The New York Times, Economix blog, 10/19/2012
Of all the economic dynamics buffeting the American middle class, immigration might seem the easiest to explain: as millions of poor immigrants from Latin America poured illegally into the country seeking work, the conventional wisdom goes, they competed with more expensive American workers, displacing them from their jobs and undercutting their wages.
This understanding of immigration helped propel a vast increase in the Border Patrol’s budget over the last two decades to stop immigrants on their way in. It was the rationale for proposals to build a long, tall fence along the southern border. President Obama, who in 2008 said he would push for a law that would grant many of these immigrants legal access to jobs in the United States, instead deported a record number of immigrants working here illegally.
But this explanation of the impact of immigration is mostly wrong.