They Come Here to Acquire Wealth?? Horrors!

by Don Boudreaux on August 14, 2010

in Immigration, Seen and Unseen

Here’s a letter to the Washington Times:

Haydee Pavia writes that “The majority of [Mexican] illegal aliens come here to attain the American dream and take it back to their native country.  These scofflaws don’t come here because of idealism, but for the wealth they can acquire and one day take back to their native country” (Letters, August 14).

Suppose that Ms. Pavia’s claim about illegal-immigrants’ motives is correct.  So what?  The vast majority of these immigrants acquire their wealth by working – a fact that means that the wealth that immigrants accumulate while in America is paid to them voluntarily.

That is, these immigrants acquire wealth only by creating goods and services that are valued by the Americans who hire or otherwise do business with them.  The process that Ms. Pavia describes and dislikes benefits both working immigrants and Americans, regardless of whether or not immigrants take their earnings back to Mexico.

We should encourage such immigration rather than dismiss it on the grounds that the typical immigrant might be motivated by ideals no more lofty than those that prompt the typical American to rise from bed each morning in order to earn a living.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux

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