Reason.tv: The Wall Street Journal's Jason Riley on Immigrants—Let Them In!

During Reason Weekend, the annual event held by the nonprofit that publishes this website, The Wall Street Journal's Jason Riley, author of the recent book Let Them In: The Case for Open Borders, gave a spellbinding presentation about the myths surrounding immigration.

Riley walks through the history of German, Irish, and Mexican migrants in rich and compelling detail, deflating nativist hype while also complicating easy narratives about the United States as a mythic destination for all the wretched of the world.

Approximately 30 minutes.

For embed code, audio podcast, and iPod and HD versions, go here.

Shot and edited by Roger Richards.

For more Reason.tv with Riley, go here.

Reason on immigration here.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    Shut the Fuck Up, LoneWacko.*

    * Insert where appropriate.

  • DHS thinks I\'m a terrorist||

    I do support the right of people to cross invisible lines, so please do not take this comment as xenophobic or anything, but one difference with immigrant groups today is that technology makes it far easier to remain connected to the culture of the home country. What this does is it delays the "Americanization effect" that occurred in previous eras. I am not arguing that this is a valid argument to restrict immigration but it may be something that motivates some people who do support building fences etc., etc.

  • Barry Loberfeld||

    From "Keep 'Em Out? Kick 'Em Out!":

    Being a long-time defender of "open borders," I have a question I've been fairly dying to ask those on the opposite side of the divide: Do the reasons that grant government the power to identify and repel foreign "undesirables," also grant it the power to identify and expel domestic ones?
    Simply put:

    If you are anti-immigration,
    are you also pro-expatriation?


    Consider the possibilities. Neo-con ex-Governor Pete Wilson (R-CA) wanted to ward off immigrants because he feared that they'd go on welfare and other relief programs. But what about our own welfare queens? If the point is to keep all moochers out of the country, where is the logic in letting any stay inside? If the problem with "people on welfare" is the people and not the welfare, wouldn't it then make sense just to exile everybody, native as well as alien, who receives welfare -- up to and including subsidized CEOs? Wouldn't that solve any problem with the number of recipients?


    Paleo-con magazine National Review opposes further immigration because it's convinced that contemporary immigrants almost inevitably become Democratic voters. Ergo, if the objectionable element is a demographic group that preponderantly supports the Democrats, wouldn't right reason enjoin Buckley & Co. to propose the expulsion of blacks and Jews? (I have to be careful here: One man's reductio ad absurdum could become one madman's idée fixe.)


    Faux-con editor Michael Lind (Harper's) wishes to block the entry of foreign unskilled laborers in order to maintain low-end wage rates. If that's the game, then why not force the exit of some American unskilled laborers in order to jack up wages even higher for the lucky few left?

    READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE.

  • Kilroy||

    Barry,

    That is one stupid piece of work.

  • shecky||

    Good video, despite going wingnut in the last few minutes (strange the words that get the most rousing response from the crowd).

    One of the recycled arguments I've been getting lately is the "they're only here to make money" line. As if that's supposed to be a bad thing. I get the sense that there's a romantic lore many of us adopt about our ancestors, coming to the US to enjoy the fruits of freedom, an idea in the abstract, somehow divorced from financial prosperity. But it would seem most folks came to the US seeking a better life, which often translated to more money. Of course, that's why people came. Who ever emigrated because things were going so well in the old country?

  • 24AheadDotCom||

    I've been covering illegal immigration and politics since 2002 over literally thousands of posts, and I can assure everyone that Reason has absolutely no clue. They consistently engage in bad economics and bad logic and consistently fail to address the other sides' arguments in a logical fashion.

    For instance, Reason's version of economics is simply to use misleading figures with a pre-determined outcome. They never factor non-financial costs into their bottom line. For instance, they never factor in the cost of giving additional political power inside the U.S. to foreign governments and far-left and racial power groups. Giving a far-left racial power group additional power will definitely have a cost, yet Reason fails to even acknowledge that or the many other issues.

    If you want to find out all the things that Reason won't tell you, subscribe to my feed. You can visit my site using the link above, and there are four ways to search in the right sidebar. For instance, if you start to type "immig" in the tag search, you'll see a long list of specific tags about each of those subtopics.

    When someone's in the news, search for their name at my site; most likely I've been covering them for years and you'll find more information than Reason or other sources will ever tell you.

    P.S. In case anyone replies to this, their responses will almost assuredly be ad homs, thereby conceding my points and showing the childish, anti-intellectual nature of libertarians.

  • ||

    Mr. Riley's argument was very lucid and convincing.

    Of course he probably does not live in Los Angeles which used to be an American city when I first came here in 1970 but now is a Mexican city.

    One has to go outside of the city of Los Angeles to feel like they are living in America. If one wants to feel like they are living in a prosperous Mexico rather than America then Los Angeles is the place to live in CA. If on the other hand one doesn't want to feel like he/she is living in Mexico when in CA then living in Los Angeles and many other cities in CA are not the places to be.

    Even though I continue to live in Los Angeles the feeling and daily experiences are like I have been deported to Mexico.

  • JW Gacy||

    Galt, I believe that Riley addresses your point with his discussion of German immigrants have their own newspapers, restaurants, etc. and basically living in their own insular communities.

  • GlaxoSmithKline||

    "I've been covering illegal immigration and politics since 2002 over literally thousands of posts"

    I think there's a pill for that now.

  • JB||

    Current immigration by low-skilled workers hurts low-skilled workers in the US. It is an overall benefit for the economy though (and some of those 'native' low-skilled workers benefit as well).

    I'm all for drastically increasing the numbers of high-skilled immigrants each year. That can be followed up with increasing the numbers of low-skilled immigrants once a good chunk of the welfare state is dismantled.

  • ||

    Of course he probably does not live in Los Angeles which used to be an American city when I first came here in 1970 but now is a Mexican city.

    Boo-fucking-hoo. Detroit has seen the Anglo, German, Irish, Polish and African-American waves over the last 3 centuries. Maybe you can tell me which is the genuine Detroit because as a resident and reader of history I sure as hell can't figure it out.
    ____________________________________________________
    LoneWacko -

  • ||

    "Barry,

    That is one stupid piece of work."

    I echo this...

    Only throw in some token obscenities...

    It's the easiest thing in the world to be lofty when you can make your own story lines up...

    It's also what stupid people do to look like they aren't stupid =D

    To "DHS Thinks I'ma Terrorsits" - You make a good point, and it really isn't addressed.. a person never has to look at their neighbor's face if they don't want to, socialization has no borders now...

    Between government freebies and a connected world, you never have to face that you ever left Guatemala now... You never have to really "become" and American to be here...

  • ||

    P.S. In case anyone replies to this, their responses will almost assuredly be ad homs, thereby conceding my points and showing the childish, anti-intellectual nature of libertarians.



    LoneWacko, people respond to you with reflexive dismissals and trite insults because, like bag ladies and street fire and brimstone preachers, attempting to engage you in rational discourse has repeatedly proved both fruitless and irritating.

    That explains why folks here at H&R no longer even bother to coin original insults. You just aren't worth the effort.

  • Xeones||

    Shut the fuck up, LoneWacko.

  • ||

    I am a bit confused. Are the people at Reason opposed to Nation states? How can you have self-determination if you can not exclude people who have no desire to assimilate?

    Immigration is a good thing, and I certainly would not argue against increasing legal immigration, but isn't the defense of our borders one of the few, actually Constitutionally mandated functions of government? Persons who wish to come here to live but have no desire to become American are not "immigrants" they are "invaders".

    I find it a great irony of history how Texas is undergoing a reverse of what happened when it gained it's independence from Mexico. "Open borders" led to a mass immigration of people who didn't see themselves as being Mexicans, and once they were in the majority, they told Mexico to fuck off.

    The idea that several tens of millions of Mexicans now living in the US and not seeing themselves as Americans but will act differently is the purest of fantasy.

  • shecky||

    Of course he probably does not live in Los Angeles which used to be an American city when I first came here in 1970 but now is a Mexican city.

    Going Galt!

    Yes, in light of Riley's talk, Los Angeles is a particularly interesting example, having a Latino mayor who doesn't really speak Spanish.

  • shecky||

    I am a bit confused. Are the people at Reason opposed to Nation states? How can you have self-determination if you can not exclude people who have no desire to assimilate?

    Land of the Free... as long as you assimilate... according to my standards of assimilation...

    Did you actually watch the video?

  • Brandon||

    He makes a persuasive and reasoned case. On principle I might agree. But I freely admit to tossing principles to the curb on this issue. Latino immigration enlarges the constituency of America's political left. I'd simply prefer that not to happen.

  • shecky||

    Current immigration by low-skilled workers hurts low-skilled workers in the US. It is an overall benefit for the economy though (and some of those 'native' low-skilled workers benefit as well).

    I'm all for drastically increasing the numbers of high-skilled immigrants each year. That can be followed up with increasing the numbers of low-skilled immigrants once a good chunk of the welfare state is dismantled.


    In other words, restrictive immigration rules you like are actually welfare for low skilled native workers, which you want to dismantle. Okay...

  • shecky||

    Latino immigration enlarges the constituency of America's political left. I'd simply prefer that not to happen.

    This especially happens when the political right views Latino immigrants as a sea of criminality from the get go.

  • ||

    Nothing wrong with immigration. I can totally understand people wanting to make a better life for themselves, and I'm especially in favor of highly skilled immigrants, why kick out the best and brightest after they go to our colleges for 8 years?

    That being said, I also do agree that we should be able to control our own borders. And there is a difference between legal, and illegal.

    Finally yes assimilation is important. Doesn't mean you have to totally ditch your old culture, but it does mean you have to be an American first.

    IE, I've seen places where they put the Mexican flag OVER the American flag. IMO, that's not cool. You left your country, and came here, show some respect.

  • Les||

    Marshall, Riley very clearly points out that your arguments are the same that Ben Franklin had against German immigrants, and that you're just as mistaken as that other great American thinker. So, at least you're in good company!

  • JB||

    In other words, restrictive immigration rules you like are actually welfare for low skilled native workers, which you want to dismantle. Okay...

    huh?

    I think increasing the current influx of low-skilled immigrants is a recipe for disaster if coupled with an expanding welfare state.

    I'm all for expanding high-skilled immigration even with the current welfare state. I'm against expanding low-skilled immigration with the current welfare state.

  • shecky||

    JB:

    Restricting immigration by low-skilled workers because it supposedly hurts low-skilled workers in the US is welfare for low skilled native workers. It's no different than restricting import of foreign goods.

    At the same time, you claim to want to dismantle the welfare state. Presumably because the low skilled immigrants are using it all up. Something doesn't add up here.

    Not only is there something wrong with your logic, there's something wrong with the assumptions you've based it on.

  • shecky||

    Kroneborge:

    That being said, I also do agree that we should be able to control our own borders. And there is a difference between legal, and illegal.

    How much control do want to have? You realize that it can me made much easier if immigration restrictions were eased? Clearly, you know this, as it was covered in the video.

    I've seen places where they put the Mexican flag OVER the American flag. IMO, that's not cool. You left your country, and came here, show some respect.

    I get the feeling this is the real crux of your argument. Basically, your feelings are hurt by some funny talkin' furriners.

  • ||

    Well, in retrospect, I think the Mexicans wish they'd done a better job of restricting immigration into Texas.

  • Craig||

    Persons who wish to come here to live but have no desire to become American are not "immigrants" they are "invaders".

    If someone wants to give them a job and they want to work, and someone else wants to rent them or sell them a house or apartment they want to live in, in what sense are they "invading" anything?

    Some people here may want to use the force of government to maintain the existing culture of a Californian city like Los Angeles, but that doesn't make it right. The fact that the city's name is in Spanish might also serve as a clue that the culture of the place has changed over time in the past, and may do so again in the future.

  • Craig||

    Well, in retrospect, I think the Mexicans wish they'd done a better job of restricting immigration into Texas.

    Or maybe the Mexican government should have honored the Mexican Constitution of 1824, the one the American settlers in Texas originally immigrated under, a fact they noted on the flag flying at the Alamo.....

  • Mike||

    Riley makes a pro-open borders argument I've seen before. It goes:

    1. At one time, people thought German, Irish, and Italians couldn't assimilate into the US.

    2. The Germans, Irish, and Italians did successfully assimilate.

    3. Therefore, ANY racial and ethnic group, in any number, can assimilate too.

    This argument does not work in the case of Hispanics, for the following reasons:

    1. Hispanics are the only large group immigrating. If we had the same number of total immigrants, but 1/3 were from Mexico, 1/3 were from Japan, and 1/3 were from Russia, that would not be as difficult as everyone arriving from Mexico.

    2. The Mexicans have a historical claim to the southwest. As has been noted above, the reason why the US controls the southwest is because the American immigrants of the past refused to assimilate into Mexico.

    3. The welfare state changes everything. Half of the European immigrants eventually went home, because they couldn't hack it in capitalist America. Now people stay and collect government money.

    4. The Germans, Irish, and Italians were more similar in culture to Americans than are Latin Americans today. Ask yourself this question: If instead of the large numbers of European immigrants, all of those people had been Afgan Pushtuns or Australian Aborigines, would they have assimilated too? Are you sure?

  • Krikey||

    Wait, Hispanics = Australian Aborigines?

    How does that math work out?

  • ||

    Wait, Hispanics = Australian Aborigines?

    How does that math work out?


    Like this: Americans=any who can wade the Rio Grand= Aussie Aborigines.

    We are all citizens of Planet Earth! Isn't that the point of "open borders"? We are all brothers in humanity and so there is simply no reason for those meany borders?

    You are not suggesting that there could be an educational or societal or cultural difference between Mexicans and Aussie aborigines, are you?! Between one cultural group and another? Isn't that "jingoistic" or even "racist"? I mean, is there something wrong with Aussie Aborigines?

  • Bill R||

    My Approach:

    1) A flat fee for the green card. I'd say $5000 or whatever the costs are of maintaining the immigration/border control bureau is. The green card has the same benefits and requirements that currently come with it (i.e. 5 years trouble free residency leads to citizenship). "Coyotes" get this now and it serves as a deterrent to freeloaders.

    2)Absolutely no welfare. Strict enforcement of the 5 year incident free clause of the green card. You commit a crime you get deported. Deports the undesirables.

    3) A stringent citizenship test in English so only people who are willing to "make the effort" get to vote. A deterrent to statism imo.

    4) Perhaps only allow relatives of current citizens to sponsor new immigrants for now.

    All in all the above approach has the merit of not really changing the current system of immigration and incentivizing better immigrants. And it could perhaps be a revenue source to fund government operations the same way tariffs used to be.

    The main problem I can think of is how to deal with children with bad parents.

    Any Thoughts?

  • Bill R||

    Oh and to one of Barry Loberfield's points:
    "But what about our own welfare queens? If the point is to keep all moochers out of the country, where is the logic in letting any stay inside? If the problem with "people on welfare" is the people and not the welfare,"

    Libertarian economist Bryan Caplan of GMU makes this interesting argument.

    "Faced with the choice to either cut social services or give "a bunch of foreigners" equal access, natives will lean in the direction of cuts. In fact, I can't think of anything more likely to make natives turn against the welfare state than forcing them to choose between (a) helping no one, and (b) helping everyone regardless of national origin."

    http://distributedrepublic.net/archives/2007/06/26/bryan-caplans-i-myth-rational-voter-i

  • ||

    Bill R. I'm thinking. I was writing mine while you were writing yours. So this is not in response to your comments.

    =========
    Unless I was watching a different presentation than most of the rest of you... I believe the argument was for the self-regulating forces of the free market, the human interaction of supply & demand.

    There is plenty of data that shows much of the problems with immigration stem not from market forces, but from attempts to stifle & compromise them. Central planning has a long legacy of militarism, social destruction.

    ...I believe the argument was for decentralization, NOT for Central Planning & special interests. Time and again, centralized control over human interaction proves impossible & tyrannical; indirectly or directly leads to gross miscarriages of justice, & lest we forget, Urban Blight.

    I would never argue against upholding the Rule of Law. But, unless I misheard Jason Riley, I don't think I detected even a hint of anarchy in his rational & learned perspective on the subject. ...what we have NOW is anarchy. What he is proposing is Spontaneous Order & a belief in the basic decency of human beings, when they are free (at their own expense/risk/reward) to think, work, & act on such natural principles.

    Thanks for reading.

  • shecky||

    Bill R:

    You realize your four proposals are kind of like the way the system is now. It sounds as if you want to maintain unrealistic barriers to immigration. This incentivizes folks to simply ignore the law, very much the way 10+ million Latin American immigrants have already done.

    And with all those disincentives you advocate, there is still way more demand than the government supplies.

    I think the idea is to let the market decide immigration policy, as the government does no better a job at determining labor demands than it does anything else.

    Mike:

    Point 1: Total bullshit. Back up that fantasy with some evidence.

    Point 2: Irrelevant. Mexico has no actual claim on the Southwest. Furthermore, Latinos assimilate at a rate pretty much as anyone else.

    point 3: False. Latinos return in fairly high numbers. And would probably do so more often if borders were actually opened up, allowing more freedom of movement. Furthermore, immigrants, legal or not, are generally not eligible for most "welfare" benefits, even though they pay into the system, and don't seem all that eager to use them as much as citizens.

    Point 4: Germans, Irish, and Italians were more similar in culture??? You have got to be kidding. Though they certainly share a similar skin color...

  • Mike||

    shecky:

    1. My evidence is history. Try reading about it sometime.

    2. Try googling the word "reconquista".
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reconquista_(Mexico)

    3. They return, and then come back again. I would say that free health care and free public education count as benefits.

    4. You're in total denial here. Are you argueing that there is no such thing as European or Western culture?

  • Mike Laursen||

    Are the people at Reason opposed to Nation states?

    I kinda am. I think it's about time we invented something better.

    As long as you have people living in close proximity, you can't escape all rules and politics. But we could come up with something that allows more freedom. We could come up with something where your geographical location doesn't subject you to arbitrary intrusions into your pocketbook or personal lifestyle choices. We could come up with something that fits better with our networked, globalized, jet-hopping world. We could do away with too-large nations with too-large bureaucracies and standing armies that draw amoral power seekers like flies to a garbage pile.

  • Justen||

    P.S. In case anyone replies to this, their responses will almost assuredly be ad homs, thereby conceding my points and showing the childish, anti-intellectual nature of libertarians.



    I love unintentionally ironic statements. :)

  • ||

    Laursen. Define "we."

    Justen, define "anti-intellectual." ...and the term "argumentum ad hominem" ...and "irony" while you're at it.

    Clinton, define "is."

    Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, stop destroying the language, logic & reason of "my countrymen!"

    I take J Riley's point about Franklin's distaste for the German cultural influence. However, I'd let Ben Franklin design my country before I'd let Hegel design it - or get anywhere near it - any day in any century.

    Westerners need to get over Hegel & several of his Prussian VANDALS. Immigrants are a blessing to a free society. Hegelians, on the other hand, are like a pit bull on LSD, & they seem to be in all the add agencies who spin the language for insane State policies. If you haven't wondered about all the oxymoronic phrases the State keeps coining for a thought stop - you're not paying attention.

  • ||

    LoneWacko, people respond to you with reflexive dismissals and trite insults because, like bag ladies and street fire and brimstone preachers, attempting to engage you in rational discourse has repeatedly proved both fruitless and irritating.

    Lonewacko, can you understand this? Tap twice for yes, tap once for no.

  • GILMORE||

    LoneWacko
    [they]consistently fail to address the other sides' arguments in a logical fashion.

    ....

    ....

    sorry, still laughing too hard.

    Pots, kettles.

  • GILMORE||

    Whu did no one deport LoneWacko's parents? Please!? Why!! they should have been tested for the Stupid Gene.

    Unless this motherfucker is 200% Cherokee, I say put him in a boat to Paraguay and say, 'thanks for the effort, but go the fuck back where you came from'.

  • GILMORE||


    Marshall Gill | May 8, 2009, 4:52pm | #

    I am a bit confused. Are the people at Reason opposed to Nation states? How can you have self-determination if you can not exclude people who have no desire to assimilate?


    Even more confusing: what do you do with actual Naturalized Citizens who've been here for 6 generations who have NO DESIRE TO ASSIMILATE with the cunts who think they represent something holy.

    It's called, "freedom", douchebag. Get used to it.

  • GILMORE||

    p.s.

    J sub D = you warmed my heart with your opener.

  • ||

    It's called, "freedom", douchebag. Get used to it.

    A powerful argument, for a 4 year old child. What about the Freedom to tell other people to establish governments and borders and tell foreigners to fuck off? Oh, that's right, YOU define "freedom".

    what do you do with actual Naturalized Citizens who've been here for 6 generations who have NO DESIRE TO ASSIMILATE with the cunts who think they represent something holy.

    In your case? A flush down a very large toilet would be appropriate.

  • ||

    what do you do with actual Naturalized Citizens who've been here for 6 generations who have NO DESIRE TO ASSIMILATE with the cunts who think they represent something holy.

    I wish I had not rushed to being a smart-ass on this question because it is such a softball.

    As a citizen, you have rights. While they are "endowed by your Creator" they are "secured" by government. You absolutely have no legal obligation to "assimilate", but as a citizen the word doesn't apply to you, does it? You also have the right to leave and the right to attempt change. Unfortunately for you, you don't have the right to impose rules upon others in the name of "freedom" or anything else.

    As a citizen, if I can get enough people to agree with me, I can get laws passed to limit the "freedom" of people to come here. It is one of my "freedoms". Or are only anarchist "freedoms" really freedom?

    There certainly is a threat of the "tyranny of the majority" which is why the Founders wrote the Constitution. Immigration is specifically mentioned.

    It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if enough people come here who do not wish to be American we will, sooner or later, not be American. Since you are already a citizen, your displeasure would fall under the "Revolution" category, rather than "non-assimilation".

  • Bill R||

    Oops, almost forgot about this thread...sorry for the late response.

    "You realize your four proposals are kind of like the way the system is now. It sounds as if you want to maintain unrealistic barriers to immigration."

    I conceded as much. I would just argue that the government gets the border money instead of the coyotes and the immigrants get the paperwork. Also it would be a tariff instead of a myriad of quotas and rent seeking prone exceptions.

    "This incentivizes folks to simply ignore the law, very much the way 10+ million Latin American immigrants have already done."

    It just gives them a legal way of paying their "tariff". A black market with less benefits is already present and thriving. I'm sure people will still try to get in without paying....I'd guess that number would be relatively small especially with beefed up border security.

    I'm an anarcho-capitalist at heart so of course any government involvement annoys me...in this case it's at least constitutional. I just wanted to propose something politically feasible that addresses some of the main concerns: freeloaders, cultural assimilation, future statist voters.

  • ||

    Imagine whole villages coming to American from Asia, hitching rides on freighters as well as planes. There's plenty of room where they can homestead on government lands, not to say that they can't thrive in the cities. The crowding in Asia would be relieved and the under-reproducing native to America population would have help providing the growth capitalism needs. A hundred million might move. Would there be a limit?

  • ||

    I think that when people think of illegals, they assume farm workers. Sheriff Joe here in AZ is hard on illegals and found an illegal that was making 85K a year - in this economy, I wish I was making that! I took a 30K cut in pay when they outsourced me to India.

    Illegal immigration is against the law - bottom line - and we are not enforcing it!

  • ||

    As a citizen, you have rights. While they are "endowed by your Creator" they are "secured" by government.

    Wow. What an unbelievably absurd interpretation of Thomas Jefferson's words.

    Jefferson, and all those who signed the Declaration of Independence, are not saying that rights accrue solely to citizens: They accrue to all men. Furthermore, those rights preexist and precede government: They are not granted by government.

    Thus neither government nor the citizens who institute government have any actual right to prohibit people from travel, residence, or employment wherever and with whomever they can make mutually agreeable arrangements.

    There certainly is a threat of the "tyranny of the majority" which is why the Founders wrote the Constitution. Immigration is specifically mentioned.

    No it isn't.

  • ||

    It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if enough people come here who do not wish to be American we will, sooner or later, not be American.

    I went to the zoo today. I must have heard at least a dozen different languages. Each word spoken that was not English was an insult -- a knife in the heart -- to America. Each word spoken that was Spanish merely trebled the insult.

    I am frankly amazed at the luck of America in surviving through the dark times of many cultures and many languages that it suffered in the 17th century, the 18th century, the 19th century, and the 20th century. Surely commenters on this thread have proven that tolerating such unAmericanism in the 21st century will finally destroy the fragile Americanism that makes America America.

  • ||

    Oh, by the way: I was being sarcastic.

  • ||

    Jefferson, and all those who signed the Declaration of Independence, are not saying that rights accrue solely to citizens: They accrue to all men. Furthermore, those rights preexist and precede government: They are not granted by government.

    Oh, sure, Jefferson believed that the rights listed in the Declaration were to be secured for the whole world by the American government?!!!! Or just to any who can get here? Talk about an absurd reading of the Declaration!!!

    Our government can not secure the "inalienable rights" of everyone on the planet. Indeed, it is the right of foreigners to form their own governments. So attempting to apply the Declaration to foreigners would actually be a limit on their rights and freedoms to form their own kind of government.Government for "the people" not "all people". Why? It would be tyranny to believe that the American government was responsible for the world.

    Is Balkanization the fantasy of neo-cons?

    Obviously, if you do not care if America exists, you wouldn't mind millions of non-Americans coming here and changing it to a Euro-Nanny State. While not perfect, I would not sacrifice America to morally preen about the rights of foreigners, especially when our current government already infringes upon rights more than securing them. The idea that open borders will do anything but accelerate the loss of freedom for citizens, for whom governments are formed, is Utopian, at best. For those with a libertarian or conservative bent it seems like suicide.

  • ||

    Oh, sure, Jefferson believed that the rights listed in the Declaration were to be secured for the whole world by the American government?!!!!

    Nothing either I or Jefferson said should lead to this conclusion. Government secures rights only for those in the dominion that it claims to govern.

    Note, however, that those unalienable rights do not include (1) the "right" to prohibit someone from employing whomever he chooses to employ, (2) the "right" to prohibit someone from housing whomever he chooses to house, (3) the "right" to prohibit someone from leasing or selling his property to anyone he chooses to associate with, or (4) the "right" to prohibit travel of individuals except for reasons of compelling public interest specifically applied to those individuals.

    Immigration law based on quotas or other blanket restrictions that exercise such unjust powers violate -- not secure, but violate -- individual rights.

    Indeed, it is the right of foreigners to form their own governments.

    What the hell does this mean? Does it mean that the Khmer Rouge had the unalienable right to kill 2 million of its citizens?

  • ||

    Nothing either I or Jefferson said should lead to this conclusion. Government secures rights only for those in the dominion that it claims to govern.

    Oh, I am glad we agree on that point. I didn't think we did.I was responding to this exchange:

    I said: As a citizen, you have rights. While they are "endowed by your Creator" they are "secured" by government.

    And you replied: Wow. What an unbelievably absurd interpretation of Thomas Jefferson's words.

    and

    Jefferson, and all those who signed the Declaration of Independence, are not saying that rights accrue solely to citizens: They accrue to all men. Furthermore, those rights preexist and precede government: They are not granted by government.

    So, if you did not mean this to imply that it was the responsibility of our government to secure the rights of all people, my apologies. You certainly seem, to me, to be arguing that it is the responsibility of our government to secure the rights of non-citizens to purchase a house or take a job or move freely.

    Immigration law based on quotas or other blanket restrictions that exercise such unjust powers violate -- not secure, but violate -- individual rights.

    Immigration law does secure the rights of citizens. Citizens, not all men. Didn't we just agree on that? The very basic right of self-determination. How can citizens rule themselves if they can't control who, or how many, become citizens?

    Indeed, it is the right of foreigners to form their own governments.

    What the hell does this mean? Does it mean that the Khmer Rouge had the unalienable right to kill 2 million of its citizens?


    I didn't say that government had the right to murder it's citizens. I said that people have a right to form their own government and attempting to apply our laws to foreigners violates their right to self-determination.

  • Chad||

    I don't think for a minute that illegals are violent criminals, etc. (as Hannity, Limbaugh, etc. suggest).

    My reluctance to support open borders is actually the very reason he states: SUPPLY AND DEMAND.

    He says let supply and demand determine the level of immigration.

    Trouble is, what if we open the borders and end up with 1,000,000 immigrants and 100,000 available jobs?

    How is anyone (immigrants included) helped by this situation?

  • ||

    You certainly seem, to me, to be arguing that it is the responsibility of our government to secure the rights of non-citizens to purchase a house or take a job or move freely.

    It is the responsibility of the US government to secure the rights of all people living under the government's dominion -- whether citizen or not, whether permanent resident or temporary, whether tourist, student, business traveler, or simple transient. So, yes, that means that the US government should properly secure the unalienable rights of a non-citizen to move freely, to purchase a house, and to take a job.

    Immigration law does secure the rights of citizens. Citizens, not all men.

    Since the rights of citizens are exactly equal to the rights of non-citizens -- certainly the Creator did not distinguish between those two cohorts when he/she/it was handing them out -- this statement is pretty solid proof of the illegitimacy of immigration law.

    How can citizens rule themselves if they can't control who, or how many, become citizens?

    Citizens are perfectly free to determine who or how many people become citizens. They are not free -- except in a might-makes-right sense -- to determine who or how many become residents.

    Travel, residence, and labor are rights that precede any "right" of others to impede those rights and any authority of government to abrogate them.

  • ||

    So, yes, that means that the US government should properly secure the unalienable rights of a non-citizen to move freely, to purchase a house, and to take a job.

    I thought we agreed that it was not the responsibility of government to secure the rights of foreigners? Now you say that, if they can sneak in, we are supposed to secure the rights of foreigners?

    Travel, residence, and labor are rights that precede any "right" of others to impede those rights and any authority of government to abrogate them.

    So, rather than the Declaration being for the people, it applies to any who can physically place themselves within our borders? This dissolves the distinction between citizen and "immigrant".

    Now, I will agree that once legal residence has been established it becomes the role of government to secure the rights of foreigners, but they must follow the law, including the residency law that allows them to be here legally. Breaking the law gives the government the right to deny "freedom of movement" or are you opposed to prisons?

    Are you opposed to private property? Can a person restrict your "right" to travel upon his own land? Isn't citizenship, and the right to establish borders the right to own property? Does the "right to free travel" trump the right to private property and the owner getting to decide what is done with it?

    The point, to me, is that there are times when rights are in conflict with each other. My right to private property trumps your right to freedom of movement, or my property is no longer mine. My right to citizenship trumps the rights of foreigners to move freely into our country, or my rights as a citizen are infringed.

  • Annon||

    Immigration means the death of libertarian ideas. Multiracial socities don't lead to treating people as individuals; every election becomes an ethnic headcount and government becomes a racial spoils system. Only whites can be convinced that this is immoral.

    Malaysia institutes Affirmative Action for an 85% majority!

    http://vdare.com/taylor/080929_malaysia.htm

    Just like the idiot feminists and gay rights people who support Muslim immigration into Europe because it's "progressive" you are too ideologically pure for your own good.

  • Annon||

    *60%, the point remains

  • ||

    I thought we agreed that it was not the responsibility of government to secure the rights of foreigners? Now you say that, if they can sneak in, we are supposed to secure the rights of foreigners?

    Governments don't mark their sovereignty based on people. They mark their sovereignty based on territory. The US should not secure the rights of people in foreign lands. But once people from foreign lands come to the US, the US certainly should secure their rights here.

    So, rather than the Declaration being for the people, it applies to any who can physically place themselves within our borders? This dissolves the distinction between citizen and "immigrant".

    Citizens can vote. Immigrants can't. Citizens get the protection of the US in international law. Immigrants don't. Citizens can serve in elected office and on juries. Immigrants can't. Citizens can't be deported for committing a serious crime. Immigrants can.

    Isn't citizenship, and the right to establish borders the right to own property?

    No. Not at all. Dominion is not property...

    My right to citizenship trumps the rights of foreigners to move freely into our country, or my rights as a citizen are infringed.

    ...and there is no such thing as a right to citizenship.

    You should concur with this: You noted above that citizens "control who, or how many, become citizens". Rights, properly defined, are endowed by man's Creator, not handed out by political processes.

    Since there is no right to citizenship, there is no conflict between the "right" to citizenship and noncitizens' rights to travel and reside: The noncitizens' actual inalienable inborn rights win out. Citizens can choose whether, how, and when such people become naturalized -- as noted by the Framers in the Constitution -- but they cannot justly prohibit them from exercising their individual rights simply because they happened to be born somewhere else.

  • ||

    You should concur with this: You noted above that citizens "control who, or how many, become citizens". Rights, properly defined, are endowed by man's Creator, not handed out by political processes.

    So you are back to government securing the rights of foreigners?

    they cannot justly prohibit them from exercising their individual rights simply because they happened to be born somewhere else.

    So you don't believe in private property? No rights are absolute. My right to private property is not subservient to your right to "freedom of movement". Indeed, it is the duty of government to protect my right to property and it's use.

    Citizens can choose whether, how, and when such people become naturalized

    You are attempting to deny us, as citizens, the right to have those born here become naturalized citizens because we can not control who comes here. So our right to determine who becomes citizens is trumped by their "freedom of movement".

    The big disagreement we seem to be having is that you seem to deny the possibility that there could be a conflict of rights.

    I also question you interpretation of "freedom of movement". You then deny the right of a nation to have borders? The government is responsible for securing the rights of any who can get inside but has no rights or duties about controlling the same? Basically that we can't do anything to stop them from coming here and then owe it to them to secure their rights once they decide to come here? They have a right to force themselves into our homes and then we are responsible for them? Because we can not deny their right to "freedom of movement"?

    and there is no such thing as a right to citizenship. Of course there is. The right to form a government is, by definition, of citizens. Claiming that you have no right to citizenship is a denial of the right to form a government. What are the people if not citizens?

  • ||

    So you are back to government securing the rights of foreigners?

    Government secures the rights of anyone and everyone within its dominion. If foreigners come here, then government secures their rights.

    Indeed, it is the duty of government to protect my right to property and it's use.

    Of course it is. Yet somehow you think that not only should the government not protect my right to transport, house, or employ a foreigner on my property, but it should actively violate that right. Curious.

    You are attempting to deny us, as citizens, the right to have those born here become naturalized citizens because we can not control who comes here.

    If that's the problem, fix it. It only takes a Constitutional amendment.

    I personally would prefer simply refusing government services to anyone whose parents are not eligible for government services. That's the problem as far as I see it.

    Claiming that you have no right to citizenship is a denial of the right to form a government.

    Indeed. There is no right to form a government. There is a right to form a mutually voluntary association. But a government, as commonly understood, takes upon itself the governing of people who are not voluntary participants. Once it does that, it necessarily inherits restrictions on what it justly can do to those persons: Namely, it must not violate their unalienable individual rights. Indeed, as Jefferson notes, a proper government secures those rights.

  • ||

    The big disagreement we seem to be having is that you seem to deny the possibility that there could be a conflict of rights.

    I would say the big disagreement is that I believe that the rights that Jefferson was referring to are completely and utterly independent of government. They preexist government, and individuals have them whether or not governments exist to secure them or not.

    The entitlements to citizenship and the authorities to form governments simply do not have the same standing as actual individual rights. They are completely subservient to rights and, therefore, the best governments actively secure rights rather than abrogate them.

  • ||


    I would say the big disagreement is that I believe that the rights that Jefferson was referring to are completely and utterly independent of government. They preexist government, and individuals have them whether or not governments exist to secure them or not.


    Of course it matters. The people of the Soviet Union possessed inalienable rights but without a government to secure them for them they were essentially slaves.

    And when individual rights come into conflict? Or does this never happen? It isn't a question of if all men have inalienable rights, they do. It is a question of how you balance individuals competing rights. It is completely appropriate for government to secure the rights of individual citizens above those of foreigners. Favoring the rights of foreigners over those of citizens is the exact opposite of what government is supposed to do, secure the rights of citizens.

  • ||

    I'm not buying that freedom of movement trumps national soveringty. You might (as a citzen) have freedom of movement within the country, but that doesn't mean another country has to let you in.

    Also, citzens and non citizens do get different rights, such as the right to vote etc. Just because you manage to sneak in doesn't mean you get all the benefits on being a citizen all of a sudden.

  • ||

    Also, citzens and non citizens do get different rights, such as the right to vote etc.

    The "right" to vote is not an unalienable individual right. Here's a hint: If a government has to tell you that you have to be 18 years old (used to be 21) and a citizen in good standing (used to be a literate landed white male citizen) and that you have to show up between 7am and 8pm on a particular Tuesday to mark up a piece of paper with the options already determined, it's probably not an unalienable individual right. Think "entitlement".

    Just because you manage to sneak in doesn't mean you get all the benefits on being a citizen all of a sudden.

    Of course you don't get all the benefits of being a citizen all of a sudden. You don't get to vote or serve in elected office or on a jury, and you don't get representation from the State Department in international matters.

  • ||

    The people of the Soviet Union possessed inalienable rights but without a government to secure them for them they were essentially slaves.

    I believe I just said that: The people of the Soviet Union have inalienable rights whether or not their government secures them. Similarly, foreigners have inalienable rights whether or not the US government secures them.

    And when individual rights come into conflict? Or does this never happen?

    It happens. It's not terribly common, though, because rights, properly constructed, are pretty exclusive things. It's only when people start to imagine that rights include things like excluding other people from a government's dominion or paying for people's health care that you get conflicts between real rights and such pretended rights.

    Favoring the rights of foreigners over those of citizens is the exact opposite of what government is supposed to do, secure the rights of citizens.

    I'm afraid I don't see where between "all men" and "secure these rights" Jefferson started restricting his words to citizens.

    And, again, what about the right of a citizen to employ a foreigner? By what just authority does the government abrogate that right?

  • ||

    Sure, a citzen can employ a foreigner in a foreign place, but that doesn't mean they are automatically granted entrance to a country.

    Sorry, I guess I just don't buy that people have a inalieable right to go to whatever country they want, but they people of that country don't have any rights to keep them out if they want.

  • ||

    What about the people of that country who don't want to keep them out? Surely the illegal immigrants in the US today are being aided and abetted by landlords and employers. What right do other people have to tell them what they can or can't do with their property?

    Look at it this way...

    Sorry, I guess I just don't buy that people have a inalieable right to say whatever they want, but they people of that country don't have any rights to keep them from saying it.

    Doesn't that sound odd? So does prohibiting people's travel, residence, or employment simply because they were born on the other side of a line on a map.

  • ||

    Mike, I do not read in the Declaration where there is a right to freedom of movement but not a right to restrict immigration. Do you have anything other than" inalienable rights endowed by his Creator" that leads you to your position? The only ones specifically listed "life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness" mention neither. The "injuries and usurpations" do mention

    He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

    which says to me that there is a right to restrict the movement of "inhabitants of our frontiers" which is foreigners. Perhaps this could be interpreted as different than illegal immigrants, I concede. I still find nothing specific to the freedom of movement, though, or the idea that our government could not secure our borders against anyone we so chose.

    Other than your extrapolation of (freedom of movement/no freedom to make immigration law) = "inalienable rights" is there any other reason for your position? I really have never heard of anyone arguing that Jefferson didn't believe in the right to control a nation's borders, but I haven't heard of a lot of things.

  • ||

    Just let me add that I do agree that it is the responsibility of government to secure the rights of legal residents while they remain in the country, obviously. This does not equate to an "inalienable right to immigrate".

  • ||

    I do not read in the Declaration where there is a right to freedom of movement but not a right to restrict immigration. Do you have anything other than" inalienable rights endowed by his Creator" that leads you to your position?

    It's basic natural rights theory. What are the things an individual can do that make no positive claim on other individuals? Those are natural rights. They include life, liberty, and property, but also include travel along rights of way, and residence and employment where one can find agreeable terms.

    which says to me that there is a right to restrict the movement of "inhabitants of our frontiers" which is foreigners.

    It says to me that there is a power to restrict the movement of foreigners who are "merciless" and "whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions." Strawberry pickers looking for work are neither.

    I really have never heard of anyone arguing that Jefferson didn't believe in the right to control a nation's borders, but I haven't heard of a lot of things.

    A government of course has the power to control its borders. It simply cannot violate the natural rights of people in doing so. In particular, individuals should be allowed entry unless there is specific cause specifically applied to the individual. For example, I find it perfectly legitimate to prevent entry to foreign armies or agents, to terrorists, to anti-social felons, or to carriers of contagion. But I think it utterly illegitimate and unjust for government to prevent an individual's entry because a quota has been reached.

  • ||

    I think it utterly illegitimate and unjust for government to prevent an individual's entry because a quota has been reached.

    This is the crux of our disagreement. I do not necessarily disagree with the above statement, but I believe there is a competing interest, those of the citizen. It is unfair that everyone can't be American, I completely agree. Of course, once everyone is American, then no one is.

  • ||

    OK, this is to heavy of an issue to cover in a small post, but here is my two cents:

    1. I have served my country for ten years. And I must say this guy must not live in the same country as I do. You know why many illegal's are considered by the speaker to be a crime minority? Because he looks at only the statistic, and not the circumstances it is used to be put on paper. For instance, the chances of getting a illegal to actually fill out a police report (unless arrested on the spot)is nil. None of them want to be deported. As for the ones who are taken? They will never appear in court, and because there is no record of their existence, they can indeed, do anything. Also consider that there are many blocks in just about every major city where not even the cops go because of these issues. If they do a hit and run, do you honestly believe they will have valid insurance? And guess what - the cops cannot arrest them if they cause an accident despite being illegal due to current law and court decisions. So this guys claim that they have a lower crime rate, leaves out entirely to many factors to use it as a reason to make illegals legal.

    2- As to the welfare system. 1 - If you are an illegal you cannot get welfare. Unless of course you are getting an under the table favor, in which case the Welfare dept needs to be looked to as much as the illegal who uses it. There are a few exceptions to this of course, but not enough to really matter. So the speaker does make a good point there.

    3- As to health care, this is a different matter entirely. A hospital will never turn down a patient in dire need of care, especially if it is a soon to be mother, a child, or the victim of a brutal attack or accident. This applies to illegal's. Who do not have Medicare or insurance. Considering the speakers claim that millions of illegal's now inhabit our country, do the math. Of course this is a heavy burden on our hospitals etc, and to pay for it, they have to charge more for the people who do use it properly, either through cost of operations and hospital stays, the bill gets passed to the govt and the insurance companies who will then charge you more for good insurance. Being that health care seems to be so important to so many, I find it odd that no one in politics approaches this issue. Never mind I forgot - that would not be politically popular.

    4- As for the lack of adaptation, I must agree. Go live in any other country and refuse to learn their language and culture - you will not be well liked. As for flying your flag above theirs, expect nothing less then a beating to follow. I served my country for ten years, and for all of you out there that think this is excusable, pray to God that you never voice that opinion around me. I did not give so much of life to have pathetic, ignorant, disloyal destroy our countries pride. If you are okay with foreigners flying their flag over ours, then know that you are the epidemy of everything our forefathers warned against. You are nothing more then whiney annoying oxygen thieves. And in my humble opinion, I am disgusted that people such as yourselves even have the same right to vote as I do. And for all of you that say that this does not happen, then you certainly don't get out much, and as such, should keep your ignorant yaps shut. I am proud to be an American, and if you are not, then either grow a brain and start voting in the right guy as oppose to lying sacks of shit, or leave the country to those of us who actually care about it.

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