A day without a Mexican is an attempt to make the unseen seen. The large Hispanic population is a result of legal and illegal immigration. The visible affects of the Hispanic population was the increasing prevalence of Spanish over English, lots of Hispanic food, and a demand for Hispanic reporters. Illegal immigrants (often being paid less than minimum wage) affected Non-Hispanic unemployment, and crime were other “seen” factors. But, at least based on the movie, many things went unseen. Illegal immigration created jobs for the border patrol. Illegal immigrants actually contributed more than they received in healthcare as well as providing key services. An unseen consequence of illegal immigration is much cheaper produce because many of the illegal immigrants receive less than minimum wage—it’s amazing that an estimated 90% of farm workers aren’t in the country legally. I’m torn on the solution to this though—I’m waffling between doing away with immigration restrictions and getting rid of minimum wage laws…how about both?
Human ingenuity is really quite impressive. Someone somewhere always seems to find a loophole in any policy that they can exploit to their own advantage. Ah those good old unintended consequences. I still believe that a big part of the problem is that public policy measures usually have some end goal in mind (which isn’t completely a bad thing), but sometimes more attention is placed legitimizing the ends than ensuring that the means will truly achieve it. Another problem is that government incentives don’t always align with policy success. Politicians want a policy that will get them reelected, and bureaucrats want policies that maximize their budget and control.