≡ Menu

Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 90 of Jacob Vigdor’s informative article “The Civic and Cultural Assimilation of Immigrants to the United States,” which is Chapter 4 of the superb new collection (2015), edited by Ben Powell, The Economics of Immigration:

While there are reasons to think of contemporary migration from Spanish-speaking nations as distinct from earlier waves of immigration, evidence does not support the notion that this wave of migration poses a true threat to the institutions that withstood those earlier waves.  Basic indicators of assimilation, from naturalization to English ability, are if anything stronger than they were a century ago.  Moreover, just as earlier waves of migration came to an end once the sending countries had completed the demographic transition, there is evidence that the rate of migration from Mexico has exhibited what will be a permanent decline.

The worldview most conducive to supporting restrictions on immigration is one where the host country possesses finite wealth, and newcomers threaten to not only demand a share of that wealth but arrive in numbers sufficient to change the rules by which it is distributed.  This worldview is difficult to reconcile with a reality where human capital has supplanted natural resources and physical capital as the most important determinant of wealth.  It is even more difficult to reconcile with a reality where he civic institutions that incentivize the investments that produce capital are the very things that motive immigrants to arrive in the first place.