Apr 25 2007

America’s Immigration Problem – the human cost

Immigration: The Human Cost | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source

Free trade, labor mobility, globalization: scary words! Watch this harrowing story of the insufferable losses imposed on American workers due to immigration, then post your comments. What impact does immigration have on American jobs? Should the US take greater steps to protect Americans like Mr. Boyle from the threat of cheap labor from poor countries? Who is truly harmed by labor mobility and who benefits?

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About the author:  Jason Welker teaches International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement Economics at Zurich International School in Switzerland. In addition to publishing various online resources for economics students and teachers, Jason developed the online version of the Economics course for the IB and is has authored two Economics textbooks: Pearson Baccalaureate’s Economics for the IB Diploma and REA’s AP Macroeconomics Crash Course. Jason is a native of the Pacific Northwest of the United States, and is a passionate adventurer, who considers himself a skier / mountain biker who teaches Economics in his free time. He and his wife keep a ski chalet in the mountains of Northern Idaho, which now that they live in the Swiss Alps gets far too little use. Read more posts by this author

9 responses so far

9 Responses to “America’s Immigration Problem – the human cost”

  1. Enno Zhangon 27 Apr 2007 at 1:30 pm

    When immigration rises, cheap labor causes a great amount of threat to American workers. This will cause unemployment of Americans to rise. In the future, due to the development of technology, cheap labor workers may not even need to immigrate to America to compete with American jobs. The internet allows workers overseas to work for a company without even being there. This globolization will certainly shake the comfortable sofas of the workers in comfortable countries.

  2. Alex Shyron 27 Apr 2007 at 11:33 pm

    for some reason, this video sounds like a joke, i mean how bad is it to live in a summer house for your entire life :D… but it is true that as more unemployed desperate immigrants enter the US, the labor price (or their wages) drops. Because as supply for labor increases, while the demand stay put, the y-axis's price drop, abd the x-axis's quantity for labor increases.

    This can significantly threaten the employment rate for the US citizens, because their wages are dropping due to the increase in, in this case, mexicans who are willing to take the US citizens's job at a lower wage and less vacations. Ergo, their productivity rises, encouraging industries and firms across the states to hire the cheaper labor workers.

  3. Candice Leeon 28 Apr 2007 at 1:14 pm

    For some reason, this article reminds me of John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes or Wrath, where workers desperately competed for jobs, drastically driving the price of labor down to ground-shaking levels. In this case, as millions immigrants flood across the border to the United States each year, the American worker is paying the “price”. These immigrants significantly increase the supply of workers in the United States, driving the price of labor down. Though output has increased, similar to the case of Lucent Technologies, these immigrants that are willing to work at lower wages have significantly threatened the employment rate of the American work force.

  4. Hae Ryun Kangon 01 May 2007 at 2:24 am

    Hold on a second, am I missing something here.. Economics aside, what is the definition of an AMERICAN? An Anglo-Saxon upper-middle class man who is RESPECTABLE enough to own a summer house and a house full of adorable kids?

    It's obvious what sort of picture this video is trying to paint here. Especially the little kids, "I hope the Mexican is happy"… real subtle.

    No credit is given to the talent/skills of the immigrant that allowed him to get this job in the first place. This video has neglected all the usual qualifications in order to get employed, all but the money factor.

    The human cost of "American" workers? So the guy lives in a summer house and works at TGI Fridays. How about the human cost of immigrants, NEW "Americans" who are trying to make a life out of what little they have in their new country, the "land of the free"?

  5. Hae Ryun Kangon 01 May 2007 at 2:29 am

    Anyways… yeah back to economics… the supply of workers increase dramatically with the influx of immigrants, driving down the price of labor. The lower your wages the more advantageous you are. Obviously people want to hire workers who demand less…but economics has oversimplified this point– wages are not the only consideration! 🙂

  6. Jay Jinon 01 May 2007 at 11:39 am

    Am I missing something? As Shyr said, this video is a joke. It is from the Onion, obvious satire. Satire not on pro-immigration stances but rather anti-immigration stances. The dark wave depicting immigration, etc. etc. Working for $600,000 rather than $800,000.

    It is like that Onion article way back when where they interviewed a farmer from Kansas saying how scary the 9/11 attacks where, and how he felt that even he wasn't safe anymore. Obvious satire, like anybody would bother with him.

    Immigration provides cheap labor. That is it, labor. Not entrepreneurship. Threatening jobs? Well thats what happens when there is competition. And this is why Trickle-down economics is a failure.

    The problem doesn't stem from immigration, rather illegal immigration. The US government is already doing what they can at the speed of bureaucracy, aside from that damn wall. Its the illegal immigration that is causing the influx of cheap workers.

    Answer: Take a Machiavellian stance and simply impose an immigration quota, kick out anymore immigrants whether legal or illegal. Or remove current immigrants until the quota has been reached.

    Or, try to raise standards of living. The reason they are willing to work so cheaply is because they live in a shit hole that requires very little $ to maintain it. Again, trickle-down economic policy fails here. I'm advocating a sort of welfare system among other things.

    Or, well there are many other answers one can try to pursue. No point in going over all of them. People like "Mr. Boyle" are only in danger of losing their jobs to a more qualified man. To people who took the video seriously, it was purely a joke.


  7. Hae Ryun Kangon 01 May 2007 at 4:38 pm

    Oops, sorry I forgot that the onion was a completely satirical news source, it DOES say "America's finest news source." Well I feel better now thanks jay.

  8. Danqing tangon 02 May 2007 at 11:33 pm

    Jay is right, it isn't immigration that causes competition and the loss of jobs for "Americans" but illegal immigration. Illegal immigrants work for less and are often paid under the table as to not leave records or follow certain labor restrictions. Legal immigrants are technically on their way to becoming full-fledged "Americans" and the wages they work for are the same minimum wage jobs offered to "Americans". The real threat lies in illegal immigrants willing to work for less that minimum wage.

  9. KuanJu Chenon 03 May 2007 at 3:55 pm

    o.O dont know what else I can add. I like shyer's comment ^_^ i fully support him!