Low skill migrants make the U.S. richer, but will impoverish Spain

“‘Come On In, Boys’: A Wave of the Hand Sets Off Spain-Morocco Migrant Fight” (New York Times):

Spanish officials say Morocco increasingly sees migrants as currency for financial and political gains after it let up to 12,000 flood into a Spanish enclave in North Africa over two days.

Normally, Morocco tightly controls the fenced borders around Ceuta, a six-mile-long peninsula on Morocco’s northern coast that Spain has governed since the 1600s. But now its military was allowing migrants into this toehold of Europe. Over the next two days, as many as 12,000 people flowed over the border to Ceuta in hopes of reaching mainland Spain, engulfing the city of 80,000.

The crisis has laid bare the unique pressure point Morocco has over Spain on migration. Spanish government officials and other experts say Morocco increasingly sees the migrants as a kind of currency and is leveraging its control over them to extract financial and political prizes from Spain.

“It’s not acceptable that a government allows for attacks on their borders” because of disagreements over foreign policy, Pedro Sánchez, Spain’s prime minister, said on Monday.

Hours after the migrants began pouring into Ceuta, Spain approved 30 million euros, about $37 million, in aid to Morocco for border policing. The transaction was reminiscent of Turkey’s deal with the European Union under which it was paid to stem the flood of migrants onto European shores after the Arab Spring and decades of turmoil in Afghanistan.

The same newspaper has informed us for more than five years that low skill migrants make existing Americans vastly wealthier. Yet it runs an article without expert analysis questioning the assumption that Spain will become poorer with every additional low skill migrant (to the point that it is worth paying Morocco and Turkey to keep migrants away). And, if the brightest minds of American academia and politics are correct about the high value of low skill migrants to a modern economy, why isn’t there a bidding war among EU nations for the 6,000 migrants per day coming into Ceuta?

From 2017 Agadir, a beach resort on the Atlantic coast of Morocco (Ceuta is just inside the Mediterranean).

A map for context, which the NYT does not provide:

Separately, if American economists and Democrats are wrong about the value of low skill migrants, would it be smart for Spain to give up this little corner of Africa? If migrants cross at the rate of 6,000 per day and each migrant costs 1 million EUR in lifetime welfare, the Spanish are getting poorer at the rate of $7.3 billion per day because of their ownership of this city of 80,000 people (i.e., the residents of Ceuta would have to pay taxes at the rate of $91,250 per day each in order to make ownership of the chunk of land financially rational). For comparison, the $4 trillion in coronapanic “stimulus” spending by the U.S. government works out to about $10 billion per day.


  • “Yes, Immigration Hurts American Workers” (Harvard econ prof shows that low skill migrants actually do make Americans richer… but only those who are already relatively rich, e.g., apartment building owners, restaurant chain owners, government employees, non-profit refugee-industrial complex workers, etc.)

7 thoughts on “Low skill migrants make the U.S. richer, but will impoverish Spain

  1. Interesting that a narrow body of water is all that separates a relatively high per capita GDP ($29,000) county Spain from a very low GDP ($2,900) country Morocco. The most prominent difference between the two countries would seem to be the dead hand of modern Islam, which controls all of North Africa and the Middle East ex Israel, which except for Israel are miserable places.

  2. The Harvard econ professor is correct. The “elites” in Europe have first pushed for the inclusion of former Eastern Bloc countries in the EU and then for massive immigration of refugees.

    All this to drive down wages and drive up income for the rent seeking class. Especially in the low end sector it’s impossible to find apartments.

    The “elites” only stopped because enough protest voters have turned to “right wing” parties, i.e. parties who have many of the same values as the regular conservatives 20 years ago, but sometimes use unfortunate rhetoric.

  3. Thank you for reading the New York Times so we don’t have to! I think the people who write for that paper are big fat liars and know immigrants just make this country poorer!

  4. The immigrants in Silicon Valley are usually the smartest while the natives are usually brain dead. It’s definitely not low skilled workers moving in to replace high skilled workers. US should elect an illegal immigrant for president & see what happens.

    • California did have an immigrant governor from 2003 to 2011.

      The vast majority of Silicon Valley immigrants are doing grunt work. Some were lucky enough to get rich on stock options.

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