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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

Mexicans Deciding Mexico is the Better Option

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

The Atlantic reports on a phenomenon that I find pretty worrisome. Things are getting a lot better for the typical Mexican and the environment for Mexicans in the US (as well as Americans generally) has gotten bad enough that Mexican migration rates to the US have fallen to a 60 year low. We've made life pretty miserable here for these migrants despite our overwhelming need for their services (particularly in agriculture). But the fact that things were so much worse in Mexico kept them coming. Well that doesn't seem to be so much of a motivator anymore.

We're seeing the same thing going on with skilled workers. High end workers are either staying in their high growth home countries or are going to countries with better visa programs.

The country is starting to pay a dear price for decades of neglecting our employment-based immigration system and allowing agencies with an anti-immigrant bias to do the work Congress won't.

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Comments

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  1. George Chell 's Avatar
    Hopefully they will stay there and I will be able to get cheaper Mexican ag products at outlets such as Traders Joe instead of buying expensive American ag products in places like Harris Teeter!
  2. Another Voice's Avatar
    I saw this report in the NY Times also, I must say I was a bit skeptic... The war on drugs in Mexico is pretty brutal, thousands die every year and daily homicide rate is high in some areas and it seems that their government can't provide basic security for their people. Some how the article and the war on drugs do not fit together. Perhaps a little caution before we say hey they are leaving.... But my sense is that the antis will use this to claim victory in the self-deportation agenda.
  3. Another Voice's Avatar
    "Hopefully they will stay there and I will be able to get cheaper Mexican ag products at outlets such as Traders Joe instead of buying expensive American ag products in places like Harris Teeter!"

    Who knew we would outsource our food supply....
  4. gg's Avatar
    now cantaloupes are going to be dear thanks to lamar and co.
  5. gg's Avatar
    Mexicans Deciding Mexico is the Better Option ?


    http://blog.seattlepi.com/davidhorsey/2011/07/07/967/
  6. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    I believe, by 2015 the demand for labor in Mexico will exceed supply, at least that was the calculation from several years ago based on the demo trends. It was very well known that the US will not be able to attract immigrants easily forever. With many Mexican workers returning from the US, adding to Mexican population and demand for everything, the labor shortage may come even faster. It will be quite a twist for US when more Americans will be looking for opportunities in Mexico than otherwise.

    P.S. Get your children to learn Spanish. It is the #1 native language in the world, so, naturally, there will be opportunities.
  7. Sid's Avatar
    "P.S. Get your children to learn Spanish. It is the #1 native language in the world, so, naturally, there will be opportunities."

    Might want to fact check that. Most studies seem to suggest that it's Mandarin Chinese.

    A more prosperous Mexico will be great for the US economy. More consumers to sell to without having to import cheap labor and burdening the underfunded public services.
  8. Another Voice's Avatar
    "A more prosperous Mexico will be great for the US economy. More consumers to sell to without having to import cheap labor and burdening the underfunded public services."

    True but also less Immigrants in the US means more trouble to support the boomer generation which is already in a 1/3 worker to retiree. Immigrants are young and have children specially Hispanics according to the last census figures.
  9. Ap's Avatar
    Guess we can expect more articles with titles like this:
    1. Indians deciding India is the Better Option
    2. Chinese deciding China is the better Option...
    ...
    ...
    10. Legal Immigrants deciding their home country is the better option.

    Ohh i forgot the state of the economy-- who can you blame now!!!
  10. Sid's Avatar
    "True but also less Immigrants in the US means more trouble to support the boomer generation which is already in a 1/3 worker to retiree. Immigrants are young and have children specially Hispanics according to the last census figures."

    There are two issues -

    1) New/recent immigrants will not only need to support the retiring boomers but also need to be supported themselves when they retire.

    2) SS payments are regressive, meaning that they are skewed in favour of low income workers. So, not only do they contribute less towards SS, they also get relatively more out of it when they retire. Considering that in the last 20 years, US immigration has heavily favoured unskilled workers (both legal and illegal), which is also the group that has seen it's median wages stagnate over the last 30 years, over skilled workers, it's difficult to see how more unskilled immigration would help in terms of SS/Medicare solvency.

    If you're trying to argue that this calls for more skilled immigration who tend to earn more than the average American, then it would make sense. There are many high wage earners in the Hispanic population but the median wage is slightly above African Americans, which does not make them high income workers as a group.
  11. Another Voice's Avatar
    I agree with your points but in terms of contributions given the fact that SS is pay as you go.... by the time these immigrants retire there would have to be other forces replenishing the program or perhaps reform in a way of increasing the retirement age or reduced benefits for those generations. My point is you need these contributions regardless due to the solvency issue.
  12. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    "More consumers to sell to without having to import cheap labor and burdening the underfunded public services."

    Well, the savings from importing cheap labor far outweigh any benefits of exports. Also, if you think that Americans doing menial jobs require fewer public services, you are plain wrong. It's not like a construction worker or fruit picker would not get sick just because he is American, not Mexican (in fact, all research says he will be sick more, as Americans go tend to have poorer health than immigrants). And this country will need a lot more Americans to take low pay jobs if the Mexicans are gone - so, the country will need fewer accountants and more agricultural and construction labor. The cost of those changes is going to be staggering.
  13. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    "2) SS payments are regressive, meaning that they are skewed in favour of low income workers. So, not only do they contribute less towards SS, they also get relatively more out of it when they retire"

    Hmm... I would have to disagree. SS contribution tap out at just over 100K, so those with higher income pay lower percentage of their income into SS. Thus, those with lower income pay higher percent into SS, and that basically goes against your theory.

    Also Hispanic immigrants tend to have more children (who will pay for their SS once immigrants retire), and children of immigrants tend to get better education and better income than their parents, so it is not a bad economic strategy to attract immigrants themselves, even if the immigrants are not very educated.

    Bottom line, however skilled I am, my only child will probably be unable to pay for both of our SS...
  14. Sid's Avatar
    "Well, the savings from importing cheap labor far outweigh any benefits of exports. "

    Proof?

    No, Americans will not need to work in the farm, the farms will shift to Mexico and other countries south of the US, just like the factories shifted to China. Only this time it would not cause massive unemployment because most of the farm workers were not Americans to begin with.

    Unemployment in construction is ridiculously high because of the once in a 100 years housing bubble. Since new construction is not expected to reach bubble levels for another 10-15 years, it'll take at least that long for the unemployment rate for construction workers to come down to normal levels. Infrastructure projects sponsored by the government could have softened the blow but we live in the age of austerity now, so that's not going to happen either.
  15. USC's Avatar
    SS is basically a Ponzi/Pyramid scheme and will ultimately run out of people at the bottom of the pyramid to support those at the top. It should be reformed in a way where no one can take out more than they put in (plus accrued interest) and no one should get less than they put in (ie, in case they die before they have collected their benefits then the money in their accounts should go to their heirs).
  16. George Chell 's Avatar
    Foreign buyers keep US housing market from collapsing...and look at the whiners in the letters complaining about anchor babies....as I have said previously about three weeks ago from Singapore, to someone named Delmar Jackson...American beggars like him and I cannot be choosers! You commit murder you face the death penalty! You do the crime of debt you do the time of repayment or loss of sovereignty of your country!

    http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/housing/2011-07-05-forign-buyers-real-estate_n.htm
  17. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    "No, Americans will not need to work in the farm, the farms will shift to Mexico and other countries south of the US, just like the factories shifted to China. "

    So, all the people who used to work for agricultural business (accountants, drivers, managers, etc) will find themselves unemployed and can take cushy jobs vacated by the immigrants, like house cleaning, office cleaning, slaughterhouse jobs, landscaping, child care, food service, etc.

    Sid, look around - immigrants don't just work agriculture and construction. They are 5-6% of the workforce. They feed us, clean after us, put a roof over our heads, and take care of our children. Once they are gone, it will be a HUGE structural economic shift, and for many Americans it will be a shift down a notch.
  18. Another Voice's Avatar
    Joe Arpaio, Arizona Sheriff, To Pay $200,000 In Racial Profiling Case

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/08/joe-arpaio-arizona-racial-profiling-immigration_n_893227.html

    AZ must be flushed in taxpayer cash to keep supporting this idiot!!!
  19. Sid's Avatar
    "So, all the people who used to work for agricultural business (accountants, drivers, managers, etc) will find themselves unemployed and can take cushy jobs vacated by the immigrants, like house cleaning, office cleaning, slaughterhouse jobs, landscaping, child care, food service, etc."

    The fact is that agriculture is a labor intensive industry. So, these jobs are relatively fewer in number. I don't see why they cannot adapt and shift to a different industry.

    "Sid, look around - immigrants don't just work agriculture and construction. They are 5-6% of the workforce. They feed us, clean after us, put a roof over our heads, and take care of our children. Once they are gone, it will be a HUGE structural economic shift, and for many Americans it will be a shift down a notch."

    So persistent unemployment of 9.2% and underemployment of 17% is not a huge structural shift but removing 5-6% of the unskilled workforce will be? I have no problem with that kind of change. I have no issues with getting these services from Americans. You cannot have economic and political stability by catering to the top 20% of the population by exploiting the bottom 50%. Cost of services that cannot be outsourced will need go up so that the wages of these people catch up with productivity gains. Right now businesses are trying to have it both ways.
  20. Sid's Avatar
    "Hmm... I would have to disagree. SS contribution tap out at just over 100K, so those with higher income pay lower percentage of their income into SS. Thus, those with lower income pay higher percent into SS, and that basically goes against your theory."

    No, it doesn't disprove my theory. SS fund is not filled by percentages but by dollar amounts. Apart from the roughly 10-15% of people who make more than 106.8k, people who earn more, pay more. Their SS payments do not scale in the same ratio.

    "Also Hispanic immigrants tend to have more children (who will pay for their SS once immigrants retire), and children of immigrants tend to get better education and better income than their parents, so it is not a bad economic strategy to attract immigrants themselves, even if the immigrants are not very educated."

    Yes, "tend" is a nice term that hides the fact that the children of unskilled immigrants do not make significantly more than their parents, adjusted for inflation. Otherwise, given the long history of Hispanic immigration to the US, their median wages would not be this low. Skilled immigrants tend to do a better job of transferring their advantages to their kids.
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