Forget About Immigration Reform Any Time Soon

The Wash Times has polled the Senate about the immigration reform bill crafted last week. As it gets debated in the upper chambers, the numbers aren't looking good:

Senators will be asked to make their first vote on the measure today, on whether to begin debating the bill. It will require 60 votes to pass, and leaders of both parties are urging their members to vote for it, so the debate can at least begin....

The Times survey found 17 senators supporting the current bill and another two who lean toward supporting it; 17 who oppose it; 22 who have concerns; and 32 senators who are still reviewing it. Nine senators' positions couldn't be determined, and Sen. Tim Johnson, South Dakota Democrat, has been absent all year because of a medical situation.

More here.

Given the many stupid and unworkable provisions in the bill (such as the "touchback" provisions and increased fines on employers), its failure is not necessarily a bad thing. Though it's likely that any defeat of a "comprehensive" bill (comprehensive being the keyword for any legislation that doesn't seek to immediately deport 12 million illegals currently in the country), will be interpreted as a win for immigration isolationists. But before the Duncan Hunters and Tom Tancredos of the world get worked up on that score, they ought to remember the '06 midterms, in which immigration foes tumbled readily.

Reason's guide to reality-based immigration policy is online here.

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  • Guy Montag||

    So, back to pressing for that international highway bill with no checkpoints.

    Perhaps the new congress can make some headway with the Canada to Iowa shuttle service.

  • ||

    Let's hope this bill does not pass. I, for one, like living in the United States and not Mexico. I'm no fan of Spanish culture and hence Hispanic culture (Spain and Portugal being two of the more backwards nations in Europe, Spain was one of Max Weber's examples of how some cultures retard capitalism and it was a fascist dictatorship a generation ago). It's a real big mess. What makes it worse is that we will most certainly get the worst of Hispanic/Spanish culture. The ambitious, talented and well off (and yes often just lucky) Mexicans, of whom there are more than a few, can live an excellent life in Mexico. It's the peasants we will get, less than high school education and more prone to pathologies both cultural and biological (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol11no05/04-1107.htm). No thanks!

  • shecky||

    All proposals so far seem flawed from the very basis: that government knows best and thus should control the labor market. Once you buy into that idea, any wacky, completely unworkable, unrealistic immigration law becomes justifiable.

  • shecky||

    It's the peasants we will get, less than high school education and more prone to pathologies both cultural and biological (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol11no05/04-1107.htm). No thanks!

    You forgot leprosy. LEPROSY!!!

  • Ex Leper||

    Alms for an ex leper...

  • ||

    What is the "touchback" provision? Is it something like "no tag-backs"?

  • ||

    Oh, and Real Time with Bill Mahar STILL sucks.

  • ||

    What is the "touchback" provision?

    The immigrants get to start at their own 20 yard line after we've kicked the ball through their end zone.

  • ||

    If everyone with any brains or ambition moves to the US, who's going to be left in Mexico to Ceaucescu Up their ruling class?

    I would be in favor of open borders with Mexico as long as Mexicans could legally import guns so they could shoot the crooks that are bleeding their country dry.

  • Rhywun||

    I'm no fan of Spanish culture and hence Hispanic culture

    I know. I hate those people forcing their culture on me.

  • ||

    No thanks!

    De nada.

  • ||

    I'm no fan of Spanish culture...

    ¿Is Spain a fan of Spanish culture? They seem to have no problems with immigration themselves:

    Over the past decade, the traditionally homogeneous country has become a sort of open-door laboratory on immigration. Spain has absorbed more than 3 million foreigners from places as diverse as Romania, Morocco, and South America. More than 11% of the country's 44 million residents are now foreign-born, one of the highest proportions in Europe. With hundreds of thousands more arriving each year, Spain could soon reach the U.S. rate of 12.9%.

    And it doesn't seem to have hurt much. Spain is Europe's best-performing major economy, with growth averaging 3.1% over the past five years. Since 2002, the country has created half the new jobs in the euro zone. Unemployment has plummeted from more than 20% in the 1990s to 8.6%, within shooting distance of the 7.2% euro zone average. The government attributes more than half this stellar performance to immigration.



    As Will Wilkenson notes...

    Apparently all those immigrants haven't "taken all the jobs." Ask your favorite Lou Dobbs-loving friend to explain to you how this is possible.

  • grylliade||

    Let's hope this bill does not pass. I, for one, like living in the United States and not Mexico. I'm no fan of Spanish culture and hence Hispanic culture




    I know! I mean, we already live in Germany/Ireland/Italy/China/Poland/Scandinavia! God, those immigrants always impose their culture on us! When will American culture finally have the weapons to fight back? Poor, defenseless American culture!

    (Spain and Portugal being two of the more backwards nations in Europe, Spain was one of Max Weber's examples of how some cultures retard capitalism and it was a fascist dictatorship a generation ago).



    Which might be a relevant point if any of these immigrants were coming from Spain or Portugal. Mexican culture has some slight differences from Spanish culture.

    It's a real big mess. What makes it worse is that we will most certainly get the worst of Hispanic/Spanish culture. The ambitious, talented and well off (and yes often just lucky) Mexicans, of whom there are more than a few, can live an excellent life in Mexico. It's the peasants we will get, less than high school education and more prone to pathologies both cultural and biological (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol11no05/04-1107.htm). No thanks!



    Unfortunately for your theory, we've always gotten the "worst" of whatever the bogeyman-of-the-moment country is. Successful Irish didn't come to America in large numbers; neither did successful Germans, successful Italians . . . you see the point. Hell, mostly the immigrants to the original American colonies weren't the successful. Georgia started as a penal colony (as did Australia). The strength of British North American colonies was that immigration wasn't limited to the cream of the crop. We take the poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free and make Americans out of them (with all the good and bad that entails).

    It's amazing that two centuries later nativists still trot out the same tired, lame, disproven theories. Can't you guys come up with anything new? You've got two (plus) centuries of American immigration to draw on; can't you come up with new reasons why immigrants are bad?

  • ||

    VM,

    Ex-leper?

  • Single Lunatic||

    Not to mention that Mexicans smell bad. Have you ever had Mexican food? I haven't, since it's against my patriotism, but I knew somebody who ate a bean burrito once, and boy you didn't want to be in the same room with him after that one.

    One other thing: they are stealing our water. I thought Libertarians were against theft? Plus they are contributing C02 to the atmosphere (so if you environmentalists were consistent with your beliefs, you'd be against immigration).

  • ||

    grylliade,

    That or the last hundred years of immigrants are responsible for our increasingly centralized and authoritarian government. I doubt it, myself, but I suppose that's possible. Certainly, most of the Cuban expats who I know have a bit of an authoritarian streak, whether they're politically left or right. Does that kind of attitude corrupt the American system? Maybe. But keeping everybody out isn't the answer, either, even if that's true.

  • Cesar||

    Ken-

    Did you know that when Ireland, Norway, Sweden, and Italy sent immigrants to the United States that they were extremely poor, backward countries? Probably much poorer than Mexico today, there were actual wide-spread famines in Ireland and Scandinavia in the 19th century, I haven't heard of any in Mexico recently.

    Also, they didn't send their 'best and brightest' here, they sent their poor landless peasants.

  • How we\'re going to fight this||

    It's pretty obvious that past immigrants have assimilated, but anyone who lives in SoCal knows that the same is not true of the current wave. And, they don't have to assimilate due to having so many people from one country or at least region. Even the LAT has noted Spanish-speaking *Koreans* who don't speak English because they don't have to.

    And, of course, Gillespie is wrong about the causes of those R losses. In fact, in the case of RandyGraf, the GOP handed the win to the D because of corruption.

    I'm slightly leaning towards this bill not passing, and I'm sorry that Reason will miss out on the fine, libertarian-friendly features of "reform":

    - a National IDCard; even if it's just for foreigners at the start, it will eventually be for everyone

    - massive subsidies for cheap labor employers

    - even more PoliticalPower inside the U.S. for the MexicanGovernment

    - importing massive numbers of people from countries with absolutely no libertarian tradition of any kind

    - a potential cost of $2.5 trillion (RobertRector)

    There are many other pro-libertarian features, but that should be enough for now.

  • ||

    "Which might be a relevant point if any of these immigrants were coming from Spain or Portugal. Mexican culture has some slight differences from Spanish culture."
    I agree, it is much, much worse.
    "I know! I mean, we already live in Germany/Ireland/Italy/China/Poland/Scandinavia! God, those immigrants always impose their culture on us! When will American culture finally have the weapons to fight back? Poor, defenseless American culture!"
    Maybe not defenseless, but fragile. Maybe you've read there was a very strong push to assimilate during those earlier waves coupled with breaks in liberalizing immigration (in fact it was downright nasty at times). Also, other than China, which had a downright negligble influence to this day, all those other nations were part of Europe, a culture I simply prefer to that of South America (before you hyperventilate, yes, Spain is part of Europe, one of the worst parts IMO when considering cultural and political influence and contributions, but South America had small contributions before becoming Hispanic, and that wasn't much of a boost itself).
    Culture can actually be forced on folks, in many ways. Ask the Mexicans who lived in Texas back when it was theirs, for example. It can also happen because companies tend to go for broad markets, so they will 'Hispanicize' their movies, tv shows, products, etc., in the hopes of reaching these blocs. Since the number of movie studios, tv networks, etc. are not numberless, there may simply be no 'non-Hispanicized' products in some areas after a while.
    Please note what I am saying here. I don't like Mexican or Spanish culture, politics, philosophy, etc. Double for peasant Mexican/Spanish culture etc.. I'm simply not impressed by it. I'm sure many Mexicans and Spaniards are not impressed by it as well (just as many Americans think our culture is boring and passe). I'm also not saying my preferences reflect some cosmic judgment; American or European culture is no cosmic sense "better" than Mexican or Spanish culture. I just really like the former and am not impressed by, in fact bored to tears by, the latter. Don't I have a right to preserve and protect what I like? Libertarians used to talk a lot about how, while discrimination is a bad thing, freedom of association is a higher thing (Epstein wrote a book about this). If private clubs should be able to exclude some people (maybe just for size reasons) and private neighborhoods can freely enter into contractual covenants to maintain the size or 'character' of their neighborhoods, why cant this happen on a national level?

  • ||

    "It's pretty obvious that past immigrants have assimilated, but anyone who lives in SoCal knows that the same is not true of the current wave."

    This is the crux of the biscuit, methinks. I find it weird and unsettling to be surrounded by large groups of non-tourists on a beach speaking a foreign language. Or going into a shop in the US and having the cashier expect me to address her in a language other than English. Or to search for radio stations and find that half of them are in Spanish (and playing either godawful Spanish-language pop or folk music). Yes, I'm one of those despicable nativists, except that I'm not. I speak Spanish and I love Mexican food and think that Mexican women are pretty damn hot, but I think there are far too many Mexicans coming in far too fast and not assimilating sufficiently, and instead obliging Americans to adjust to the new bilingual, bi-cultural landscape.

  • VM||

    ProGLib - social leprosy doesn't count.

    And the correspondence course, "how to be an internet charmer" is starting to pay off.

  • ||

    "It's pretty obvious that past immigrants have assimilated, but anyone who lives in SoCal knows that the same is not true of the current wave. And, they don't have to assimilate due to having so many people from one country or at least region."

    In the first half of the 20th century, there were no less than three Finnish-language newspapers in Fitchburg, Massachusetts alone - and that's in a city whose population never reached even 60,000 people, of which the Finns were always a small minority.

    This was no anomaly - there were Yiddish, Polish, French, Chinese, and German-speaking immigrant communities all over the US.

    Isolated linguistic and cultural islands like these are much less common today, not more common. You know why you have to put up with delivery guys who no speaka so good English? Because they're out there, in mainstream society, dealing with native-born Americans throughout their working lives, and much of their personal lives, too. That wasn't the case 100 years ago, when there were much greater opportunities to live and work entirely within an ethnic community, and there was no real mass culture to compete with the localized cultures in these enclaves.

  • ||

    Don't I have a right to preserve and protect what I like?

    I find it weird and unsettling to be surrounded by large groups of non-tourists on a beach speaking a foreign language.

    Hmmm... Emotional appeals...

    I am hurt when I read about people dying during the desert crossing that is their best hope for a better life.

    I find it weird when I hear of the parents torn from their homes and families and sent back to their country of birth.

    When I think of the tens of millions of potential immigrants and the tens of millions of Americans whose lives will improve as a direct result of their immigrating and the hundreds of millions more Americans whose lives will improve as an indirect result, I feel unsettled.

    Don't I have a right to live in a nation that values individual freedom?

  • grylliade||

    It's pretty obvious that past immigrants have assimilated, but anyone who lives in SoCal knows that the same is not true of the current wave.



    Again, can't you guys find new arguments? You said the same thing about every. Immigration. Wave. "This time it's different! Those Germans and Scandinavians aren't English! Those Irish are Catholic! Those Italians are from Southern Europe! Those Poles are from Eastern Europe! They'll never assimilate, in spite of all evidence, because it's just different this time!"

    even more PoliticalPower inside the U.S. for the MexicanGovernment



    The Pope is sending Irish Catholics here so he can take over the US - I mean, the MexicanGovernment is sending IllegalImmigrants here so it can take over the US!!! ZOMG!!!

    importing massive numbers of people from countries with absolutely no libertarian tradition of any kind



    This is different from previous waves how? The only ones I can think of that had any real libertarian tradition were the Germans and Scandinavians, yet somehow we've remained freer than Europe, with all its myriad restrictions on immigration.

    Maybe not defenseless, but fragile. Maybe you've read there was a very strong push to assimilate during those earlier waves coupled with breaks in liberalizing immigration (in fact it was downright nasty at times).



    As I've said before on other threads, I don't see how you can consider American culture - a culture so strong that people all over the world feel its pull strongly - is "fragile." People who live under the rule of the ayatollahs in Iran want to imitate American culture; why would Mexican immigrants be able to resist the pull?

    before you hyperventilate



    Why would I do that?

    It can also happen because companies tend to go for broad markets, so they will 'Hispanicize' their movies, tv shows, products, etc., in the hopes of reaching these blocs. Since the number of movie studios, tv networks, etc. are not numberless, there may simply be no 'non-Hispanicized' products in some areas after a while.



    The number of movie studios, TV networks, etc., is not numberless, you're right. But it's also nowhere near saturated, given the new technologies that are proliferating. Culture is becoming less and less monolithic, and more and more oriented towards niches; but in this case the trend will reverse itself and only Hispanic entertainment will be available in some places? I see no reason to think that's the case.

    I'm also not saying my preferences reflect some cosmic judgment; American or European culture is no cosmic sense "better" than Mexican or Spanish culture.



    Which is odd; because I'd say that American culture is, overall, objectively better than general European, Mexican, or Spanish culture. Not in every way, but taken as a whole.

    Which is, I guess, part of why I'm not so worried about assimilation. I think, on the whole, American culture is so attractive that people want to assimilate. Part of that assimilation will entail making American culture more like Mexican culture; personally, I think that the good contributions will outweigh the bad, though both will certainly happen. But mostly, Mexican immigrants will become more like Americans, and we'll have a culture that's the richer for it.

    If private clubs should be able to exclude some people (maybe just for size reasons) and private neighborhoods can freely enter into contractual covenants to maintain the size or 'character' of their neighborhoods, why cant this happen on a national level?



    Of course it can. Any nation is free to enact whatever immigration laws it deems good. All we're arguing is that the chosen immigration laws are generally bad. If private clubs want to keep me out, no problem; their loss. Same goes for private neighborhoods. And the same goes for nations. If the US wants to restrict immigration from Mexico, it has every right to do so. We'll just be poorer, culturally and materially, than we would be with more open immigration.

  • Cesar||

    The arguments never change, do they? Check out some of these gems of xenophobia from the 19th Century, they sum up a lot of Chris "LoneWacko" Kelly's arguments.

    "The Usual Irish Way of Doing Things"

    http://historyproject.ucdavis.edu/imageapp.php?Major=IM&Minor=F&SlideNum=16.00

    "The Threat of Foreign Religions"

    http://historyproject.ucdavis.edu/imageapp.php?Major=IM&Minor=F&SlideNum=46.00

    and, of course, European Nations using immigration for "PoliticalInfluence" in the USA

    http://historyproject.ucdavis.edu/imageapp.php?Major=IM&Minor=F&SlideNum=3.00

  • Guy Montag||

    Look on the bright side, open border types. This clears the way for big government drinking water fountain projects five miles deep along the southern border. Not to mention shuttle service along the massive inbound highway system to be built.

    On the northern border look for hot chocolate and 'caribou' stands manned by the Parks Service.

    Of course, all of this can be paid for by "offsets" and re-training of all of those pesky ICE agents transformed into border greeters.

  • Cesar||

    "Or to search for radio stations and find that half of them are in Spanish (and playing either godawful Spanish-language pop or folk music)."

    Yeah, cause our 'culturally American' music like Brittney Spears, Justin Timberlake, 50 cent, and Nickelback is just *so* culturally superior!

  • ||

    What makes it worse is that we will most certainly get the worst of Hispanic/Spanish culture. The ambitious, talented and well off (and yes often just lucky) Mexicans, of whom there are more than a few, can live an excellent life in Mexico. It's the peasants we will get

    Ken, I think you've got it exactly backwards. What we get mostly are the ambitious, hardworking Mexicans who are willing to go to great risk just to find gainful employment. What Mexico keeps are the indolent, useless aristocrats who've ensured for generations that Mexico remains a desperate shithole. The best argument I've read in favor of limiting immigration is the "pressure cooker theory"--that all of those ambitious people might finally force the powers that be in Mexico to change. Not likely, though.

  • ||

    Indeed. One would think that those who prosper and therefore stay in an autocratic society are those who are able to climb the autocratic power structures -- i.e., those who are adept at prospering off the work of others while manipulating the tools of favoritism, politics, and force.

    Actually, those who stay in Mexico have the makings of good Congressmen. But they probably don't want to tolerate the 15 or 20 years it would take to become eligible for the more lucrative American political market.

  • grylliade||

    Yeah, cause our 'culturally American' music like Brittney Spears, Justin Timberlake, 50 cent, and Nickelback is just *so* culturally superior!



    Hey now, Nickelback is Canadian! Don't foist that shit off on us. Just because their lead singer is trying to look as much like Jesus as possible . . .

  • Cesar||

    "Hey now, Nickelback is Canadian! Don't foist that shit off on us. Just because their lead singer is trying to look as much like Jesus as possible . . ."

    My mistake, just replace "Nickelback" with "Linkin Park" or any other mediocre American band.

    Anyway, the fact that Linkin Park is from Canada is the best argument I've ever heard for sealing the *other* border.

  • Cesar||

    Should read "Nickelback is from canada"

  • ||

    "The arguments never change, do they?"
    Well, they weren't all wrong back then, were they? I mean, yes, nativist appeals were often infused with ugly racism and xenophobia, just as pro-immigration appeals have always been fused with goofy romanticizing (those huddled masses, yearning to be free!). But some of the concerns back then were that a wave of illiterate folks with weird beliefs were going to swamp local governments, bring social and biological pathogens, and strain the nation overall. And they kind of did. For every Albert Einstein we got a Lucky Luciano, for every libertarian thinker we got a socialist bomb thrower or mafioso. We got plenty of hard working people who turned out to contribute much, and lots of folks who brought disease, juvenile delinquency, organized crime, political corruption, etc. as well. Our cities were corrput cesspools (literally and morally/culturally) that took decades to fix (and in some cases never did). Now we face a similar problem and our cities hardest hit are facing similar issues. By the way, Pointing to the past and how great it turned out does not support open borders types, because we never had that. We had periods of liberalized immigration (rarely planned) and then folks wised up periodically and put wise limits on immigration and pushed hard for assimilation. That's what my side wants, more of the same that made this country great.

  • ||

    We had periods of liberalized immigration (rarely planned) and then folks wised up periodically and put wise limits on immigration and pushed hard for assimilation.

    This is the second time you have made this claim. Do you have any examples, besides Chinese and Japanese exclusion, prior to 1924? Because if your argument relies on periods of liberal and illiberal immigration only since 1924, you don't have much of an argument.

  • ||

    Ken,

    For every native-born Einstein, we got a native-born Luciano, too.

    You know what creates Lucky Lucianos? Prohibitionist laws that create lucrative black markets.

    How many coyotes have our laws created?

  • grylliade||

    just as pro-immigration appeals have always been fused with goofy romanticizing (those huddled masses, yearning to be free!)



    To some of us, they're not goofy. They're a real expression of ideals that never work out as well as we wish they would, but still are better than the alternatives. It's not fucking romanticism. It's an expression of what makes the United States better than everyone else in the world: our willingness to take that wretched refuse and forge what is, for all its faults, the best, most free society that has ever existed on this planet. "The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone."

    But some of the concerns back then were that a wave of illiterate folks with weird beliefs were going to swamp local governments, bring social and biological pathogens, and strain the nation overall. And they kind of did.



    Strain the nation, yes. But that was never the argument. The argument was that they would break the nation, that something that was essentially American would be lost. And that wasn't true, and never will be. Those successive waves of immigration have been less like the original US population than the one before, and every time we've been able to absorb the shock. We've learned how to live with each other, despite our differences. There's nothing that makes this time any different than any time before it.

    For every Albert Einstein we got a Lucky Luciano, for every libertarian thinker we got a socialist bomb thrower or mafioso.



    You're wrong there. For ever Albert Einstein, we got ten Lucky Lucianos. For every libertarian thinker, we got ten socialist bomb throwers or mafiosos. Yet in the end, it didn't matter. American society changed, but it didn't wither away and become a carbon copy of Europe.

    We got plenty of hard working people who turned out to contribute much, and lots of folks who brought disease, juvenile delinquency, organized crime, political corruption, etc. as well. Our cities were corrput [sic] cesspools (literally and morally/culturally) that took decades to fix (and in some cases never did).



    How is this any different from European cities? They didn't face the immigrant onslaught that we did, yet European cities were every bit as bad as American cities. That wasn't because of immigration; that was because it was the first time in history that cities had grown that large and that widespread, with that many people having that many children who survived. It was a consequence of the technology of the times, one which third world cities are facing now, a century later. Our cultural institutions were adapted for a largely agrarian society with low rates of children surviving to adulthood; it took them some time to adapt, which caused social unrest. That's the cause of problems in nineteenth-century cities, not immigration.

    By the way, Pointing to the past and how great it turned out does not support open borders types, because we never had that.



    Not many are doing that. All we're doing is pointing out that the arguments used are, in many cases, exactly the same arguments used against immigration since before the American Revolution. All that's changed is the details. The arguments were wrong then, and they're wrong now. The only relevant difference I have seen between modern immigration and immigration a century ago is that most of it is coming from a bordering nation; otherwise, the arguments are all exactly the same.

    A similar situation pertains with drug propaganda. A century ago, cigarettes would make you lazy and dumb; now it's marijuana. In the 30s, marijuana would make "negroes" high on it nigh-impervious to bullets, and give them superhuman strength; now it's PCP. When you see the same arguments made again and again, but with a different focus, it makes you think that the problem isn't with the "problem," but with those making the argument. When you see the same arguments made for the Germans, Scandinavians, Irish, Italians, Poles, and Mexicans, it makes you wonder whether the arguments were ever true; if they can be made with equal sincerity about every group, despite the obvious differences, and with equal lack of consequences afterwards, it makes you wonder.

  • TLB||

    joe: we aren't talking about "islands". I see plenty of signs in languages other than Spanish and English, but no other groups besides Mexicans has such a critical mass.

    And, of course, just because something worked out before doesn't mean it will work out again if the underlying circumstances change.

    I outline some of those differences here.

  • ||

    "Those successive waves of immigration have been less like the original US population than the one before, and every time we've been able to absorb the shock. "
    Well, we cut off the spigot and gave them quite the assimilation treatment periodically too. That's what the anti-immigration side is asking for.
    "Yet in the end, it didn't matter. American society changed, but it didn't wither away and become a carbon copy of Europe."
    It actually changed a great deal. Progressives came to power in large part to wrestle with the enormous social probems of the day, many which were (correctly in many instances) linked to the immigration of the day. There was a very limited government, especially at the federal level, before the Progressives were called in to deal with the mess that immigration was linked to. What makes you think that we won't get even greater governmental responses to deal with millions of illiterates with no health care (or prosepects) who also seem to have higher levels of disease (not to mention the overcrowding related issues).

  • ||

    There was a very limited government, especially at the federal level, before the Progressives were called in to deal with the mess that immigration was linked to.

    This one just may be my favorite argument...

    "Immigrants, we don't hate you. We hate what we become because of you."

  • Cesar||

    Ken-

    The two largest expansions of the federal government in history happened in the 1930s (New Deal) and the 1960s (Great Society).

    Both happened when the strict quotas placed on immigration in 1924 were still in effect.

  • ||

    Cesar, you aren't giving Ken enough credit. During the period of open immigration, the Progressive Era did indeed mark the greatest expansion of government power.

    We all remember how fear of the unending flow of immigrants induced the regulation of the railroads, and antitrust law, and direct election of senators, and the Federal Reserve, and income tax, and... and... and...

    Oh yeah, the FDA. Couldn't have the Pure Food and Drug Act without immigration pressures! Who else would have received such sympathetic treatment in The Jungle but the hated immigrants anyway?

  • grylliade||

    Alright, Lonewacko, I see you squeezed out nine reasons why immigration today is different. I wanted relevant ones, though, not just some random facts.

    1. Many of our current illegal aliens are from a neighboring country, meaning they don't have to make a clean break, they can go back and forth. There are families with members on both sides of the border.



    In the present context, this is meaningless. It's difficult enough to get across the border that people most of the time won't go back for idle visits. Given a more open border, the level of border crossings would rise. This I see as a good thing all in all, since I see no reason why people shouldn't be able to go back and visit their families. I guess I'm soft-hearted that way, thinking that immigrants are people too, and shouldn't have to never see their families again.

    2. Related to that, past immigrants came here on ships; current immigrants can walk over.



    And? You have to actually make a point.

    3. Italy, Poland, Germany, and Ireland never held territory in the U.S. On the other hand, the Southwest U.S. briefly was Mexican territory.



    More than briefly. It was only "briefly" Mexican territory because Mexico had only existed as a separate entity for a brief time before we conquered it. It had been part of Spanish America for a loooooong time before that. Your attempt to make it seem like Mexico had a weak claim is pretty sad.

    And, in a poll conducted in Mexico, 58% said that the U.S. Southwest rightfully belongs to Mexico.



    Again, and? Mexican immigrants don't come to the U.S. to make it more like Mexico. They come here to get away from Mexico. That also ignores the fact that there are a lot of other people living in the Southwest U.S. who just might object if Mexico tried to take it over.

    4. There wasn't a far-left, Gramscian "multiculturalism" movement a century ago. The related issue of political correctness makes it difficult for some to, for instance, use the correct names for things ("illegal aliens") rather than euphemisms ("undocumented workers").



    Sorry, you used some words there incorrectly. It's "PoliticalCorrectness" and "IllegalAliensBoogahBoogahBoogah."

    The PC movement has pretty much shot its wad. The multiculturalism is found much more among the left in America than the IllegalAliensBoogahBoogahBoogah themselves. In actual, real, day-to-day interactions, these things don't count for a tinker's damn.

    5. There were ethnic newspapers, but nothing like today's ethnic media.



    I think joe has addressed this above. You're right; there wasn't anything like today's ethnic media. There wasn't Irish Radio or Italian Television back in the day. There are more ethnic media today because there are more media today. I'm guessing the proportion is similar, though it'd be difficult to prove without a lot of time and money.

    6. Immigrants who came through Ellis Island were checked for disease and suitability. And, they were pre-screened by the cruiseship companies, who were charged if someone was rejected. Nowadays, anyone can overstay their visa or just walk across.



    Isn't this an argument for increased legal immigration (which is, after all, what the pro- side is arguing for)? If you want to ensure that everyone crossing the border is healthy, increase the quotas and let them through legally!

    7. There's been a rapid increase in dual citizenship, leading to U.S. citizens with divided loyalties. 14% of U.S. citizens are eligible to be dual citizens, and Mexico encourages dual citizenship as a way of obtaining political power inside the U.S.



    Again, "RapidIncrease," "DualCitizenship," "DividedLoyalties," and "MexicoWantsToReconquerTheSouthwesternUSZOMG". Try to get it right.

    So, 14 % of U.S. citizens are "eligible to be dual citizens." What proportion of those are eligible to be dual citizens with Mexico? What proportion actually are dual citizens? Is this an actual issue, or one that might come up if we enter a spacetime warp to your home dimension and MexicoTriesToReconquerTheSouthwestUSZOMGTheSkyIsFalling?

    7. The welfare state hardly existed a century ago.



    Yes, and Mexicans don't come here to get on welfare. That's a tired old horse whose corpse is hardly recognizable from all the beating.

    8. Obvious to anyone who's been to, say, Dallas or Los Angeles, there were many fewer people here a century ago than there are now.



    No shit?!? You mean, there are more people here than there were a century ago?!? You're shitting me!

    The relevant statistic is the proportion of foreign born in the U.S. As far as I can tell, this hit a low of about 5 % in 1970. It was about 12 % to 14 % between 1880 and 1930. At present it's about 11 %. The fact that, numerically, there are more foreign born Americans than ever is irrelevant. There are also more Americans than ever.

    So there you go. Nine reasons why modern immigration is different from previous immigration. Not a single relevant reason. Are you going to start making arguments, or are you just going to engage in conspiracy theories about the Mexican government?

  • grylliade||

    Progressives came to power in large part to wrestle with the enormous social probems of the day, many which were (correctly in many instances) linked to the immigration of the day.



    Nope. Linked to technological change, and the concomitant social change. See above.

    What makes you think that we won't get even greater governmental responses to deal with millions of illiterates with no health care (or prosepects)



    They could probably get health care if they could, y'know, be legally employed. I'm just sayin'.

    who also seem to have higher levels of disease (not to mention the overcrowding related issues).



    Much better to leave them back in their native countries where they'll die of their diseases than bring them here, where they could buy health insurance and get treatment for it. And what overcrowding related issues? Do you mean "too many Mexicans in an apartment" or "too many Mexicans in a city"? Because the first is taken care of by greater wealth, and the second isn't an issue in the U.S. Cites take up a very, very small amount of room in the U.S. There's plenty of room to expand.

  • ||

    One of the main thing the early Progressive movement promised was to clean up the cities and their problems. They promised to combat sanitation and other public health issues (linked to the overcrowded tenements and ethnic villages), crime and juvenile delinquency (the Progressives vastly reformed police [which were created in the US largely in response to the pressures of immigration in cities], created juvenile courts and juvenile law, etc. in large part to deal with immigrant problems [in fact this is where much of the paternalism inherent in them came]), Prohibition (seen as an immigrant thing) and 'good government' (which nearly always meant cleaning up ethnic machines). Way before TR dealt with trusts he battled ethnic problems in NY as police commissioner.

  • ||

    "They could probably get health care if they could, y'know, be legally employed. I'm just sayin'."
    Cause Lord knows farm and day labor jobs usually have generous benefits packages!
    "And what overcrowding related issues?"
    Demographers agree that nearly all population growth in the US in the past few decades can be attributed to immigration and their higher birth rates. So to the extent too many people in the nation, your local city, or the apartment near you causes problems there's your culprit.
    "Yes, and Mexicans don't come here to get on welfare." Let's see some numbers brother. Many governors, mayors, officials, etc., have spoken about quite a bit of dole money going to recent immigrants.
    "If you want to ensure that everyone crossing the border is healthy, increase the quotas and let them through legally!" Or alternatively keep everyone out (wouldnt that actually do better than your plan on this point? In yours some sick will still come over, in mine none do).
    "The multiculturalism is found much more among the left in America than the IllegalAliensBoogahBoogahBoogah themselves." And peasants don't ever line up behind native demogagues who promise them goodies? Yeah right.
    But let me give it too you a lil' plainer:
    1. Americans decided a few decades ago to not grow numerically (an uncoerced thing that just happened). Immigrants are and will continue to wreck this, and any overpopulation problems (environmental, health, or just comfort) are the results.
    2. Immigrants today are disporportionately poor, unskilled and uneducated. Do we need more of that in our society? Do good things usually come of more of that?
    3. Immigrants today do not have to develop hardy rugged individualism with such a welfare state around.
    4. There is not only less pressure to assimilate, there is institutional encouragement not to.

    But more importantly let me challenge you. The success story of the US is NOT one of immigration, but actually one of constant restrictions on immigration, pressures to assimilate, and periodic tightening of such restrictions. Your idea has NEVER been tried. By any nation that I can think of. So why should we think it would in any way 'work', that there will be less costs and more benefits than we currently have and will not have unexpected consequences, such as erode our political/cultural institutions or create a much more massive government structure to deal with immigration related issues...The burden is not on us, but on open border types like yourself.

  • ||

    The success story of the US is NOT one of immigration, but actually one of constant restrictions on immigration, pressures to assimilate, and periodic tightening of such restrictions.

    Okay, this is now the third time you have said this.

    Name the restrictions before 1924 please.

  • grylliade||

    Cause Lord knows farm and day labor jobs usually have generous benefits packages!



    They might be able buy it themselves, or at least have some minimal benefits.

    Demographers agree that nearly all population growth in the US in the past few decades can be attributed to immigration and their higher birth rates. So to the extent too many people in the nation, your local city, or the apartment near you causes problems there's your culprit.



    Well, there aren't too many people in the nation. Some cities have too many; others don't. And how many people live in another person's apartment is none of my goddamn business. If it actually causes problems for me, there are laws under which I can do something about it. Overcrowding is not a problem in the U.S.

    Let's see some numbers brother. Many governors, mayors, officials, etc., have spoken about quite a bit of dole money going to recent immigrants.



    Well, duh. Firstly, of course they're talking about dole money going to immigrants; it's a cheap, easy way to get people worked up about immigration. The question is whether immigrants are using welfare at higher rates than natives in the same socioeconomic status. And the answer is that they're not. They're paying taxes, and they're working; they're not coming here and laying around sucking up welfare. What would be the point? You don't come to America, risking all the shit that they risk to do so, to make jackshit money on welfare. Immigrants work hard, and mostly pay taxes. The bogeyman lazy Mexican who comes across, gets sick, and sucks up tens of thousands of dollars in health care doesn't exist.

    Or alternatively keep everyone out (wouldnt that actually do better than your plan on this point? In yours some sick will still come over, in mine none do).



    Yep. We're going to eliminate illegal immigration. There's a market for cheap labor in the U.S.; there are people willing to work for cheap wages in Mexico. Good luck with stopping people from taking advantage of that.

    1. Americans decided a few decades ago to not grow numerically (an uncoerced thing that just happened). Immigrants are and will continue to wreck this, and any overpopulation problems (environmental, health, or just comfort) are the results.



    We didn't decide not to grow. It just happened. We didn't get together and vote on whether to grow or not. And as I've noted before, there's not an overpopulation problem in the U.S..

    2. Immigrants today are disporportionately poor, unskilled and uneducated. Do we need more of that in our society? Do good things usually come of more of that?



    Yes. Poor, unskilled, uneducated people are what cheap labor is. What else are they supposed to do? Work in the vibrant Mexican economy? We get cheap labor; they get a chance for a better life for themselves, and (even more) for their children. What's wrong with this scenario again?

    3. Immigrants today do not have to develop hardy rugged individualism with such a welfare state around.



    Oh, c'mon. First you argue that those eeeeeeeevil immigrants caused progressivism to develop, because of their fecundity and their diseases and their non-American ways; now they developed rugged individualism, unlike today's immigrants. Mostly, immigrants come to America because they're (as much as that term applies) rugged individualists who want to make more money than they could before.

    4. There is not only less pressure to assimilate, there is institutional encouragement not to.



    It's not pressure to assimilate. It's not pushing people to assimilate. We don't need to push people to do so; they want to do so. Somehow, when people come to the U.S., American culture becomes far less attractive to them, apparently.


    Your idea has NEVER been tried. By any nation that I can think of.



    Good thing we didn't try that crazy "government of the people, for the people, by the people" thing back in the day. It had never been tried before.

    So why should we think it would in any way 'work', that there will be less costs and more benefits than we currently have and will not have unexpected consequences, such as erode our political/cultural institutions or create a much more massive government structure to deal with immigration related issues...The burden is not on us, but on open border types like yourself.



    "We've been wrong every other time we cried wolf about immigration, but this time we're really FOR SURE right! Just prove that we're wrong!"

    I've given tons of reasons why your silly arguments don't apply. Go back and read the thread if you want to see why open immigration is not the disaster you're trying to paint it to be.

  • TLB||

    grylliade: you're certainly a fast typist, but your fisks above are a bit on the childlike side. For instance, the idea that PC is dead is ludicrous beyond belief, seeing as how PC has DonImus' blood dripping down its chin and has its sights set on even bigger fry. PC also infests college campuses both in general and in EthnicStudies and similar.

  • ||

  • ||

  • grylliade||

    your fisks above are a bit on the childlike side.



    Just trying to argue on your level.

  • ||

    TJIT,

    There is something to that analysis, but it is a rather preordained result, isn't it.

    After all, the whole point of most government spending is redirection of money from haves to have nots. For example, the bottom 50% of all taxpayers pay only 3.3% of the federal income tax. Virtually all of them, plus a healthy portion of the top 50%, would have a "net fiscal deficit" using this technique.

    Also, it was interesting to note in following the references back that the average household whose head has no high school diploma has a lower tax bill and higher benefit outlay than the immigrant with that education. Presumably this can be accounted for by the fact that illegal immigrants receive no direct welfare.

    Left unaccounted for in this sadly simplistic benefit minus tax metric is the producer surplus gained during the $29,000 income of the low-skilled immigrant household. Also this doesn't count the higher productivity, income, and taxes of the higher skilled person who does not need to do the job the low-skilled immigrant is doing.

    It is that comparative advantage where most of economic gain of immigration resides. It is entirely uncounted in this analysis.

  • ||

    It is also worth noting that, under open immigration, the skills distribution of immigrants would be much less weighted toward the low skilled. The current bias toward low skills is entirely an artifact of immigration restrictions, and it is sadly codified in the Senate immigration proposal.

    Only employers in transient sorts of jobs that allow for low skills will take the risk of hiring illegals. If all immigration were legal, then the allowed demand for greater skills would draw higher skilled immigrants to the US.

    And we would all be better off.

  • ||

    Mike P you said

    It is also worth noting that, under open immigration, the skills distribution of immigrants would be much less weighted toward the low skilled.

    This bill does not give us open immigration, it gives us highly restricted immigration weighted to lower skilled workers. Highly skilled workers have to have a sponsor and work only for that sponsor.

    A quote from Mark Steyn emphasizes this point

    Larry makes a good point about high-skilled workers being tied to individual employers. As I understand this new bill, a low-skilled illegal immigrant will have more employment mobility than a high-skilled legal immigrant - and his Z-1 visa will last a year longer the E2 Investor visa for foreigners who come here, start a US business and employ American citizens.

    Hmm.

    I know highly educated professionals who have been trying for years to legally get through the immigration process. This bill slaps them in the face and tells them to pack sand.

  • ||

    From the Wall Street Journal this morning

    Employers like farmers, restaurateurs and construction contractors who rely heavily on unskilled labor generally support the [immigration] deal,
    but high-tech industries that need skilled workers complain that it doesn't give them the flexibility to recruit workers with the specific mix of skills they need.

    This bill does not do what those who support it thinks it does.

  • ||

    but high-tech industries that need skilled workers complain that it doesn't give them the flexibility to recruit workers with the specific mix of skills they need.



    Right. They are concerned because the bill is moving away from employer sponsorship in favor of the points system. One reason might be the loss of their indentured employees. But the stated reason is more likely: They fear that philosophy majors will soak up the available quota.

    I know highly educated professionals who have been trying for years to legally get through the immigration process. This bill slaps them in the face and tells them to pack sand.

    Open immigration would fix that problem.

  • ||

    This bill does not do what those who support it thinks it does.

    By the way, from what I've heard, I don't support this bill.

    Too many restrictions. Insane 2+1+2+1+2 year temp visas. Way too many enforcement provisions and too many burdens on employers.

    And, as you note, it doesn't raise highly skilled immigration amounts nearly enough.

  • TLB||

    More libertarianism spotted!

    From this:

    "If passed, this bill will make taxpayers pay the legal bills for illegal aliens seeking amnesty. Tucked away on page 317 is a provision that would allow lawyers in the federally-funded legal services program to represent illegal aliens, which they are presently barred from doing."

  • ||

    Sigh.

    Yes, Lonewacko. Libertarians love to force Peter to pay Pablo's legal bills. How did you ever find out...

  • ||

    Grylliade
    Let's take this reeeal slow so you'll get most of it this time. Several times in your last post you drew the opposite conclusion from what I plainly stated from some of my points, so read carefully and take your time here. Let's take the oppositions to immigration I plainly stated and then deal with how well your reponses counter them, OK?
    1. Population growth. You state that overpopulation is not a problem in the US, and you put it in bold, which must be your evidence (you really, really mean it!). But overpopulation in certain areas is a real problem. My step-daughter's middle school has to put kids in trailers through much of the day because the school age population keeps growing much faster than the locality can build infrastructure. Think of LA's traffic jams or smog, etc. Many places have problems with population, and many of them have that problem in large part due to immigration. Remember, American citizens, through their own preferences, have created zero population growth. This has been washed out by immigration (which by their own preferences the US populace doesn't support either). (http://www.cap-s.org/main.html)
    2. Negative consequences associated with an influx of third world peasants.
    I'm not sure what to make of your 'arguments' against this one...You ask who loses out in this scenario, since these peasants provide the cheap labor. Well, the people who get sick from teh diseases they bring lose out. The taxpayers who have to pay for increased health care for these diseased folks, for the jails to house the criminal ones (http://www.gao.gov/htext/d05646r.html) and the citizens who are the victims of their crimes, for the citizens who have to live next to apratments with four families in them, for the citizens who have to put up with the additional environmental problems associated with more people (more trash, more emissions, etc.) for the government services and yes, dole, that some of them get (you argue they do not get any MORE dole than citizens, but even if their rates are the same they add to the overall dole, right?) (http://www.fairus.org/site/PageServer?pagename=iic_immigrationissuecentersf134) Jesus, I could go on and on.
    3. Look, mass immigration back in the day lead to problems both real and percieved that brought on the Progressive movement. Modern police, juvenile courts, municipal reform, professionalization of occupations like doctors/lawyers, these were all Progressive Movement attempts to deal with immigrant related problems. I've tried to focus simply on my field of experience, criminal justice (I teach, not a cop). You could start with Friedmans Law in America & Popular Justice:A History of American Criminal Justice to explore this if you want. But the point is that dumping millions of peasants in our nation is going to create/exacerbate more social problems, which will of course lead to more government as a solution. Thus do modern day libertarians help dig their own graves (never a practical lot to begin with, but this is ridiculous)
    4.Lack of pressure to assimilate. Is there not less pressure now than before? Major ethnic lobbies back in the day stressed that they were about assimilation, hardly the case now. This could lead to cultural fracture.
    "Name the restrictions before 1924 please."
    MikeP, I'm going to first give you a chance to let your common sense figure this out without naming the many restrictions that existed prior to 1924. You won't need any special training or knowledge in ths subject, just common knowledge and common sense. Certainly you have in your head those images of the huddled masses at Ellis Island. They're in lines, right? And there are these guys in uniforms checking them out, right? You see where this is going I hope...Oh, to heck with it, if you must do it the hard way:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:United_States_federal_immigration_and_nationality_legislation
    Do some reading, have some fun!

  • ||

    Ken,

    Giving me a link to a bunch of articles doesn't cut it at all.

    From the link you provided, the only one I could find that I have not already mentioned is a 1921 prologue to the 1924 quota.

    Either give some examples of significant immigration restriction before 1924 or remove the "In the beginning was the Immigration Restriction and the Immigration Restriction was with God and the Immigration Restriction was God" plank from your argument.

  • ||

    And by the way, I know about Ellis Island. I also know that everyone arguing the open immigration side wants checks made at the gateways just as they were made the last time the borders were open.

  • ||

    MikeP-you should have tried the reading (or just the thought experiment), it broadens the mind.
    Now drop your drawers for your spanking:
    How about the 1882 Immigration Act which used a tax to limit immigration and barred anyone "likely to become public charges?"
    Or the various Chinese Exclusion Acts of 1882, 1892 and 1902?
    Or maybe the grandaddy of them all, the 1790 Naturalization Act which limited citizenship to "free whites" or "good moral character."
    Yeah, no history of restrictions there.
    Now, that hurt me more than it did you. Naw, just kidding, I enjoyed it! Come back fo more any ol' time.

  • ||

    Ken,

    Naturalization is not immigration. A tax is not a quota, and it was a nominal fee to cover the immediate costs: 50¢ does not a limit make. And I already mentioned the Chinese exclusion act the second time I challenged your comment.

    And considering the great lengths it took to become a "public charge" in 1882, I doubt that anyone who manages to make it across the border today in order to work would be prohibited by the standard of that day.

    The short answer is that, save for the laws against Asian immigrants, there were no laws prior to the 1920s that limited general immigration. Certainly no one was turned away because there were too many immigrants here already. There had to be cause, not quota.

    You said...

    By the way, Pointing to the past and how great it turned out does not support open borders types, because we never had that. We had periods of liberalized immigration (rarely planned) and then folks wised up periodically and put wise limits on immigration and pushed hard for assimilation.

    This is simply wrong.

  • ||

    MikeP
    You're correct to say that "naturalization isn't immigration" but the two are pretty closely intertwined, and legal changes in one dramatically effect the other. This is recognized by the name "Immigration and Naturalization Services" INS. Until someone is naturalized they have all the rights and priviliges as a tourist and can be deported pretty quick (in fact we relied on this with the Alien Acts of the Adams and Wilson administrations).
    The 50 cents tax, like the poll taxes that existed about the same time in reference to voting, would have had a strong disinhibiting effect on immigration. Not many poor huddled masses could have fronted that for each family member. You're right it's not a quota, but I never said we have always relied on quotas to limit immigration, just that we usually did (with, as I said, periods of liberalization). The "likely to be a public charge" was one of those broad, vague standards that could have been used (and was) to disqualify many folks (as was the political subversive or good moral character language in other acts). It certainly was not limited to the physcially infirm. They didn't have public interest law firms back then to make sure the charges were reasonable! It was the equivalent of "I don't like your looks, back you go."
    The short answer is you're right and wrong, short of the Asian Exclusion Acts (which effected thousands by the way) and the tough Naturalization Requirements coupled with loose deportation laws there were no quota laws prior to the 1920's, just refusal of admittance "for cause." You're wrong though when you state that these broad "for cause" standards did not limit immigration.

  • ||

    Ken,

    50¢ in the 1880s is $20 or $30 today, half a day's wage, and not a burden except for having the cash on hand. The fee rose to $8 later, something more of a burden, but interestingly not applied at the Mexican border because of the need for migrant labor there.

    Yes, the potentially arbitrary nature of rejection at the gateways was unfortunate, but only 2% of those arriving were sent back. That is hardly exclusion, either in attitude or practice.

    Speaking as one who supports open immigration, I would call all those pre-World War I provisions open immigration. Certainly it's a straw man to claim that the US never had the open immigration that open immigration proponents argue for.

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