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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Economy > An Economist Sees the True Value of Undocumented Labor

An Economist Sees the True Value of Undocumented Labor

LatinaLista — There is a very simple reason as to why the United States is in the mess it is in when it comes to having lost control over illegal immigration.
Nobody ever wanted to talk about our dependence on illegal labor.
Well, finally there’s a Texas economist who is not only talking about it but supporting it.


Texas economist Ray Perryman, in his address to the Building Future Talent Workforce Summit, that was held yesterday in McAllen, Texas, told attendees that undocumented labor is such an integral part of the state’s economy that dark days lie ahead when federal authorities start requiring employers to fire workers with false Social Security numbers.

Perryman told the audience:

We have built a huge part of the economy on the undocumented workforce, and until now we have been quiet about it.
I tell you, if you took them (undocumented workers) out today our economy would look pretty ugly. Our construction industry would fall apart, our agricultural industry would fall apart, the hospitality industry would fall apart.
We have built an economy around that (immigrant) workforce. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. But, I think we need to bring it out in the open and talk about it, and get a process to make it more efficient and make it legal.

Maybe it’s time more economists were included in the debate and less politicians.

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Comment(10)

  • Avatar
    Dee
    August 10, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    Marisa, I agree with your perspective. I saw your commentary in USA Today today. (You Go Girl!!) Thank you for making regular citizens more aware of what True Americans like us are thinking. I also have a blog. Please visit me when you get a chance. I will be sure to come by and visit you often.
    http://immigrationmexicanamerican.blogspot.com/

  • Avatar
    Dee
    August 10, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    Marisa,
    I also agree Economists should be included in this Immigration discussion. Bernanke has said we would be in a Recession now if not for the undocumented workers. We would be facing severe labor shortages now and in the future as the Boomer retire without the workers. Many in this country do not acknowledge how much they are needed.

  • Avatar
    George
    August 10, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    Yes, it’s always good to depend upon foreigners who owe allegience to a foreign flag. See how our dependence on China has put us in a position to be blackmailed with what they’ve called the nuclear option. They threaten to damage our economy by selling treasury notes. Illegal immigrants have already threatened our economy by walking off the job.
    Undocumented immigrants willfully violate the will of the American people, and thus suffer by their own hand. They’ve always had the expectation of the possibility of deportation, and now when that reality stares them in the face, they don’t take responsibility for their actions, but lie, cheat,riot and divide our nation. Most illegal aliens have cheated by participation in the destruction of the integrity of our Social Security sytsem through identity theft and fraud. They cause our citizens to pay millions for Border Patrol officers and ICE. They have anchor children in numbers beyond their ability to support and claim welfare benefits on behalf of them that taxpayers are called upon to pay. We don’t need people like this in our country. They should go back to the homeland that they claim to be so proud of and leave this country to its citizens. Most Americans don’t hate illegal aliens, they just want them to get out of their country and stay in theirs, just as Mexicans and othe Latin Americans wish. Even Mexico agrees with this, as they are ruthless about defending their souther borders, despite the hypocitical tone of their government officials. Mexicans would react the same way to Americans if the tables were turned.
    If their governments aren’t working for them, then they should do what we would do, vote them out of office, instead of imposing themselves on our nation. The welfare of these people are the responsibility of their own governments. If you personally wish to subsidize a foreigner and his family, do so with your money, not mine.

  • Avatar
    kyledeb
    August 10, 2007 at 5:57 pm

    There are economists in the “immigration debate”. They’re just the ones that support keeping migrants out, like George Borjas.

  • Avatar
    George
    August 10, 2007 at 8:54 pm

    The majority of so-called undocumented immigrants do not have the skill or education to replace the boomers. Who really believes that people with less than a high school education are the heirs of the boomer legacy? Legal immigrants on H-1B visas, professionals are what this country needs to compete on the world market. And foreigners who come here illegally cannot be tolerated to dictate this country’s immigration policies. It’s the prerogative of the current citizens to decide who should be their replacements. They could just as well deport every illegal alien currently here and find better educated foreigners who fit the bill. It’s arrogant of the current illegal aliens to demand that they be the legatees of this nation, when there are so many who are much more qualified. Is this the Hispanic plan, cheating your way into establishing primacy over everyone else?

  • Avatar
    Horace
    August 10, 2007 at 9:46 pm

    The true value of undocumented labor is to serve as an uncomplaining serf that will undercut the cost of citizen labor. Economists care little for the social impacts of illegal aliens, as they are only concerned with productivity, producing the greatest number of products at the lowest price. Illegal alien advocates boast of the fact that their constituents will work for next to nothing, ignoring the fact that these people will debase themselves by living in substandard overcrowded housing (contrary to most zoning ordinances) and go uninsured. Citizens could compete, but they have to be concerned about health care bills for their families and liability insurance for their automobiles. Illegal aliens live on bare subsistent wages and, in spite of claims by advocacy groups, often maximize the amount of remittances to their families back home, and earn wages under the table. Even if they have taxes taken out their paychecks, most earn below the poverty level, especially if they have families. As the result, if they file an imcome tax form, they receive every penny of their taxes back as refunds. Some even receive earned income tax credits, which means that the government gives them additional money. This amounts to a transfer of wealth from the taxpayer who has to make up for the loss in funds from the Treasury. Yeah, citizens should be truly appreciative of illegal aliens, NOT!

  • Avatar
    yave begnet
    August 11, 2007 at 3:01 pm

    Legal immigrants on H-1B visas, professionals are what this country needs to compete on the world market.
    Does this mean you support raising the H-1B cap from 65,000 to some higher number? The cap was exhausted the first day applications were accepted this year, with more than twice as many applications as available visas received on the first day alone. If that is your position, I applaud it.
    Is this the Hispanic plan, cheating your way into establishing primacy over everyone else?
    Once again, the real agenda comes through. Although it was almost refreshing to see some baseless allegations thrown China’s way for a change–normally it’s all about the Mexicans.
    Mexico! The greatest threat to the American Way of Life since HitlerStalinMao!
    if they file an imcome tax form, they receive every penny of their taxes back as refunds.
    Actually, when they file imcome tax returns, there’s something called Social Security that gets taken out. If you don’t have a green card or a US passport, you can’t collect Social Security. Some people have paid into Social Security for decades and now can’t get any of it back.

  • Avatar
    yave begnet
    August 11, 2007 at 3:11 pm

    Economists care little for the social impacts of illegal aliens, as they are only concerned with productivity, producing the greatest number of products at the lowest price.
    You seem to realize the great majority of economists support liberal immigration policies. Yes, we know Borjas is a respected exception. But he is just that, an exception. kyledeb, try reading the Economist if you want a representative sample of mainstream economist opinion on immigration. They think you’re wrong.
    They’ve always had the expectation of the possibility of deportation, and now when that reality stares them in the face, they don’t take responsibility for their actions, but lie, cheat,riot and divide our nation.
    Care to support your assertions with evidence? This sounds just like what happened in the South in the 1960s when those uppity negros lied, cheated, rioted, and divided the nation. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice … can’t get fooled again!
    Most illegal aliens have cheated by participation in the destruction of the integrity of our Social Security sytsem through identity theft and fraud.
    Again, care to support your assertion that “most” of the 12 million out of status immigrants have used identity theft or fraud to steal Social Security from taxpayers? As I indicated above, immigrants have probably put more into Social Security than they’ve taken out.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    August 11, 2007 at 9:34 pm

    It doesn’t matter if it is most or some that commit identity fraud. It is wrong and shoudn’t be happening. I also take note that you called illegal aliens “immigrants” that is another wrong statement.
    If they have paid into S.S. and won’t ever get any of it, consider it punishment for the crime of working illegally in this country.

  • Avatar
    Horace
    August 11, 2007 at 9:56 pm

    Given the opportunity, amnestied illegal aliens would be elligible for SS, and as we all know, the poor (that would be most Hispanic illegal aliens), take more out of SS than they put in, as do citizens. Giving amnesty to illegal aliens would only exacerbate the SS problem in the long run, not help solve it. And why should illegal aliens benefit from SS anyway, as this would be reaping a reward for their unlawful presence in this country. Fairness to the American people is not what illegal aliens are about, so why should they receive fair treatment in return.
    The majority of illegal aliens have misrepresented themselves as citizens to their employers, a crime under federal law. Nearly all illegal aliens are either using someone elses SSN or one made up. That’s fraud, no matter how you try to justify it.

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