Friday, December 26, 2008

A Growing Recognition of Immigration as a Labor Market Issue?

There have been lots of stories suggesting that Mexican immigrants may be returning to Mexico in large part due to the economic recession that has resulted in increased unemployment.  (Here and here.).  Today, also linking immigration to the domestic labor market, a N.Y. Times op/ed expresses some optimism about reform to the current immigration system and observes that:

"In simplest terms, what [Hilda Solis, nominated by Senator Obama for Secretary of Labor] and Mr. Obama seem to know in their gut is this: If you uphold workers’ rights, even for those here illegally, you uphold them for all working Americans. If you ignore and undercut the rights of illegal immigrants, you encourage the exploitation that erodes working conditions and job security everywhere. In a time of economic darkness, the stability and dignity of the work force are especially vital."

For successful immigration reform, we must realize that immigration (and undocumented immigration) is directly related to the labor market.  The United States need sensible immigration laws that address labor market needs; the most likely alternative is an undocumented population that, as we see today, fulfills labor market needs.

KJ

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/immigration/2008/12/a-growing-recog.html

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