Why Is Immigration Popular with Senators?

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In the discussion to Jacob Sullum's post below about illegal immigrants and wages, reader cynic points to a Christian Science Monitor op-ed by Michael S. Teitelbaum, a former member of the US Commission on Immigration Reform (1990-97).

Teitelbaum asks a pretty stunning question: Given the fact that increased immigration is wildly unpopular with the public in general (only 10 percent favor it), why does it command such a strong position in the US Senate, where most members would go along with legislation to boost it?

Members of the US Senate–an elite among elites–do seem to be quite insulated from the views that pollsters routinely find among broad public opinion. On this issue senators may be even further disconnected from those who elect them as they are also surrounded by flocks of immigration lobbyists representing small but well-organized and heavily financed interest groups.

These interest groups are regional, economic, ethnic, and ideological. Prominent among them: agribusiness companies in California and the Southwest; employers of mostly low-wage labor such as hotels and restaurants; a few unions with large percentages of immigrant members; some high-tech companies; some ethnic and religious lobby groups; some higher education groups; and ideological libertarians of both the right and the left.

Together they include only a small part of the US economy and workforce, but a large fraction of immigration lobbyists. In a Washington dominated by interest-group politics and their lobbyists, the fact that these otherwise antagonistic lobbies are in coalition to increase immigration may give some senators the (incorrect) impression that there is a broad base of support.

I'm not sure I buy that argument, but it's worth thinking about. (And given that, as an "ideological libertarian" and the grandson of semi-literate migrants, I support basically open immigration, I'm happy to have semi-retarded senators befuddled on this issue.) Teitelbaum also makes another point worth considering, this one about partisan politics:

Some political strategists for both the Democratic and Republican parties believe they can gain politically by expanding legal immigration. Each party supposedly will capture disproportionate support from the minority of voters who favor expanded immigration, from legal immigrants themselves once they naturalize, and from rich sources of campaign finance, while not losing support from the majority of voters who do not endorse such actions….

In reality, no one knows how these politics will play out. Yet one thing is more than clear: Both parties cannot achieve the partisan gains they are being promised.

Whole thing here.

Just the other day, Reason's Tim Cavanaugh asked the sort of simple question that screwed tenure for Socrates: "Forget guest workers–why should citizens of NAFTA countries need visas at all?"

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  1. Could it be that for the first time in history the Senate, functioning as a group of elites isolated from the riff raff, are doing what the founders actually thought they’d be doing all this time?

    Bwahahahaa! I make myself laugh. And cry.

  2. Actually, I remember an Economist poll that showed elites in general (including private sector elites) were much more internationalist overall than the general population.

  3. I fail to see how we could possibly adopt an “open immigration policy”. While I agree, that in a perfect, flat world, this would be the correct immigration policy according to the libertarian mindset, we also have to acknowledge reality. There is only a certain rate at which we can absorb people without losing our national identity, social structures and prosperity. If our immigration policy was “welcome to anyone who can find a boat or plane to get here”, far more people could come than we could reasonably support, integrate, or educate. While I think most of us here would agree that our current policy is a disaster and that immigration overall is a good thing, it still needs to be held to a sustainable rate. At some point in the hypothetical flat future, demand will drop and eventually match what we can aborb, and we can have a true open policy. But right now, that would be a disaster.

  4. Could it be that for the first time in history the Senate, functioning as a group of elites isolated from the riff raff, are doing what the founders actually thought they’d be doing all this time?

    They are probably taking a lot more favors than the founders envisioned. So, probable “no.” Or maybe some did:

    “The small number which is to compose this legislature [that is, the senate or something like it], will not only expose it to the danger of that kind of corruption, and undue influence. which will arise from the gift of places of honor and emolument, or the more direct one of bribery, but it will also subject it to another kind of influence no less fatal to the liberties of the people, though it be not so flagrantly repugnant to the principles of rectitude. It is not to be expected that a legislature will be found in any country that will not have some of its members, who will pursue their private ends. and for which they will sacrifice the public good. Men of this character are, generally, artful and designing, and frequently possess brilliant talents and abilities; they commonly act in concert, and agree to share the spoils of their country among them; they will keep their object ever in view, and follow it with constancy. To effect their purpose, they will assume any shape, and, Proteus like. mould themselves into any form ? where they find members proof against direct bribery or gifts of offices, they will endeavor to mislead their minds by specious and false reasoning, to impose upon their unsuspecting honesty by an affectation of zeal for the public good; they will form juntos, and hold out-door meetings; they will operate upon the good nature of their opponents, by a thousand little attentions, and teize them into compliance by the earnestness of solicitation. Those who are acquainted with the manner of conducting business in public assemblies, know how prevalent art and address are in carrying a measure, even over men of the best intentions, and of good understanding. The firmest security against this kind of improper and dangerous influence, as well as all other, is a strong and numerous representation: in such a house of assembly, so great a number must be gained over, before the private views of individuals could be gratified that there could be scarce a hope of success. But in the foederal assembly, seventeen men are all that is necessary to pass a law. It is probable, it will seldom happen that more than twenty-five will be requisite to form a majority, when it is considered what a number of places of honor and emolument will be in the gift of the executive, the powerful influence that great and designing men have over the honest and unsuspecting, by their art and address, their soothing manners and civilities, and their cringing flattery, joined with their affected patriotism; when these different species of influence are combined, it is scarcely to be hoped that a legislature, composed of so small a number, as the one proposed by the new constitution, will long resist their force.”

  5. There is only a certain rate at which we can absorb people without losing our national identity, social structures and prosperity.

    My guess is the rate is 4.379%.

  6. Funny, Chad, but the US survived on exactly that “if you can get here, you can live here” system for a century and a half.

  7. I don’t think the Senate is “befuddled” or disconeccted at all. They are playing a political game. The GOPhers decry illegal immigration whilst trying to make the lives of immigrants as powerless as possible but doing nothing to actually stop them from entering and gaining employment while the Dems decry the lack of enforcement and court liberization at the same time. It’s a balancing act. Hard to see where it’s heading.

    JMJ

  8. Since I know this argument will come up, let’s play a game of compare and contrast:

    Argument 1: I’d be fine with open immigration if the taxpayers weren’t stuck providing social services like schools and emergency rooms for those who come here. But as long as these services exist we need strict limits on how many foreigners can come here.

    Argument 2: I’d be fine with unlimited reproductive rights if the taxpayers weren’t stuck providing schools for the kids that you produce. But as long as we have public schools and most Americans take advantage of them, there should be strict limits on how many kids you can have.

    Argument #1, which is heard frequently on this forum, assumes that the immigrants are the problem rather than the social services. Many people on this forum seem to be fine with that analysis. Argument #2, which I hope most people would find absurd, assumes that the kids are the problem, not the public schools. I think (hope?) that most people here would say that public schools are the problem, not children.

    So, which right is more important and more worth defending: The right to associate with whomever you want and hire whomever you want and work with whomever you want and rent a home from whomever you want where ever you want (assuming all associations and hirings are mutually consensual, yadda yadda), or the right to have kids? Which of those rights should we curtail as long as public schools exist?

  9. As a self-professed member of “the riff-raff” I must vehemently protest this disregard on the part their Honorablenesses (correct term?) for the opinions of such as myself. I am shocked, deeply shocked. Who would have imagined or guessed such a thing!

  10. Thoreau,

    Exactly what kind of Third World shithole do you want to live in?

    No social services?

    No public schools?

    There isn’t a civilized nation on Earth that does that. If you really want an example of your Libertarian Utopia, Wikipedia “Somalia.” Let me know how it is.

    JMJ

  11. Jersey-

    My point here is that, whatever one might think of public services, one should not use the existence of public services to argue against other curtailments of liberty. That’s all. The same arguments being made about immigration (“As long as we have public services we shouldn’t be letting even more people come along to make use of them”) could just as easily be made about reproduction. After all, most US parents send their kids to public schools, and I’ll go out on a limb and guess that many of those parents, especially the ones with more than 2 kids, pay less in state and local taxes than they receive in education services.

    Indeed, the argument that social services can serve as a pretext for limiting reproduction was made in China, I believe.

  12. Both parties cannot achieve the partisan gains they are being promised.

    True, in a holistic sense, but it brings to mind one of the Senators comments, paraphrased from memory:

    We know what the short term immigration politics are, and we know what the long term politics are, but the two are not reconcilable.

    That is enough to explain the differences.

  13. As long as we’re talking about China, it’s also worth noting that they have strict laws limiting the number of rural dwellers who can move to the cities to take advantage of booming job markets.

  14. Well, I’d be fine with no social services or public schools, JMJ’s screed aside, but the fact is that no society, even comprised entirely of libertarians, is going to allow children to starve or go uneducated or without health care. It doesn’t really matter whether we are talking about indeginous or imported children, does it? (Which, BTW, solves Socrates’ tenure problem: imported goods neither procreate nor consume social welfare resources.)

  15. Umm, “indigenous.” (Bad spellchecker! Bad!)

  16. thoreau:

    In a very self interested way, I’m compelled to observe that we need bodies to save us from the ravages of AARP gimme-ism. Children aren’t as efficient as immigrants in the time frame in question with the birthing trends we have now.

    I want an army of immigrants to serve as a counterwieght to the Gray Horde.

  17. Okay, Thoreau, I see your point. But immigrants who send their kids to public school DO pay for those public schools. The pay rent to live in an apartment or bungalow or house in the district and that rent goes to the property tax that pays for the school. Most illegals have fake papers and so pay payroll taxes and income taxes as well. They also pay sales taxes. This is what pays for the schools. So, to argue that the problem is not immigration but rather the nature of the services they use, is specious at best.

    DAR,

    “Well, I’d be fine with no social services or public schools, JMJ’s screed aside, but the fact is that no society, even comprised entirely of libertarians, is going to allow children to starve or go uneducated or without health care. It doesn’t really matter whether we are talking about indeginous or imported children, does it? (Which, BTW, solves Socrates’ tenure problem: imported goods neither procreate nor consume social welfare resources.)”

    Imported goods don’t do anything for the fiat either.

    So, what do we do? Only the wealthy get a quality education?

    What the friggin hell do you mean? What of the poor? Shall they get religious charity?

    You people are screwballs sometimes.

    JMJ

  18. I’m OLD! Gimme, gimme, GIMME!

  19. Thoreau,

    I just do not understand why you deny national sovereignty. Your analogy would work if you consider everyone equal. If non-citizens and citizens each have the same claim on American public resources, then telling someone from Mexico that he can’t come here and go to school is just like telling an American they can’t have kids. If everyone in the world, regardless of origin has the same right to come to American and benefit from the social services, then yes, your argument makes sense. Unfortunately, there is something called sovereignty. The people of Mexico of El Salvador or Russia or wherever, do not have an equal claim on America’s public resources and services. Those services belong to Americans and Americans have a right as a sovereign nation to determine who can and cannot use those resources. Telling a Mexican that he can’t come here and go to public school is not the same as telling an American that they can’t have a child. To say otherwise is sophistry and muddle-headedness of the highest order.

  20. thoreau,

    To quote a Gunnelsism, your analogy is inapposite. Limiting the number of children one can have is going to require a far more invasive enforcement mechanism (China does force abortions, etc) than keeping people from crossing the border does.

    Not to mention that there’s a world of difference between forcing someone to abstain from a biological activity and forcing them to stay out of a particular place.

  21. “But immigrants who send their kids to public school DO pay for those public schools. The pay rent to live in an apartment or bungalow or house in the district and that rent goes to the property tax that pays for the school. Most illegals have fake papers and so pay payroll taxes and income taxes as well. They also pay sales taxes. This is what pays for the schools. So, to argue that the problem is not immigration but rather the nature of the services they use, is specious at best.”

    JMJ, Well said on that, I agree with you.

    As far as public schools are concerned I do believe we need to have them, at least to a certain extent as kids should not have to suffer in a crap school just because their parents are poor. Besides an educated population is better for all, but I do not think the current public schools are rising to the challenge. Having recently become a parent I do believe that some more school choice would be a better option that could take some stress off overloaded public schools.

    Vouchers I think are non-starter, there are a lot of problems there and it seems elitist at best. I would rather see a tax deduction for tuition to private schools in the vein of the deduction for interest payments on your mortgage. You would not get 100% back, but it would ease the blow to your wallet, AND the remainder that is left would go to the public system.

    I am no expert but it is just a thought.

  22. the fact is that no society, even comprised entirely of libertarians, is going to allow children to starve or go uneducated or without health care.

    Take that, JMJ! You are worried about this bad outcome that could never possibly happen. I mean first of all “education” and “health care” are relative terms, so there is no risk that a child will end up absolutely bereft of these good things. Some people will have more than others, but ya know, the rich will always be with us (as long as we don’t tighten up tax enforcement). As far as starving goes, I think even a libertarian would give food to a child if it were really established that the child was starving and that the child had no other way of getting food. And it would be better food than the child would get from a gang of coercive statist thugs because food always tastes better when it is freeely given.

  23. JMJ:

    I like to think of myself as a screwball all of the time, but speaking of foreign goods, I don’t drive a Fiat. On the other hand, by saving money buying a better and / or less expensive imported car, I do indeed help the economy for reasons I’m sure you have heard argued on these threads before. By public schools I mean, of course, government run schools — do we need government run supermarkets to feed us, too? And yes I certainly do believe that charity (religious or otherwise) is preferable to welfare “entitlement.”

    But all this misses my original point, with which I suspect you agree. Theory aside and regardless of the extent to which we might permit adults to suffer the consequences of their own behavior, we are not going to do the same thing when it comes to children, and that is going to drive both immigration policy and social welfare policy.

  24. And it would be better food than the child would get from a gang of coercive statist thugs because food always tastes better when it is freeely [sic] given.

    Dave, you know in our current state of affairs, any government food given to poor children will be laced with corn syrup.

  25. Same answer as why agricultural subsidies are popular with Senators.

  26. “…in a perfect, flat world, this would be the correct immigration policy….”

    So that’s how that bastard Columbus got in here.

  27. Charity is miniscule compared to the need. Take food, for example (and PLEASE DO LOOK THIS UP). Charities give a couple billion a year in food – the Government gov’t like 80 billion. So, charity is a failure. It doesn’t work. It’s like saying that adoption (which runs at about 40,000 per year) is an answer to abortion (which runs about 1.5 million per year). So, your theory is already proven a failure. Give it up and get real. As for public schools – it is in all of our collective interest to have the best possible educated society.

    Since I’m home with the kids today (Friggin’ public school teacher training day! Why don’t they hire teachers already trained?), I’ll argue back longer than I ordinarily would.

    Charity is currently inadequate because (1) most people think they “give” enough in taxes already and, in fact, (2) they do! Where do you think the government gets that $80 billion? Stop funneling the money through the state and all sorts of funding would become available. I’ll get real if you will.

    I absolutely agree that it is in our collective interest to have a well educated population, but it certainly doesn’t follow that government run schools are the best or even a viable method of accomplishing this goal. Same argument: the state taketh and the state fritterith away. Some redistribution of wealth may be necessary to ensure that poorer children have access to acceptable schools; but we’ve seen the result of a state monopoly on education, especially in the inner cities, and vouchers or any other method of breaking that monopoly would go a long way toward improving the status quo.

  28. Teitelbaum says:

    “In reality, no one knows how these politics will play out. Yet one thing is more than clear: Both parties cannot achieve the partisan gains they are being promised.”

    but that seems to overlook basic game theory. In game theory you maximize your advantage by minimizing the disadvantage your opponent can force on you. In other words, it behooves a Republican to favor change X even if it’s known in advance that favoring change X will result in a net gain for Democrats, if it’s also known that disfavoring change X will result in an even larger gain for Democrats. This is true independent of what X is.

    So, although Teitelbaum doesn’t directly say that either the Republicans or the Democrats are adopting the wrong game-theoretic strategy, if I’m reading him correctly, he implies it. His reasoning is not sound though. Whether inadvertent or deliberate, looking for partisan gains and stating “if one party gains, the other loses” is misdirection.

  29. “Instead of local districts with cookie-copy liberal arts schools that all do the same thing, we should have regional schools with a variety of schools types.”

    Where did those “cookie-copy liberal arts schools” come from? My recollection is that the Anti-Differentiation Wing of the Nannytariat (related to, but not wholly contiguous with, the “Praise for no Reason” mob) prescribed just such a system as a remedy for the egregious abuses of the “tracked” system. Something about “stigma” I believe.

  30. But immigrants who send their kids to public school DO pay for those public schools.

    All of California’s illegal aliens cost each CA family around $1000 per year. Those illegal aliens might be paying towards the cost of the services they use, but they’re only paying a small part.

    Regarding the post, well duh. Our politicians have been corrupted by corrupt special interests.

    Now, here’s the question libertarians can’t answer:

    If we absolutely had to deport 1 million illegal aliens within 6 months, how exactly would we do that? Also list your contingency plans.

    If someone won’t even ask that question much less try to answer it, don’t pay any attention to their other immigration proposals.

  31. Oh, and by the way, regarding abortion and adoption, there are a number of complicating factors that make looking at raw numbers meaningless.

    First, the adoption process in the U.S. is basically broken with children of unfit parents being kept too long in foster care and returned too often to those unfit parents and social services agencies that press political and dubious sociological agendas like placing children only in same race or ethnic group families. Hence, there is a huge, expensive but still thriving overseas adoption market. (And, as the parent of an adopted Russian child, I do mean market.)

    Second, we have created or permitted a culture in which everyone past the age of puberty has the absolute right to rut like minks in heat without fear of the consequences (except those pesky STDs) and abortion is now seen by (far too) many as a more or less morally equivalent method of birth control to contraception. That we then turn around and use our profligacy as the rationale for abortion policy well characterizes the moral tone of our age.

  32. thoreau,

    I think there are many on this board who would be happy to have open immigration and no welfare. You object to people who want to end the welfare before opening immigration. Your objection makes sense to ideological libertarians, but not necessarily to pragmatic libertarians. However, it’s the pragmatic libertarians who appear to be more concerned with how to transition from what we currently have to what we want.

    In libertopia, all drugs are legal, including heroin. However, pragmatic libertarians may justly say that it’s much more appropriate to get there by legalizing marijuana before heroin (or both at the same time), than it is to legalize heroin first and keep everything else illegal. Ideologues might say “go ahead, legalize heroin first, it’s a step in the right direction” while pragmatists might say “bad idea, heroin is tricky stuff and-whether we like it or not-many people take their cues on what’s worth experimenting with based on legality; you’re going to have a lot of destroyed lives if you do it in that order.”

    Personally, I don’t know how bad it would be if you were to legalize heroin and to keep all the other drugs illegal. It might be a net win. It’s so unlikely to happen in that order that I’m not going to spend any time trying to come up with an informed opinion. However, when I’m wearing the pragmatic libertarian hat, I’d certainly consider the likely costs and benefits of approaching legalized drugs in that manner. I can easily imagine myself deciding that it would be a bad idea. However, by your reasoning (more by what you’ve written in other immigration threads), such consideration itself is inappropriate.

    So, back to your 9:58am post, whether you realize it or not, you took a subject that people already tend to have strong emotional ties to and tried to get leverage for your position. That doesn’t strengthen your position, but it does drag in a heck of a lot of baggage that makes it hard to argue with.

    Pragmatic libertarians try to think about how to get from “here” to “there.” The routes they suggest vary greatly. I think you’re too quick to dismiss your opponents’ objections out of hand. Do you see yourself more as an ideologue than a pragmatist? If the latter, doesn’t it make sense to try to figure out some of the costs and benefits? There’s huge room to disagree on likely costs and benefits, but your posts seem to me to imply (at least when it’s convenient to your argument) that the costs and benefits don’t matter, no matter what they are.

  33. As for public schools – it is in all of our collective interest to have the best possible educated society

    In our collective interest, yes. But clearly not in all of our individual interests. If everyone were well-educated and capable of logical, discriminating thought, government could not continue as it is and businesses could not fill the jobs at the bottom of the pay scale. So where would we find workers?

    Wait, I’m getting a clue, hold on…

  34. JMJ,

    I guess all summer long just isn’t enough time for those updates, huh?

    My point remains regardless of where the feds squander the $80 billion or whatever the number is: the money taken from our pockets would more than suffice to meet the charitable needs of the poor and there is every reason to believe that it would be far more responsibly and effectively spent to that end.

    Public schools certainly are money vacuums, and many of the worst public school systems hoover the most per student. Parochial and other private school per student spending and their results belie any claim that public schools are the answer.

  35. anon2-

    I’m all for pragmatism in what issues get prioritized. But if an opportunity presents itself (e.g. a bunch of Senators suddenly come out in favor of more liberal immigration policy), why get hung up and demand that they wait until some other reform has been implemented?

    crimethink-

    I agree, a ban on reproduction would be more draconian than serious enforcement of immigration laws. Then again, serious enforcement of immigration laws would still be pretty draconian: You’d have to round up tens of millions of people on US soil, the vast majority of whom are non-violent and (at least in the case of adults) economically productive. And you’d have to take into account that they have serious incentives to avoid detection. That would make for a pretty draconian law enforcement effort, and a pretty big economic price in the aftermath.

    Anyway, my main point was not so much to argue in favor of liberal immigration, but rather to argue against certain arguments. If you want to make the case against immigration, use some argument other than “As long as we have a welfare state….” because once you go down that road you can argue in favor of just about any illiberal policy. Find a better argument.

  36. [Is T.] more [] an ideologue than a pragmatist?

    Oh, oh, I know this one . . .

  37. “Instead of everyone getting the same forced liberal arts education, we should have choices. But choice is a useless concept if all the schools are basically the same. In a regional system, there would be a variety of school types – technical, liberal arts, mechanical, etc. Not everyone needs to learn everything. We – parents and schools – should guide students along with their education getting them in where their aptitudes lay.”

    “In the name of local customization, compounded with state and federal requirements (vital requirements most often), the localities can only afford to make the grade – they cannot go beyond. A regional system would have a variety of school types (as they do in much of the rest of the free world).

    Jersey, my head is whirling. The Collective must prescribe differentness because our previously prescribed sameness didn’t work out as we expected. Is that it?

    This country had an educational system that was pretty darn good under genuine local control and accountability. The decline of the American educational system closely tracks the rise of top-down (read federal/ state) command and control.

    MY prescription: get yer smelling salts ready…

    PRIVATISATION!

  38. Parochial and other private school per student spending and their results belie any claim that public schools are the answer.

    I thought it had been already established that such performance is mainly a result of self-selection.

  39. Doctor Duck (I used to have a Doctor named Duckman!),

    “?As for public schools – it is in all of our collective interest to have the best possible educated society”

    In our collective interest, yes. But clearly not in all of our individual interests. If everyone were well-educated and capable of logical, discriminating thought, government could not continue as it is and businesses could not fill the jobs at the bottom of the pay scale. So where would we find workers?

    Wait, I’m getting a clue, hold on…”

    The notion that the government intentionally drags down educational achievement is not new nor entirely conspiratorial. However, there doesn’t seem to be a way of dealing with that. Besides, schools tend to reflect local prerogatives and not some national interest. If you ask me, that’s a big part of the problem right there.

    DAR,

    “I guess all summer long just isn’t enough time for those updates, huh?”

    My wife teaches over 100 inner-city high schoolers. No, the summer isn’t enough.

    “My point remains regardless of where the feds squander the $80 billion or whatever the number is: the money taken from our pockets would more than suffice to meet the charitable needs of the poor and there is every reason to believe that it would be far more responsibly and effectively spent to that end.”

    There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that private charities are any better more efficient than government entities. No even the most rabid social conservative would argue that food programs are not worth the bang for the buck.

    “Public schools certainly are money vacuums, and many of the worst public school systems hoover the most per student. Parochial and other private school per student spending and their results belie any claim that public schools are the answer.”

    Perochial schools, incase you’ve missed the nightly news over the past 5 years, are closing like mad. The reason they were able to provide good educations all those years was because the teachers would work for less money because the economy was such that a middle or working class family could afford to have a provider work for those low wages. Now they can’t, and so the schools can’t afford to operate and are closing. Really man, you’ve got to study this subject some more.

    JMJ

  40. P Brooks,

    You don’t know your history here. When American had the greatest schools (prior to WW2), they were not “locally run.” Many were private or were trade schools provided by large corporations. The local schools were not democractic goofball institutions designed to appease idiot parents. They had a mandate, taught to the mandate, and that was that. If you didn’t like it, parent or pupil, you could go f yourself. The problem is the local school boards. That’s where the drain on the budget is occuring. If we eliminated school boards (as the wonderful mayor of NY has done) it would go along way to bettering the schools (as it already has in NY). Education should not be democratic. Facts are not up for opinion polls.

    JMJ

  41. Johnny-

    On the “wandering thread” charge: guilty with an explanation.

    The “schools” issue is germane for this reason; contrary to the position of some people, illegal immigration is not what is wrong with the schools. We screwed them up on our own.

  42. I must say that it has certainly been enlighening to read on this thread how all you “elites” plan on re-distributing the wealth of others. Why don’t ‘cha just worry ’bout re-distributing your own first? Bunch of commies.

  43. Cynic,

    What’s your proposal?

    JMJ

  44. “What’s your proposal?”

    Real simple, guy. If you can’t support kids, don’t have them.

  45. And when people have those kids anyway?

    JMJ

  46. Given the themes on this thread of immigration, welfare, and sovereignty, I think a speech by Cato Institute president Ed Crane deserves to be quoted in large parts:

    Civil society, on the other hand, is based on voluntarism and predicated on giving the widest possible latitude to the individual so that he has sovereignty over his own life, so long as he respects the equal rights of others in society. It’s a simple concept, really, but a radical one nevertheless. It’s the concept on which this great nation of ours was founded and which was so revolutionary that it motivated tens of millions of people from around the globe to come here, often giving up everything, just to live in the “land of the free.” The immigrants of the past did not — and they do not today — come to America for food stamps, wheat subsidies, or Head Start programs. They came, and come, for the right to live their own lives as they choose.

    Here’s an interesting thought experiment. Suppose we increased the level of immigration, but the rule would be that immigrants and their descendants would have no access to government social services, including welfare, social security, health care, business subsidies, or the public schools. I would argue first that there would be no lack of takers for that proposition. Second, within a generation, we would see those immigrants’ children going to better and far cheaper schools than the average citizen; there would be less poverty, a better work ethic, and proportionately more entrepreneurs than in the rest of U.S. society; and virtually everyone in this group would have inexpensive high-deductible catastrophic health insurance, while the truly needy would be cared for by an “immigrant culture” that gave proportionately more to charity. If my hypothesis is true, and I believe it would be for virtually any immigrant group you could name, it is something to think about, isn’t it? That kind of freedom’s why people came here in the first place — not for a government that takes 43 percent of your income, regulates you to death and tells you which books your child must read in school.

  47. “And when people have those kids anyway?”

    And when people cheat, steal, and kill anyway? What do you do then? Legalize certain actions because you can’t stop them easily? Appease them by subsidizing it? Sounds like extortion to me – both emotional and financial. I feel for the children – I really do. But I got a really bad hard on for a sorry bastard that brings an innocent child into the world just for his own amusement and knowing full well that he (or she) can’t raise it and/or give it a chance at a decent life.

    I suppose there are any number of extreme things a society could think of to do to such people and to discourage others. Maybe for starters they might engender a new attitude amongst the “citizens” by cutting back a bit – just a wee tad of a bit- on the tax subsidies for human reproduction. No, probably not.

    Got to run,now. Something about getting that ol’ subsidy return mailed in on time.

  48. One other thing. If some child doing without bothers you, then YOU pay for it with YOUR money. I’m almost certain no one would stop you.

  49. JMJ,

    No profession on earth requires over two months of continuing education every year, and that’s giving secondary school teachers the undeserved title of professional. Generally speaking, home schooled children fare better than public school attendees; and while there are obviously other factors at play, that certainly suggests that the educational qualifications needed to teach primary and secondary curricula are not extensive. The reason Roman Catholic parochial schools are closing is indeed the decline of cheap labor; namely, nuns. But private religious and secular schools are flourishing in this country and cost vastly less often for vastly more than the average organized labor captive public school. As for food programs, it all depends on which ones you mean. Hot lunch programs for impoverished children? A pretty good deal by government welfare standards. Food stamps? A disaster. I’ll bow out now and let you get the last word in, but do us both a favor and stop throwing around the “You need to study the facts more” gambit. It (a) isn’t true, (b) won’t work and (c) doesn’t impress anyone, especially in light of the conclusions you routinely draw from your extensive research.

  50. I just do not understand why you deny national sovereignty. Your analogy would work if you consider everyone equal.

    John,

    Arguing national sovereignty over individual rights is essentially arguing might makes right. There is no state action that can’t be excused by appeal to national sovereignty.

    To take a not-too-extreme example… In 1950 the government of South Africa declared 80% of the population non-citizens, telling them that they have a right to residence and self-government in their homelands, but that they require a work permit to be in South Africa proper. By the time American college students were on the case in the late 80’s, this system was two generations old.

    Please explain how this was or wasn’t a valid application of national sovereignty. Furthermore, please explain the moral distinction between apartheid and restrictions on free migration.

  51. Mike,

    Because the people in South Africa came there legally and should have been citizens. That is completely different than saying people who are not citizens have no right to come here. You and thoreau just don’t get it. Individual rights for what? By your arguement every person in the world has an individual right to move to the United States and partake of its social services and to do anything to stop them is a violation of these rights. If a nation cannot enforce its borders, then there is no nation. That is not migh makes right. That is saying that people in different areas of the world have a right to form nations and have a right to give those nations borders that mean something. Your argument, if ever implimented would violate the right of self determination in the name of universal human rights. Again, there would be no such thing as nation states if there was no such thing as citizenship. It is fundemental that every nation has a right to restrict and enforce its borders. If it doesn’t, then we really don’t have nations anymore.

  52. The reason Roman Catholic parochial schools are closing is indeed the decline of cheap labor; namely, nuns.

    That and sentence diagrams.

  53. Because the people in South Africa came there legally and should have been citizens.

    Where does this “should” come from? What enforces it? What defines it? On what principles is it based?

    Again, there would be no such thing as nation states if there was no such thing as citizenship. It is fundemental that every nation has a right to restrict and enforce its borders.

    So you’re saying that the government of South Africa does have the right to define the borders of homelands and to define citizenship of South Africa proper? Or are you saying that they have the right but they should not exercise it?

    I’m having trouble here.

  54. Mike,

    Because of Apartheid, which was basically a evil guest worker program gone mad, the United States have no right to stop Mexicans from coming across a border that has been set for over 150 years? I am having trouble here.

    South Africa has nothing to do with anything.

  55. By your arguement every person in the world has an individual right to move to the United States and partake of its social services and to do anything to stop them is a violation of these rights.

    Every person in the world has an individual right to move to the United States. But that person does not necessarily have a right to partake of its social services.

    I believe that the reasons and mechanisms of the government’s handing out of its largesse are indeed a matter of national sovereignty, and the government is free to restrict those services as it sees fit. Medicaid, public schooling, even citizenship itself are all granted by government fiat, and they can be restricted so they are not given to recent and/or nonproductive immigrants.

    In other words, an individual has the absolute right to move wherever she wants and to work for whomever she can. But she does not have a right to receive government support.

    There are some things like public health vaccinations that the government would be stupid to withold from anybody under their purview. Other things like public schooling have costs as well as benefits. And things like cash welfare payments are clear problems if granted without restriction to new immigrants.

    But restricting migration because of government handouts is specious. Deal with the actual problem. Deal with social services.

  56. Mike,

    In an ideal world where we didn’t have welfare, I could probably agree with you. However, there is no way that we are ever going to cut welfare off from immigrants. As long as we have illegal immigration they will come here and partake of our social services. There are too many people in this country who believe too deeply in welfare and have too much of their lives raped up in its continuation to prevent it from being given to immigrants. Given that reality, we have no choice but to enforce our borders.

  57. Why does the GOP think that they can win a large enough fraction of the Hispanic vote to prevent major losses in the House and Senate? There’s a reason Democrats court illegal immigrants (and felons). As long as the MSM basically schills for them, all Hispanics will hear is how the Republicans hate and fear them. The spanish-speaking media itself is itself dominated by radical leftists. That, plus the publicly acknowledged complicity of cities like San Francisco in abetting vote fraud by permitting illegal immigrants to vote in their elections, means in my opinion that the GOP has nothing to lose from being taking a hard stance on immigration and demanding a housecleaning of the voting apparatus in places where fraud is rampant.

  58. Because of Apartheid, which was basically a evil guest worker program gone mad, the United States have no right to stop Mexicans from coming across a border that has been set for over 150 years?

    Close, but not quite.

    Because the abuse of individual rights under Apartheid is completely explainable by appeal to state sovereignty, one needs to appeal to more than state sovereignty to excuse the abuse of individual rights under US immigration policy.

  59. The GOP has one thing to loose by going after illegal immigration, big campaign contributions from big agriculture and big corporations who benifit from illegal immigration. They are totally abandoning their base and supporters for cash and influence.

  60. As long as we have illegal immigration they will come here and partake of our social services.

    Today, immigration is too important to be left to politicians. They have neither the time, the training, nor the inclination for strategic thought. I can no longer sit back and allow immigrant infiltration, immigrant indoctrination, immigrant subversion and the international immigrant conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

  61. Mike,

    I am not taking the bait on South Africa anymore. It is absolutely insane to say that enforceing our borders is the equivelent of forcing people of a different race into homelands.

    As far as your last post, do you deny that the Left in this country wants illegals to get every benifit that citizens get? Illegals already get in state tuition in many states. Be a smart ass all you want, but it doesn’t change the facts. Milton Freedom put it perfectly, open borders only work if you don’t have welfare.

  62. One last thing Mike,

    There is no individual right to go to a different country and squat. That right is not in the U.N. Charter, the universal declaration of Human Rights, no international document or precident period. That is not an individual right. So when you argue that you need more than sovereignty to encroach on rights, you are missing the point. THere is no right to encroach on therefore, you really need no justification beyond sovereignty to take the action.

  63. John,

    The founders of this country believed that rights are inalienable and precede any state powers or sovereignty. In fact they believed that governments are instituted to secure these rights, not to define them.

    Just out of curiosity, when did the right not to be enslaved show up? Was it in the 1700s when various northern states recognized it? Or 1830 when the British Empire recognized it? Or 1862? Or 1865? Or when the UN Declaration of Rights was written? Or is there still no right not to be enslaved because there are still societies that practice slavery?

  64. Mike,

    I guess you can argue that there is a universal right to migration, but no one else beleives in it but you and Thoreau. Certainly, no country in the world has fully open borders. The United States has more open borders than most other countries. Why should such a right exist? Aren’t there competing rights such as the right to self determination? How do the Germans have a right to self determination when millions of Turks can move accross the border and take over their country? What about the right of free association? The right of nationhood is fundemental to the right of free association. People have the right to get together and form associations and nations and cannot do that without some form of border control.

    Bottomline is there is nothing in the history of mankind that would point to or justify the right of complete and free immigration. Moreover, since no other country in the world recognizes such a right, why should the United States have to do so to its detriment?

  65. I guess you can argue that there is a universal right to migration, but no one else beleives in it but you and Thoreau.

    Well, me, thoreau, and the Libertarian Party Platform:

    We hold that human rights should not be denied or abridged on the basis of nationality. Undocumented non-citizens should not be denied the fundamental freedom to labor and to move about unmolested. Furthermore, immigration must not be restricted for reasons of race, religion, political creed, age or sexual preference. We oppose government welfare and resettlement payments to non-citizens just as we oppose government welfare payments to all other persons.

  66. The right of nationhood is fundemental to the right of free association. People have the right to get together and form associations and nations and cannot do that without some form of border control.

    Seems to me that whenever anyone gets together inside the territory claimed by the United States and tries to exercise this “right of nationhood” you speak of, they get their butts handed to them by the US Army. When has the US ever recognized this right?

    Right to free association? Yes. Right to claim gobs of territory that others reside on and set up a monopoly in application of force and law? Uh, no.

  67. Jesus Christ Mike,

    Okay, I will take it back you, Thoreau is some moonbat on the libertarian platform writing committee. Basically you are argueing for a world government no more nation states. If a nation does not have the right to control its borders, then it is not a nation anymore, it is at most federal entity like a state, but it is not a nation.

    You reliance on the founders is even more bizare. The founders and everyone else in the 18th Centurty certainly recognized the concept of a nation, national sovereighnty and the like.

    Lets see here. Millions of Africans, Asians, Latin Americans are free to come to my country and take it over through the democratic proces and there is nothing I can do to stop them. Ah, no Mike would be the answer to that. Further, if you ever did go to this world government federal system you seem to advocate, after the starving hordes came to the United States, they are probably going to change the government here to ways that are not too your liking.

  68. “if you ever did go to this world government federal system you seem to advocate, after the starving hordes came to the United States, they are probably going to change the government here to ways that are not too your liking.”

    Comment by: John at April 17, 2006 08:21 PM

    EXACTLY right!

    Look, I’d be one of the first to assert a right to migrate or to EMIGRATE, that is, a right to LEAVE a particular country. But there is no right to force oneself on other people. That would just be ludicrous, the Libertarian Party notwithstanding. I have voted Libertarian since the inception of the party in 1972, but their stance on this issue is the primary reason I didn’t vote for ANYone in the last election.

  69. 1. Low-priced labor good for big business and their housepets, our Senators
    2. More population to fuel economic growth
    3. More population to alleviate problems with aging population/Social Security
    4. More population to compete with China and India for World Domination

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