Richard Rodriguez writes,

The contribution of illegal lives is never counted—never—as praise or admiration or courage or virtue of any kind. It is as though America, having benefited from illegal labor, pretends that the transaction was one of middle-class benevolence. Mexicans should be thankful for a month of cheerless eight-hour shifts, standing there waiting for the old lady to get off the commode. The odd thing is that they are thankful!

I think that what economists can contribute to the immigration debate is that we can remind people of the difference between sharing and trading. When we hire somebody, we are not sharing. We are trading.

Also, see Julian Simon’s 1995 analysis of immigration.