Friday, March 7, 2014
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The first problem is that the complaint that there will be too many low-wage workers among the immigrants contradicts the insistence that they will all be on welfare.
As to the claim that I would exploit low-wage workers, exactly the opposite is true. I have been a strong supporter of the right of men and women to bargain collectively through unions, which is an important part of their being able to enjoy decent wages. I have been a consistent supporter at both the state and federal levels of a higher minimum wage. I have also consistently opposed international trade agreements that expose American workers to competition from people employed in nations where they receive a pittance in compensation and where there were no safety or environmental regulations.
Since I wrote that column, several studies have come out that reinforce my point. Both the International Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office have concluded that the accusation that legalizing immigrants will cost the U.S. government money is simply wrong. Legalization of a mostly healthy, young workforce will help our economy grow.
Barney Frank is a retired congressman and author of landmark legislation. He divides his time between Maine and Massachusetts.