Money That Encourages International Migration -- a Typology

By David North on November 20, 2009

Although one would not know it by reading immigration policy debates, money paid to middlemen, mostly Americans, plays a major role in the whole process.

If one seeks to manage, or at least nudge, events in immigration it is useful to visualize the financial transactions involving the non-migratory actors in the field, the people and institutions that shape migration but do not migrate themselves.

As I see it, there are seven groups of such players, three of whom are motivated by personal financial considerations, three of whom are not, and one in between, where the institutions gain funds when there are more refugees, but the staff may not get raises.

In the first group there are: A) the policy makers, B) the governmental managers, and most of the C) lobbyists-advocates; next, in class D, there are the refugee service agencies which, as institutions, receive more public money when the numbers of their clients increase; finally there are; the E) lawful facilitators, such as attorneys, F) employers of migrant labor, and the G) unlawful facilitators (or snakeheads in Asian terminology).

There are exceptions, of course. Jack Abramoff, the now-imprisoned advocate (Class C, above) for sweatshops, made a bundle in his lobbying business. On the other hand some church people who try to create lawless "sanctuaries" for illegals do not make a dime.

All too often the personal financial motivations of the migration facilitators are not discussed, which hurts the cause of those of us who want to manage migration sensibly.

In earlier blogs I have discussed the policy makers and the U.S. government managers of immigration; similarly one of my colleagues, Stephen Steinlight, has written about the changing role of one of the major refugee resettlement agencies, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS).

Today I would like to work out in a little more detail the various relationships between the receipt of money and the encouragement of migration, from bland to blameful. The incomes of people in Classes A and B, the policy makers and managers, rarely change with the levels of migration; they neither profit from its rise nor lose from its decline.

In Class C, it is a little more complex. The president of the National Council of La Raza may be pleased by greater migration flows, but her salary does not increase as a result. This is true for many of the other Open Borders lobbyists as well.

The refugee resettlement agencies in Class D receive more money from both the Department of State and the Department of Health and Human Services when refugee migration increases. The relationship between caseloads and federal funds is more precise with the State Department program than it is with HHS grants.

With Class E we first encounter the immediate and direct relationship between more migrants on one hand and more money for the facilitators, on the other. The more successful an immigration lawyer (or a pro-migration clinic) is, the more clients, and the more clients the greater the income. This is the case despite the fact that the lawyers and the clinics never discuss their own incomes, always stressing the abused rights of their clients – and no one moves the conversation from allegedly denied rights to added dollars for the advocate.

Moving further down the scale we get to the more complicated situation with Class F employers. I would suggest four subclasses:

Class F – 1: Consists of the large mass of employers who pay lower wages than they would otherwise because of labor markets flooded by both legal and illegal aliens, but while these employers may hire aliens, they do not hire illegals nor temporary alien workers (i.e., those on E, J, H, L, or other work visas).

The following three subclasses all secure larger profits than they would otherwise get because of their interactions with alien workers.

Class F – 2: Employers avoid illegal aliens, but do use temporary alien workers, and do so within the current guidelines. Microsoft would be one such employer, as are many East Coast apple growers.

Class F – 3: Employers either hire illegal aliens, or pay some alien workers less than the minimum wage, or mistreat temporary workers they secured legitimately under current rules.

Class F – 4: Employers engage in two or more of the illegal activities noted for F-3.

Class G consists persons obtaining migration-related money through out-and-out criminal conduct, such as the smuggling of illegal aliens, producing phony documents for their use, arranging immigration-related marriage fraud, and other instances of snakehead behavior.

In short, it is both appropriate and useful to stress the profits for the bosses, the facilitators – and the crooks – that always come with open borders policies.

Topics: UnidosUS