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Illegal Aliens and the Economy

May 04, 1986

Stephen Moore attempts to prove that illegal immigration is beneficial to the economy (Editorial Pages, April 15). He offers as proof the answers he received from 28 economists he recently polled. Most agreed with him.

Presumably, the answering economists used as a criterion for their conclusions the classical economic principle that labor is to be classified the same as materials in any cost consideration. This, of course, is simply an extension of the supply-side theory, and gives no thought to the humanistic, social and other overall facets of a complex problem.

Presumably, also, the economic interests only of those who employ illegals served as the basis for the conclusions.

If we limit our thinking to these two points, it is easy to agree with Moore and his supporting economists. Certainly, the fortunes of those who employ compliant, usually underpaid, illegals have been improved by such employment.

If the well-being of the large mass of unemployed and that of the country at large had been considered, I believe quite different conclusions would have been reached.

The unskilled, unemployed, native youths from the lower economic rungs of our society have not been helped when forced out of the labor market by an exploitable, undocumented illegal.

Additionally, the governmental entity that must provide welfare of various sorts for this unemployed individual has unquestionably been adversely affected by this increased burden. To argue otherwise borders on the ridiculous.

What type of civilization would write off large numbers of its citizens to create a temporary advantage to a few motivated by greed and unconcern for anything but their own enrichment? What an economic waste!

If Moore's premise has validity, why not open the doors to all who wish to come? The exploding populations of Latin America, Asia, Africa and Oceania can provide a ready supply of cheap help to bolster the economic fortunes of those who employ them.

In addition to his position as policy adviser to the Heritage Foundation, it would be interesting to know the names of all other interests represented by Moore.



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