Nation of Immigrants

Can America rediscover its open-borders roots?

Every country has its mythology. America’s is that we are a “nation of immigrants.” The Statue of Liberty, the country’s most iconic monument, stands tall in New York Harbor, welcoming “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” If the United States had been true to these ideals, its history would have been a simple tale of openness and acceptance. The real story is far more complex.

For the first half of its existence, America had virtually open borders. That stopped in the late 19th century, when the first major restrictions were introduced to stem the tide of incoming Asians. The country then slammed its doors shut around 1925 after anti-immigration animus, which had always bubbled beneath the surface, boiled over in the form of quotas based on national origins, among other things. For the first time, federal bureaucrats inserted themselves between willing American employers and willing foreign workers, placing strict limits on both the total number of immigrants and the number from each country. 

Ever since then, every time the country has opened its door to one set of immigrants, it has rebuffed another. The upshot is a mishmash of contradictory laws that can’t keep up with the desires of individuals or the needs of the American economy.

Since the 1960s, immigration laws in theory have favored family reunification and labor-force augmentation. In practice, naturalized Americans have to endure up to a two-decade wait before they can bring even certain blood relatives into the country. High-tech employers can’t meet even half their need for foreign workers, who also have to wait decades to gain permanent residency. 

Yet the tech sector has it easy compared to the agricultural, hospitality, and construction industries. Their demand for foreign laborers is even greater, but the work visas available are both fewer and less usable. And contrary to popular belief, there is no “line” for poor or low-skilled foreign workers seeking to gain permanent residency.

All of this has helped create a massive unauthorized population whose fate is polarizing the country. In short, virtually every aspect of the U.S. immigration system is broken. It is out of sync with American ideals and American needs. 

We have a choice between raising the barricades further and ejecting people already here or moving toward a more open system that allows more human and labor-market freedom. If we go the first route, the price will be paid not just by poor foreigners who are literally dying to make a better living but also by the economy. Civil liberties will be degraded, along with our sense of humanity. 

According to a recent study by the National Foundation for American Policy, immigrant deaths at the border rose by 27 percent in 2012 to nearly 500—a result of the crackdown on border towns that has pushed Latin American risk takers ever further out to the dangerous and inhospitable desert. As reason contributor Malia Politzer has noted, between 1997 and 2007 the U.S.–Mexico border was about 10 times deadlier to immigrants than the Berlin Wall was to East Berliners in its entire 28-year existence.

It is impossible to get a grip on the full economic costs of restrictionism. How does one calculate, for example, the businesses that never form because labor is too expensive? Still, the Texas comptroller estimated in 2006 that although low-skilled unauthorized workers cost the state treasury $504 million more than they paid in taxes in 2005, without them the state’s economy would have shrunk by 2.1 percent, or $17.7 billion. 

But the biggest toll restrictionism takes is on the civil liberties of Americans. You cannot track every movement and activity of every immigrant without imposing similar restrictions on natives who benefit from these immigrants. Abandoning its commitment to welcoming immigrants enshrined in the Statue of Liberty will cost Americans dearly.  

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  • John||

    Jim Crow is a part of our roots too. So is slaughtering the Indians. I don't see anyone wanting to bring those back.

  • Calidissident||

    Well done John. Grade A trolling

  • John||

    Normally, you don't understand the point of arguments because you are not very bright. But since Old Mexican didn't get it either, I will give you a pass.

    The point is that the fact that something is part of our past doesn't mean it is any good. And Dalmia is committing sophistry here.

    Now you can thank me for your daily logic lesson right after you look up the word sophistry so you can properly understand my post.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: John,

    The point is that the fact that something is part of our past doesn't mean it is any good.


    That's NOT what Ms. Dalmia is arguing, John.

  • CE||

    Throw out that dusty old copy of the Bill of Rights while we're at it?

  • GILMORE||

    The point is that the fact that something is part of our past doesn't mean it is any good

    DOWN WITH CLASSICAL LIBERAL THOUGHT TOO!!

  • wfieve||

    Start working at home with Google! This is certainly the nicest-work I have ever done . Last Monday I got a new Alfa Romeo from bringing in $7778. I started this 9 months ago and practically straight away started making more than $83 per hour. I work through this link, Bling6.com

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    So is Liberty.

  • Libertymike||

    So, do we want to add even more ICE bureaucrats, more regulations which strangle business and more surveillance?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Why do you hate creating (government) jobs, mike?

  • Libertymike||

    Do you think me a hater?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I don't know. Do you hate both the player and the game?

  • Libertymike||

    Listen, I have been banned from Mikey Adams show on WEEI 93.7 because, inter alia:

    (1) I offered the opinion that Ray Lewis is more likeable than Tom Brady the week of the AFC Championship game.

    (2) During the week before the Super Bowl, I told Mikey, John D. Ryder and Lenny Megs that Ray Lewis walks the walk regarding his Christianity, citing his forgiveness of his father who had abandoned him.

    (3) Several times I have sung the praises of Lebron James. Mike Adams loathes Lebron almost as much as he hates Greg Nettles and Billy Martin and Micky Rivers and A-rod and anything Yankees.

    So, basically, I love the player and the game, provided the player is not on team STATE and the game is not rigged by the STATE.

    Given that you live / work in the NH area, you might know about Mike Adams, if you are a WEEI listener.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    That's awesome. I don't listen to sport radio much because my commute is like 5 minutes, but I've heard his show before.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: John,

    Jim Crow is a part of our roots too. So is slaughtering the Indians. I don't see anyone wanting to bring those back.


    If you can coherently and cogently explain why race-related laws imposed by government and the slaughter of Native Americans by the U.S. government (both examples of naked and unwarranted aggression by the bureaucracy against people) come close to be comparable to letting people migrate in peace, then as God is my witness, I will never bother you again.

  • John||

    It is real simple. Just because something is part of our roots doesn't mean it is any good. It may or may not be good. So, Dalmia claiming that open borders are part of our roots is not a valid argument. So what? A lot of things are part of our roots. That says nothing about their relative value.

    That was my point.

  • Calidissident||

    It's still a stupid comparison. Open borders is nothing like slavery or killing Indians. It's the same argument liberals use whenever any conservative or libertarian suggests that the Founding Fathers might actually have known something about government or political philosophy. It's the same sentiment that produces Ezra Klein's "The Constitution's like 100 years old and written by dead white men." And I've definitely seen you make appeals to the past at various times.

  • John||

    It is not a comparison you half wit. I never said one was just like the other. I said that the fact that something is part of our past doesn't mean that it is any good.

    Think harder next time.

  • Calidissident||

    "It is not a comparison you half wit."

    I'm sure if Tony had posted the exact same thing on an article about how the US was founded on the idea of say, a constitutionally limited government, you would have said the exact same thing.

    "I said that the fact that something is part of our past doesn't mean that it is any good."

    I don't think Dalmia would say that either. In fact, I don't see anywhere in this article where she says, "because we used to have open borders, that means it's automatically good." I think she uses the historical example because of the ignorance of many nativists who seriously think that we currently have the most open borders in the history of this country, or that people who support open borders are "unamerican."

  • Calidissident||

    Oh, and keep it up with the juvenile insults. It displays your intellectual superiority so clearly

  • ||

    I don't think we need to hear that from one of the lower IQ posters here, Cali.

  • Calidissident||

    Darius,

    That post was one of the reasons I made that comment. John's been on a kick today where he has to let everyone who disagrees with him know that the only reason they don't hold his position is that they're too stupid to comprehend his vast wisdom

  • OldMexican||

    Re: John,

    It is real simple. Just because something is part of our roots doesn't mean it is any good.


    You're avoiding the question.

    Of course a thing is not supposed to be good sorely by virtue of its historical permanence. However, you're completely missing the point of the article. Ms. Shalmia is talking about the odd contrast between the mythological aspect of America's history as a country of immigrants and the reality of a country where the government imposes a series of restrictions on immigration based entirely on the whims of bureaucrats or special interest groups, and not really on valid economic or moral grounds.

  • John||

    And that is an even lamer argument. Maybe immigration was fabulous in the 19th Century. That doesn't mean it is the same today. We did have a big empty continent to settle back then.

    So what if there is an odd contrast? Things change. That is not an argument. It is an observation.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    How does the process of moving from one nation-state to another nation state "change" exactly?

  • jester||

    'A big empty continent'? Didn't you admit earlier the Amerindian genocide?
    And that's beside the point that we don't have an agriculture-centric economy anymore. You're sounding like those rubes who insist that he US doesn't manufacture anything anymore just because the automakers are foundering for reasons untied to manufacturing know how.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: John,

    And that is an even lamer argument.


    To what are you referring when saying "lamer argument"?

    Maybe immigration was fabulous in the 19th Century. That doesn't mean it is the same today.


    The Laws of Economics remain the same as long as humans remain in this Earth, John.

    We did have a big empty continent to settle back then.


    Now that is a lame argument, John. People don't come here to "settle" as if "Far and Away." You watch too many movies.

    Things change [...]


    Her argument is that things did change except NOT for the better. You may want to disagree with that but, acussing her of making an argument she's not, is an entirely different thing.

  • Libertymike||

    Did you enjoy Far and Away? In my view, it stunk.

  • Ornithorhynchus||

    I thought Far And Away was pretty mediocre. But the thing that bothered me the most about it was the land run scene, because I actually lived in the Cherokee Outlet at the time, and the terrain looked nothing like the area I knew. I know that sort of thing occurs in a lot of movies, but it's really annoying when it involves a place you know well.

  • CE||

    The Constitution must be a breathing, living document that adapts to the times. Fortunately, it has a General Welfare clause and a Commerce clause.

  • GILMORE||

    John| 6.13.13 @ 5:15PM |#

    And that is an even lamer argument. Maybe immigration was fabulous in the 19th Century. That doesn't mean it is the same today. We did have a big empty continent to settle back then

    So our current moribund economy, European birth-rates, and lazy generation of natives is.... a sign of our national strength and desperate need to keep newcomers *away*?

    Know Nothings FTW!!

  • kbolino||

    The magic of government, whose beneficence is expressed through the glorious welfare state, means that we all own each other. Where otherwise you would not have the place to interfere in the interactions of two people, be they landlord and tenant, employer and employee, parent and child, etc., the magic of government grants you the right, nay the duty, to intrude. You see, because we all own each other, we all owe each other something. Be it a common language, a favorable behavior, or a tax dollar, the magic of government means we are owed these things, and if they're not given to us, then we're naught but victims of the insidious private interactions of others.

  • Calidissident||

    And American shows up in 3, 2, 1 ...

  • Generic Stranger||

    Seems like John is filling in for him today.

  • DJF||

    “””’’The Statue of Liberty, the country’s most iconic monument, stands tall in New York Harbor, welcoming “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”””’

    The Statue of Liberty (real name Liberty Enlightening the World) was built to celebrate US independence and the right of Americans to run their own country. It was never a statue of immigration and in fact immigration is not mentioned on any of the dedications put up when it was built. That stupid poem was not put up outside the Statue until 19 years later.

    Also US open immigration policy was during the expansion of the US and when the US was giving away land on the frontier. The Frontier has long been closed and so is the open border immigration policy.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • DJF||

    You mean warmongering for WW1?

    That is what ‘Liberty Bonds” were for, to borrow money to send US troops to get slaughtered in the trenches of WW1.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    And?

  • DJF||

    And how about lets return “Liberty Enlightening the World” back to its original meaning that Americans have the right to run their own country.

  • Calidissident||

    Nothing says liberty like a fence, government agents controlling all activity across an imaginary line, a 100 mile wide zone were the Constitution isn't in effect, and government bureaucrats controlling business and telling them who they can and can't hire.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Funny that you can so authoritatively speak of the connotation of symbols erected so long ago. Just how old are you? Are you an immortal like Nicolas Cage?

  • Robert||

    Originally it was Progress Bringing the Light to Asia, but that couldn't get sponsorship.

  • jester||

    The US is expanding economically, and agricultural sector represents a farthing of former labor force.

  • DJF||

    Yet the open borders types keep on saying that crops can't be picked even with over 11 milliion illegals in the USA.

  • jester||

    You can consider me an open borders type. In the hands of the bureaucracy, favoritism, cronyism and incompetence rule decision making about who gets. Open borders allow market forces to determine who enters and while not perfect is a superior model for immigration. I understand that there are other open borders types, but most of those that lurk around here feel that everyone has a right to sell his or her own labor.

  • kbolino||

    If a farmer wants to hire someone to pick his crops, it ain't your goddamn place to tell him no, regardless of whether there's 1 other person or 11 million other people to do the job. The grand geopolitical problems of the nation, as dictated by TOP MEN, do not override the fundamental liberties of individuals.

  • Calidissident||

    Don't pretend like there wasn't always a substantial nativist contingent, even in the days of the frontier, or ignore the fact that immigrants tended to live in big cities, not on the frontier, or that the frontier was closed long before 1924

  • DJF||

    The cities really filled up with immigrants between the time that the frontier closed and when open borders immigration ended. Prior to the closing of the frontier lots of immigrants went directly from the boats, to a train and then out to the newly opened land. The ship and train companies advertised all over Europe for such immigrants

  • Calidissident||

    Were there not huge number of immigrants in Northern cities in, say, the Civil War era? Obviously a greater proportion went to the frontier in 1850 versus 1910, but it's wrong to pretend like cities didn't get large numbers of immigrants until the frontier closed. And as I said, the frontier closed well before 1924

  • OldMexican||

    Re: DJF,

    Also US open immigration policy was during the expansion of the US and when the US was giving away land on the frontier.


    The land expansion that you're referring to had to do more with the expansion of the U.S. Army after the Civil War and the economics of bigger government than with immigration. Most immigrants from Europe during the 1820s on to the 1920s kept themselves pretty much in the urban areas where there was work.

    The Frontier has long been closed and so is the open border immigration policy.


    You're completely conflating two things, totally outside of the historical context of each. The reason people migrate is because people feel they will improve their lot by doing so; this is the same reason people trade, because they expect to improve their lot. The other reason is because of the demand for labor. As long as there is demand, there will be supply, regardless of your puny and insignificant feelings.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    As long as there is demand, there will be supply,

    Lord Keynes endorses this statement.

  • ||

    Huh, turns out Zaytsev is Shriek's rightwing counterpart. He REALLY thinks snide references to Keynes IN AND OF ITSELF shows how wrong you are, just like OB mentions Limbaugh and Rush, confident that the mere reference to those names discredits his opponent's argument.

  • CE||

    The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France -- the people of France, not it's government. "Liberty Enlightening the World" sounds like a good idea -- we ought to try it again.

  • OldMexican||

    The country then slammed its doors shut around 1925 [...] For the first time, federal bureaucrats inserted themselves between willing American employers and willing foreign workers[.]


    Yes. Welcome to the Progressive Era.

  • DJF||

    The progressive Era was earlier

    Harding and Coolidge were hardly progressive

  • OldMexican||

    Re: DJF,

    Harding and Coolidge were hardly progressive


    First, the Progressive Era flourished from 1890s to the late 1920s. Read some American history for a change. Second, it was Congress that passed the Immigration Act of 1924. It wasn't proposed by Coolidge.

  • jester||

    The Berlin Wall kept East Germans in and was effective mostly because of the police state of the DDR. There is no barrier along the US Mexican border except in major cities and their function is to keep potential immigrants out.
    I agree with your points in this piece but this comparison is bad on several levels.

  • CE||

    Yeah, and the East Germans knew better than to try to get over the wall. That's why there were fewer deaths -- there were a lot fewer attempts.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

  • Restoras||

    Enough of this disingenous crap from Shikha. You know what the difference is between "legal" immigration and "illegal" immigration? One is legal, lawful and beneficial to the country. The other isn't. Now go pound sand.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    So any attempt to construct legislation to alter the status quo is "supporting 'illegal' immigration"?

  • jester||

    I think she fairly points out that illegal immigration exists simply because there is no line for certain would be immigrants. Their only option is to show up illegally which they do in droves.

  • Calidissident||

    Yes because, "IT'S TEH LAW!" is such a respected argument on a libertarian website

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Restoras,

    You know what the difference is between "legal" immigration and "illegal" immigration? One is legal, lawful and beneficial to the country. The other isn't.


    Do you know the difference between question-begging and circular thinking, R?

    There isn't one.

    Economically speaking, there is no specific difference between a laborer who happens to have government sanction and a laborer who doesn't. The distinction is as irrelevant to ecomomics as having a license to drive is irrelevant to determine whether one knows how to drive.

  • PapayaSF||

    Economically speaking, there is no specific difference between a laborer who happens to have government sanction and a laborer who doesn't.

    Nonsense. Officially, you are not allowed to immigrate if you are likely to become a public charge, are a criminal, or carry a contagious disease. Unfortunately, many illegals fit into those categories. Plus, now that we have a gigantic welfare state (another reason this is not the 19th century), even immigrants who might seem fine at first may well become public charges.

    I have a theory that all ideologies, applied at 100% strength to all issues, end in disaster. I think open borders is the Achilles Heel of libertarianism, at least when it comes to the USA right now. In theory, it should be an economic benefit and seems like a good idea as a "right." In practice, it means flooding the country with people whose views are basically anti-libertarian (socially conservative and fiscally liberal), and who vote for (and whose children and grandchildren vote for) the least libertarian of the major parties.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: PapayaSF,

    Nonsense. Officially, you are not allowed to immigrate if you are likely to become a public charge, are a criminal, or carry a contagious disease.


    What does that have to do with the economic fact that a laborer who is here legally is no different than a laborer who is here "illegally"? As long as both produce, then the fact that a government calls one "legal" and the other "illegal" is irrelevant.

    Unfortunately, many illegals fit into those categories.


    That does not mean they a) get assistance or b) are actively engaging in seeking assistance. Most public assistance programs require that you provide some sort of proof of citizenship, which is why most welfare recipients are white and black Americans.

    I have a theory that all ideologies, applied at 100% strength to all issues, end in disaster.


    It's a good thing then that libertarianism is a political theory and not an ideology.

    I think open borders is the Achilles Heel of libertarianism,


    I think you're right. We should then do everything in our power to stop people from migrating from California to Texas. That must be bad. Must be. Either that, or you're full of shit.

  • PapayaSF||

    As long as both produce, then the fact that a government calls one "legal" and the other "illegal" is irrelevant.

    Yeah, in theory, but in practice, legal immigrants are not (on average) the same as illegal ones (on average).

    That does not mean they a) get assistance

    In San Francisco they certainly do. I see illegal aliens using food stamps all the time. Many get subsidized housing here, too.

    It's a good thing then that libertarianism is a political theory and not an ideology.

    Regarding my point, a distinction without a difference.

    We should then do everything in our power to stop people from migrating from California to Texas.

    Now you're just flailing.

  • Calidissident||

    "In San Francisco they certainly do. I see illegal aliens using food stamps all the time. Many get subsidized housing here, too."

    San Francisco isn't exactly a good barometer of the country as a whole. And if you're going to blame illegal aliens for the problems of San Francisco, that's just stupid. By law, illegal immigrants are ineligible for federal welfare programs (and legal immigrants have to live here for at least five years). Now, given this is government involved, I'm not saying that is always followed. I'm sure it's more common in places like San Francisco than elsewhere. But from the studies I've seen, illegal immigrants are less likely to be on welfare than legal immigrants for this reason. Immigrants with kids born here can get welfare via them, but not all immigrants have spouses or kids, especially if we're talking about illegal migrant workers, many of whose families still live in their home country.

    In any case, studies like the ones Dalmia has written about have shown that the budgetary impact of immigration is not very big either way, while other economic benefits are positive (as is consistent with free market expectations). It doesn't justify restricting the liberty of both immigrants and Americans (which all immigration-restricting law does, whether it's the intent or not). And it's a lot harder to keep out criminals and carriers of infectious disease when you're also keeping out massive numbers of people who don't fit in either category.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    We should then do everything in our power to stop people from migrating from California to Texas.

    Yeah, you probably should because it won't be long before those migrants turn Texas into CA east.

    Just like the rust migrants of the 70s and 80s did to CA.

  • MWG||

    Teh law is teh law...

  • CE||

    And the government is best suited to figuring out which immigrants should be legal and which should not? Or might there be some economic inefficiency and violations of basic moral principles at work there?

  • Acosmist||

    Well, libertarianism is suicidal. Any other ideologies we can get on board?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Oooh...watch out! Jose "Dirty" Sanchez is just lyin' in wait to getcha!

  • GroundTruth||

    Open minds and open borders!

    I get this need to vomit every time I hear the phrase "secure the borders". What is really meant by it is "celebrate xenophobia" and "protect union jobs". Enough!

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Not really. There are plenty of migrants you don't want coming into the country (violent felons; peeps with infectious disease) and against whom the border should be secured.

    Personally, I would also like to avoid the situation where we import a new class of welfare bums who don't understand or care about freedom and vote accordingly.

  • CE||

    And "pretend an arbitrary line in the sand drawn by a government claiming lawful authority based on a Constitution no living person signed and which the government itself violates daily should be defended at all costs from those who simply want to move somewhere else."

  • Calidissident||

    Not to mention that it isn't even constitutional. The constitution gives the feds power over naturalization (granting citizenship to immigrants) not immigration itself. Even in the days of open borders, we had strict requirements on naturalization (being white was one requirement), which suggests that the founders did indeed understand the difference between those two words.

  • Libertarius||

    One: Border security subsumes a broader contextual arena than immigration; it is the leftoids (who are hellbent on destroying this country and taking Western man back to the dark ages, in case you didn't notice) who have made borders=immigration exclusively. They think it gives them a new race card account from which to draw political capital, and among the unthinking, it does.

    Two: You open borders suiciders need to get with the times. 100 years ago, in the heyday of European immigration, there was no welfare state in America; today, America is the largest and most profligate welfare state in the history of the world. Do you have to pretend to be so dense as to ignore the reality of millions of ignorant third world welfare bums coming here to...get on welfare? WTF else are they going to do, write software and cure cancer? GTF outta here.

    It all comes from your fear of pronouncing judgment, on both men and reality, and your bizarre imperative of appeasing the leftoids. You don't get it--the leftoids will not be appeased until the world is in ruins, THAT is the only possible goal of the nihilism which now defines the left in the collapse of 20th century collectivism as a glowing ideal.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    100 years ago, in the heyday of European immigration, there was no welfare state in America;

    That's not exactly true.

  • PapayaSF||

    Corrupt patronage systems run at the local level are not much of an issue compared vastly huger, more expensive, and more entrenched federal and state entitlement programs.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    That's true, but I don't think any one here is defending the welfare state.

  • SIV||

    Shikha defends it

  • ||

    And she eats babies. Didn't you see that part of the article?

  • Calidissident||

    "Border security subsumes a broader contextual arena than immigration"

    You're right. It also means justification for Constitution-free zone within 100 miles of a border (of course that zone seems be turning into the entire country these days)

    "Do you have to pretend to be so dense as to ignore the reality of millions of ignorant third world welfare bums coming here to...get on welfare? WTF else are they going to do, write software and cure cancer? GTF outta here."

    Do you actually think the reason most Asian and Latin American immigrants move here is to live on welfare? Talk about being naive and ignorant

  • Calidissident||

    *a Constitution-free zone

  • jester||

    There are enough NATIVE ignorant sponges to seal the deal. Conflating immigration with welfare sponging is the worst distraction the US faces. It cripples the Republican Party from their duty to be an opposition party and they play right into the Democrat play book that they hate brown people. Worse, it distracts them from a message of less government which would mean really going after entitlement programs. Your birthright is not a government paycheck anymore than it is a recent arrival's. Get your priorities straight.

  • Spaceno93||

    Ok the problem I have compared to the past - the immigrants who can here in the past, came because they loved this country and want to be a part of it. They wanted to help the country grow and be a part of growing it.

    I don't see that nowadays. They come here and send money home. They were other country flags in the streets. America is second or further back.

    Yes, their were Irish communities, or Asian, etc in the past but they still assimilated into society. Yes, they added their culture also but they joined. Again, I don't see that nowadays. Their culture comes first. They want everyone to cater to them. We now have Spanish signs, phone choices, etc. Where are the Korean, the Japanese, and other opinions?

    More to the point - to me a country is like a house. I can invite in who I want (Isn't they why we have doors?). Millions of people would want to live here. Why do people south of the border who basically break in get first choice? Open borders people - you let anyone in your house right?

    My grandparents (from each side) come over, learn English and were proud to be in this country. Can all these new 'immigrants' say the same?

  • Calidissident||

    "Ok the problem I have compared to the past - the immigrants who can here in the past, came because they loved this country and want to be a part of it. They wanted to help the country grow and be a part of growing it."

    This has been said about virtually every immigrant group in the history of this country.

    "I don't see that nowadays. They come here and send money home. They were other country flags in the streets. America is second or further back."

    Regarding the point about money, what exactly is the problem? It's their money, and it's natural they'd want to help out family. To whatever extent this is a problem, it would be largely nullified if a) we had a guest worker program and b) if their family could legally move here. Regarding the later point, that's a pretty blanket generalization. Immigrants having pride in their home country is nothing new or sinister.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Don't you understand? America is "his house", if you don't like how he tells you how to spend your money, or what language to speak, or what clothes to wear, or what food to eat...then GET THE FUCK OUT!

  • Calidissident||

    "The country is like a family. And the government is our daddy."

    Nothing creepy or authoritarian about that mindset

  • PapayaSF||

    This has been said about virtually every immigrant group in the history of this country.

    "They said Newton was crazy. They said Einstein was crazy. They said my Uncle Fred was crazy."

    "Who was your Uncle Fred?"

    "Nobody. He really was crazy."

  • Calidissident||

    Nativists don't exactly have a great track record, is my point. Today's nativists are the intellectual descendents of yesterday's, just as today's progressives are the intellectual descendents of Wilson and FDR, communists are the intellectual descendents of Marx, Lenin, and Trotsky, Neo-Nazis are the intellectual descendents of Hitler, and so on. And I explained below why it's bullshit

  • PapayaSF||

    I reject this. Saying "Too many immigrants is not a good idea" is not "connected to" nativism of the past in the way a neo-Nazi is connected to Nazis of the past. You might as well say that anyone who objects to intervention in Syria is "connected to" the German-american Bund, who didn't want us to intervene in Europe in 1940. They're both "anti-intervention," so they must have the same philosophy and moral character, right?

    Immigration now is different from immigration in the past in many ways. The country is also different. "Open borders" today amounts to saying "unlimited numbers of poor and poorly-educated Hispanics who vote for Democrats will make this country better." No, they won't. They strain welfare systems, they lower wages, and they make the country less libertarian. immigration is a good thing, but it's always possible to have too much of a good thing.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Immigration now is different from immigration in the past in many ways.

    What do you mean by "immigration"? Do you just mean the concept of moving from one nation-state to another? If so, I don't see how it's different. If you mean American laws and immigration policy, then of course it's different. But maybe what you are saying is that the groups immigrating to this country are different from groups in the past. If so, so what?

    Open borders" today amounts to saying "unlimited numbers of poor and poorly-educated Hispanics who vote for Democrats

    Immigrant groups regardless of their origin tend to be poor and/or poorly-educated. If they had it good in their home country, why would they leave? Secondly, we seem to have accepted this argument that Hispanic immigrants will eventually vote for welfare-state Democrats. What evidence do you have for this claim? I don't mean anecdotal; I would like to see statistics from a reliable reporting source.

    They strain welfare systems, they lower wages, and they make the country less libertarian.

    You provide no evidence for the first claim and the second claim shows economic ignorance of the highest degree. The third statement is equivocation: "countries" cannot be libertarian; however, "people" can be. If you fear certain populations of people are not libertarian, the onus is then on us to make them so.

  • Calidissident||

    When that group is making the exact same arguments, it is connected. Notice that I didn't accuse you of being a nativist, nor did I say that anyone who isn't pro-open borders is by definition a nativist. Pretending that there isn't a significant minority in this country that is xenophobic and/or racist is stupid.

  • Calidissident||

    "Yes, their were Irish communities, or Asian, etc in the past but they still assimilated into society. Yes, they added their culture also but they joined. Again, I don't see that nowadays. Their culture comes first. They want everyone to cater to them. We now have Spanish signs, phone choices, etc. Where are the Korean, the Japanese, and other opinions?"

    This shows a lack of understanding of history, and a lack of knowledge of Hispanic Americans. I'm not sure how anyone who has had any sort of major interaction with Hispanic Americans could think that second and third generation kids have no cultural differences from their parents and grandparents. And if you're asking where the Korean and Japanese signs are, you've clearly never been to LA.

    "More to the point - to me a country is like a house. I can invite in who I want (Isn't they why we have doors?). Millions of people would want to live here. Why do people south of the border who basically break in get first choice? Open borders people - you let anyone in your house right?"

    The country isn't like a house. Government is not akin to a property owner. If it was, then almost any violation of liberty would be justified. Is it not the owner's right to tell people how to behave in their house? Do you not see the kinds of things such logic would justify?

  • Calidissident||

    "My grandparents (from each side) come over, learn English and were proud to be in this country. Can all these new 'immigrants' say the same?"

    Do you not think immigrants (and especially their kids) learn English? Some obviously don't speak it. It's not easy to learn a new language as an adult, especially when you don't have time or money for English classes. But most do try to learn as much as they can, and the vast majority of kids born and raised here speak perfect English. The number of Hispanic Americans who speak only English is more than double the number who speak only Spanish. Nor did every immigrant of yesterday learn English. My great-grandparents were from Italy. My great-grandma was a stay at home mom and never learned a single word. My great-grandpa did learn the language, my grandfather learned it as a kid and speaks far better English than Italian today, and married a non-Italian. That's a pretty typical story of family's assimilation, regardless of time period.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Spaceno93,

    the immigrants who [came] here in the past, came because they loved this country and want to be a part of it.


    Most of the immigrants who came in the past were most of the time getting away from poverty and starvation, not so much their love for America. How can they "love" a country they do not know yet? What you say makes NO sense. It is like arguing that you want to meet some strange girl at a bar because you love her. That's preposterous.

    to me a country is like a house


    The problem, then, is with you. A country is NOT a house anymore than a mountain is a pedestal.

    As long as people who immigrate to the United States engage in peaceful trade with other people who are willing, then you cannot preclude them from coming to this country. Imposing YOUR wants and wishes on others (on immigrants and on those that want to trade with them) IS naked and undue aggression against them.

  • kbolino||

    "They come here and send money home."

    It's not your money. Get out of your head that someone else's property belongs to you. It does not. It is not yours to control. You do not have the right to dictate to anyone how and where he spends the spoils of his labor.

  • ||

    This article says absolutely nothing. The immigration system is broken? I guess it can get in line behind the health care system and the educational system. So broken basically means lets add more government intervention. Cheap labor? Right. Can you say minimum wage?

  • Calidissident||

    "So broken basically means lets add more government intervention."

    Are you saying that's what Dalmia is arguing for or what the feds will do to try and "solve" the problem. If it's the latter I agree with you. If it's the former, I do not

  • scottstams||

    It is this kind of garbage that discredits an otherwise cogent Libertarian argument. Open borders are incompatible with the welfare state. The end.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Scottstmas,

    It is this kind of garbage that discredits an otherwise cogent Libertarian argument. Open borders are incompatible with the welfare state.


    Your criticism is based on a non sequitur. The Welfare State does not invalidate the argument for open borders anymore than disease invalidates the argument for a healthy diet or exercise.

    The arguments for open borders are: one, based on the morality of respecting people's freedom of movement; and two, the economic benefit of increasing the labor pool and improving the division of labor, which increases productivity either through more specialization or through comparative advantage. Neither of those arguments are invalidated by the existence of a Welfare State, which is in any case an imposition from government, just like taxes or regulations.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    the economic benefit of increasing the labor pool and improving the division of labor

    This is a fallacy. The division of labor is a function of free markets and liberty not the size of the labor force. And the welfare-regulatory state in the US severely restricts economic liberty. Increasing the potential size of the labor force without addressing the preceding economic restrictions will not lead to a further division of labor, increased productivity or increased wealth.

  • kbolino||

    Considering that we wish to abolish the welfare state too, it's hardly an inconsistent argument.

  • scottstams||

    My bad. Let me broaden my argument. Open borders are inconsistent with a libertarian leaning society. Even with no welfare, uncontrolled immigration has other massive economic and social costs. There are increased costs in policing, education, bilingual services, and on and on. There are also massive social cohesion issues when trying to assimilate massive numbers of immigrants who cross unprotected borders.

    What is wrong with a libertarian society with tight borders? If the boat gets swamped it does not matter how many provisions or what system you have.

  • JeremyR||

    That's exactly my point - open borders worked out great for the immigrants.

    But how did it work out for the people originally in the US? You know, the Native Americans?

    They lost their country.

    Again, it's sort of poetic justice that we're letting the same thing happen, but still, as someone said, immigration essentially lets in your future rulers. Are you okay being ruled by Mexicans and Muslims? They've done a wonderful job in their home countries, do you expect it to be better here?

    If we want to let people in, it should be from countries that aren't completely disfunctional. Canada isn't stupid, they only let middle class people in.

  • Calidissident||

    "But how did it work out for the people originally in the US? You know, the Native Americans?

    They lost their country."

    First off, there wasn't a Native American country. Secondly, I don't see how losing land via war and colonization is a good comparison for modern immigration. Last I checked, Mexicans aren't forcing white Americans into reservations.

    "Are you okay being ruled by Mexicans and Muslims? They've done a wonderful job in their home countries, do you expect it to be better here?"

    Ignoring the fact that neither group is ever going to be anywhere near a majority, this is a stupid argument. People moving to a different place (and their descendants growing up in that place) will become culturally different from people in the homeland. They become (dun dun dun) Americans! American Muslims are far better assimilated than Muslims are in Europe (for multiple reasons). Your argument is like saying in 1770, "Well, the English don't have a constitutional republic, so why would you expect the English colonists to ever create one?"

  • Calidissident||

    "Canada isn't stupid, they only let middle class people in."

    That isn't true. It's funny you use them as an example, as they have fourt times the Muslim population of the US as a percentage of population. They also have significantly more Asians as a percent of population,and last I checked, aside from South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan, which make up a small minority of Asian immigrants to Canada, pretty much every Asian country could be described as dysfunctional as easily as Latin American countries could. Also, Asian immigrants to the US have outnumbered Latin American immigrants for the last few years, and Asians are fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the US. People who equate immigration with Mexican or Hispanic are ignorant

  • kbolino||

    This is just collective ownership repackaged. Apparently it's not socialism if it's jingoistic. You do not own the country. That land over there, that doesn't belong to you, it's not yours. It never was, and never will be, lest you purchase it from its owner. You don't have the right to tell me what to do with what I own just because we speak the same language and were born on the same side of an imaginary line.

    If someone decides to impose his will upon me (Mexican gangbanger, Muslim fanatic, whatever), then he will meet the same resistance that you will. Your projecting your own desires for control onto everybody else.

  • kbolino||

    You are projecting...*

  • AH||

  • PapayaSF||

    Apparently the authors of the current immigration bill think we need to make illegal alien drunk drivers into citizens.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    So? DUI is equal to treason now? Should we strip the citizenship of native-born drunk drivers?

  • ||

    This assumes that we should hold native born (iow NOT illegal immigrants) to the same standard of behavior as illegal immigrants.

    We don't, nor should we. Not saying that DUI should or shouldn't be an automatic export offense for illegals, but the standard of citizenship stripping for citizens is MUCH MUCH MUCH higher than the standard by which we export illegals.

    Illegals need to be on their best behavior, to put it simply. They are here as guests, illegal ones. The burden is on them to prove their worth, not on us to keep them here

  • kbolino||

    There is no "us", and no one owes this magical "us" the burden of proving possession of his self-evident rights.

  • BardMetal||

    What self-evident right? What society on earth just allows millions of people to cross their borders, and balkenize an entire region?

  • kbolino||

    Life, liberty, property. Seriously, where do you people come from?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    There is no "us"

    Humans evolved to live in societies. You're atomized view of human nature is fallacious.

    no one owes this magical "us" the burden of proving possession of his self-evident rights.

    'Self evident' rights are a function of social norms. So yes, your supposed self evident right only exists to the extent that it is a social norm.

    Doubt it?
    Good, I have a self evident right to enslave you - now get in your manacles slaveboy!

  • kbolino||

    Society is greater than the individual? Check
    The only rights you have are those your betters give to you? Check
    Freedom is slavery? Check

    If it quacks like socialism...

  • laureburns665||

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  • Jeff||

    Fucking beaners.

  • SIV||

    Work-at-home spambot is a chili-belly?

  • Boisfeuras||

    As reason contributor Malia Politzer has noted, between 1997 and 2007 the U.S.–Mexico border was about 10 times deadlier to immigrants than the Berlin Wall was to East Berliners in its entire 28-year existence

    What a stupid comparison. Mexico has a population over 110 million with a 2,000-mile border, East Berlin had a population of about 1 million with a 100-mile border.

  • BardMetal||

    Not to mention there is a huge difference between a wall designed to keep people out and a wall designed to keep people in.

  • OBD2 Scanner||

    According to a recent study by the National Foundation for American Policy, immigrant deaths at the border rose by 27 percent in 2012 to nearly 500—a result of the crackdown on border towns that has pushed Latin American risk takers ever further out to the dangerous and inhospitable desert. As reason contributor Malia Politzer has noted, between 1997 and 2007 the U.S.–Mexico border was about 10 times deadlier to immigrants than the Berlin Wall was to East Berliners in its entire 28-year existence.

  • WomSom||

    Sometimes man, you jsut have to roll with it.

    www.AnonStuff.tk

  • igotnuthin||

    Lets talk about the good old days and open borders AFTER we get back to the good old days of a small libertarian government with no welfare, no Medicaid, no social security, no Medicare, no Obamacare, no child credits, no income tax...

  • BardMetal||

    But how are the democrats supposed to create a permament voting majority for themselves that way?

  • Outlaw||

    Yeah. This.

    In principle I support open borders, but in practice it will ensure the proggies rule us for the next gajillion years.

    The people coming over aren't libertarians.

  • Logical 1||

    "High-tech employers can’t meet even half their need for foreign workers, . .. Yet the tech sector has it easy compared to the agricultural, hospitality, and construction industries. Their demand for foreign laborers is even greater"

    If employers are "incentivized" to verify legal immigration status of their employees and the pay a decent fucking wage to American citizens instead of the slave wage they pay foreigners and illegals, our unemployment problems would be over and tax revenue would rise substantially. If the price of our local tomatoes goes up, so be it.

    Maybe your business plan sucks if you can't afford to pay your workers!

  • kbolino||

    Meanwhile, in the real world...

  • Logical 1||

    "High-tech employers can’t meet even half their need for foreign workers, . .. Yet the tech sector has it easy compared to the agricultural, hospitality, and construction industries. Their demand for foreign laborers is even greater"

    If employers are "incentivized" to verify legal immigration status of their employees and they pay a decent fucking wage to American citizens instead of the slave wage they pay foreigners and illegals, our unemployment problems would be over and tax revenue would rise substantially. If the price of our local tomatoes goes up, so be it.

    Maybe your business plan sucks if you can't afford to pay your workers!

  • XM||

    I'm guessing most of you are white and are not intimately familiar with immigrants of any kind. Which is why I often see even libertarians buy into the romance so willingly.

    There's just no denying that illegal labor benefits the employer by breaking of bending the law. Most of the time it's benign, something like cash payment under the table. But sometimes, it's much more sinister. You can accuse me of being "nativist" all you want, but I've experienced it myself.

    Typical immigrants are not Lego pieces who can fit anywhere in the economy. No one who just came from from Pusan or Manila can settle in white town Minnesota because of certain demand. They're more likely to retreat to certain ethnic zones and pray to find something suitable there.

    I see immigrants as people, not protected class. Which is why I'm not hunky dory with the idea of millions of them just flooding the country indiscriminately. A good amount would pass as "rednecks" if they were white. Many immigrants can't stand how they treat each other. Lots of swindling, domestic violence, and shadow economy in their ranks. Just like you, the Americans.

  • wendy31||

    If you think Harold`s story is shocking,, 4 weeks ago my friend's brother also recieved a check for $9195 working 40 hours a month in their apartment and their neighbor's mother`s neighbour was doing this for three months and recieved a check for more than $9195 part time at there pc. applie the information on this address, www.pro76.com

  • nikki_burges||

    my classmate's half-sister makes $89 hourly on the laptop. She has been without work for eight months but last month her pay was $17560 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Go to this web site and read more www.zen45.com

  • J_West||

    OK, so how do open borders advocates deal with affirmative action?

    Illegal immigrants from third world countries--or at least their children via the Dream Act--will (largely) be able to benefit from affirmative action, as well as minorities-only contracts, "diversity" requirements, ethnic studies programs, and a thousand other race based rackets.

    Which means that white Americans will be increasingly turned into second class citizens.

    How does that sit with open borders supporters?

    Do you look forward to your own children being unable to get that university scholarship or high paying job, while applicants who jumped the fence get to stand in the front of the line?

    White people are projected to become a minority in America by the mid-21st century. Which means that affirmative action (AA) et alia will become permanent political features. After all, it is in the rational self interest of the beneficiaries of AA to keep it in force.

    Perhaps open borders supporters here or even Shikha Dalmia can offer their comments on white Americans and their children being pushed increasingly to the back of the proverbial bus?

  • J_West||

    According to a recent study by the National Foundation for American Policy, immigrant deaths at the border rose by 27 percent in 2012 to nearly 500...

    The "risk takers" are engaged in criminal activities. Like burglars who get killed trying to illegally enter a house. The risk takers have freedom of choice. They can choose to stay in their homelands, or choose to illegally enter the USA--at which point they have also accepted whatever consequences fall upon them.

    Last I checked, Mexicans aren't forcing white Americans into reservations.

    There has been considerable violence between Mexican gangs and American blacks which has allegedly driven the latter out of their neighborhoods. And need I comment on the third world immigrant violence which has driven Europeans out of their own cities -- Paris, London, Stockholm have all seen rioting.

    Perhaps someone forgot to tell the gangbangers about the non-initiation of force clause.

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