Thomas Sowell: Paul Ryan’s argument for immigration reform ‘utter nonsense’
On Tuesday’s broadcast of Laura Ingraham’s radio show, economist and Intellectuals and Race author Thomas Sowell blasted Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan argument for immigration reform.
During a June appearance on Ingraham’s show, Ryan had said the U.S. might face labor shortages unless immigration policy is overhauled.
“That’s incredible,” Sowell said. “I mean —first of all to an economist, it is incredible to speak about shortages without talking about prices, in this case wages…You know there, there have been so many predictions of shortages of so many occupations and the shortages don’t materialize. And why not? Because if there is a shortage, the wage rate goes up. That attracts in more people and lo and behold, the jobs are filled.”
“In agriculture, the farmers would obviously prefer to get workers who get low pay rather than workers they have to pay a higher wage,” he continued. “And as long as there are an unlimited supply of farm workers coming in from Mexico, they will never have to raise the wages very much. They say Americans won’t do these jobs. These are jobs Americans have done for generations, if not centuries. And it’s a time when millions of Americans are out of work, and are looking for any kind of work. And so this is utter nonsense.”
Sowell also argued for a “rational” immigration policy that would take an immigrant’s nationality into account.
“They constantly talk about immigrants in the abstract,” he said. “You know, there are no such thing as abstract immigrants. There are immigrants from country a, b, c, d. They are radically different. People coming in from some countries almost never go on welfare. Immigrants coming in from other countries go on welfare to a great extent. If we’re going to have a rational immigration policy, then we have to be able to decide what people, what countries, what occupations — things like that, instead of rushing everything through.
“The other main thing though is that if we don’t control the borders, we don’t have an immigration policy because regardless of what policy you put on paper, if people can just walk across the border when they darn well please, then your policy means nothing. The other thing that bothers me is the Republicans seem to think we will give — illegal immigrants citizenship if they do a, b or c. Democrats say x, y and z. I don’t know why we need promise anybody citizenship before we get control of the borders and have time to sit down and think and look at the facts, and then try to draw up some rational policy.”