Ron Unz thinks that “principled liberals and conservatives should both demand that any immigration reform proposal also include a sharp rise in the federal minimum wage”:
The reason is simple. Any increase in the supply or job mobility of willing workers will tend to benefit Capital at the expense of Labor, stifling any growth in working-class wages, especially given our high unemployment rates. The last 40 years have seen a huge increase in immigration, and it is hardly coincidental that median American wages have been stagnant or declining throughout most of this same period. A large boost in the minimum wage, perhaps to $12 an hour or more, would be the best means of reversing our current economic race to the bottom.
Cowen, on the other hand, doesn’t see unskilled immigration as threat:
In my view the evidence (and here) suggests that the negative wage pressures on unskilled labor, to the extent they have international origins at all (as opposed to TGS or automation or political factors), come more from outsourcing and trade than from immigration. So if you limit low-skilled immigration, outsourcing likely will go up, as it would be harder to find cheap labor in the United States. The United States will lose the complementary jobs as well, such as the truck driver who brings cafeteria snacks to the call center. Conversely, if you increase low-skilled immigration, you will also get more investment in the United States and more complementary jobs as well and possibly some increasing returns from clustering and maybe more net tax revenue too. On top of that the individuals themselves have greater choice as to where to spend their lives and build their careers.