Immigration and Vacant Housing

February 28, 2009

Hugo Chavez has sent in troops to nationalize rice processing companies in Venezuela:

“This government is here to protect the people, not the bourgeoisie or the rich,” said Mr. Chavez, ordering military authorities to “take control of and intervene in all of these businesses that process rice in Venezuela.”

I’m guessing that there are employees from various industries that Chavez has nationalized that would jump at the opportunity to immigrate to the United States. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that there were approximately 19 million vacant homes in the fourth quarter of 2008. Why not open the doors to immigration for skilled individuals that have the means and are willing to put down 20% towards a new home?

It would certainly help the housing industry since there is no way housing prices can recover with so much excess inventory. The question is whether that type of immigration hurts or harms an economy in recession. I suspect it helps. I also suspect that the Lou Dobbs types would be dead against it.