Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Do me a favor, open the door, let them in.

I'm a big fan of liberal immigration policies. My grandfather came here from Scotland with no skills, no real education (some would say he didn't really speak 'merican english even!!), and made a life for himself and his family opening up a grocery store in NYC. His children became railroad engineers, theologians, and bank vice presidents. His grandchildren have been at various times, airline mechanics, NYC policemen, realtors, and university professors.

I think immigration is win-win. Good for the immigrants and on net good for the host country. Yes I mean all immigrants. Heck, I love Mexico; lived there for two years.

So one would think I'd be happy about the news that the Senate (the worlds greatest deliberative body and all) had voted to take up the immigration bill again.

But.

Holy Crap this is a weird one. Bush and Kennedy? Random amendments? A path to citizenship that takes time, money, and an attention to bureaucratic detail that woulda send my old granddad packing? Nothing to address the extreme limits we put on skilled immigrants?

The system that produced a 1,000+ page free trade bill, that tried to jumpstart the Doha talks by pledging to poor countries that we would definitely commit to capping our agricultural subsidies at a point well ABOVE their current levels, is now going to "do" immigration pressed by a desperate president.

I actually think I'm hoping for no bill at all.

4 comments:

Mungowitz said...

Me, I'm hoping for no bill, and no hillary.

And, I'm with Angus, not surprisingly. Sure, perhaps we need some control of the border, if we are worried about terrorists. Though, our crack staff at TSA are too busy looking at the cracks of old ladies in airports to catch any terrorists walking through the desert.

But I would favor a universal amnesty, and a guest worker program for foreign nationals, one that actually made it possible for carpenters and other workers (even unskilled workers) to cross the border easily and with some dignity.

Russ Roberts had a nice piece on NPR. He suggested that, if we are going to apply the "points" and skills criteria, we make it a BROADER program. Not just immigrants, but current citizens. If you can't pull your weight, haul your big ol' ass to Canada, where they will pull your weight for you. Make room for an immigrant with more points. Buh-BYE, now, all you losers.

Dirty Davey said...

And, of course, immigration can be the salvation of Social Security: add working-age folks to the pool to help fix up the demographics.

Also worth noting is the argument that recent strengthening of border enforcement has likely increased the number of illegal immigrants in long-term residence. With a more open Mexican border, folks can come up to the US to work on an as-needed basis and can return home when they've built up some capital or when the labor market weakens.

With more stringent enforcement, once you get across the border the only realistic strategy is to stay firmly planted in the US and send money back. And your only hope to see your family is to get them here as well, even if they also have to become semi-permanent illegal residents.

Juris Naturalist said...

No bill!
It ain't really broke, so why fix it?
How DOES one explain this to the backhoe driver who just lost his job, though? Or the guys who insist on maintaining a certain "Lebensraum" for Americans? I actually spoke to a guy in Durham the other day who said he felt crowded if he couldn't shot a .22 in every direction on his land without hitting someone!

Immigration may well be the most illustrative policy on liberty I have ever encountered, and it's not freaky like drug liberalization.

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