The most common objection is the claim that letting immigrants in will hurt American wages. Before, I've addressed this on its merits: If labor doesn't move, capital will. Your doctor's lower wages are your lower health costs. Immigrants come for wide open jobs, and to start new businesses. And so on.
What occurs to me this morning is the inconsistency that conservatives make this argument.
Suppose it were true. Would that mean the government should keep out migrants to keep American wages up?
Well, do you believe that the Federal government should mandate a large minimum wage, to raise American’s wages? Do you believe that the Federal Government should ban imports and subsidize exports, to raise American’s wages? Do you believe that the Federal Government should give more power to unions, to raise American’s wages? Do you believe that the Federal Government should pass even more stringent rules in its own contracts to pay higher wages? Do you believe that the government should pass more licensing restrictions, to lessen competition and raise American's wages? Should Illinois restrict people Indianans working in Illinois, to keep up Illinoisans' wages?
These are all the same sorts of steps. At least people who believe all these wrong things believe them together. It makes no sense whatsoever to oppose, correctly, all of these counterproductive economic interventions, but to support exactly the same intervention aimed at immigrants.
As usual in the immigration debate, incoherence is a sign that the real arguments are not the ones people are talking about. On both sides.