Monday, August 21, 2006

Is Conventional Wisdom Always Wrong?

So much of political debate (I almost said these days, but I’m guessing its always been this way) is about anecdote and misconception. Even given my pro-immigration stance I found much of the information in Doug Massey’s CATO Unbound essay suprising.

Mexican immigration is not a tidal wave. The rate of undocumented migration has not increased in over two decades. Neither is Mexico a demographic time bomb; its fertility rate is only slightly above replacement.

Mexico is not impoverished or disorganized. It is a dynamic, one trillion dollar economy and along with Canada, our largest trading partner. It’s per capita income is $10,000, which puts it at the upper tier of middle income countries, not far behind Russia’s per capita income of $11,000.

From 1965 to 1985, 85% of undocumented entries from Mexico were offset by departures and the net increase in the undocumented population was small. The build-up of enforcement resources at the border has not decreased the entry of migrants so much as discouraged their return home. Since the late 1980s the rate of undocumented out-migration has been halved. Undocumented population growth in the United States stems not from rising in-migration, but from falling out-migration.

If you can’t even get the scary information right – why is there even a debate? Just call Mexican immigrants drug-addled pedophilic baby killing communists and get it over with. The facts don't matter much anyway, do they?

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