Immigration Economics: Illegal Aliens Are Our Bread and Butter

The Great Recession Blog
by David Haggith


By Rrenner (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever wondered why politicians make some immigration illegal and then turn a blind eye to illegal immigration wherever it is happening … for decades? What about why they talk so much about building walls to keep out the vast hoards, rather than simply arresting the much smaller number of people who hire illegal immigrants? Surely drying up the jobs that are available to illegal immigrants would be much more economical than building a thousand-mile wall. This article will tell you why we make some immigration illegal and then turn a blind eye to it.

Have you also wondered why politician make it illegal for millions of people to enter the country and then eventually support naturalizing those people who broke the laws these very politicians made? This article will answer that, too.

First, I’ll state that immigration is largely about economics; and by that I do not simply mean that people are coming to the U.S. to gain economic opportunity, though, of course, they are. Nor do I simply mean immigrants are taking jobs away from Americans, though, of course, they are. Nor am I going to talk about the welfare costs that come with migrant workers because those get discussed a lot.

I want to talk about a major economic factor in the immigration issue that is the elephant in the room that no one is talking about, and it’s not just a GOP elephant. Immigration economics has a dark underbelly that neither party will ever bring up. Since immigration reform is one of the major planks of the Republican’s top candidate for the presidency, there is no time like the present to talk about the elephant.

Neither party wants to end illegal immigration nor make all immigration legal

The fact is both parties have created an immigration dance that they love. First, they make immigration illegal, then they both turn a blind eye toward illegal immigration. That, in turn, causes the number of illegal aliens to grow quickly as word travels that “they won’t really do anything about it.” Eventually, a large subculture of illegal immigrants becomes a serious social problem that demands political resolution because citizens of the country start getting worked up over the social conflicts they are feeling and the jobs they see going to illegal immigrants.

The next step of the dance is the tricky one. We saw it happen in Reagan’s day. Both parties compromise in order to fix the problem without fixing it. They fix it by creating amnesty, which they always say is not amnesty because the citizens don’t like amnesty. They don’t fix it in in that they promise all the citizens who are angry about illegal immigration they will only let these illegal aliens in the door because turning them away would create a humanitarian crisis since the number has grown so large.Then they will batten the gates much tighter and never let it happen again. Only … they never do batten the gates, and so it happens all over again. Never mind that the number of illegal immigrants only grew to the point of becoming a humanitarian crisis because those same politicians turned a blind eye to illegal immigration for years.

This article will also answer why that illegal immigration cycle continues on a rinse-and-repeat basis. By the end of the article you may think, “Wow, he is really jaded about politicians,” or you might thing, “Wow, that makes total sense from an economic standpoint, and it really, really stinks.” You’d be right either way.

Illegal aliens are our bread and butter, and we eat them for lunch. More particularly, politicians know what side their bread is buttered on. They get paid to provide cheap labor for rich people.

Let’s break immigration economics down to some obvious facts that are completely avoided in the conversation about immigration reform.

The economics of Illegal immigration

The answer to all these questions is really pretty simple:  Illegal immigrants provide the closest thing the U.S. has to a peasant class. It is important that politicians make them illegal so that they will be true peasants (people with no native rights nor any say in the laws that govern them). It’s important that politicians turn a blind eye to them so that we will have peasants here … where we want them. It doesn’t accomplish anything toward creating a class of serfs to do work for the rich if we keep them out of the country. At the same time, if they have rights as citizens (or as legal immigrants), they will not remain serfs. We’ll have a peasant revolt.

The wealthy business owners have wanted a peasant class ever since they could no longer have a slave class. A peasant class is the next best thing. Often, they have lusted for such laborers overseas, and they have gotten politicians into office who made it possible for them to exploit an offshore peasant class with sweat shops.

However, there are many jobs that cannot go overseas. If you’re going to run hotels or restaurants for people traveling in the US or if you’re going to farm land here in the US, that work has to be done here by more expensive American workers. If only we had a resident peasant class to do the work that American workers don’t want to do because it doesn’t pay enough. Hmm. Let’s create one.

The Bush dynasty opened the doors to outsourcing as many jobs to lower-wage workers outside the country as possible in order to help wealthy stock holders amass more wealth, but there wasn’t anything either Bush could do about those jobs that have to be done inside the country … such as cleaning hotels and bussing dishes at restaurants or picking tomatoes grown domestically…. or was there?

For those jobs, they needed to insource the outsourcing. In other words, they needed to find ways to get peasant labor into the country. You know, the kind of labor that doesn’t expect health insurance and doesn’t cry about working conditions and most of all, works cheap.

Strong immigration laws make that possible so long as you plan to create them then mostly ignore them. When someone is illegal they are willing to work without benefits and with fewer rights and for less money because they have to stay under the radar. They are afraid of standing up for their rights. Heck, they hardly have rights to stand up for; but if they did stand up, they’d be deported instantly. (Those are the ones who particularly get to be sent home and made a show of so the p0liticians can convince the citizens that they are trying to uphold the laws.) Of course, you have to continually arrest some and send them back home in order to keep the fear real.

Making some people’s presence in the country illegal while turning a blind eye to their being here assures a peasant class of workers. It’s as simple as that: Illegal immigrants are willing to work at subsistence levels because that is what they come from. They don’t need a wage that makes an American living. They have no say in what the government does to them or with them because, as peasants, they have no vote;  but also because they have to keep their heads low. The fact that they have almost no status in society at all assures they will remain cheap.

As always, if you want to know why things happen, follow the money.

If you think I’m being cynical and that the government is not intentionally letting illegal aliens in to take jobs at low wages, then ask yourself this simple question: What would happen if, instead of trying to arrest and return home millions of illegal aliens (which the government maintains is nearly impossible), the government just started arresting and jailing the thousands of people who have hired them … starting with just the top one-hundred? The jobs would dry up before you even made it through the top one hundred.

That’s what would happen, and you know it. People will hire illegal aliens if there is only a financial penalty if you get caught and if they’re pretty sure the government will keep turning a blind eye to the situation; but start putting those employers in jail, and all employers will quickly be checking the ID and green cards of their migrant workers to make sure they have a legal right to work here.

As soon as the jobs dried up, illegal immigrants who could get no work would find their plight worse here than in their home country, and they would return home of their own free will … unless, of course, you put them on welfare because you’re softhearted, but also softheaded about the costs … and you feel it is the United State’s obligation to save the entire world from poverty and to make your kids and grandkids pay for your benevolence by financing the welfare with national debt.

You see, you really don’t have to round up millions of people hiding in bushes. You have to round up only hundreds of big employers whose whereabouts are easily known by their big houses. Notice that does not happen. Not ever. You really don’t have to build a wall either. Notice the wall has been talked about for, at least, thirty years and still isn’t finished.

Big business wants cheap labor, and politicians protect their benefactors. The cheapest labor is that which is illegal but knowingly allowed to happen anyway. The justification for turning a blind eye is always, “Americans don’t want these jobs.” If your head is dumber than a turnip and stuck equally deep in the dirt, then you have long accepted that as truth. Actually, it’s just that it sounded reasonable, so you didn’t think it through. If you were dumber than a turnip you wouldn’t be reading this economics blog.

To think it through, ask yourself why Americans don’t want those jobs. Is it because they’re dirty jobs? That’s the party line. And that may be a small part if it, but cleaning hotels isn’t that bad. Washing and bussing dishes isn’t that bad. Picking tomatoes isn’t that bad.

Before you say, “Hold on; it’s bad enough,” let me agree that none of it is desirable work to be sure. I mean, I don’t want to go do it. However, American citizens line up to do a lot worse jobs … such as cleaning out and repairing sewer lines. So, why will an American worker clean out a sewer line but not pick a pretty tomato?

The answer, again, is pretty straight forward when you think it through: the guy who cleans out your sewer line is a plumber, and he makes a whole lot more money per hour to do that work than he could doing those other jobs. If he could make the same amount doing dishes, don’t you think he’d rather be inside cleaning dishes than outside in the mud cleaning sewer pipes? Bending over the tomato plants will also work just as well for sporting that plump plumber derrière.

Americans don’t want certain jobs because wages for those particular jobs have been suppressed for decades by the availability of cheap, illegal immigrant labor. If there had been a ready pool of people willing to take those jobs at bottom wages, then the wages would have had no choice but to rise over the decades to a level that would attract workers. The dishes have to be washed for the grand hotels to stay in business, and there is a wage at which Americans will line up for the job.

That’s just market dynamics, but that wages sink to whatever the lowest common denominator will accept is also just market dynamics.

Now we come to the point where immigration economics really kicks in. The dirty secret is that it is not just the politicians who want the cheap labor and not just big business owners. American citizens want a peasant class, too. That’s why the politicians get away with it.

Americans want cheap tomatoes and cheaper dinners out. (Well, many of them; not all.) We all know that, if the pickers and the dish washers made more money, we’d have to pay more for the food we eat in and more for the food we eat out. We’d have less to spend on video games and larger televisions. That’s also just a market dynamic. You’re going to pay more for a lot of things if illegal aliens don’t do the jobs for less.

So, from the bottom to the top, illegal immigration is all about the economic benefits of having a peasant class to do the dirty work in order to afford all the citizens a little better lifestyle.

But if establishing some people as an illegal class that many citizens turn a blind eye to is something many Americans want, why do politicians eventually always come around to talking about making more immigrants legal when it is making these workers illegal that maintains the peasant labor pool?

The economics and politics of immigration reform

The rub in all of this is that the peasant class eventually gets large enough to stage a peasant revolt. That’s when the federal government starts to talk once again about amnesty — the politically correct term for which is “immigration reform.”

Naturally, the politicians do all they can to avoid the term “amnesty” because all previous amnesties left a bad taste in Joe and Jolene Citizen’s mouths because the government promised not to let illegals in again and then did so anyway. (And Americans are ambivalent about having a peasant class; they want the cheap tomatoes but they don’t want their own jobs taken, or they feel bad about seeing people work so cheaply, and guilt kicks in.)

In the guilt cycle, we atone for our sins and then go back to repeating them. So, the politicians atone for guilt by granting citizenship to those who have been here awhile and then keep letting lots more illegals in to maintain the peasant worker class. (And Joe and Jolene really don’t think too much about this because they like those cheap tomatoes. If you think about it too much, the guilt kicks in, and it’s hard to enjoy the cheap tomato.)

Bear in mind, these workers have to be illegal to remain a peasant class because that’s what forces them to keep their heads down. Just letting in more legalized labor would not do as much to hold the price down.

Sooner or later, however, you have to give that growing peasant class citizenship. What you forgot about when building up the peasant labor pool is that those people also suffer from this thing we call the “human condition.” So, they start to expect citizenship because they are tired of seeing everyone else around them have more rights and more money than they do. At first, they were glad to come here just for the economic benefit, but by the second generation they start to reach for a higher brass ring. We all rise to a plateau and then feel we could be happy with just thirty percent more.

If you don’t grant a path to citizenship eventually for all your indentured servants, you face a peasant revolt. Their shear numbers give them power. So, the gates finally open under pressure to allow citizenship for the vast bulk of those who are here illegally. And then they shut again, and all eyes turn blind again in order to develop a new peasant class. We are currently at the peasant revolt point where we have to deal with this.

Of course, President Obama has been intimating openly for seven years now that he will open those gates to citizenship. Naturally that has attracted hoards of people to migrate to the U.S. illegally in hopes that they will make it through the gates of the city before they close again. This has made the problem grow fast enough that the time for resolving a peasant revolt is happening during Obama’s own shift as president.

Obama knew that it would happen that way. It’s advantageous because, if he can be the one who gets the hoards in the door, they will probably all become good Democrats to bestow their blessed new votes upon him and his. Most good citizen Democrats will support open-door policies toward mass immigration because it is the soft-hearted thing to do. So, Obama won’t find much resistance from his own party.

At the same time, many Republicans in Congress will support it because the revolt is happening. There is no getting around it. Republicans know that even legal immigrants are willing to work for less than native citizens because of the situations they came out of; so it’s good for big business. Still helps keep down the cost of labor, even if not as much as illegal immigration does.

That is why you continually see there is no will on either side of the aisle to do anything real to stop illegal immigration for good. That’s why the Republicans capitulated overnight in granting money for immigration reform without a word … once the last elections were over. The last thing they would want to do is talk about this elephant in the room and expose the real underpinnings of illegal immigration.

At the same time, they created funding for more border security for political cover. That along with all the talk about how difficult it is to arrest and deport millions is all smoke and mirrors to appease the concerns of rank and file Republicans who are tired of being unemployed. You know now that it was smoke and mirrors because you can see that, after a couple of years, talk of immigration reform has done nothing to stem the problem.

The real solution — if everybody wanted one — is obvious, easy and inexpensive; and I already completely covered it in just one sentence. Jail the employers, and the problem goes away on its own. It’s not about bolting the gates at the border. Illegal immigrants are not coming here because they love the culture; they are coming here for economic opportunity because the peasant class here is a lot better off than the peasant class at home. You can’t blame them. I don’t. Bad as the wages and benefits may be, they’re much better than what they had. If I were in their shoes, I might do the same thing to feed my family.

So, that’s how the game is played and why Republican politicians are ready to allow amnesty without calling it that while making a lot of noise about spending money to bar the gates. That’s why they’ll continue to turn a blind eye toward the employers who hire illegal aliens.

It would be a simple thing to create a law that awards jail time based on the number of illegal aliens hired and to start auditing companies now. It’s not that hard for auditors to see if all employees have the right proof of citizenship, and it’s not hard, as the person doing the hiring, to make sure that all employees have the right documentation and to prove it with facsimiles. You do need good quality documentation that’s hard to counterfeit, but that’s doable, and no system has to be perfect in order to be much better than what we have.

You won’t hear that talked about by any politician — not even Donald Trump, who is still stuck on the wall.

What is the cost of immigration economics?

The New York Times just published an article about some of the costs of immigration that I find to be far worse than paying more for my tomatoes. Frankly, I’ve been coming across these kinds of articles a lot lately. This one talks about the Islamization of England through attempted control of its public schools by Islamic immigrants. It is stunning how far the English have gone in turning some schools into Muslim cultural institutions.

I read a lot of major European newspapers, and I’ve been seeing this all over Europe for a couple of years. It’s a high social cost.

Articles in The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Jerusalem Post, and numerous other major news sites show me a pattern happening in countries that have been too liberal in their immigration policies. Britain, Germany, France, Norway and Sweden, to name a few are all starting to see internal revolt from their native citizens against immigration because certain immigrants truly do not like the culture they are moving into. They seek to turn the country into what they are used to.

I think the resulting homogenization of cultures that happens when immigrants try to turn their new land into their old land is also a great loss of diversity and interest.

Here’s an article on Germany that describes the problem there. Germany has the second-most liberal immigration policy in the world. Guess which nation has the most liberal immigration policy in the world? The U.S.

These social costs of immigration become worse, the faster you bring migrants in and the more you crowd diverse people together. They don’t go away just because you think people shouldn’t react that way to each other. They are a great cost in terms of created conflict.

My own experience of immigration in my neck of the woods

I feel strongly that immigration in the U.S. needs to be slowed way down. Liberals are creating huge culture clashes by not giving people time to get used to each other’s ways, and they’re creating overpopulation and great environmental harm.

I see this happening all around me. The county I live in is experiencing gridlock for the first time in its existence. It has doubled in size in two decades, and most of the population growth has come from immigration. While it is about as far from Latin American as you can get, billboards and signs are now starting to use Spanish with no English translation, but there has also been a huge influx of Russians, Ukrainians, and Indians.

Prior to to the last two decades, population growth and immigration in this county were gradual. Rapid population growth is resulting in tighter and tighter building regulations to avoid the problems of overdevelopment; so how is such immigration good for the people who live here? Why are we better off with more gridlock? (Simple. It sells more real estate, so again it’s all about the money.)

For me it is not about where the people come from, it’s about the shear number of people. Why do I want them? I wouldn’t want this level of immigration even if they all came from merry old England where my ancestors came from. We have enough people, thanks, and far too few good paying jobs. In fact, the increase in the number of employed immigrants during Obama’s reign almost exactly matches the increase in the number of jobs during Obama’s reign. So, guess where the jobs have gone and why they pay less and why so many American citizens have stepped out of the labor force (because the replacement jobs pay less).

Nevertheless, the group of Latino immigrants is different than all others — much different. Have you noticed television programming is becoming increasingly dominated by Spanish all over the nation. That’s never happened with any other language in this county, and yet this country was made from immigrants from all over the world. All other people accepted the language and culture they moved into and made it their own and became a part of it.

This pressure to Latinize our own culture in order to accommodate is not because the people are different than other immigrants. They’re just as nice as any other group of people. What’s different is the volume. Latin American immigrants provided such a major portion of the carefully engineered peasant population that they don’t have to make those changes. They are a large enough group to demand others change to accommodate them. This is the cost of creating a large peasant population.

Lest anyone mistake me in an oversensitive manner to thinking I’m calling them peasants because they are Latin, I want to place a reminder here that race has nothing to do with it. They are peasants because they are part of an illegal population made up of all races that exists intentionally to provide cheap labor for the United States. They exist because politicians intentionally turn a blind eye to them but keep them illegal so they have to hold their heads down.

Big businesses love cheap labor. Big real estate developers love population growth. The locals aren’t having babies fast enough, so immigration means a lot more construction of everything and cheap labor to do the construction so the developers make more money all around.

I have seen vast acres of beautiful, fertile agricultural land and entire forested mountainsides in my county turn into housing developments entirely bought up by immigrants. In my area, its has turned a beautiful rural county into a sprawling suburb. It’s certainly not an environmental positive, but Democrats love it, too.

The cultural cost of mass migration

The current European immigration crisis has become a political inferno because Islamic immigrants try to change the cultures they move into. Just so this discussion is not about Islam, lest people cop an argument that I’m Islamophobic, let’s imagine that it was Jewish mass migration into the United States. In my opinion, if Jews moved to this nation and wanted to speak Hebrew at home and to practise all the rules of Judaism, no one should have a problem with that; but if many Jews moved here and, because they had the power of numbers, insisted that government documents be written in Hebrew, we should all have a major problem with that. If they insisted Torah be fought in public schools we should have a problem with that. If they went further and insisted that Torah law become the law of the land, we should have a very big problem with that.

That, however, has not happened with Jewish immigration, but in some European countries Muslim immigrants are demanding public school classes teach their religion and that government institutes Sharia law. Read the New York Times article above. It will open your eyes about a pattern that is recurring in a number of Western nations.

I certainly would not move to France and expect the French to speak English to me or to write government documents in English for me. Yet, people are moving to France from Islamic nations and demanding that courts start recognizing Sharia or that the country create special courts for Muslims.

Culture clashes like this are unavoidable when immigrants are brought in from one culture in huge numbers. If we do not slow immigration to a level where migrants can assimilate with the culture of the country they are moving into, then we will certainly create more and more internal conflicts that will begin to boil over.

What may seem like a liberal dose of love toward immigrants will prove to be naiveté about human interactions. You have to allow time for people to adjust to each other. When you force people together as Obama has done (doubling the immigration rate) or as Merkel has done in Germany, you continually spawns greater conflict. People do not adjust to each other just because they are forced to.

One of my problems is that I love different cultures so much

I like to see lots of difference in culture. Viva la difference. I don’t like homogeneity. And that’s why people need to assimilate when they move into a country, rather than try to transform it into something more like their own culture and country.

Each country’s culture has its own beauty, and we are losing that all over the world rapidly due to globalization. People in those cultures are feeling that loss. And it’s not inevitable. It’s something politicians are forcing.

Before you throw the race card at me, you need to know this is written by a guy who thinks interracial children are the most beautiful children on earth, who loves the different looks of different races for all the exotic variety of beauty race gives to this world, who loves accents and who loves to travel and who hopes that nations will have distinctive cultures when he travels to them. Since I was a child I was brought up to love all people of all races and to believe that each race is a different kind of flower in God’s flower garden. The world teams with creative diversity, and that’s beautiful.

But I’d like Norway to be Norwegian in culture and England, English and Germany, German and Morocco, Moroccan. I don’t want an homogenized world. I want a world with different nations and cultures that respect each other and get along, and that is not what we are getting with mass migration. We are getting a lot more racial conflict due to people who seem to have an agenda of forcing others together.

I don’t  think crashing people together like neutrons in a particle accelerator is going to create any chemistry other than a great big bang. People who want to migrate to another country should not go with any intention of changing that nation’s culture, which particularly includes language. Go to appreciate and mix with the culture that is there and become a part of it. If you don’t like that culture as it is, just don’t go!

I also don’t think that overpopulation is a good thing. Bringing in hundreds of thousands of immigrants into a state like Florida or California that is, in my opinion, already overpopulated makes no sense. Flooding them into rural areas also makes no sense, as it completely destroys the rural nature of those areas.

I don’t see that we need more people or that we have a duty to take them in. But I DO see that it serves the interest of real estate developers and of businesses that want cheap labor and of politicians that think they can bolster the vote for their party if they give thousands of migrant workers citizenship so they can vote.

What you see in all the fury around Donald Trump’s rallies is the anger that comes from forcing people together in mass finally starting to express itself. And you’re going to see a lot more of it! The cost in civil unrest is going to become quite high as a result of people who think they know how to do good by forcing others together.

The most liberal nations of the world are destroying their own cultures and creating racial and nationalistic strife because many of their citizens value their culture and many of the immigrants do not. In Europe you can see that immigrants treat the culture they are moving into with contempt. Violent crime has surged. While some politicians may be advocating rapid immigration out of a sense that they are doing good (acting benevolent toward underprivileged or persecuted people) and others are doing it just to add voters or bring in cheap labor for their Wall Street benefactors, the cost is going to be great.

Just know that what you are seeing on both sides of Trump rallies is just the tip of the flame unless politicians start backing down from forcing immigration in their already overpopulated nations.

The Great Recession Blog