Don't Pick Up That Trillion Dollar Bill on the Sidewalk (A Mexican Might Have Touched It)

Thousands of Ecuadorians, Ghanaians, and Thais want to come to the United States to work. Without them, we'll have lower overall productivity, reduced economic value, and fewer delicious, delicious restaurants. And that's just fine with the Obama administration (and the entire GOP presidential field).

Michael Clemens, an economist at the Center for Global Development, reviewed research on emigration from poor countries and found that increasing labor mobility by just a small amount—allowing 5 percent of people in low-income countries to emigrate—would increase global GDP by several trillion dollars a year. That's more than the added value that would result from eliminating all policy barriers to the global flow of goods and capital, as he stressed in a blog post about the paper.

One reason that even just a little more emigration by low-income workers would add so much value is that people would become much more productive if you could pick them up off the globe and set them back down in a different place:

Take a male construction worker in the capital of Ghana. There isn’t much you could do to greatly raise his economic productivity in Ghana; access to better tools or training might make him modestly more productive. But if you let the exact same person emigrate to work at a construction site in any big U.S. city, his economic productivity would rise roughly 700% to 1,000%.

Luckily, we don't need some kind of deity to move people around like chess pieces on the surface of the Earth, because so many people are willing to emigrate of their own accord. In his paper, "Economics and Emigration: Trillion-Dollar Bills on the Sidewalk?"*, Clemens noted the incredible demand for visas through the U.S. Diversity Visa Lottery, which awards emigration slots mainly to people from developing countries. "In fiscal year 2010," he wrote, "this lottery had 13.6 million applications for 50,000 visas—272 applicants per slot."

And even though both labor unions afraid of losing jerbs and Fencers consumed with xenophobia often claim otherwise, gains from open borders don't go to only migrants. Saying so, Clemens said, would be "like saying that the economic gains from the immigration of Google founder Sergei Brin are limited to the increase in living standards experienced by Brin himself and his son."

He added:

Moreover, apart from stars like Brin, lower-skill workers convey a range of economic benefits to non-immigrant workers, including lower their cost of living, raise female labor force participation, and raise the productivity of investments in new business.

Yet we still turn them away in droves. 

Reason's Shikha Dalmia has documented the current administration's fourfold increase in employer raids for illegal immigrants, as well as how pretty much every GOP candidate sees Mexicans as "the new untouchables of American society."

*The paper's title references a lame economics joke. Which is redundant.

Two economists walk down the street and see a $20 bill lying on the sidewalk. The first economist says, “Look at that $20 bill.” The second says, “That can’t really be a $20 bill lying there, because if it were, someone would have picked it up already.” So they walk on, leaving the $20 bill undisturbed.

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  • Mainer||

    At least the Repubs pay lip service to free markets, but do I have to hate spics and fags, too ?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • MWG||

    ...and nothing else happened.

  • ||

    Anyone with half a brain realizes this fact, but anyone using their whole brain realizes, that to the extent a nation is an association of people it is a reasonable expectation a person seeking to come and live in that nation for a long period of time be willing to subject themselves to scrutiny of the nation and that reasonable restrictions can and should be imposed, the US should not be a haven for fugitives, those who wish to destroy the US nation, and people suffering communicable, fatal, diseases.

  • tarran||

    An armed gang taking over a territory = an association of people living in the territory?

    Wow!

  • ||

    It might be a criminal conspiracy, but it is still an association of people.

  • ||

    ALL PEOPLE WISHING TO IMMIGRATE ARE CRIMINALS, TERRORISTS, AND TYPHOID MARYS. PUBLIUS CATO, SAGE OF SAGES, HAS SPOKEN.

  • Zeb||

    Actually it was "Publus Cato" (whoever that is).

  • steve||

    Pubic Cato

  • cynical||

    The problem is that the state is supposed to represent a certain people, yet it defines itself by a set of borders, yet many of the people see their group as defined by something more than just borders.

    I mean, if "American" just meant "permanent resident of some area within the territory of the United States", then the whole concept of illegal immigration and naturalization would be moot, since any Mexican that put down roots here would stop being a Mexican.

    We need to define the state and the people it represents in the same fashion. Either both are defined by a set of borders, in which case anyone that settles here is legal. Or else citizenship is an invitation-only group, which means that America would claim sovereignty over every patch of ground owned by those who chose to join it as citizens (in addition to those owned collectively). So, basically, we either go back to the past, or to a future that looks suspiciously like Snow Crash.

  • jtuf||

    I support freer migration on general principle. We should raise the number of Diversity Visas to 1 million per year and open the Diversity Visa lottery to people from all countries. It's ridiculous that my Canadian friend doesn't qualify for a Diversity Visa.

  • Oh sure||

    Like we need some Canadian to come in and take jobs away from great Americans like William Shatner, Michael J. Fox, Alex Trebek or Lorne Greene (yes, I know he's dead).

  • ||

    The Shat is officially a U.S. citizen. He doesn't know it yet, but Congress declared him one so that he can, if he so chooses, become president of our great nation.

  • IceTrey||

    You need to reread the Constitution. In order to be the President you have to be a "natural born citizen". That means born in the country to citizen parents. Unfortunately, Shat would be a usurper, just like the offices current occupant.

  • ||

    If we opened the Diversity Visa lottery to people from all countries then it wouldn't be the Diversity Visa lottery anymore, it'd just be the open quota.

    Whether we need a diversity lottery is open to question but we definitely need to increase the number of slots in the general quota (now at 5,000 a year, IIANM).

  • steve||

    So adding white people in a country where the white majority is rapidly decreasing isn't creating diversity? interesting.
    That and there's more to diversity than language and skin tone...eh

  • jtuf||

    This list of disqualified countries changes a bit each year, but the last time I checked, Brazilians, Chinese, Meixcans, Brits, Indians, and Jamaicans were excluded from the Diversity Visa program. How would letting more people from those countries in make America less diverse?

  • DJF||

    “”””Thousands of Ecuadorians, Ghanaians, and Thais want to come to the United States to work. Without them, we'll have lower overall productivity, “””’

    How does bringing in thousands of poorly educated manual laborers increase productivity? So we should get rid of the computer controlled metal fabricating machinery and replace it with fifty guys hitting a piece of metal with a hammer? Get rid of the cotton combine and replace it with Ghanaians picking cotton by hand? Get rid of cloths washers and replace it with Thais washing clothes in bucket?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    How does bringing in thousands of poorly educated manual laborers increase productivity?

    You know how to cook Pad Thai, DFJ?

  • DJF||

    I assume that there is a book somewhere that would teach someone how to make it. Unless you are one of the racists who think that only Thai’s can cook Thai food.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I assume that there is a book somewhere that would teach someone how to make it.

    Perhaps, but wouldn't it be easier to allow someone who already knows how to cook it to move here and open a restaurant?

    Ron Bailey-esque Disclosure: My wife is Thai and a chef.

  • Gojira||

    My wife is Thai and a chef.

    *points to self* Envy, is the only word I have for you my friend.

    My wife is Chinese and doesn't cook a goddamn thing.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    My wife is Chinese and doesn't cook a goddamn thing.

    Chinese? She doesn't cook probably because she's too tired from working three jobs as a doctor/engineer/physicist. :)

  • Gojira||

    HA! She has a degree in "art history", and her dad is a chef, so she never learned. At least I can crib the family left-overs.

  • DT||

    I am a gay male and I am also envious of your Thai chef wife. :X

  • tarran||

    Because a poorly educated man can learn how to operate machinery in a couple of weeks? And then he becomes *very* productive?

    We allow millions of absolutely uneducated and illiterate people into the US every year, and while many of them end up on welfare millions more learn how to earn a living and contribute to our wealth.

  • ||

    And some might even be individuals with diverse knowledge, skills and ingenuity that isn't represented by a degree.

  • ||

    Hmm...people hire illegal Mexicans in droves, so there must be some market for their labor, and amazingly, it's not by replacing cheaper automated machinery with people!

    Congratulations, you're a fucking idiot. Thanks for playing.

  • ||

    The main idea is that the cheaper labor makes certain services, e.g., maids, gardeners, construction workers cheaper and more available to middle class people who can use their new free time for more productive purposes or use the cheaper labor inputs to open a competitive, lower priced businesses.

  • Overt||

    Despite the snarky replies, there is something to this argument.

    Yes, that Ghanian may be 500x more productive in the US, but it is not necessarily true that increased the US's productivity. If he replaced a person with higher productivity (but higher price) we had a net loss in productivity.

    There do exist studies showing that labor intensive businesses resist technical innovations as long as they can get labor cheaply.

    I'm not saying that this is a reason we should restrict immigration, just pointing out that the author's implication that it is win-win for everybody is not necessarily a given.

  • ||

    If he replaced a person with higher productivity (but higher price) we had a net loss in productivity.

    Only if he replaced him by killing him.

    If the person has higher productivity, he will find another job. And even if you're arguing comparative US productivity, the fact that someone with higher productivity was doing something that someone with lower productivity could do means that person's productivity was underutilized, and it is most likely that his new employment will better utilize his higher productivity.

  • ||

    Without them, we'll have lower overall productivity

    Completely obvious. They come here, they start working, our overall productivity goes up by the amount they contribute by being here and working.

    Seriously, somebody's arguing with this?

  • o2||

    Lulz mor rasist WINGNUTZ economicz

  • Grey Panther||

    I'm glad the GOP is taking a hard stance on illegal immigrants. It's too easy now to come across the border and do jobs that used to be done by Americans. When I was in high school, I used to detassel corn, and was able to buy my first car. Now an illegal Mexican has that job and sends the money back to Mexico. So it is good for his economy, but not the US. There should be more restrictions on illegal immigration especially during this recession. Maybe after the recession is over, but not right now.

  • ||

    There are a lot of things wrong with everything you just said, but to pick one: why should anyone give a fuck about the citizenship/first language/skin color of a person doing a particular job?

  • ||

    It's a sockpuppet. Ignore.

  • ||

    I was wondering if my troll-o-meter was malfunctioning. Sad thing is, anti-immigration people really are just that stupid.

  • Sorry 'Bout That||

    It was a fun ride, and the reactions have been hilarious, but alas, the sun has set on Grey Panther.

  • Gojira||

    T'was a good troll. I even responded to it the first few times I saw it's posts. Ya did well, son.

  • Zeb||

    "There should be more restrictions on illegal immigration"

    Are they really that stupid? Actually, I don't want an answer to that question.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    That sentence is what finally put my troll meter into the red zone. He was doing OK up til there.

  • Sorry 'Bout That||

    Again, sorry 'bout that. Grey Panther was an experiment in bad logic, tenuous grammar, and American Conservative values. He is officially retired from this blog.

  • steve||

    Really? Detasseling corn did it for me...

  • Warty||

    DEY TUK AR JERBS

  • Grey Panther, circa 1890||

    I'm glad the KKK is taking a hard stance on illegal immigrants. It's too easy now to come through Long Island and do jobs that used to be done by Americans. When I was in high school, I used to detassel corn, and was able to buy my first horse drawn wagon. Now an Irish papist or Chinaman has that job. So it is good for his economy, but not the US. There should be more restrictions on immigration, especially during this recession. Maybe after the recession is over, but not right now.

  • Skip||

    Except the papist and the Chinaman weren't sending their money back to Ireland and China.

  • ||

    Scratch an anti-immigrant zealot, find a mercantilist.

  • MWG||

    This is a spoof, right?

  • Gay Pranther||

    Fuck off!

  • ||

    The people who complain about "uneducated" immigrants might want to consider how much we spend to educate kids in America and all the good it does us. For just about every job I can think of, I'd rather hire someone with a good work ethic and not a lot of formal education, than some entitled, overeducated brat who'll end up in the Occupy Wall Street protests Light Brigade or some shit.

  • Mainer||

    Yup. I do a fair amount of hiring. I can teach technical skills to a reasonably intelligent, motivated person who shows up on time and wants to work. I have neither the time or inclination to teach someone good work habits.

  • ||

    She took ur jerb?

  • ||

    She took ur jerb?

  • BakedPenguinNativist||

    What's this "we" shit, Canuckistani?

  • ||

    Wow, reason just went fucktard on me and double-posted me in the wrong spot. Nice.

  • ||

    Personally, I found your mismatched squirrelz fucking quite amusing.

  • ||

    I am the job stealingest job stealer. And my day today consists of meeting with various other job-stealers from far-flung parts of the globe.

  • ||

    How can you steal what has been freely offered?

  • BakedPenguinNativist||

    JERBZ! SNOW FENCE!

  • BakedPenguin||

    It's competant people like you who make it hard for us fuckups!

  • Hugh Akston||

    Do you think I should leave my Master's degree off of my resume?

  • Redland Jack||

    I seriously considered pulling my J.D. off of my resume (after failing to get a job for many months, while often getting questions as to why I'd be looking for this particular job when I could make more money as a lawyer). However, I left it in, since I'd otherwise have had to explain why it took me 5 years to get my Master's degree.

  • Warty||

  • ||

    (and the entire GOP presidential field).

    Except Gary Johnson.

  • kilroy||

    Thank you. I see dipshit Watkins hasn't fixed his fuck up yet.

  • Restoras||

    The Obama Administration and the entire GOP field of candidates is opposed to legal immigration? I did not know this.

  • ||

    “For those people that want to become legal citizens in this country, promote the current citizenship process,” Cain said. “It’s not that difficult. It’s democratic, it’s cumbersome, it might be confusing to some people, but if you go look it up, you’ll see: the steps are not that complicated."

    Not that difficult/complicated my ass.

  • ||

    if you let a currently unemployed guy work at this theoretical job, his economic productivity would rise roughly infinity %.

    Everywhere I go, there are armed guards posted on the perimeter of job sites to make sure we don't "let" any out-of-work American mortgage brokers apply for jobs.

  • ||

    Yet we still turn them away in droves.

    That's because they are willing to live in less than 1000 sq ft/person housing.

    Which makes them icky, apparently.

  • Sidd Finch||

    But if you let the exact same person emigrate to work at a construction site in any big U.S. city, his economic productivity would rise roughly 700% to 1,000%.

    But if you let a currently unemployed guy work at this theoretical job, his economic productivity would rise roughly infinity %.

  • ||

    Grief troll grieves.

  • ||

    So we should get rid of the computer controlled metal fabricating machinery and replace it with fifty guys hitting a piece of metal with a hammer?

    Hand-beaten lunch boxes briefcases could be the next big thing.

  • ||

    LIBERTARIAN ECONOMICS 101:

    Banning drugs creates a black market for drugs. People will still do drugs out of self-interest.

    Banning or overregulating gambling creates a black market for gambling. People will still gamble out of self-interest.

    Banning prostitution creates a black market for sex. People will still pay for sex out of self-interest.

    Banning or overrestricting guns creates a black market for guns. People will still buy guns out of self-interest, especially in the criminal underworld.

    Banning or overrestricting immigration creates a black market for labor. People will still cross borders out of self-interest.

    Somehow, many "libertarians" seem to understand the first four but not the last one. Conservatives only seem to understand #4 and maybe #2. In all cases, the black markets created by the State cause more harm than the actions themselves - if the war on drugs doesn't work, what makes anyone think the war on people seeking jobs and safety will?

  • Gojira||

    That's an excellent way of looking at the matter that I never thought of before. I will use that in future discussions, without crediting you.

  • ||

    You'll be hearing from my lawyer shortly, plagiarist.

  • Number5||

    I can snort coke, gamble, bang a hooker and play with my guns in my own home.

    That's different than someone kicking my front door down.

  • MWG||

    Hispanic migrant workers are kicking you front door down!? Oh, right. You're a statist/collectivist. I get what you did there.

  • Sidd Finch||

    This is full fucking retard. Nobody anywhere has ever thought that outlawing something will stop it completely.

    In all cases, the black markets created by the State cause more harm than the actions themselves

    The murder-for-hire black market causes more harm than good?

    if the war on drugs doesn't work, what makes anyone think the war on people seeking jobs and safety will?

    Right in the post some guy says there were 13.6 million diversity lottery applicants. Unless there were 13.6 million immigrants last year, presumably living in caves or underground fortresses, the war on "war on people seeking jobs and safety" seems to be working.

  • 30Mil Undocumented Mexicans||

    DAMN STRAIGHT!!!

  • Sidd Finch||

    "Unless there were 13.6 million immigrants last year"

  • MWG||

    "The murder-for-hire black market causes more harm than good?"

    Except that murder isn't a crime merely involving consenting adults. All the 'crimes' Prop listed are. In those cases he listed, he is absolutely correct.

  • Sidd Finch, DEA Spokesperson||

    "All cases" means something different to you than me.

  • Sidd Finch||

    damn one-offs

  • MWG||

    I interpret it to mean in 'all cases' he listed... unless your suggesting Prop is for abolishing all laws... Somehow I doubt that's what he meant.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Well he's blaming illegal immigrant violence on immigration policy, so I wouldn't put it past him. That's seriously fucking insane. Mexican immigrant violence rates, adjusted for SES, age and sex, are about the same as native whites. Your welcome to try to read his mind and square that circle.

  • ||

    So by your logic, you wouldn't blame a large percentage of inner city violence on the drug war, I assume? Lord, the violence would obviously be so much worse if drugs were sold by pharmacies and head shops...

    Or mob-violence during the Prohibition era on Prohibition? You know, those evil bartenders cause so much violence now that it's legal.

    Seriously, you can't see the fact that creating a mafia-driven black market for immigration and preventing illegal immigrants from legitimate work leads to illegitimate, more violent avenues in the criminal underworld?

  • Sidd Finch||

    Where is all the Mexican immigrant violence? Where do you come up with this shit?

  • MWG||

    Sidd, go back and read his original comment again. He says nothing about illegal immigration 'violence'. The prohibition on poor labor, like any other prohibition on an activity between consenting adults (see all the cases he listed) results in a black market who's negative consequences outweigh the benefits of said prohibition.

    If you think that's an argument for lifting the prohibition on murder, and not simply activities between conseting parties, you're free to think that... it only makes you look dumb.

  • Sidd Finch||

    The law makes legal work illegal for illegal immigrants and then are shocked - SHOCKED! - when they resort to violent and property crime?

  • MWG||

    You're really horrible at this. Prop's ORIGINAL comment (the one you appearantly didn't go back and read) made no mention of 'immigrant violence'. You brought the subject into the discussion to which Prop was responding.

  • Sidd Finch||

    I never implied that quote was from his original comment. Look at the timestamps.

  • MWG||

    So then what was the point of the quote?

  • ||

    The existence of any dangerous black market for actions that actually violate rights is a given. The outcomes would be the more or less the same whether this were legal or illegal.

    In the cases I listed, the harms of the black market exceed the harms of the victimless actions themselves. The law makes legal work illegal for illegal immigrants and then are shocked - SHOCKED! - when they resort to violent and property crime? How is that any different than drug laws that put non-violent users in jail, where they join violent prison gangs, leave as hardened criminals and when they get out have no opportunities for gainful employment -- and then we are surprised that they are redecivist or worse? Unintended consequences, how do they work?

  • Sidd Finch||

    The outcomes would be the more or less the same whether this were legal or illegal.

    We know immigration is much lower than it would be sans regulation because that's the premise of the fucking blog post. Further, do you think the natives gamble the same amount in Atlanta as Las Vegas, smoke as much pot in Des Moins as Oakland?

    The law makes legal work illegal for illegal immigrants and then are shocked - SHOCKED! - when they resort to violent and property crime?

    1) Only a goddamn lunatic would blame illegal immigrant violence on immigration policy.

    2) Many of the jobs illegals work are actually illegal for everyone. Labor regulations and taxes are as much an incentive to hire illegals as their lower wage demands.

  • ||

    "We know immigration is much lower than it would be sans regulation"

    This is true, and drug use/prostitution/gambling/gun ownership are all lower when they are illegal than they would be if legal. Eliminating the harm of the black market will still more than make up for harm from increased prevalence of these things done legally.

    The same principle applies to immigration. Don't like them taking yer jerb? If they have a work visa, they have less incentive to take below minimum wage for the same work, and employers lose the loophole to exploit. Of course, artificial limits on freedom of labor supply inherently result in markets operating sub-optimally.

    And in what economic world do millions of additional immigrants not inherently create millions of new jobs by increasing market demand? How had we been operating (pre-recession) at stable unemployment rates despite the influx of tens of millions of undocumented residents? The working poor end up spending most if not all of their money, meaning the money goes back to the market and creates more demand for labor.

    Don't like them committing violence? If they have legitimate work and a legitimate visa, they actually have something to lose by engaging in violent crime. Moreover, it's better to know who's here and keep a government record of their biometrics for solving and preventing potential future crimes.

    Also, illegal immigration is a huge source of funding for the Mexican mafias. Make it so people don't have to engage the mafia to get here and work, mafias become less powerful and crime/border violence is reduced.

  • MWG||

    "1) Only a goddamn lunatic would blame illegal immigrant violence on immigration policy."

    1) Only a goddamn lunatic would blame drug violence on dug policy.

    You're not very bright, are you? A lunatic? Seriously?

    2) Sounds like your arguing for lifting idiotic labor regulations...

  • Sidd Finch||

    1) You two are unbelievable. Mexican immigrant violence is lower than Mexican violence and, adjusted for demographics, the same as white American violence. Drug war violence is easy to recognize. It's in inner cities that aren't demographically different from other areas of the country. Also, there's other black markets that don't cause massive violence. The drug war is demonstrably a causal factor in violent crime, but I still blame those who pull the trigger. OTOH there's no indication that immigration, legal or illegal, is a causal factor in any statistically significant violent crime. I may have different standards than you, MWG, but I consider people who rant passionately about things they've never bothered to investigate fucking lunatics.

    2) In this conversation I haven't argued for anything other than reality. Personally, I'm a pretty standard libertarian WRT immigration and regulations.

  • Sidd Finch||

    This is really hilarious. I'm probably less open borders than you two who are arguing that Mexican immigrants are exceptionally violent even though you have no evidence.

  • ||

    When did I say Mexican immigrants are "exceptionally violent?" I don't remember ever saying that. I never even said they were more violent than citizens. I think you're putting words into our mouths we didn't say.

    The closed borders advocates rail on and on about Mexican violence spilling over into the border states. There's no question that they overrate this, but there's also little question that preventing legitimate work will result in illegitimate work, including crime, especially when a significant percentage of immigrants have connections with mafia coyotes that helped smuggle them into the country.

    And moreover, I'm not just talking about violence by the immigrants themselves, but also the fact that human smuggling and trafficking is a very lucrative business for the Mexican mafias, and like the other vices and weapons they sell, the profits reinforce their violent stranglehold on Mexico, which in turn leads to more natural demand for emigration from Mexico.

  • MWG||

    Your attempt to put words in my mouth is extremely transparent. Nowhere did I claim Mexican immigrants are 'exceptionally' violent. I'll use simple words this time to see if you can grasp the point.

    In the US it is impossible for poor mexican migrants to legally immigrate to the US. This prohibition (lime alcohol, drug, gambling, prostitution prohibition) creates a black market, which like any black market involves violence. There's absolutely nothing 'exceptional' about it.

  • Sidd Finch||

    This prohibition (lime alcohol, drug, gambling, prostitution prohibition) creates a black market, which like any black market involves violence. There's absolutely nothing 'exceptional' about it.

    I'm not going to debate people who don't know the definition of common words.

  • MWG||

    This coming from the guy who totally misunderstood Prop's original post and instead of admitting his mistake, he doubled down on stupid.

  • ||

    Dude, you can't deny that the black market for illegal immigration heavily subsidizes the Mexican drug mafias that control the US-Mexico border, which in turn leads to more poverty and violence in Mexico, which leads to more illegal immigration. Make it very easy and cheap for low-skilled laborers to get work visas, the cycle is partially broken and part of this black market goes away. End the drug war, gun control in Mexico, etc. and the cycle of violence ends, and Mexico can start becoming an environment businesses feel safer investing in - thus less demand for emigration.

  • Amakudari||

    Right in the post some guy says there were 13.6 million diversity lottery applicants. Unless there were 13.6 million immigrants last year, presumably living in caves or underground fortresses, the war on "war on people seeking jobs and safety" seems to be working.

    Anything short of a 100% compliance rate means it's working?

    And many Central Americans don't (or shouldn't) even apply, because they'll never be selected.

  • Sidd Finch||

    One could have a semantic argument about whether Southern border control is "working." (I'd say no.) But there's no doubt that immigration controls are working for the 6 billion people who don't have a way to get in from the South.

    For fucks sake, that's the premise of the OP.

  • OG 'merican natives||

    white devils were illegal

  • Marty Feldman's Eyes||

    Want to celebrate immigration? Announced yesterday:

    "President Obama today named seven eminent researchers as recipients of the National Medal of Science and five inventors as recipients of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the highest honors bestowed by the United States government on scientists, engineers, and inventors."

    I looked at the list- 7 out of 12 were born in other countries. They came to the US and took the opportunity to make the world a better place. To those that might argue that these are different, because of education or skills, should try going through the process, because it's just as antagonistic to skilled labor as it is to any other kind. It doesn't matter what kind of visa you're on, once you have to deal with the INS it's hell.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Oh Tate... You had such easy alt-text you could have used too. Just leave out the caption and make it the alt-text.

  • John Tagliaferro||

    "global GDP"? As in earth vs. Uranus?

  • MWG||

    Yes, because trade is a zero-sum game.

  • ||

    "I looked at the list- 7 out of 12 were born in other countries. They came to the US and took the opportunity to make the world a better place."

    Like most commenters here you conflate legal and illegal immigration. The U.S. takes in more legal immigrants than the rest of the world combined. Yet Americans who insist that those who wish to come here follow the law are branded as "racist" and/or "nativist". Pathetic.

    I do find it interesting that all of the supposed economic benefits of low skilled mass illegal immigration, that the anarchists at Reason continually advocate, only seem to materialize once these people cross our borders. Why are the countries that they are leaving such a mess if those countries were realizing the benefits of their presence before they decided to leave?

  • ||

    Because the US has the institutions and capital that leverage unskilled labor into far greater productivity.

    ...exactly like the original post said.

  • ||

    "Because the US has the institutions and capital that leverage unskilled labor into far greater productivity"

    Ahh, and when did that magically appear? Or, if not magical, could these "institutions and capital" be the result of a society built on the "rule-of-law", which is precisely what supporters of mass illegal immigration are trying to undermine?

  • ||

    These "institutions and capital" are the result of a society built on the "rule-of-law" where "law" does not equal "legislation" -- especially rights-abrogating legislation such as immigration law for the last 130 years -- but rather rights-respecting cultural and institutional norms.

    In fact the source of the greater wealth of western societies is exactly the opposite of what you think it is: it is laws and institutions that respect rights and freedoms, not those that abrogate them.

  • ||

    I wasn't aware open borders advocates supported mass illegal immigration. I thought we supported making it incredibly simple to get a work visa.

    Also, we recognize that illegal immigration will exist when the existing law disqualifies the economically desperate and recognize the impossibility and extreme expense of tracking down and rounding up tens of millions of illegal immigrants and/or their employers. Like other black markets for victimless criminal actions, the harm of government enforcement is worse than the crime itself.

  • MWG||

    "The U.S. takes in more legal immigrants than the rest of the world combined."

    Just curious che... is that in absolute terms or as a percentage of the overall population?

    Also, since you're so interested in what the rest of the world is doing; what's your view on universal healthcare?

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