Commenting on this post at Cafe Hayek, Marisol Regalado Aguilar writes:
I’ve never understood why some many pundits think the government should admit only high-skilled immigrants. We need fruit pickers and floor cleaners, too.
Marisol makes an important point. There are always jobs that need to be done. By dividing labor, it allows people to specialize in what they are comparatively best at. For every janitor or fruit picker imported (that is, low-skilled immigration), it allows doctors and factory workers to focus on their jobs. In other words, highly productive people are only highly productive because low productivity people do low productivity jobs.
Despite the fears, the division of labor does not reduce wages but rather increase them. It allows people to focus, become more productive, and thus increase their marginal output and increase their wages. Low skilled immigration serves precisely this function.
Consider the following: a doctor’s office has basic janitorial needs: trash emptied, rooms sanitized, basic upkeep, etc. If the doctor cannot hire someone to do that, either because they are not available or he’d have to pay higher wages to lure them away from other jobs and he cannot afford to do so, then he’d have to do the work himself. That’d necessarily mean he has less time to see patients, do research, or whatever he does to be highly productive. The doctor would have to become lowly productive.
Restricting immigration to just high skilled workers will not result in increased productivity in the nation. If anything, it’ll result in lower productivity, and thus lower wages.