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Tuesday, June 19, 2007
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I am writing about a recent article in HRE Online -- "Winners and Losers in Immigration Reform" by Peter Cappelli which presented a very one-sided version of the immigration debate citing George Borjas' economic data as an example of the impact of immigrants on the economy.

George Borjas is considered a very strict conservative economist and there are other economists who have done similar research demonstrating the benefits immigrants can have in a community.

If you are going to present one side of the issue on a listserve that is intended to educate about human resources matters, I would ask you to present the other side of the story as well.

Here is an excellent article by Ben Johnson of the American Immigration Law Foundation discussing the benefits of immigration on our economy and some of the reasons that raising wages won't necessarily mean that more people will decide to become farmworkers, including the increased amount of education American workers have which leads folks to trend toward non-menial labor jobs.

Perhaps you can link to Mr. Johnson's article and present the other side of the issue.

Emily Mize Robare

Des Moines, IA

Cappelli responds:

I appreciate your interest in this topic and read with some interest the piece from the American Immigration Law Foundation, which describes itself as an organization advocating the benefits of immigration. But I?m sure they advocate in a very balanced way. Mr. Johnson?s argument that there are just too few dropouts in the US now to staff low-wage jobs ignores the fact that the unemployment rate among drop-outs is over 30%. It is absolutely false to claim that there are no people who could or would do these jobs if they paid more.  

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The only people who have ever described George Borjas as a strict conservative are those who don?t like the results of his research on immigration. He has been an active researcher for decades with a record that defies a simple political classification.  

I can?t see that it is one-sided to point out that there are winners and losers with respect to immigration. It does seem one-sided to suggest that immigration has only pluses, even if one?s livelihood depends on advocating that position.

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