Illegal Immigration Not the Cause of Unemployment Among Blacks

Published June 7, 2007

Letter to the editor: Sun-Times

The conventional wisdom is that illegal immigration hurts blacks and the poor. And if folks like well meaning writer, Monroe Anderson (Immigration hurts blacks, June 3), use their wit to give this unproven statement longer legs to stand on, we are only giving crutches to those who aren’t crippled. And of course, when you give able folks a crutch, they will start to limp.

An analysis of US immigration from a recent issue of the Economist – quoting research from a study by the Wharton School of Business – pointed out that a low-skilled worker can make $9.34 an hour in America, compared with just $2.56 in Mexico. The author also pointed out that it’s possible such migrants may depress the wages of low skilled Americans, but by no more than 5%, which is the widely cited estimate. Immigrants are not taking jobs away from blacks or the poor in large numbers; they are meeting the need for labor. Yes, Mexican workers gain dramatically by moving north. No, they are not the source of unemployment among blacks and the poor.

Lee Walker ([email protected]) is founder and president of The New Coalition for Economic and Social Change and a senior fellow for The Heartland Institute.