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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Critical Analysis Essay on "We Won’t Solve Nation’s Problems without First Targeting Immigration" by Yeh Ling-Ling

Critical Analysis Essay on "We Won’t Solve Nation’s Problems without First Targeting Immigration" by Yeh Ling-Ling

The article entitled “We Won’t Solve Nation’s Problems without First Targeting Immigration” presents a powerful and emotional but flawed argument on the lax immigration policies of the United States and its social and economic impact on the United States.  It explains that the root of the social evils in the United States is the lax immigration policy and that the solution to the problem of health care, employment, crime and terrorism is to impose a stricter immigration policy.  Yeh stressed that it is not possible to find solution to the country’s crime, employment, terrorism and health care problems without first controlling immigration.  While Yeh is not against immigration per se as it was admitted that they can be assets to the United States, Yeh is against uncontrolled immigration.  Yeh advocates the reduction of the influx of immigrants in the United States as a solution to most of the United States social, economic and political problems. 

First, Yeh argues that the influx of immigrants creates a high demand for job which the labor market could not afford to adequately supply.  From a theoretical standpoint, it may appear to be a strong argument against immigration.  If there is a continuous influx of immigrants and the job market could not supply these demands then unemployment rate increases.  Immigrants and citizens will be competing for substantially similar job.  Employers shall have the prerogative to reduce the wages for these jobs because they know that the job applicants will nonetheless accept these jobs. 

However, the assertion is not supported by research.  Economists say that in most cases immigrants help fuel the American economy because of their willingness to perform jobs that not every citizen is willing to do.  For some people, immigrants actually give more than what they can take insofar as helping the economy is concerned.  If the employers hire and employ illegal immigrants at a cheaper price then employers can cut their overhead cost by a significant amount.  Lesser overhead expenditures mean more savings.  More savings translate to more profits.  More profits mean for incentive for businesses and investors to put up their own businesses in the United States.  Eventually, the benefit goes back to the job market because new investors put up their businesses in the United States.  (Deborah White p.3)  

Second, Yeh appears to present a strong argument that the immigrants are taking over the jobs that should go to the citizens of the United States.  Research shows that immigrants are not displacing citizens from their jobs.  It does not lead to lower wages and lower terms and conditions of employment.  In fact, the adverse economic impact on a relatively small number of unskilled workers is even mitigated by the gains the United States economy receives from the lower prices of goods produced by the immigrants.  Considering that wage is one of the factors that determine the cost of the goods and services, lower wages will result to cheaper goods and services.  This gives the public opportunity to purchase lower-priced goods and services.      

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Third, Yeh argues that the existing jobs should instead be given to low-skilled unemployment citizens and non-violent former prison inmates instead of the immigrants who come to the country.  The choice however of whom should the employers accept as his employee belongs to the employers alone.  It does not belong to the government.  It does not belong to the Yeh Ling-Ling.  It belongs to the employers who should decide for themselves which job applicants they should accept based on business decisions.  It should be borne in mind that these immigrants do not have any power over the individuals whom they work for.  Thus, to say that immigrants are taking jobs that belong to United States citizens is unfair to the immigrants who work hard to earn their living and who went through the same process as the citizens in applying their job. 

Fourth, it may also appear that Yeh’s example that California which receives more immigrants than any other state is on the verge of bankruptcy.  It may be true that California has the highest number of immigrants in the United States but it is unfair to blame these immigrants for the current financial condition of the State of California.  Whether California is on the verge of bankruptcy is debatable.  But to say that the immigrants are responsible for the financial condition of California is totally absurd since these immigrants do not have the direct access to the total budget of California.  They are not spending it directly.  They are also not in-charge of allocating the budget.  Secondly, the statement is not supported by evidence.  On the contrary, in a 64-page study entitled “The Impact of Immigration on the California Economy” which was commissioned by the California Economic Strategy Panel, it was found that California has done better than the national average over the past 15 years according the standards of wages, job creation and unemployment.  The report even stressed that the average wages in California have risen faster than those in the nation as a whole since 1990s. (Tom Abate 1)  In addition, its job growth has even exceeded the country since 1994. (Tom Abate 1)  Moreover, UC Berkeley economic David Card said that while it is true that immigration gives an economy more mouths to feed, immigration makes up for it since they help in expanding the economy. (Tom Abate 1)

Fifth, Yeh also blames the immigrants for the country’s budget deficits saying that low-skilled workers who are presumed to have lower incomes are not likely to pay enough taxes.  Yeh also added that the even if they pay the right taxes it is not even enough to offset the cost of educating their children and pay for social services.  The argument is also not based on studies and empirical research.  On the contrary, in 2007 the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) stated in the context of the overall budget, the net impact of immigration is relatively small. (James R. Horney 1) It is true that the immigration results in the increase of federal expenditure in terms of social welfare programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, but the immigrants help in the increase of government revenue in terms of the requirement of the payment of back taxes for immigrants who will gain legal status, increase in aggregate wages, incentives for more accurate reporting of income and imposition of fines and penalties. (James R. Horney 1)  It would appear that the revenues to be derived from immigrants would even reduce the deficit by a significant amount. 

Sixth, Yeh likewise argues that immigrants should be blamed for the 9/11 attacks and for the $100 billion spent on measures to curb international terrorism.  The 9/11 terrorist attack is a shock for everyone even for the immigrants who have resided in the country for years and have considered the United States their home.  While it is true that the persons responsible for the World Trade Center Bombing and the Pentagon bombing are foreigners, the immigrants per se should not be blamed for terrorism.  Instead, the government agencies and officials which have been allocated a substantial amount of public money to protect the nation against domestic and international threat should be blamed for what had happened.  Evidence shows that the terrorists planned the attack for months.  Intelligence officials should have known and found out about the coordinated attacks since these activities do not just happen without planning, funds and support.  The government should have been able to prevent them. Moreover, immigrants should not be blamed even for the government allocation since they were not the ones who made the decision to spend that amount of money to fight terrorism.  They were also not the ones who influenced the lawmakers and the government officials to make that decision.  Thus, to blame the immigrants for the government policies is highly absurd. 

No rational individual would perhaps disagree with Yeh’s statement that immigrants are assets to the country and that massive immigration affects everybody.  The issue is when does immigration become massive? Who determines when immigration becomes so huge that it affects the country? What are the parameters and standard? Yeh believes that immigration is already massive.  But there are economists who are experts in the field refuting the said statement. 

Based on Yeh’s arguments presented on the issue of immigration, it is clear that Yeh’s knowledge about the impact of immigration on the economic and crime is not adequately and sufficiently supported by studies and empirical research.  It would appear that Yeh’s knowledge and background information about the topic of immigration are based on hearsay and generalizations of the information received from advocates against immigration.  At first glance, the arguments may appear to be convincing and persuasive.  Yet if the arguments will be closely analyzed loopholes can be seen and detected which was already done in this analysis. 
Yeh is efficient in appealing to the sympathy of the millions of unemployed and victims of terrorism. Yet, as already emphasized the arguments do not hold any water since empirical research refutes the generalizations which Yeh has presented.  Yeh’s arguments could be improved and made more convincing if it will be supported by research and studies.  Statements from economists and researchers and other experts on the topic could have added persuasive effect on the article.


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