Two statements are often heard, to justify ongoing massive immigration. One hears them spoken by everyone from talking heads to politicians to folks chatting at backyard barbecues. They are meant to “end the argument.” But I submit, they are not valid.
Cliché #1: We are a nation of immigrants.
This cliché betrays a lack of reflection on world history.
1. All the lands of the world were once unpopulated. They became peopled through “immigration.” Thus, every nation was originally a nation of immigrants. Nor does the case differ in that those primal lands were unsettled: the original settlements of most lands, at least in the West, have been readjusted countless times through conquest and/or migration. The USA is not fundamentally different in this respect; it’s just that our immigration was more recent on the stage of world history.
2. Even granting that we are a nation of immigrants, so what? Because my great-grandfather was an immigrant, I, and all my fellow countrymen, are obligated in 2007 to keep the floodgate open? Where is the major premise that this enthymeme is based on? It simply does not exist.
Cliché #2: Immigrants are needed to do the jobs Americans refuse to do.
When you unpack its meaning, this cliché is particularly vicious.
Translated into simple terms, this means only that not enough Americans are willing to clean other people’s toilets at minimum wage.
There is always work that needs to be done, and there are always people that are wiling to work. The equalizing of demand and supply for labor leads to a compromise in each party’s desire, known as the market labor rate. At a higher rate, there would be more supply then demand, which would lead to discounting and drive the price back down. At a lower rate, there would be a shortage, leading those that were shorted to bid the price back up. This is Economics 101.
Now, if that equilibrium rate for cleaning toilets would be $15 dollars per hour, that’s perfectly fine. That means that at $15, the number of people that are willing to pay for that service, rather than do it themselves, exactly equals the number of people willing to render the service at that rate.
So when they say, “Americans are not willing to do this work,” what they are really saying is, “they won’t do it at the rate I would be happy to pay.”
There is no shortage of labor willing to do any kind of work.