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March 09, 2006

More Immigration Links

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Illegal immigration may be making it onto mainstream radar screens. Gary Becker suspects that "illegal immigration will constitute perhaps the major American Dilemma during the coming decade." Richard Posner's opinion is that "It is not at all clear that illegal immigration is on balance a bad thing for the nation. The only real concern is that if it continues at its present rate (which Becker estimates at 500,000 a year) we will soon reach a point at which the net benefits turn negative." Robert Samuelson thinks we oughta build a fence.

Best, and very happy to see the issue beginning to receive some of the attention and discussion it deserves,


posted by Michael at March 9, 2006


Samuelson's article is well-worth reading.

Posted by: Raw Data Complex on March 9, 2006 06:35 AM

Even if it is true that immigration is a net benefit today, and I have seen many views that say it is not, that benefit derives from a certain proportion of the immigrant population only. Is there any reason to let anyone in who, it can be reasonably expected, is not going to contribute? Many other countries have such restrictions.

Posted by: Robert Speirs on March 9, 2006 01:42 PM

But this, from Samuelson's article:
"Yes, they broke the law, but we were complicit by making the law so easy to break."
is nothing but disgusting nonsense.

Posted by: Robert Speirs on March 9, 2006 01:45 PM

Robert: Who do you believe "it can be reasonably expected, is not going to contribute"? I don't know of any metric for determining that but I think the sheer difficulty of uprooting one's life and getting established in a new land serves as a pretty good filter without us needing to add any more hardship on top of it.

If you find immigrants with a low employment rate and low standard of living disturbing, get rid of the laws that make it difficult for them to find employment. Instant improvement!

Many other countries have such restrictions.
If other countries jumped off a bridge, would you do it too? :-) Posted by: Glen Raphael on March 9, 2006 03:03 PM

Robert: It depends on who that "we" refers to. I sure as bloody hell didn't make the law easy to break. If "we" means several U.S. presdients, Congress, and the federal courts, he's dead right.

Glen: You want to turn the tables by assuming that immigration is a good thing, and then require us to justify any restriction on it. But as things are presently, the social costs far outweigh any benefit except to businesses in the form of cheap labor; they externalize the costs to the taxpayer.

A would-be immigrant should have to make an extremely persuasive case as to why he and his extended family will be assets if they are admitted. "I can make more money here than I can in Mexico" isn't good enough. Sorry.

Posted by: Rick Darby on March 9, 2006 05:30 PM

Beneficial immigrants: skills and capital in short supply. Miguel de Izacaza (founder of Ximian and Mono, the project to allow Linux to use the Microsoft .NET framework) or several of the Mexican cement barons come to mind. A guy with no skills, illiteracy in Spanish, and a large group of dependents is a net drain.

Not only does he require more social spending than he brings in; he undercuts lower-skilled American citizens out of the workforce, who then require welfare or turn to petty crime amidst odd jobs.

So what's the winning strategy for allowing immigrants to cross the border illegally? Allowing Mexico to export it's corruption and violence problem northward (internal corruption and violence prevent jobs in Mexico)? All that does is guarantee that every Mexican citizen who can make it across will come across. Can we take another 40 million or so (who've indicated in polls they want to migrate here)? I submit not and no fence plus no enforcement here = US intervention openly in Mexico to run it as a territory to insure illegals don't flood out our labor markets.

Already in the rebuilding of New Orleans African Americans are complaining that they are able and willing to work, but are undercut in working conditions (no masks, or running water, or clean living conditions) by illegal aliens. As well as of course, pay. That defacto runs well below minimum wage. Why hire someone from New Orleans who requires decent housing (and running water, toilet facilities) when you can hire an illegal at a third of his wage who will live in a tent in the open amidst the rats and cockroaches?

Posted by: Jim Rockford on March 10, 2006 02:24 AM

Well, when one knows that the other countries that are "doing it" include Mexico, where most of the illegals are coming from, the "fairness" of restrictions may be looked at somewhat differently.

Posted by: Robert Speirs on March 10, 2006 10:56 AM

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