#175 The Economic Effects of Illegal Immigration

#175 The Economic Effects of Illegal Immigration | The Christian Economist

Most of the six million illegal immigrants who have crossed the US southern border in the last two years are claiming political asylum.  They are being allowed to enter because of election politics.  The real reason is economics.

The largest migration in the history of mankind has taken place across the southern border of the United States over the last two years.  Most of those six million people are claiming political asylum.  They are being allowed to enter because of election politics.  The real reason is economics. 

Americans make about $70,000 per year.  According to CNN, the greatest number of illegals come from Mexico where they make $20,000; China where they make $19,000; El Salvador and Guatemala where they make $10,000; India where they make $7,000; and Honduras where they make $6,000.

They say they’re escaping political unrest.  You do the math.


The Moral Effect

If you stop enforcing one set of laws and continue to enforce others, the legislators might as well go home.  In our book, Biblical Economic Policy, Sergiy Saydometov and I identified ten Biblical Commandments of Economics.  One of them is Honor Those in Power.  Actually, it’s the one I have the most difficulty following, because there are so many political and economic laws that are not consistent with Biblical teaching.  But, still, we should follow the laws of the land.  When we don’t like them, we should try to change them.  But the current administration is taking the immoral stance of simply ignoring the immigration laws and allowing people to illegally enter the country.  If they want to ignore a law, I would suggest income tax would be a good one to ignore, and I made what I think is a convincing case for that in podcast #96 titled Tax the Rich.

It’s almost comical when you think about it.  People enter the country illegally to live in a land that keeps the laws.  Honestly, if the country they were fleeing KEPT their laws, they wouldn’t want to leave.  They are practicing corruption to escape corruption.  Maybe that just confirms that we live in a fallen world. 


Sanctuary Cities

Ever wonder why they call them that?  Why is a sanctuary seen as a place of security from the law?  The Jewish sanctuary is at the heart of the Jewish law, in the innermost sanctum of the temple.  It was not viewed as an escape from danger in Biblical times.  Matter of fact, it was SO dangerous that the priest who dared enter did so with a rope tied to his ankle.  So if the Lord killed him while he was in there, his buddies could pull him out.

So, why are cities that disobey the federal law calling themselves “sanctuary cities.”  They are a place where the law is not followed, so they should be called “Hide-out” cities. 

 Podcast #131 titled Abraham and Wealth Migration makes the case that people are migrating WITHIN the US to move from states with low economic growth, like California, New York, and Illinois, and are moving TO states with higher economic growth, like Texas and Florida.  The same thing is happening across the southern border of the United States: People are moving from non-prosperous countries to the more prosperous United States.


Lower Labor Costs

Yes, it’s true that the more of something you produce, the less each one is worth.  And, that’s true of low-cost labor, the supply of which is being increased with illegal immigration.  That’s probably where the US Chamber of Commerce enters the picture as a proponent.  But that’s very short-sighted economic thinking.  Because, as I often saw in my Dallas Baptist University classroom…..ON THE OTHER HAND……

And, on this hand, you find that lower labor costs don’t improve the overall economy.  It’s like this: When you were choosing your teammates to play sandlot baseball as a kid, you chose the best players first, right?  Well, you were practicing good economics.  That’s what we should do as a country also.  An engineer who is paid $200K makes a greater economic contribution to your community than a fast-food worker who makes $15 an hour. 

Pay is a simple economic measure of how much value a person is creating.  We have a relatively free market in the US, and that’s where everyone gets to vote on the pay of the providers of products and services.   If fast food workers produced more value, they’d be making $200K and engineers would be making $15 an hour.  I don’t set these rules, YOU do, by voting with your dollars every time you buy something. 

It’s pretty simple, but that doesn’t mean politicians can figure it out.  I earned my last degree from the University of Texas at Arlington and graduated with hundreds of PhDs in engineering, who were forced to leave the US after graduation because they only had study visas.  That’s so absurd.  We force them to go back to their home countries: Mostly India and China, and enrich those countries instead of staying here to enrich the US.  If you think China is a military threat, then the policy is more absurd.  We’re sending people home to make our opponents richer.


For All Nations

Pilgrim Chapel at Dallas Baptist University is held up by six large beams that cross the ceiling.  Scriptures are written on all six.  The first one is from Matthew 21:13. Just after Jesus throws over the tables of the money changers in the temple, he declares, “My house shall be a house of prayer for all nations.”  We can take from that statement that nations are endorsed by Jesus.  People were crossing national borders to make the required sacrifice at the temple.  They had to make two transactions: First, from their national currency to the temple currency, and then they had to buy a sacrifice.  One of the most fascinating little books I’ve seen recently is by Jerry Bowyer titled The Maker versus the Takers.  He points out that in the gospel of John, there is more criticism for the dove sellers than the gospels because their wares were being sold to the poor.   I will comment more on Mr. Bowyer’s very good book in an upcoming podcast.

This would have been the perfect opportunity for Jesus to complain about the existence of nations.  But He didn’t complain.  There are many other scriptures that support nations and borders.  I won’t take time to recite them all today, because I made that case in podcast #77 titled A Country without Borders.

Killing off young workers decimates the US economy.  And the fentanyl coming across the border has killed over 100,000 Americans per year in the last few years.  For context, I will point out that less than 60,000 Americans were killed during the years of the Vietnam War.

Customs and Border Protection data says that 16 people on the terrorist watch list — more than all four years of fiscal years 2017 – 2020 combined — were stopped by Border Patrol agents, just in the month of April.  98 have been arrested in the last two years.


The Costs of Illegal Immigration

When President Biden took office, he stopped all construction on the border wall and opened the border. During the 2019 Democratic presidential primary, Biden made it known that illegal aliens were welcome to enter the United States.

James Varney penned an article in the Epoch Times recently, titled Where did all the Biden Illegal Immigrants Go?  He noticed, “No one knows exactly how many people have poured across the southwestern U.S. border since President Joe Biden took office, or where they’ve gone since. An estimated 6-7 million people have entered the US illegally.  It’s also unclear what the costs are associated with the arrivals.” 

Maybe the best summary is by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).  They estimate that, after accounting for taxes paid by undocumented migrants, they cost taxpayers over $150 billion per year—a 30 percent increase since 2017.

 That’s what it costs.  So, what are we BUYING with these expenditures?  Well, moral decay from not following the laws, a worse economy as pointed out in my section on labor costs, more fentanyl deaths, and more terrorists.  Makes you think the conspiracy guys who accuse the Democrats of trying to allow immigrants who will vote form them, might be right.  What other economic motivation could there be?  There’s none. 

Country economic measures are usually expressed in comparative advantage.  That means, how well does the country use legal maxims, technology, labor, and resources in the production of goods and services?  As I’ve pointed out, illegal immigration degrades the comparative advantage of the United States on almost all those measures. 

In an article titled Biden Administration’s Immigration Policy Pleases Bejing in the Epoch Times, Stu Cvrk observes, “Whatever weakens the United States directly benefits the Chinese regime as it seeks to replace America as the world’s superpower. Chinese leader Xi Jinping and his generals must be smiling as they watch the United States willingly diminish its own national security and erode deterrence against future Chinese aggression.”

In politics, you often hear the phrase, “Follow the money.”  In economics, we say “Understand self-interest.”  Illegals are claiming asylum, but they are crossing the border as a vote-buying scheme for the Democrats, and for a better economic life in the US for the illegals.



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