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It's the pay, not the place of birth

March 03, 2007

Re "Migrant studies counter negative images," Feb. 28

UC Davis economist Giovanni Peri claims that immigrants have increased wages for native workers. His study overlooks Economics 101.

As long as there is an unlimited supply of cheap labor, wages will be driven down to whatever those workers will accept.

Politicians would do better by controlling this supply rather than imposing "living wages" on a few industries in a futile attempt to control the low-wage problem.

Additionally, the study's claim that immigrants push natives up the economic ladder fails to account for future natives who need entry-level jobs. And if Americans want to avoid hard or dirty work, how do we explain coal miners, arguably one of the dirtiest and most dangerous jobs in our country? The answer again is the prevailing wages.

GARY WATKINS

Sun Valley

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