Thomas Sowell Explains: Why We Need a Border Wall

Thomas Sowell immigration
Screenshot: Hoover Institute Youtube

According to legendary conservative economist Thomas Sowell, the great problem with liberal talking points on immigration is that they talk about immigrants in the abstract, as if they’re one homogeneous group. Some immigrants are a net benefit to the economy, while others do much more harm than good.

The problem is that we need to know who is coming into this country, and we can’t immigrants coming in if we don’t even enforce our border policy. The lack of enforcement has clearly resulted in disaster, as the Center for Immigration Studies has found that…

  • Immigration reduces the wages of natives in competition with immigrants by an estimated $402 billion a year, while increasing profits or the incomes of users of immigrants by an estimated $437 billion
  • A just-released study from the Heritage Foundation found that the average household headed by an illegal immigrant used nearly $14,400 more in services than it paid in taxes, for a total fiscal drain of $55 billion.
  • 59 percent of households headed by an immigrant who has not graduated high school access one or more welfare programs, and 70 percent have no federal income tax liability. In contrast, 16 percent of households headed by an immigrant with bachelor’s degree access welfare and only 21 percent had no federal income tax liability.

But enough of that – here’s the master’s take:

To give just one example of how open borders destroys nations, he points to Sweden ( known for their bloated welfare state) as an example in his column “Immigration Controversies.” In it he notes that:

Sweden was, for a long time, one of the most ethnically homogeneous countries in the world. As of 1940, only about one percent of the Swedish population were immigrants. Even as the proportion of immigrants increased over the years, as late as 1970 90 percent of foreign-born persons in Sweden had been born in other Scandinavian countries or in Western Europe.

These immigrants were usually well-educated, and often had higher labor force participation rates and lower unemployment rates than the native Swedes. That all began to change as the growing number of immigrants came increasingly from the Middle East, with Iraqis becoming the largest immigrant group in Sweden.

This changing trend was accompanied by a sharply increased use of the government’s “social assistance” program, from 6 percent in the pre-1976 era to 41 percent in the 1996-1999 period. But, even in this later period, fewer than 7 percent of the immigrants from Scandinavia and Western Europe used “social assistance,” while 44 percent of the immigrants from the Middle East used that welfare state benefit.

Immigrants, who were by this time 16 percent of Sweden’s population, had become 51 percent of the long-term unemployed and 57 percent of the people receiving welfare payments. The proportion of foreigners in prison was 5 times their proportion in the population of the country.

H/T Townhall

His conclusion is the same point he makes in the video above: There are no immigrants “in general.” The liberals in the media may claim to be on the side of “immigrants,” but more often than not, they’re simply in defense of the immigrants who benefit from a whole host of government programs that incentivize them to vote Democrat.

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By Matt

Matt is the co-founder of Unbiased America and a freelance writer specializing in economics and politics. He’s been published... More about Matt

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