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Dark_Falcon11/04/2012 1:13:53 am PDT

re: #228 Lidane

People who are stupid and naive and who deliberately ignore the ways that American industries like agriculture, meat processing, hospitality, and construction are propped up by illegal immigrants.

And therein lies much of the reason why comprehensive immigration reform, of any sincere kind, will remain so hard to do. For any sort of sincere reform will have the following effects for all of those industries:

1. Employment for those involved in said industries will be regularized, with an attendant rise in labor costs. This is inherent is any ‘Z-Visa’ or ‘Guest Worker’ program. Once employees are legalized, they can’t be paid in cash under the table any more. The need for them to pay taxes and for their wages to comply with minimum wage laws will cause their wages to increase, driving up the costs of employing them. Farms, slaughterhouses, and other businesses employing illegal labor will pass these costs on to their customers. Thus, legalizing an illegal immigrant employed picking fruit as a guest worker will result in the price of said fruit going up, not an attractive prospect for politicians.

2. Automation may look more attractive for those industries. As an example, Japan already has robots that can do hotel, office, and condo vacuuming, but the US does not use them as human labor for such a task is cheaper here. But if you raise the price of labor, corporations providing such a service may decide that its cheaper to buy a robot than employ people at the higher price. So legalization might actually end up losing jobs as businesses switch from people to machines.

This is not to say reform is a bad idea, just to illustrate that it will carry costs and risks. Reasonable questions and comments on the thesis just presented are welcome, flames will be ignored.