Recently, Beryl Sprinkel, the chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, announced his findings that illegal aliens benefit the economy. On that basis, he says, we'd be better off letting employers continue to hire illegal labor with impunity.
After reading the report, my impression is that if the Council on Economic Advisers had done a study of the plantation system in South Carolina in 1855, they would have concluded that the system was economically sound, that the slaves were doing the jobs that Americans wouldn't do, and that there was no job displacement.
Sure, illegal aliens in a given labor market may drive down wages. And sure, they are less likely to demand compliance with labor standards laws. On the classroom blackboard, the graphs drawn around unlimited cheap, exploitable labor look great.
The President's economic adviser even think we need this exploited group to make us "competitive" with overseas products. Sound familiar? It should. Prior to the Civil War, South Carolina Sen. John C. Calhoun attempted to boost his political career in the South making just that argument, calling slavery "good--a positive good."