Beat the Press

Dean Baker's commentary on economic reporting


Open Borders Versus Die at the Border: Can’t Experts See the Difference?

I just heard economics commentator Chris Farrell on Marketplace talking about the United States open border immigration policy, under which ambitious hardworking immigrants can freely enter the country. Excuse me, but what planet is this guy on?

Open borders mean that a Mexican doctor, an Indian lawyer, a Brazilian economics commentator can come across the border in any form of transportation they like, and work wherever they like, at whatever pay they are willing to accept.

The United States does not have this policy or anything like it. It has a policy that sharply limits legal opportunities for working in the country. The policy is that if you are willing to risk death in a dangerous border crossing and risk facing deportation at any time, then you can work in some sectors of the economy illegally.

Doctors, lawyers, and economic commentators in the developing world are not willing to take these risks. Furthermore, the businesses that hire such people are not willing to risk the legal and political consequences of wholesale violation of immigration laws. This means that people like Chris Farrell don’t have to face the same competition from immigrants as less-skilled workers. If he did, Marketplace would have a far more competent commentator on economic issues.


Post a Comment

<< Home