A Free Market Approach to Illegal Immigration

I applaud the work ethic of anybody who comes here seeking to do honest labor because there isn’t enough work to support their families in their own country. But I do not support amnesty, nor do I welcome with open arms all who wander across the border for whatever reason.

From a free market perspective it’s clear that, if the marketplace is providing jobs for illegal immigrants, there’s a need that they’re filling. Employers hire them because they’re willing to provide a service at a fair market price that Americans either will not provide at an equivalent price because it’s easier to collect welfare, or cannot provide at an equivalent price because labor laws and unions require greater compensation and benefits than the market will bear.

Some insist that it’s not a “fair market price” because it doesn’t satisfy U.S. labor laws, but labor laws are not what determines a fair market price. A fair market price is the price at which both parties are willing to freely engage in a transaction. If the workers were not better off accepting these jobs at the wages and conditions offered than they would be if they remained in their own country, they would not be so eager to come here and take these jobs. By eliminating the jobs, we hurt the workers as well as the employers. How is that more fair?

By hurting the employers, we also hurt the economy. The significantly higher labor costs would have to be passed on to the consumer and food prices would rise dramatically, driving up the cost of living across the nation. Food being, literally, at the bottom of the food chain, when food prices go up, people at the lower end of the economic ladder need to get pay increases (or apply for public assistance) to feed their families. This necessarily sets off a chain reaction up the economic ladder leading to overall inflation.

Nevertheless, I don’t support amnesty. One reason is because granting amnesty to illegal immigrants is unfair to all the law abiding immigrants who have gone through the long and arduous process of obtaining citizenship legally. The other reason is because I don’t believe it will solve the problem. In fact, I believe it will make it worse.

As soon as the illegal immigrants become legal, they lose their competitive advantage. As citizens, they’d have to make at least minimum wage, and the employers would have to provide benefits and pay employment taxes. Once the unions get involved, the stakes become even higher. The reason agribusiness employs illegal immigrants is to avoid those costs. So, once the workers gain legal status, what’s to stop the employers from dropping them and bringing in more illegal labor from across the border?

Then we’d have a bunch of new citizens with no jobs, tossed into the already overloaded social services system, and we’d still have a problem with illegal immigration. Our social welfare programs would suddenly be flooded with hundreds of thousands of poor, unemployed (but legal) immigrants who can’t find work because the only jobs they’re qualified for have been given to a new crop of illegals. It’s a bad idea.

What I do support is a guest worker program that provides temporary permits for people who enter the country to work and leave when the work is finished, deportation of anybody who’s in the country illegally,  starting with the immediate deportation of anyone who commits any kind of crime, and a constitutional amendment to cease granting automatic citizenship to babies born in this country to non-citizen parents. I also support anybody who wants to become a citizen getting in line and going through the citizenship process.

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10 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] Wouldn’t a true Free Market Approach to Illegal Immigration be to just open up the borders and laissez faire?  In an ideal world, perhaps. But we’re dealing with reality. This […]

  2. I’m trying to understand your logic here. Are you saying it is acceptable to exploit a class of human beings if they consent to the process?

    Making employers follow the law isn’t “hurting” them. It is putting them on the same playing field as the law abiding employers. If that hurts the market, then the market was artificially propped up.

  3. I’m saying that any transaction entered into by mutual consent of both parties, with no coercion on either side, means that both parties benefit from the transaction. If either party did not feel they were better off participating in the transaction than not participating, they wouldn’t participate in the transaction. If you prevent people from participating in a transaction in which they freely choose to participate, because you believe you know better than they do what’s best for them, all you accomplish is to further limit their options.

    You think they’re exploited because you wouldn’t work under those conditions for those wages. What you’re not considering is what their alternatives are. If their other options were better, they wouldn’t choose this one. By removing the option of choice, you necessarily consign them to something worse.

    I agree with you that the market is artificially propped up. It’s artificially propped up by union regulations and labor laws that make American workers uncompetitive in the labor market. It’s also artificially propped up by entitlement programs that give people the option of getting paid for not working, so employers have to pay extra to make hard manual labor more attractive than sitting at home watching TV.

  4. Our culture is rife with examples of people that have been “benefited” to death. I think such a logical argument becomes little more than a friendly euphemism.

  5. Sounds like you are saying you want American workers to have the same rights as enjoyed on the world stage. That might be a bitter pill for most Americans to swallow.

    A truly free market would devastate most Americans.

  6. […] presents A Free Market Approach to Illegal Immigration posted at Government is not your […]

  7. […] benefits the guest workers by providing the jobs they seek, but also benefits our economy (see A Free Market Approach to Illegal Immigration), because labor laws, unions, and entitlement programs have undermined the viability of the […]

  8. […] presents A Free Market Approach to Illegal Immigration posted at Government is not your Daddy., saying, “I applaud the work ethic of anybody who […]

  9. What is the use in having minimum wage laws and workers standards in the United States if China is allowed to sell goods here manufactured by workers over there getting a dollar a day,
    no medical benefits,
    no sick pay
    no health and safety protections?
    A free market needs to be a fair market.

  10. Norris Hall said “A free market needs to be a fair market.”

    A free market IS a fair market. When 2 parties negotiate and come to an amicable wage for work, there is nothing more fair or free. If you sir, are attempting to gain employment at a retail store and in your mind you are worth $50.00/hour and the employer of the retail store is willing to pay $10.00/hour, you have the option to look elsewhere, make a counter offer, or walk away, the employer has the option to make a counter offer or look to employ someone else, the optimum words here are negotiate and compromise-everybody wins. When a false value (minimum wage) is applied, both parties are hurt, you cannot ask for $50.00/hr and the employer (in most cases) will not offer much more than the “legal” minimum, so you are still unemployed and he is still searching for a quality worker-nobody wins.

    Also, if the free market wasn’t a fair market how could someone pay less for a car if they paid cash vice financing it? In order to make it fair, the cash buyer should have to pay a higher cash price to equal the total price of the individual who is financing due to finance charges and interest etc., but BECAUSE the free market IS fair, if you save your nickels and dimes and go down to your local dealership and offer to buy a car with cash you actually save a lot of money-what could be more free or fair?

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