 1965, we have moved toward allowing less productive/educated workers into the country

-a crucial but overlooked issue: there is a vital difference between immigrants who come here to work, etc. (a series of mutually beneficial trades)-- vs. receive welfare and other taxpayer-financed benefits; so the larger issue is the prevalence of govt-funded programs-- in the context of education, health, and poverty

-an exaggerated point: a second generation or at least a third generation immigrant is not an immigrant but an "us" (for example, I'm a sixth generation immigrant; if he had made the presentation in the mid-1800s, I would have been a red instead of a green!)

-his stuff on fertility is correct and important in a variety of policy contexts (note also that most other developed countries actually have below-replacement rates of fertility)

-there are legitimate concerns about preserving "social fabric", but it is difficult to quantify when that becomes a problem

-as he notes, there are regional/local differences on the impact of immigration that are important to consider

-as you noted, illegal is different from legal


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