Friday, December 07, 2007

Lucky for us that no one told the Pilgrims to "go home and get in line"

Great article on immigration by Michael Kinsley. Here's my favorite part:

The suspicion naturally arises that the illegality is not what bothers you. What bothers you is the immigration. There is an easy way to test this. Reducing illegal immigration is hard, but increasing legal immigration would be easy. If your view is that legal immigration is good and illegal immigration is bad, how about increasing legal immigration? How about doubling it? Any takers? So in the end, this is not really a debate about illegal immigration. This is a debate about immigration.


King said...

Do you think there is any upper limit on the number we could absorb in a year? I mean, why 2x the current legal immigration level? Why not 10x? 20x?

I'm looking for a principle here, not an estimate.

Anonymous said...

why not everyone?

Angus said...

Well if its 10x and all in texas and southern california, then that's a problem. but i gotta tell ya, there's plenty o room in Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, etc.

I think the moral position is open borders, but like most moral principles, it's not gonna happen.

Anonymous said...

moral position and purrhaps, the economic position to, no?

Anonymous said...

Let in more legal immigrants? Heck yeah.
And make the system favor the educated, the intelligent, those with capital to start a business, those from nations it's in our strategic interest to improve out ties with ....

I think we need immigrants, but we should get to pick who.

John Thacker said...

*I'm* in favor of doubling legal immigration, and somewhat cooler on illegal immigration. I don't believe that most people agree with me, though. (Certainly Ron Paul doesn't, since he seems to oppose legal immigration as well.)

Anonymous said...

It's unfair that millions of Mexicans can stream into our country, but people from countries that don't happen to share a border with us have to play the INS lottery for years to get in. Even a marriage visa can take years to get. The system as currently constituted is absurd.

Just a Thought said...

And make the system favor the educated, the intelligent, those with capital to start a business, those from nations it's in our strategic interest to improve out ties with ....

I don't disagree, but the US labor market also needs low-wage unskilled labor to keep our groceries inexpensive. We need more of these than we have jobs for the skilled laborers you refer to, who are already given speedy immigration (though immigrations definition of speedy is ~7 years.)

Just a Thought said...

but i gotta tell ya, there's plenty o room in Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, etc.

But almost no jobs because the combine rules that part of the country, so they go to the fields in CA, TX and Fl.

Anonymous said...

The premise of the article is flawed. It says all the argument isn't legal versus illegal, it implies the issue is one of xenophobism or racism. That's patently untrue, and begging the argument (I know, they don't teach logic in school anymore... which is why we have this debate to begin with). The premise is flawed, and thus, so is the conclusion.

So to ask the question the article incorrectly answers on most American's behalf: Do I accept massive legal immigration: Yes, if it's designed right.

The problem I have with both legal and illegal immigration TODAY (emphasis purposeful), is that it provides a huge social welfare cost to the system, not that people are wanting to come.

My wife's dad came to the US in the early 50's after WWII. He had to have a sponsor that ensured he wouldn't be on welfare or the like for 5 years. Others who came without sponsorship were INELIGIBLE for social services other than disaster relief for the same period.

Double immigration, quadruple it, quintuple it; but put rules around it that make people work hard under the same laws and wage minimums as others, and not just arrive and be eligible for a government check. Population growth causes job creation. It's a virtuous circle, but one not without struggles. There is lots of room in America. We need not focus the incoming stream on the 10 biggest cities alone.

On the "heart strings argument" - I do decry the wage issue of illegal immigration. It's hogwash that there are jobs that Americans won't do. There's just wages that people won't take unless legal status forces them into semi-slavery. For this reason, the number one objective should be LEGAL immigration reform, including dramatically upping the number. The second should be punishment of any employer who pays less than the minimum wage to anyone as a SECOND fine, in addition to hiring an illegal immigrant. The next issue is PERMANENT DEPORTATION of immigrant law breakers (which means we must fix the border), and thirdly, provide "non-sponsorship" rules for parents who entered illegally and had a child on American soil. The kid is an American, the parents aren't. They have to apply like everyone else. I'm just of the opinion that applying and getting in should be easy, quick, and free.

I also think that children of illegal adults, who were brought to the US under the age of 15 should be eligible for citizenship on an expedited basis, but that they can not be sponsors for their parents. We shouldn't punish them... at all.

Lastly - what made immigration (and mass immigration at that) work for 200 years in the US was that there was adversity. The Irish immigration, the German Immigration, the Italian Immigration, etc... all involved folks who came, who struggled, and many of which who decided to go back when they couldn't make it work here. That's normal. By propping folks up within our current welfare system, we trap generations of people into a state-induced and perpetuated cycle of poverty and misery. Adversity builds value, character, and finally, wealth.

We need immigrants (population and economic growth are strongly tied). We need people who want to be Americans to be able to become Americans. What we've got though (like this article shows) is race baiting, no holds barred political posturing under the guise of compassion, but really not caring about trapping people into poverty for generations.

Give us millions of immigrants, of every race, ethnicity and color. Let "immigration" work. Stop the soft-slavery, and end the state-enforced poverty created by making the bait of social services available to a new comers whose struggle betters our nation and themselves.

...and on the last point, I'd say that of the millions of native born Americans as well.

Immigration should "safe, legal, easy, and common"

-Jonathan Arneault