Friday, April 28, 2006

Affirmative action and immigration

Thomas Sowell:

Amnesty would mean, for many illegal immigrants, that they would not merely have the same rights as American citizens, but special privileges as well.

Affirmative action laws and policies already apply to some immigrants. Members of a multimillionaire Cuban family have already received government contracts set aside for minority businesses. During one period, an absolute majority of the money paid to construction companies in Washington, D.C., went to Portuguese businessmen under the same preferences.

Immigrant members of Latino, Asian, or other minority groups are legally entitled to the same preferential benefits accorded native-born members of minority groups.

The moment they set foot on American soil, they are entitled to receive benefits created originally with the rationale that these benefits were to compensate for the injustices minorities had suffered in this country.

The illegal status of many "undocumented workers" can at least make them reluctant to claim these privileges. But, take away the illegality and they become not only equal to American citizens, but more than equal.

Preferential access to jobs, government contracts, and college admissions are among the many welfare state benefits that add to the costs of immigrants which are not paid by employers of "cheap labor" but which fall on the general public in taxes and in other ways.

Even when illegal immigrants do not claim preferential treatment, employers are still under pressure to hire according to the demographic composition of the local labor force, which includes these "undocumented workers." Employers are subject to legal penalties if the ethnic composition of their employees deviates much from the ethnic composition of the population.

"Cheap labor" can turn out to be the most expensive labor this country has ever had.

Caste quotas in India and immigrant quotas in America


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