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In the LA Times, Tim Cavanaugh argues that our immigration policy should be as free as our trade.

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  1. Great editorial! I am saddended and ashamed of the policies being tossed around in Congress.

    Incumbents OUT in 2006!

  2. The economic argument ? that open immigration would overburden U.S. laws and infrastructure ? presumes that all immigrants would settle permanently. In fact, an open borders policy encourages almost as many immigrants to go back home as to stay. Without the risk of being unable to reenter the United States, millions of undocumented workers would be free to return to Mexico.

    Actually, the immigrants might have a pretty good incentive to return to Mexico at some point in the future, anyway. Saw an interesting article in the SFGate that introduced a fact I wasn’t aware of:

    This geographic dispersal may account in part for rising public discontent over immigration, many believe. Migrant workers have also shifted from the fields to the cities, working in hotels, restaurants and construction, where they are more visible to the public.

    Mexico is aging too, which will eventually cause migration to ebb. Its population trails the U.S. age profile by 30 years. By then, demographers expect Mexico may be importing labor.

  3. Pig Mannix,

    In the 19th century, as I recall, fully 1/3rd of all immigrants returned permanently to their homeland.

  4. We already know that anyone crossing the border in secret is up to no good. The act, by definition, is criminal. Removing the visa quota doesn’t change security. If the number of terrorists crossing is near zero, they are likely to “vanish” into the legitimate traffic, and relaxing efforts to patrol and fence (since there are no more swimmers and coyotes) makes it easier for a dedicated few to infiltrate. Following from the argument that there are few terrorists, any such policy change will have minimal effect.

    People need not settle permanently to present a burden. This version of an “open” border (where migrants are expected to present their documents at checkpoints) would certainly create more traffic in and out. If triple the migrants stay half as long, the USA still has to deal with more migrants spending the night, every night.

    Overall, Cavanaugh makes ludicrous agruments from history. Today ain’t yesterday. In 1910, Arizona was not a State, and the population of the territory was tiny compared to today. Were the economic prospects driving migration in 1920 different from those in 2005?

  5. In the 19th century, as I recall, fully 1/3rd of all immigrants returned permanently to their homeland.

    One report I heard said that in some years 1880-1920 (give or take) more Italians returned to the old country than arived.

    It is my understanding that a substantial portion (if not a majority) of Mexican arrivals do not actually want to stay permanently. They just want some of the “big money” to give themselves a leg-up back home.

    None of the foregoing are anything other than my own impressions informed by what I have read and heard.

  6. Phileleutherus Lipsiensis,

    When I read your 1:57 posting, I had this moment where I read it as you personally remembering the 19th century. How odd the mind works.

    That, or you, too, are immortal. Just remember, there can be only one 🙂

  7. Phileleutherus Lipsiensis,

    When I read your 1:57 posting, I had this moment where I read it as you personally remembering the 19th century. How odd the mind works.

    That, or you, too, are immortal. Just remember, there can be only one 🙂

  8. Pro Libertate,

    Am I going to have cut off your head and get shocked by bolts of electricity? 🙂

  9. Or vice versa.

    Watch out for guys in trench coats in the meantime 🙂

  10. I agree with the message of the piece, but I still cringe everytime I hear NAFTA referred to as “free trade.”

  11. We already know that anyone crossing the border in secret is up to no good. The act, by definition, is criminal.

    If an act is only criminal by definition, then maybe the definition is the problem. Murder is a crime that is universal. There is no circumstance where two people can shoot someone in the head and one is a criminal the other is not (exceptions for police and self defense withstanding). However if two people cross a border for the purpose of getting a job, I have trouble saying that one is perfectly OK and the other is ‘up to no good’. They are both ‘up to’ the same thing, but one is illegal by burueacratic decree, not by nature.

  12. We already know that anyone crossing the border in secret is up to no good. The act, by definition, is criminal.

    And a criminal act is by definition nefarious? Simply by means of the government making it criminal? So anyone smoking pot, for instance, is “up to no good”? And anyone buying or drinking liquor during Prohibition, but not since it was revoked? And oh, have you ever driven faster than the speed limit? If so, you were obviously UP TO NO GOOD. This we already know.

  13. s/burueacratic/bureaucratic/

  14. Tim,

    You’re Op-ed is so reasonable it shouldn’t be read within 100 metres of Congress or Lou Dobbs lest heads begin to explode.

    I think one of the cultural disconnects people have is the idea of anyone wanting to go back to Mexico. People visualize wretched squalor (that they have never seen themselves) and think – why would any immigrant want to return there? Of course its peoples homes and where they were born and where their extended family is, so many would want to return and maybe improve the place. A greater flow back and forth between the US might create greater incentive for immigrants to reform Mexican politics and help people who stay in Mexico be less reflexively anti-american and nationalist.

    Easy and Painless ways to improve Mexico and the US even if Mexican politics doesn’t reform:
    *free trade
    *freer immigration
    *end the drug war
    *stop agricultural subsidies
    *toss Lou Dobbs into the crowd at a US-Mexico futbol match at Stadium Azteca

  15. RfL, you’re overlooking a crucial fact about border enforcement today: it’s neither humane or in keeping with American values to shoot to kill when the people swimming or running across the border are simply economic migrants (committing, at worst, a misdemeanor).

    When the borders are open to all legitimate comers – present your documents, perhaps undergo an instant background check, and have a nice day, sir! – those who are still swimming or running across the border can be assumed to be legitimate targets for a shoot-to-kill directive.

    I don’t follow what you’re trying to say about the historical perspective — in 1910, immigrants entered where there was a concentration of population, generally New York, etc. Now that there’s population in Arizona, it follows that immigration will occur there, too. Your point??

  16. you’re editorial makes it clear that you are a UNAMERICAN PINKO commie!!!!!!!!! Why don’t you getout of this country if you hate it so much. The ILLEGALS are destroying this country and you LIEberals don’t care because you HATE AMERICA!!!! I HOEPE YOU BURN IN HELL!!

  17. O’Rly viewer:

    you’re really a travel agent, aren’t you. and you’re trying to drum up some budnezz, n’est-ce pas?

  18. O’Rv, man, calm down. Maybe you can get your hands on something around here to mellow your harsh… 😉

  19. DEY TUK ARRRRR JARRRRBS!

  20. Hypocrisy,

    All U.S. citizens are nothing but “settlers” to me. The horrifying hypocrisy is that U.S. citizens consider these aboriginal “brown” (Mexicans) people foreigners.
    Just watch Lou Dobbs, we are witnessing Government sanctioned bigotry subtly disguised as National Security.
    Isn’t every racist in American just overflowing with joy? Look at all these “minute-men” crusading with their firearms to our imaginary geo-political southern boarder. Protecting “our” boarders, just like Bush is protecting me from terrorists. FUCK YOU BUSH and ALL YOU MINUTEMEN. I don’t want and do not need your protection. As a matter of fact, I think our (government’s) so-called mandatory “protection” has increased the chances of terror in the world.
    I need to buy an island and secede. Everyone here, except that troll (O’reily viewer), is welcome as an Ex-patriot to my island. No, I will not trade any jewelry for land…

    Daak.Oosti (Tlingit name)
    Teikweidi (Tlingit house)
    Tlingit Human from Alaska
    Citizen of Earth
    11 year U.S.N. Vet. (FTN!)

    da Blogimi Dei (Blog God)

  21. Man, I thought I was being over-the-top enough that everyone would get it, but apparently I did a perfect impression of a real O’Rielly viewer. How bout that.

  22. Does that mean you’re not a travel agent?

  23. Tim, why are you not calling as forcefully for the removal of the welfare state as you are for the border?

    Do you drive through Pico-Union every morning? If this immigration is so great in theory, why is the reality at ground level such an utter slum?

    I’m sure your opinion will remain the same when the next ramshackle flophouse shows up next door to your home, crammed with people, coming and going at all hours of the night, cars parked on sidewalks, banda and ranchero music blaring incessantly, kids running in the streets, and commandeered shopping carts filled with filthy, makeshift, disease-ridden food vending setups.

    Yeah, that’s a vision of the future that sells itself. You should run for mayor.

  24. I’m sure your opinion will remain the same when [blah blah blah].

    Yeah, that’s called having principles; you should try it.

  25. Didn’t you guys recently calculate that the US had $30k (more?) of intangible capital per citizen, derived from our culture, laws, etc. Wouldn’t a completely free flow of labor just give this away?

    If Mexicans decline to invest in their own economy and political system, shouldn’t we be charging them for the privilege of moving here?

  26. I just read the Eskimo’s post. I’m not impressed. Each culture has taken its land from a prior culture. The gentle Native Europeans killed off the Neanderthals.

    The genocide practiced by Native Americans was impressive. People are People.

  27. Those illegals need to be rounded up. At least if they’re equal to or greater than .5, anyway. **Rimshot** … *crickets*

  28. God Bless Tim Cavanaugh.

    It’s a sign of debased political discourse that the idea is now considered a nonstarter, if it’s considered at all.

    I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that he gets tons of idiotic hate mail anyway.

  29. “Wouldn’t a completely free flow of labor just give this away?”

    no. enhance it.

  30. Anyone that has actually bothered to speak to a Mexican immigrant would understand that the vast majority of them want to return to Mexico. A lot of them view their time in the US the same way a soldier thinks of his deployment in a foreign country, a duty to their family/country that they don’t enjoy but that they are obligated to do. They are doing it because they have to and their only goal is to save as much cash as possible to return home and take care of their family and maybe even buy a small piece of land and build a house. Very few of the loudmouth anti-immigrant crowd would have the courage to leave a wife, children, extended family and the only life they have ever known behind to begin a possible deadly trip to a country where they are forced to live in the shadows on the edge of poverty just for the hope of a better life. A better life that doesn’t mean a new car and plasma TV, just the ability to feed your children everyday and possibly live in something other than a home built of cardboard and tin.

  31. Mr. Courts — you speak of principles, but I notice your email address from a certain Oregon STATE University. What sort of libertarian are you, mooching off the taxpayers like a pig at the trough. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. You’re the pot calling the kettle black. Hypocrite. A rolling stone gathers no moss. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

    Come take a ride through Pico-Union with me and we’ll discuss your libertarian credentials and the merits of an unmitigated influx of poverty over a cup of grog from the nearest shopping card rolling food stand. Have hordes of pedestrians bang on your car as you try to make your way through the throng-choked intersections.

    Yeah, the reality is such a letdown in the face of the theory. You would likely call the rpesent situation in Iraq a clusterf*ck despite the president’s rhetoric. Why can’t you do the same for the ruined neighborhoods of Los Angeles? I guess that’s because you’re a sissy boy granola cruncher living up there in Oreeegun. What’s the matter, the rain soaked into your brain?

    Repeal the welfare state, THEN throw the borders wide open. How hard is that to understand.

  32. Mr. Blah,

    Would you send black Americans back to Africa for living in poverty? Or poor whites back to Europe for that mattter? Oh, I know the response is always that that’s different, they’re Americans. But that’s the point, the only difference is a difference that makes no difference to anyone who respects the rights of others to do as they please as long as they don’t violate the rights of others. That’s the important point that was coming from Brian Courts. As far as his going to Oregon State, I for one have never insisted that libertarians refuse money that the state is offering them. To insist on that would be to insist you not leave your house, or else you’re using taxpayer supported roads. Hell, you couldn’t even stay in your house cause the government has its hands all over your house. You couldn’t die either cause the government regulates what happens to your corpse!! Maybe Brian Courts took a wrong turn when he made it sound personal, but then you kind of started that by acting like we don’t understand by lack of firsthand experience. I’m sure there’s plenty of poverty in Pico-Union. But that doesn’t make anyone in the US any less well off, in fact what they bring to the US makes us wealthier. And of course the immigrants in Pico-Union are better off here themselves or they wouldn’t be here. Looking at something superficially doesn’t necessarily help you understand it.

  33. Why can’t you do the same for the ruined neighborhoods of Los Angeles?

    What would downtown LA be like without immigrants?

    Without immigrants, downtown LA would be Detroit. Immigrants have saved the neighborhoods of Los Angeles, not ruined them.

  34. Shultz, you cannot be serious: “What would downtown LA be without immigrants” — ummm, maybe BETTER? MIDDLE CLASS?

    Downtown sucks to commute to, is miserable to work in — let alone live in — and is destined for failure despite the wasteful boosterism of the city’s mayor.

    How many more Skid Rows will it take to prove this to you?

  35. Can’t say I’ve ever driven through Pico-Union, but I’ve driven through east Plano, Casa Linda, south Garland, north White Rock, Oak Cliff, and Farmer’s Branch. Hispanic immigrants are in a lot of greater Dallas neighborhoods, and I don’t have a problem with them.

    Anyway, your arguments are all ones that have been used against the Irish, German, Italian, Chinese, Russian, and every other major ethnic group to enter this country. That kind of chicken-little xenophobia has always been wrong before.

  36. I went to an interesting speech (off the record) last night by a high-ranking Homeland Security official, who said that approximately 2/3 of the illegals living in this country actually entered the country LEGALLY — they just didn’t leave. He said that the image of illegals hopping the fence or swimming the river is simply false. I thought this was a very interesting piece of information.

  37. Downtown sucks to commute to, is miserable to work in — let alone live in — and is destined for failure despite the wasteful boosterism of the city’s mayor.

    You’re just mad ’cause you can’t afford a loft.

    http://www.lacitylofts.com/

    …and have you seen that big hole they’re digging next the Staples Center? …do you have any idea what they’re building there?

    How many more Skid Rows will it take to prove this to you?

    Actually, they’re putting a moritorium on loft converswions–because all the conversions are threatening the very existence of skid row and they’re afraid the poor on skid row will have nowhere to go.

    …but don’t let the facts get in your way.

  38. I don’t know if a login is required for that last link–here’s a bit from the linked article for all you lazybones.

    “Acknowledging that the rapid gentrification of downtown, Hollywood and other parts of Los Angeles is making it harder for the poor to afford housing, the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday approved a moratorium on the conversion or demolition of low-cost residential hotels across the city.

    The action will have the largest effect in downtown Los Angeles, where a boom in loft conversions is spreading to the edges of skid row, and raises concerns about the future of the 240 residential hotels that for generations have housed some of Los Angeles’ poorest residents.”

  39. What is people’s problem with banda/ranchero music anyway?

    I’m not normally one to be fond of people blasting music from their cars, but I actually rather enjoy hearing the stuff, it’s good and cheerful.

    Have any of you ever driven (or preferably, taken the train, bus, or walked) through Pilsen? It’s a safe, vibrant, and active neighborhood. It also happens to be overwhelmingly Mexican.

  40. ughughughugh, Thank you no. Be it polka or tejano, accordian isn’t for me.

  41. Anyway, your arguments are all ones that have been used against the Irish, German, Italian, Chinese, Russian, and every other major ethnic group to enter this country. That kind of chicken-little xenophobia has always been wrong before.

    ROTFLMAO!!

    Yeah, well, considering the descendants of those immigrants got to write the history books, what are the chances of getting an objective opinion of that?

    I’m not trying to bag on anyone’s illustrious ancestors – I’m of Irish-German descent myself. But I am pointing out that not everyone would necessarily agree that immigration was an unqualified Good Thing. Which is probably why we have immigration laws now.

    Considering immigrants were a large part of the constituency that elected Franklin Roosevelt, that nemesis of libertarians everywhere, they may have had a point.

    Where do you work-a, John?

  42. Tim Cavanaugh made the case so well that I see nothing to add.

    Instead of addressing the recycled xenophobia being poured out against him, I’ll just refer everybody to the archives. We’ve been over this ground before, and I’ve made the case before.

  43. Yeah, well, considering the descendants of those immigrants got to write the history books, what are the chances of getting an objective opinion of that?

    Isn’t there a fallacy in there somewhere?

    I’m not trying to bag on anyone’s illustrious ancestors – I’m of Irish-German descent myself. But I am pointing out that not everyone would necessarily agree that immigration was an unqualified Good Thing. Which is probably why we have immigration laws now.

    I’m trying to understand why pointing out that not everyone agrees that immigration is a good thing is supposed to be interesting. …and I’m comin’ up empty.

    Considering immigrants were a large part of the constituency that elected Franklin Roosevelt, that nemesis of libertarians everywhere, they may have had a point.

    I’m not gettin’ this one either. Are you suggesting that naturalized immigrants shouldn’t be allowed to vote? Are you suggesting that there’s something in Catholic or Continental DNA that inevitably renders immigrants pushovers for big government?

    Honestly, I don’t get it.

  44. Isn’t there a fallacy in there somewhere?

    No.

    I’m trying to understand why pointing out that not everyone agrees that immigration is a good thing is supposed to be interesting. …and I’m comin’ up empty.

    Simple enough. He was comparing the current wave of immigration with previous waves of immigration, with the inference that the concern over previous waves turned out to be baseless. I was pointing out that not everybody would agree that that concern was baseless.

    I’m not gettin’ this one either. Are you suggesting that naturalized immigrants shouldn’t be allowed to vote?

    No, but I am suggesting that you might want to think about the political ramifications of naturalization. Would you want to give substantial political power to a constituancy that held principals contrary to your own?

    Are you suggesting that there’s something in Catholic or Continental DNA that inevitably renders immigrants pushovers for big government?

    Couldn’t be the DNA, ’cause I hate big government. But I do suggest some cultures are friendlier to big government than others. I know who my Irish-Catholic granny and her family voted for. It wasn’t Hoover.

    Honestly, I don’t get it.

    I’m going to have to bite my tounge here. 😉

  45. You wrote “First, national security. After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, this line of thinking goes, we cannot afford any laxity at our borders. This case breaks down on logic, facts and history. We already have laxity at both our northern and southern borders. If you believe undocumented immigrants are a security threat, things could not be more dangerous than they are now, because the near-impossibility of entering the United States legally drives thousands of people to cross the border in secret”.

    If illegal Mexicans can slip across the border then terrorists could as well, correct? Did you seriously not consider this when you wrote such a silly statement or did it just hamper your world view?

    For national security purposes we need to secure the nothern and southern borders and ensure we know who is coming into our country. This should have been done right after 9/11. As it is now a terrorist with a suitcase nuke could walk into our country and this is simply unacceptable.

  46. the real problem is that tim’s suggestion doesn’t reflect on the actual state of affairs

    the senate is not debating a nafta free movement zone, it’s debating a guest worker program. that program will be simultaneously a less attractive alternative for the demongraphic that currently immigrates illegally (e.g., mexicans) while legalizing new supplies of low skilled laborers (e.g., southeast asians).

  47. chuck: Sounds good, except one thing: Those who can’t send money back home will only bring their families with them. Of course, that will also solve the problem once all families make it over and are legalized.

    As for this “breeding” problem, how does it sound to enforce a sterilization program? Sound good to you?

    Seriously though, why do you stupid communists keep bothering to come here without bothering to read anything? Go fuck your sister you pinko corn-swiller.

  48. Okay, solid point in theory, too bad it contributes little to the debate in reality. The reality is that there are so many rules and regulations in this country for other purposes already (soc sec, taxes, voter registration, etc) that if the country were to open its borders in the way that Tim suggests, it would have to simultaneously dismantle much (if not all) of this country’s bureaucracy for the theory to work. Consider two problems that immediately come to mind:
    1) How would the US collect taxes from workers coming and going as they please? Would we have to abandon payroll taxes in favor of a sales tax?

    2) What about our rules of immigration from other countries? Can anyone in Africa or China buy a one way ticket to Mexico city and bus themselves into the US? Wouldn’t we have to completely abandon an immigration system? (Certainly there are millions who would pursue this option.)

    What Tim should be asking is whether we order phillps head or flat head screws for the wall, then at least the debate would progress.

  49. No I don’t want a loft downtown so I can pass bums peeing in the street and drive 10 miles up to Pasadena to go grocery shopping, and overlook the industrial wastelands of east LA — I’ve already lived there twice in my life. What evidence have you Mr. Schultz that I can’t afford one anyway?

    I’m sure if you looked you could easily find many, many quotes attesting to the utter suckage of downtown Los Angeles. Like the time I found a drunk bum asleep in my car after breaking into it. Yeah, that was a real treat. Maybe I should have invited him up to my “loft.” Sheesh — you actually bought into that hipster gentrification bullshit?!

    Sorry if you own a loft downtown Mr. Schultz and you are worried that my comments might drive its value down. I’m just speaking the truth.

  50. So, immigration’s what’s wrong with Pico-Union? That ‘hood strikes me as one helluva lot less Latino/Mexican than Echo Park, Highland Park, and dozens of other neighborhoods that are mostly delights (at least to me). I’ve driven through there & stopped by for a bite hundreds of times in the last few years, and never once felt as much as a tinge of unease.

    As for Downtown being a nightmare, uh, ok. Skid Row is a blight, sure, but not one that looks to be particularly immigration-related. And there is plenty wonderful & dynamic about the place, not least of which is the fact that you don’t need to deal w/ traffic at all to get in & out of there, depending on where yr coming from….

  51. Matt, that’s because you’re one of said hipsters who think it very hip to wallow in grime. It’s so gritty and noir to live next to a dumpster, you know.

    ———-

    now, regarding Pico-Union, from http://www.answers.com/topic/pico-union-los-angeles-california:

    Pico Union is one of the poorest neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Once predominantly white and (prior to World War II) heavily Jewish, it is now primarily populated by first-generation Hispanic immigrants, particularly Oaxacans, Guatemalans, Salvadorans, and Hondurans. In many places, Pico-Union resembles an East Side neighborhood, with busy industrial concerns frequently adjoining residential properties. A number of Korean businesses, priced out of Koreatown, have also established themselves in the district. Most of the district lies within the infamous Rampart Division of the Los Angeles Police Department, and is plagued with high crime. Several transnational gangs, most notably the 18th Street Crew and Mara Salvatrucha (“MS-13”), were started in the neighborhood and maintain a strong presence.

    As a long-time LA resident accustomed to now seeing the city as just a way-station for migrations of poor, I grew tired long ago of the graffiti that marks the taco stands you speak of where, admittedly, one can grab a bite, though of what would require laboratory analysis.

    It’s well known that you are a Mt. Washington resident — or at least used to be — so of course for you the commute into downtown is a breeze. But name me one other major coastal American city that doesn’t have its downtown on a waterfront. How lame is that? Until that happens, I think our downtown LA will always be an overhyped loser.

  52. Bubba, Tally-ho!

    Hey, to your eyes is every one of the brown “illegals” crossing YOUR big bad boarder a Mexican to you. Or do you know there is a difference between a Mexican, a Colombian and an Argentine?
    Actually, the word Eskimo is used by lazy people unwilling to realize that there are many different tribes in Alaska; Yupik, Aleut, Haida, and so forth, and yes the Tlingit. By the way, not one tribe calls themselves eskimo.
    Eskimo is a lazy persons word. And a person that is that fucking lazy should just stop breathing my air. People like you no longer breathing any air would therefore increase humankind’s gene pool value. An increase that would be exponential, I am willing to bet. What a wonderful world it could be.
    Please don?t worry. I am in no way sponsoring a mandatory arrest of breathing for all victims of inbreeding. I am just hoping for a large section of your kind to volunteer and to stop breathing on your own.
    Mankind will later, much later thank you for your sacrifice.

    The Blogimi Dei

    P.s. Before you get your lilly (insert your skin pigment wavelength) panties in a twist, just wanted to let you know I am only half Tlingit. You see my glass is only half full.
    Because half of my ancestry is of European decent, from this point on I shall consider the empty volume of ?my glass? the GREAT CHOSSEN WHITE part. Yea! Whitey! I have to protect my boarders and our women from these horrible brown people.
    Bubba is one of those people who do not know the difference between ?nigga? and ?nigger.? What a Demon Haunted World you must live in brada!

    Oh! Wait! You?re still not breathing and conscience are you? Shiza!

  53. One more thing for Bubbles,

    Was born and raised in a boarder state (Texas), and did eleven years in the Navy in San Diego. The only affect I have noticed after all these years of illegals crossing the San Yisidro, TJ and Texas boarders is that the Mexican food gets better. Ever since I moved back home to Alaska I have lost 30 pounds. The carne asada burritos were no longer anywhere to be found. I still dream about burritos and am so saddened when I wake up to find myself without a Nico’s carne asada burrito.

    Fuck I am hungry.

    Please send burritos to Alaska! Help!

    Blogimi Dei

  54. [i]”Acknowledging that the rapid gentrification of downtown, Hollywood and other parts of Los Angeles is making it harder for the poor to afford housing, the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday approved a moratorium on the conversion or demolition of low-cost residential hotels across the city.[/i]

    [i]The action will have the largest effect in downtown Los Angeles, where a boom in loft conversions is spreading to the edges of skid row, and raises concerns about the future of the 240 residential hotels that for generations have housed some of Los Angeles’ poorest residents.”[/i]

    They can move to east LA, like Victorville or Fontana…

  55. Willfully, knowingly, committing an act in violation of law is criminal. Several of y’all want to make a distinction based on the intent of the criminal: workers are less criminal than terrorists. I feel you, but you’re trapped by logic. So, you must call for a change in law. You do, suggesting that some better system of checkpoints will remove the incentive for “well-intentioned” migrants to bypass them. I would like to hear more about this system, but I start with a skepticism from human nature. If there’s no penalty for going around a gate, people tend not to wait to go through that gate.

    Clean: From Cavanaugh, For most of American history, immigration was either open or so lightly regulated that the United States was effectively open to everybody. This may be accurate in some sense, but is ludicrous if we believe the history of Ellis Island, which operated for more than half the idealized 1880-1920 period. Being quarantined, having your name changed, etc., seems pretty heavy regulation. Almost anyone (98%) could get in, if they followed the law.

    Cavanaugh muddles his argument mixing Mexican immigration and European immigration without local context. In 1910, Mexicans migrants were not a burden for the Arizona Territory. The case in Arizona today is more akin to 1910 in New York, where European immigrants did present a significant burden.

    thoreau: I’ve given up following this forum. Perhaps you’ve made a stellar case before, but I’m surprised you don’t see the lax reasoning in this particular editorial. Editorials, I suppose, are not a domain for reasoning, but for rhetoric. Then, it’s a fantastic column. We’re so mean to all those wonderful Mexicans…I’m ashamed of the USA!

  56. Money quote from an opinion piece by Michael Bloomberg in today’s Wall St. Journal:

    The idea of deporting 11 million people, nearly as many as live in the entire state of Illinois, is pure fantasy. It is physically impossible to carry out, though if it were attempted, it would devastate both families and our economy. . . . There is only one practical solution, and it is a solution that respects the history of our nation: Offer those already here the opportunity to earn permanent status and keep their families together, provided they pay appropriate penalties. For decades, the federal government has tacitly welcomed them into the workforce and collected their income and Social Security taxes, which two-thirds of undocumented workers pay. Now, instead of pointing fingers about the past, let’s accept the present for what it is by bringing people out of the shadows, and focus on the future by casting those shadows aside, permanently.

  57. Considering immigrants were a large part of the constituency that elected Franklin Roosevelt, that nemesis of libertarians everywhere, they may have had a point.

    I think I get it now! …never mind the all the benefits of immigration, inexpensive labor, etc., we should give immigrants a test and figure out how they’re likely to vote before we let ’em in! …that’s what you’re trying to say, right?

  58. Refugee for Life,

    The change in law that you seek is rather trivial: No one may be denied entry to the United States unless he is a soldier or agent of a foreign nation, a terrorist, a serious felon, a serious health risk, or the like.

    He shows up at the border. He passes his background check. He gets admitted. That is how you make sure that everyone who is not a threat goes through the gate, and how you can be pretty sure that those who go around the gate probably are a threat.

  59. MikeP: For clarity, I’m not supporting a change in law. One of the primary obligations of a nation is to protect its integrity. But, I’m listening to reasoning about a change in law. It seems like the proposal is to create something DMV-like at border checkpoints. If there was no penalty for driving without a license (I’m just commuting to work, after all), why would I wait in that damned line?

    There seems confusion over separate-but-related ideas. Issuing visas, and having quotas on immigration, is different from exerting rigourous control over frontiers.

    Whatever the optimal quota is (“free movement”=infinite quota), a nation must protect itself from invasion if it hopes to remain a nation.

  60. I think I get it now! …never mind the all the benefits of immigration, inexpensive labor, etc., we should give immigrants a test and figure out how they’re likely to vote before we let ’em in! …that’s what you’re trying to say, right?

    In the first place, there’s absolutely no consensus among economists – even among libertarian and free market economists – that immigration is necessarily a net benefit. You produce a study that claims a benefit, and in less than a minute, I can google up one by an equally well credentialed economist that says the opposite. So lets be a little bit honest and take that one off of the table, ok?

    Secondly, I didn’t suggest giving anyone a test to see how they’ll vote before letting them in. Not that it’s the worst idea I’ve heard all week. I note that neither the words “democracy” nor “universal suffrage” appear anywhere in our constitution.

    HOWEVER, what do you think the consequences of giving the right to vote to a large population uninitiated in your political traditions will be? I’ll give you a clue – the New Deal programs grampa voted himself are still around long after the coal he so heroically shoveled is long gone.

    This is what is meant by “assimilation”, not a load of crap about speaking english, but a degree of understanding and comfort with the customs, traditions and civic practices of your adopted country.

    Hypothetical – if you had your prosperous libertopia, do you think it would be a wise idea to open it up and give the right to vote to all comers? How long do you think it would take before your country besieged with immigrants who came for the big bucks, and didn’t give a rat’s ass about your political principles? And if all you’re going to do is stand by and watch it get voted into a welfare state, what’s the point in even establishing it?

    You may as well just stay home arranging rows of dominos, and knocking them over for kicks.

    For the people. And truly I desire their liberty and freedom as much as anybody whomsoever. But I must tell you that their liberty and freedom consists in having of government; those laws by which their life and their goods may be most their own. It is not for having share in government, Sir, that is nothing pertaining to them.

    –King Charles I, scaffold speech

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