Because Xenophobia

Alison Rauh has an interesting academic paper comparing the labor market outcomes for black immigrants vs native-born American blacks vs the children of black immigrants, which concludes that:

Black immigrants’ labor market outcomes surpass those of native blacks. This paper determines in how far the relative success of black immigrants is passed on to the second generation. While blacks of the second generation have equal or higher education and earnings levels than the first generation, the return on their unobservable characteristics is converging to that of native blacks.

So, to be clear, this article says that, again in its own words:

Black immigrant men are much more likely than native black men to be employed, married, and not incarcerated.  Schooling patterns point towards much higher college completion percentages and less high school dropouts for black immigrant men.  Similar analysis applies to women though the variation in outcomes is generally compressed.

When this article is discussed over on Marginal Revolution, however, the general run of people who respond to every article as an indictment of immigration think that this article is…  an indictment of immigration.  Why?  I genuinely don’t know.  Maybe they just assumed that the world agreed with them to such a degree that they reversed the conclusions of the paper in their heads?  Maybe their reading comprehension is terrible?  Maybe they have some tortured long dubious logical chain in their head that leads to reversing the conclusions of the paper.

But actually, I do know: whatever the proximate cause is, the underlying cause is some combination of xenophobia and racism.  If you start from the blind faith that immigrants and/or non-white people are bad, everything that talks about immigrants and/or non-white people will look bad to you.


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