Monday, July 7, 2008

Illegal immigrants have rights that need to be defended

A series of cases have been brought to court recently where illegal immigrants sue abusive employers. The typical reaction on the street: illegal have no right to complain, they should just be deported. Oh, how wrong this attitude is.

First, it is in the self-interest of the local (legal) labor force to see these cases go to court. If employers can continue to abuse illegals workers without impunity, they will prefer hiring illegals over legals. This reduces the demand for legal workers, and thus the number of employed legal residents and/or their wages.

Second, I hold little esteem for any policy that discriminates against the unlucky. The illegal immigrants in question were unlucky in that they were born in the wrong country. Being harassed by the lucky ones is not what I envision as a realization of human society, and specifically human right. It is not a question of an Economist having a heart, think about it an insurance against being born in the wrong place. Illegals should be helped, not discriminated against.

14 comments:

VIlfredo said...

On top of the interest of locals you describe, the concept of (artificial) borders that delimit who can work where is a huge economic inefficiency. Europe is on the right track with opening its borders and will benefit immensely from it.

Independent Accountant said...

EL:
I say deport 'em all. At the point of a gun. Otherwise this country will face a revolution. You feel sorry for illegals, bully for you. I say illegals have one right: immediate deportation.

Economic Logician said...

IA: Why this sense of entitlement? You have been very lucky to be born in a rich country. Why not not share that luck? And why not take advantage of it as well? As Vilfredo points out, borders create large inefficiencies. The free movement of labor (and capital) is a condition for improved welfare in most economic models I know of.

A fellow Christian said...

Independent Accountant: It looks like you are from Texas, thus highly likely, like me, to follow the principles laid out in the second testament. Do you have any compassion?

Patrick R. Sullivan said...

If employers can continue to abuse illegals workers....

An emotionally charged phrase like the above ought not be found in a blog dedicated to economic logic.

If people voluntarily come here to work, how are they 'abused'?

T-Bone said...

PRS,

If an employer can threaten to turn an illegal over to the authorities and the illegal has no power to report abuse without losing their livelihood, clearly illegals can be exploited.




I think our quota system is so restrictive that we can't legally get the immigrants that we need. So they come illegally to work, often at lower pay than they would get otherwise. If we could deport all illegals, we'd create an economic mess for ourselves. But in reality, more illegals would replace deported illegals, since they come to find jobs, and leave when they don't find any.

People don't like immigrants because they feel (or have been brainwashed to feel) like they are being invaded endlessly, or that they should hate and distrust immigrants (well, Hispanic and other non-white immigrants... white Europeans are okay apparently), or they fear an unfamiliar culture.

Some people say they just don't want illegal immigrants, but they seem to usually not make any distinction between legal or not. They complain about pressing 1 for English, seeing private business and government cater to their demographic with Spanish language signs, labels. and documents. And so these people tend to be opposed to even allowing more legal immigration if not closing off all immigration completely.

Even Independent Accountant shows demagoguery, warning of some phantom revolution.

But other than these unreasonable fears, what is the problem with immigrants? If we allow immigrants to be freer to come legally, they can bring entire families and be just like any other family in the US, contributing to the US economy in both demand and output. Is it because they are poor to begin with that we don't like them? Should we also deport our poor? That doesn't make sense.

Anyway, I agree with EL.

Economic Logician said...

PRS: Thanks for pointing out the typo, I have corrected it. However, my argument is that economic logic dictates that it is in the interest of the local population to prevent illegals from being abused. If not, illegals become a better bargain for employers and drive the legals and locals out.

Patrick R. Sullivan said...

I'm still trying to figure out how illegals are 'abused' by having their lives bettered. If they don't like how they're treated, they'll either go home or find another job.

Vilfredo said...

They are abused because current labor laws are not applied in their employment. Whether they are illegally in the county or not does not matter, everybody is equal in the application of the law.

Patrick R. Sullivan said...

They are abused because current labor laws are not applied in their employment.

Circular reasoning. If current labor laws are not in their best interest applying those laws to them would be abusive.

Does anyone here have any firsthand experience with illegal workers?

T-Bone said...

PRS, you must know how forced your argument is. Nobody should have to take the time to explain that being able to voluntarily choose between various degrees of abuse/unfairness does not make those choices fair by default. You know better than that.

Patrick R. Sullivan said...

Nobody should have to take the time to explain...

Especially when they can't. If you have an argument, make it. Don't expect me to concede your appeal to your own authority.

Keep the name of this blog in mind: LOGIC.

T-Bone said...

You have a reputation of playing dumb to make strained arguments, but are quick to pick up on details that you can use. You are capable, but underhanded. Yes, logic is central to this blog. Use it rather than ignore it.

Vilfredo said...

PRS: A local restaurant was recently busted for paying illegals below minimum wage, forcing them to work overtime for no pay and charging high rent for a squalid, over-occupied apartment. Clearly, the employer was banking here on the fact that illegals would not dare to complain.

The restaurant owner did not want to hire locals because he would have to pay the regular wage. If he had to pay the same wage to illegals, he could/would have hired locals as well. This is the economic logic behind local support for lawsuits against abuse of illegals. How difficult is this to understand?