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Economy: Increase immigration for economic growth?

Gov. Rick SnyderIllegal immigrants, according to comments on our discussion boards, are a large factor in why California is in the fiscal mess it's in. They've bankrupted our state, commenters say, by using up all our resources such as health clinics and public schools, and we can't afford to keep subsidizing outsiders when we can't even afford to take care of our own.

On Wednesday Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) must have made these folks happy when he flip-flopped on his position regarding comprehensive immigration reform, saying more money ought to be devoted to protecting the border, despite those costs being at an all-time high.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder takes a different view, at least for his state. He'd like to increase immigration and foster diversity. This would be "a selling point for businesses that can spur economic growth in the state," reports the Detroit News [via Faith In Public Life]. Speaking at "Michigan Muslim Capitol Day," Snyder said, "We need to celebrate diversity; it's one of our strengths." He also encouraged legal immigration, particularly those involving foreign-born natives with graduate degrees.

In a recent editorial, "Immigration, state by state," the board pointed to several new immigration proposals from states including Utah, Oklahoma and South Carolina, and urged the federal government to step up and create one cohesive policy for immigration. In Friday’s Op-Ed pages, Tamar Jacoby, president of ImmigrationWorks USA, argues that although only the federal government can fix the immigration system, efforts by individual states could prod Capitol Hill to comprehensive reform.


Arizona's Rep. Jeff Flake shifts support from comprehensive reform

Immigration, state by state

The conversation: Three views on immigration policy

Working on immigration

An immigration reform window opens

In immigration reform, arguing against workplace raids

--Alexandra Le Tellier

Photo: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. Credit: Emily Zoladz / the Grand Rapids Press


Comments () | Archives (30)

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We have enough workers. Only let those immigrate who are ready, willing, and able to provide work for our unemployed.


Just tell me what would happen if all the immigrants that are in the shadows would be allowed to come out from the shadows?

Would that have a positive effect on our economy or a negative one?

I would think they would have a positive effect on our economy just imagine them being able to open bank accounts, being able to finance a vehicle or a home. How about them paying into the system as suppose to many who get paid in cash, would that be a good thing for us ???


Just what we need - more illegals immigrating and stealing American jobs. We can save the taxpayers billions if they would just go home and stay in Mexico. No more gov't handouts to feed them and provide them with free healthcare. No more stealing jobs here in America. You want to save the Calif taxpayers billions and maybe balance the budget? No more illegal immigration!


Let's see a breakdown of the economic impact of legal vs illegal immigration.




Is diversity really strength? Does having a bunch of third grade educated Guatemalans really make us more competitive in the global marketplace? How has Michigan gained in the last few years by becoming home to more and more Somalis? If anything diversity has promoted more divisiveness and polarization. The only reason business is for increased immigration and accompanying "diversity" is that it would allow them to divide and conquer.

More Money Is Not The Answer

The generally accepted figure puts the net cost of illegal immigration somewhere around 10B per year in CA. So if, for the sake of discussion, all the illegals were gone with the snap of your fingers our budget problem would be solved in 2-3 years without the "temporary" tax increase AND without the cuts that are sure to be enacted after the tax increase fails on the ballot.

Its unbelievable that people have let the problem get so far out of control over the last few decades given how the public sector unions will picket over the prospect of being forced to take a few days off a month. The politicians are being held hostage by pressure groups who will run smear campaigns calling them racists if they speak above a whisper about actually dealing with the problem.

An interesting double standard that is yelled from the mountaintops is "Police cannot enforce immigration, that is the jurisdiction of the feds" knowing that the problem is so far out of control the feds could not handle it without local cooperation. Conversely, if a so called hate crime is committed, these individuals are screaming for a federal indictment.


Actually, Saul, illegal aliens already are able to finance cars, homes and just about everything else you can think of. Illegal aliens own plenty of property in this country, something an American living in any other country illegally would not be allowed to do. And I think most banks have special programs to assist illegal aliens in opening accounts without the usual necessary paperwork required of the rest of us. As far as illegals being paid under the table in tax-free cash, those pay scales are so low they would generate little or no tax revenue if legalized. What their presence in the workforce does do however is drive down the wages of American citizens and legal immigrants, and with it the potential tax revenue from a better paid American worker. And at this point in the discussion the Left would say “so why not legalize them thus forcing the employer to pay them a better salary?” To which I would reply “why not deport the illegals, shrink the labor pool and thereby force the employer to pay a better wage to Americans and legal immigrants due to the forces of supply and demand.” But that would be operating by established economic rules, something the Left is loath to do. They would rather make things up as they go along, to more easily engineer their broader socio/cultural transformation agenda.

And just where the heck are these ‘shadows’ I’ve been hearing about for 20 years? There are no shadows. That is just vacuous hyperbole concocted by the Left to engender sympathy for those who deserve little of it.

Mitchell Young

California has by far the highest percentage immigrant population, yet also has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation and is, despite two decades of tax hikes (remember when sales tax was 6%?) , is still a fiscal mess. Somehow this lesson is lost on politicians from other states. And its not like Michigan doesn't have its own immigrant population, including the largest Arab/Muslim community, most of which is of recent origin. That didn't save the auto industry, any more than mass immigration of Pakistanis and others into the UK saved that country's textile mills.

But sure, immigration creates 'growth' . If we imported every single Bangladeshi and had them doing exactly what they are doing back in Bangladeshi, we would have 'economic growth', but obviously we'd have a lower *per capita* GDP. And even per capita GDP is a bad measure of quality of life. It ignores negative externalities (things like traffic, congested cities, crowded classrooms). Worse includes measures taken to abate those externalities. For example, the sidetracked attempt to build a road through part of 'trestles' at San Onofre would have been counted as 'jobs' and 'growth', but this attempt to mitigate Inland Empire traffic, itself driven by population growth, was a definite negative for surfers, nature lovers, and the state as a whole.

Or take all those folks who hire a 'leaf, mow and blow' guy. In the rare event they pay on the books, that would count as economic activity, but given the obesity epidemic in the country, many middle aged homeowners would be better off is they spent an hour or three on the weekend pushing a mower or working some manual hedge clippers.

Mitchell Young

"Illegal aliens own plenty of property in this country, something an American living in any other country illegally would not be allowed to do. "

Absolutely, Dr. Zaius. In fact, Americans (any foreigners) living *legally* in Mexico are forbidden from purchasing much of the most desirable property in that country, namely anything within 100 km (60 miles) of an international border or 50 km (30 miles) from the coast. Any yet the Mexican government lectures us on how we treat 'immigrants.'.




Lots of businesses want more people to come here so they can sell them more products: fuel, cars, houses, food, insurance, appliances, clothes, etc. But where will our huge and growing population ever find enough jobs to buy those products?

Joel Wischkaemper

Not even funny. If you actually had examined the protests against... AGAINST the illegal aliens would you would have discovered the constant theme is... illegal aliens are the most expensive workers in the world. One site that may tell you how that works well is... http://www.fairus.org. Another.. http://www.cis.org.

You folks called us dirty names and we kept pounding that same idea.. we cannot afford the illegal aliens. Anyone who looks carefully in the http://www.cis.org web site will discover the actual immigrants are having a dreadful time when they come to this country. Another excellent place to look at data on the issue of actual immigrants, would be. ..

All of the sites I listed have been giving advice to Congress, and cussing the idea of a million a year as a really stinky deal.

Joel Wischkaemper

And just where the heck are these ‘shadows’ I’ve been hearing about for 20 years? There are no shadows. That is just vacuous hyperbole concocted by the Left to engender sympathy for those who deserve little of it.
Amen. And all who understand the illegal aliens have something in the area of third to fifth grade educations for the most part will understand we just do NOT need that many street sweepers or garbage truck drivers. For that reason, a substantial part of amnesty would be in the effort to educate the illegal aliens become citizen to the extent that they could participate in this society. Walla...
Cost of deporting... $94 billion.

Cost of amnesty for illegal aliens... 2.6 trillion.

A LOT of education for amnestied illegal aliens.


Detroit is a hell hole. He's so desperate for taxpayers, he'd invite real aliens from outer space to come work there.

Michigan is the last place to beg for Third World illegal aliens...one has only to look at the fabulous State it's in....as in Bankrupt!


All of the individuals quoted in the article who viewed immigration favorably were speaking of LEGAL immigration. And the border and immigration debates currently on the burner in our country have nothing to do with being anti-immigration, just being anti-ILLEGAL immigration. I have known people who were here on visas, green cards, and other legal immigrant status. I have never had a problem with anyone who entered the United States of America legally. I do have a major problem with those entering illegally, or who violate the terms of their legal entry and stay here in violation of our LAWS. Legal immigrants are not a problem. Illegal immigrants are.
And there should be some remedy for those who come into the US just to get citizenship for their children. They demean the value of citizenship. It should mean more than you were "born" here. Citizenship of at least one parent should be required to have citizenship conferred automatically upon birth. But I also feel that citizenship should be conferred automatically for any non-citizen who serves at least one tour-of-duty in one of our armed services and is granted an honorable discharge. Don't agree with the "DREAM Act" or amnesty.


"He also encouraged legal immigration, particularly those involving foreign-born natives with graduate degrees."

These are not the ones who drop their anchor babies and have their illegal kids in our public school system...

MM stuck in LA

If you come here LEGALLY, that's great. Welcome to the USA!
If you sneak in here with criminal intent and continuing to suck up our country's resources, get the hell out.

That's pretty simple to me.


According to the report "Ebbing Tides in the Golden State", since 1990, Los Angeles has 1 million more residents and 400,000 fewer jobs. The largest economic growth is in the "informal economy" or people working off of the books and not paying payroll taxes. This "opinion piece" is typical from the LA Dog Trainer. Little or no facts with a clear agenda. This was probably written or at least paid for by the Chamber of Commerce.


Illegal immigrants are THE MAIN FACTOR why California is in the fiscal mess it's in. Just call it as it is.
When I see today's L.A. I can't even think about augmenting either illegal or even legal immigration, the hotel is full.


The Times is truly ridiculous as it keeps pushing for more freebies and goodies and more immigration of its beloved Mexicans. All the while California crashes and burns.

I've lived her all my life; I'm in my fifties. Please, what else can you attribute the massive decline in California's quality of life, economic prospects, quality of schools, budget deficits etc. to BUT mass, Third World, indiscriminate immigration.

When California was 80 or 85 percent native-born "Anglo," it was a paradise. The Times can fluff and fudge and fake all it wants, and employ your most erudite public reations personnel--oops, I meant "reporters"--to propagandize otherwise, but the facts are staring you right in the face.


Hear that all you auto workers in Michigan? Your governor wants to flood the job seekers with more Latino immigrants. Gotta have "diversity"!


Unfortunately the majority of the illegals in this country are poorly educated and in many cases illiterate in their own country. These people will never be able to pay more into the system than they take out. A blanket legalization of illegals will only add to the already unstainable deficit. How Governor Snyder did the math escapes me but the data is out there (RAND)that supports the negatives of a blanket amnesty and how much it would add to the deficit both State and Federal.


Saul, how does legalizing millions of low paid, low-earning people help us when they can then access government programs for food, money, and assistance? Are you able to do simple math? What does taxing minimum wage people do for us in the long run? NOTHING.

We do not need anymore people draining our system, with their useless skills, contributing very little.

Does anyone here honestly think that the next medical breakthrough, scientific breakthrough, or the answer to getting us off of oil is going to come from those people walking through the desert to get here? Are those engineers, scientists, doctors, etc. coming here? Of course not, so stop the sad violin music and deport these illegal aliens already.

I have lived in many parts of the world, and no other country is as soft or weak as were are when it comes to dealing with illegal aliens. Try that nonsense where I am from, there is no need for a fence, border patrol, or any of that nonsense.



Boarded up abandoned homes in Flint and Detroit look like palaces to third world immigrants. You can buy a 4 bedroom home in Flint for 10 grand! Of course, there aren't any jobs, but don't let that stop you.

Paco Mexicana



1.) MDs



Am I going to hear again that lie about how uneducated immigrants are going to save our country by paying more into the treasury than they consume?

Half the American Citizens don't pay more into the treasury than they consume and they put a third as many kids in school at 15 thousand per kid per year as the immigrants. If the illegal has a wife, three single brothers and himself, all healthy and employed, they all together will not pay enough taxes to cover the expence that One Child requires from the system. But they typically have three children by age 25.

Then there is the claim, probably by the next person to comment here, that Illegals do not get welfare and all the other social services. Well, since it is illegal to ASK them whether they are a citizen, all they have to do is apply and all our law abiding citizens working in the offices of the many welfare and social services just assume they are citizens and they walk away without even having to lie about it. But ALL of them get it ALL the time. A 5 person household, dad, mom and three kids don't live on the 12 bucks an hour dad makes. They live from the welfare, rent subsidies, food stamps and charity from our broke society and we are in denial.

Monique B

Increasing immigration to increase "diversity" begs the question: why do we need more diversity? Look at L.A.: there are immigrants from hundreds of countries here.
There is only one ultimate result to increasing immigration and that is to drive down wages paid to existing workers. Senators Feinstein and Boxer whored themselves in the 90s, taking money from Corporate America and cash-rich recruiting firms. These two women played a big role in flooding the IT market here with foreign labor, not only driving down the hourly rates but actually putting thousands out of work.
Unless and until all Americans, especially those with job experience and those who paid for expensive educations, have decent-paying jobs, there is no need to increase immigration. And politicians need to stop wasting billions of our tax dollars, close the borders for crissake and deport ANYBODY who is in this country illegally.


Why are many making a fuzz about illegal immigrants? They "take jobs away" because they unlike others, go out and look those jobs. Ask yourself this, if immigrants were to leave, would YOU citizen of this great nation go out to the fields in 100degree wether, to pick fruit and vegitables all day? NO you wouldnt because unlike them, you have opportunities. They are hard working peopl thats why many companies pick them immigrants who dont even have a social security number over you american citizen who has one. Stop judging them, they also contribute to this nation. They pay for they health care, becasue they dont meet the requirenmets to get it for free. They pay double of what YOU pay for their schooling. If legalized they would bring more income to this nation, make it safer, because they would have documentation amd lets he honest they deserve it for all their hard work and sacrifice. I ofcourse know that not all immigrants are perfect many as in any other culture or country make wrong choices and get involved in crime. No one is perfect, so stop it.

Paco Mexicana


The last thing America needs is more illiterate, unskilled aliens.



These peopel canpay taxes and usher in a new era of prosperity.



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