It looks like the folks over at Powerline blog are asking the same question I have been pondering about immigration reform, “Will Immigration Reform Make Americans Poorer?” Last month I wondered out loud, “How Does The Economy Grow with Immigration Reform?” Below is a comment I wrote on the Powerline blog that brought up an aspect no one seems to want to talk about.
I am still confused how the economy can grow if we do not make any progress employing the existing citizens who have low education, low job experience, and low job skills. This employment problem has not gone away. Unfortunately I do not see the businesses that hire low income workers growing. Adding more immigrants into this employment sector will necessarily make this situation more competitive and provide an incentive for the illegal immigrant to maintain their tax free status. At its best immigration reform displaces one disadvantaged group with another disadvantaged group.
About the only way I can see the economy growing under a scenario involving adding 40 to 60 million new low skill immigrants is if we have a boom in low tech industries that absorbs not only the new immigrants but also the unemployed/under employed. A low tech boom like that has not occurred in the US economy in a very long time and if one was to occur in North America, Mexico would be the more likely choice.