Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Times has an editorial today - "The Wall That Keeps Illegal Workers In" by Douglas Massey - which reads like total bullshit to me.

I won't link since its behind a protection wall, but I'll quote a couple of brief excerpts here:

THE Mexican-American border is not now and never has been out of control. The rate of undocumented migration, adjusted for population growth, to the United States has not increased in 20 years.

The cited fact clearly don't support the presented claim: I could just as well say that illegal immigration has been unacceptably high for 20 years.

That is, from 1980 to 2004 the annual likelihood that a Mexican will make his first illegal trip to the United States has remained at about 1 in 100.
Am I reading this statistic correctly? Does it really say that 1% of the population of Mexico tries to go over the border every year? That is a huge number.

Although border militarization had little effect on the probability of Mexicans migrating illegally, it did reduce the likelihood that they would return to their homeland. America's tougher line roughly tripled the average cost of getting across the border illegally; thus Mexicans who had run the gantlet at the border were more likely to hunker down and stay in the United States. My study has shown that in the early 1980's, about half of all undocumented Mexicans returned home within 12 months of entry, but by 2000 the rate of return migration stood at just 25 percent.

The United States is now locked into a perverse cycle whereby additional border enforcement further decreases the rate of return migration, which accelerates undocumented population growth, which brings calls for harsher enforcement.

The only thing we have to show for two decades of border militarization is a larger undocumented population than we would otherwise have...

This, once again, is unsupported bullshit. Yes, I'll agree that protecting the border tends to push the number of migrants up, as well as down. But there isn't a single shred of evidence in this argument to support the claim offered, that it is pulling the number of migrants up on the net. You need to have some pretty persuasive evidence to claim that freer borders equals less migrants, and this is clearly not it.

But then again, this is not much worse than the ridiculous nonsense one usually hears from sociology people.


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