Attitudes About Immigrants

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Wash Times reports that Americans are down on immigration these days:

About half of those surveyed in the new poll by MWR Strategies said the immigration problem facing the U.S. is "too much immigration," while just 29 percent identified the problem as "not enough assimilation."

Michael McKenna, who conducted the poll of 1,000 registered voters, said it suggests that Mr. Bush is moving in the wrong direction by embracing a path to citizenship.

"The practical import of it is, all this yak-yak about path to citizenship—more than half the population looks at it and says there's just too much. We need less of it," he said.

More here.

But hey, however much Americans dislike immigration, we think more highly of immigrants than Europe:

Immigration anxiety has been fueling a fierce political debate in the United States, but attitudes about immigrants in this country are considerably more positive than in several European countries, AP-Ipsos polling found.

People in Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain are much more inclined than those in the U.S. to think immigrants are likely to get involved in criminal activity….

More than a third of Germans, Italians and Spaniards say they think immigrants are more likely to be involved in criminal activity than people born in their countries. A fourth in France and Britain feel that way….

In the U.S., about one in 10 thinks immigrants are more likely to be involved in crimes. And a majority, 52 percent, say they think immigrants are a good influence on the country.

More here.

More survey data on 'tudes toward immigrants here, via Pew Research Center in March of this year. Arguably the takeaway from that: Only 21 percent of Americans think immigration is "a very big community problem."

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  1. I’d kinda rather there be less immigration, but that doesn’t mean that I want that the law used to bring that about. Or should I say, attempt to bring that about. Both because it’s unfair to people who want to move from one place to another to make it legally impossible to do so, and because the results of the state trying to limit immigration are most likely much worse than any effects of the immigration. I would also like people to not use heroin, but that doesn’t mean I want a crackdown on its use. I would also like all the material goods and culture I desire while I get to live next to broad swatched of wild open space with no urban congestion or suburban sprawl. I’d also like to immediately beam myself to a beautiful, peaceful, deserted beach whenever I like. And then back to a bustling interesting city full of cool shit…. Well, you get my point. You can’t always get what you want. And that’s both because of the physical world and because you have to deal with the fact that others want what they want, and they have a right to it as long as they’re not violating your rights. And trying to stop ’em does more harm than good. I should add that it’s not IMPORTANT to me that there be less immigrants, it’s not a BIG DEAL, but yeah, truth be known, if I could waive a magic wand and make all those folks (or at least a lot of them) lose interest in coming here, I’d waive it. I admit it. But that’s life. It’s okay, I can deal.

  2. I’ve got to wonder whether or not “too much immigration” actually means such, or rather “too much illegal immigration”?

  3. I’ve got to wonder whether or not “too much immigration” actually means such, or rather “too much illegal immigration”?

    Umm, well the whole concept of “illegal immigration” comes from the concept that there’s such a thing as “too much immigration” in the first place. So I wonder if that question has any meaning at all.

  4. Well, Stretch, how about we legalize it and remove the ambiguity?

  5. Wow. President Bush is standing up against Republican anti-immigrants. Where is Joe when you can flabbergast him?

  6. The title of the blog post seems misleading because one’s opinion about immigration (particular the overall quantity of immigration) is not the same as one’s attitude about immigrants.

  7. “…we think more highly of immigrants than Europe”

    Well that’s not saying much – does anyone think very highly of Europe?

  8. The average immigrant is less obese than the average native born and so less revolting to look at.

  9. You’ve got to hand it to Dubya. He’s not afraid to grab those “third rails.”
    ‘Course he has the poll ratings to prove it.

    Slick Willie was sooo much better at finessing issues.

  10. Given how left and right sorted out in the 60s and before, there is nothing inconsistent in saying that the left was morally correct in furthering the civil rights movement even if it was nonetheless wrong to use the courts to do so. (It isn’t, after all, as though the left is always wrong and the right always right — these days, it is more likely both are wrong.)

    For what it’s worth, and having lived through that period, I don’t think it is true that there was any strong majority among white Americans opposed to civil rights by the 1960s. There may have been soft majority opposition and there certainly were plenty of hardcore racists left, but the tide had already begun to turn and the Civil Rights movement succeeded for the most part contemporaneously with that shift in majority sentiment. Even in the South, where that shift was obviously far less rapid, it had nonetheless begun. The notion that the government can significantly and rapidly change the prevailing positive morality of a society strikes me as highly unlikely. (Which is not to say, by the way, that like frogs in slowly heating water, people cannot be inured to social changes wrought by government.)

  11. Oops, wrong thread!

  12. Uh, perhaps the Euro problem with immigration has something to do with where their immigrants come from and how well they assimilate.

  13. “I’ve got to wonder whether or not “too much immigration” actually means such, or rather “too much illegal immigration”?”

    Like Clean_Hands, I say why not legalize it all. Left unsaid by Clean_Hands though, I would also limit the total number of immigrants to a sane level, say 300,000 per year. All of those 300,000 would be required to support themselves and their own family, including medical care and schooling for the kiddies.

    That would solve the illegal alien problem with the stroke of a pen. All those contemplating crossing our borders illegally would examine the prevailing US law and realize that they would be commiting a crime by entering the US without a Visa, and immediately get in line for an entry Visa.

    I would probably specifically include a category of H1B visas for journalists that would provide all social services at the US taxpayer expense. All food, housing, medical, everything for these H1B journalists. I would also grant a tax credit ($150,000 per year per H1B journalist) to all employers of H1B journalists. This journalist category would be included so that America would be exposed to a diversity of opinions and thinking. I wonder how such an H1B program would affect current working journalist opinion on immigration?

  14. I would also limit the total number of immigrants to a sane level, say 300,000 per year.

    I think if you check you will find that is less than the current quota. (IIRC it is around 400,000)

    But then how have you legalized anything? Anybody in excess of your quota is by definition an “illegal immigrant”. That is what people like me are quibbling about.

    The folks who are now illegally entering the country are not doing so because they want to break the law. They are doing so because there is, at present, no way for them to migrate legally.

    An unskilled worker from Mexico can theoretically put his name on a waiting list. Then after ten years or so he will qualify to have his application processed; something that will take several more months or even years.

    So yes, the statement, “there is, at present, no way for them to migrate legally” is not technically correct, but for all practical purposes it is.

  15. Isaac,

    “The folks who are now illegally entering the country are not doing so because they want to break the law. They are doing so because there is, at present, no way for them to migrate legally.”

    So you want no limits on immigration at all. Am I correct in my interpretation of your immigration plan?

  16. Uh, perhaps the Euro problem with immigration has something to do with where their immigrants come from and how well they assimilate.

    Maybe how well they assimilate has something to do with the public policies of the places to which they’ve immigrated.

  17. Well, Stretch, how about we legalize it and remove the ambiguity?

    I wasn’t really commenting on our policy so much as wondering about the usefulness of the study.

    Umm, well the whole concept of “illegal immigration” comes from the concept that there’s such a thing as “too much immigration” in the first place.

    Not really. Maybe I’m wrong, but I thought it had much more to do with bureaucratic incompetence and inefficiency than strict quota limits.

    If everyone in this country illegally had instead come in legally would half of Americans still think there was “too much”? Again, I was only questioning the usefulness of the study in actually explaining the views of Americans on immigration.

  18. wayne, I am pointing out that the cause of “illegal immigration” is the quota. People want to come, you say they can’t. How are you going to deal with it?

    I see no reason to exclude any person who has no criminal record, has no communicable diseases and is willing to support him/herself.

    Now I realize the welfare state makes the last condition problematical, but to constantly use the welfare state as a reason to restrict immigration is just going to get you on a roundabout of circular reasoning.

    Perhaps instead of hiring people to patrol the borders we should be hiring people to process visa applications. That may make patrolling the borders less of an ordeal and the Border Patrol could concentrate on people who might mean harm.

  19. “The average immigrant is less obese than the average native born and so less revolting to look at.”

    True, and the ratio of hot chicks is also higher. Maybe a lot of the anti-immigration sentinment comes from fat chicks.

  20. “I see no reason to exclude any person who has no criminal record, has no communicable diseases and is willing to support him/herself.

    There are roughly 600,000,000 people that could walk to the United States if they chose to, i.e. they have no ocean to deal with in order to get here. Of those 600,000,000 people probably 2/3 are indigent. Almost all of those indigent people are good people who deserve a better life than they have. I would guess that half of them would come to the US if the US “opened the border”. That would be 200,000,000 indigent people immigrating to the US.

    “Now I realize the welfare state makes the last condition problematical, but to constantly use the welfare state as a reason to restrict immigration is just going to get you on a roundabout of circular reasoning.”

    Isaac, the welfare state in the US does not make the last statement “problematical”, it makes it impossible. There is no circularity whatever to my reasoning. The US taxpayer can not afford to provide the social infrastructure for that many poor people. It seems to me that those who say, “just open the border, I know our welfare state is a problem, but we can’t let that stop these good people from coming” are somehow disconnected from reality.

    I have ignored the other 5,000,000,000,000 people on Earth who would like to stroll the golden paved streets of the US. If we accept immigrants who can walk here, how can we morally reject those who must arrive by boat? Using the same assumptions from above, we could expect about 2 billion people who would migrate to the US. Do you honestly think that the US could deal with 2.2 billion immigrants who are poor and uneducated?

    It is clear to me that the open borders types are the ones suffering from flawed reasoning.

  21. Jobs Update: The Death of U.S. Engineering
    by Paul Craig Roberts

    The May payroll jobs report released June 2 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms the jobs pattern for the 21st century U.S. economy: Employment growth is limited to domestic services.

    In May, the economy created only 67,000 private sector jobs. Job estimates for the previous two months were reduced by 37,000.

    The new jobs are as follows: professional and business services, 27,000; education and health services, 41,000; waitresses and bartenders, 10,000. Manufacturing lost 14,000 jobs.

    Total hours worked in the private sector declined in May. Manufacturing hours worked are 6.6 percent less than when the recovery began four-and-one-half years ago.

    American economists and policymakers are in denial about the effect of jobs offshoring on U.S. employment. Corporate lobbyists have purchased fraudulent studies from economists that claim offshoring results in more U.S. employment, rather than less.

    The same lobbyists have spread disinformation that the United States does not graduate enough engineers and that they must import foreigners on work visas.

    Lobbyists are currently pushing, as part of the immigration bill, an expansion in annual H-1B work visas from 65,000 to 115,000.

    The alleged “shortage” of U.S. engineering graduates is inconsistent with reports from Duke University that 30 percent to 40 percent of students in its master’s of engineering management program accept jobs outside the profession. About one-third of engineering graduates from MIT go into careers outside their field. Job outsourcing and work visas for foreign engineers are reducing career opportunities for American engineering graduates and, also, reducing salary scales.

    When employers allege a shortage of engineers, they mean that there is a shortage of American graduates who will work for the low salaries that foreigners will accept. Americans are simply being forced out of the engineering professions by jobs outsourcing and the importation of foreigners on work visas.

    Corporate lobbyists and their hired economists are destroying the American engineering professions.

    American engineering is also under pressure because corporations have moved manufacturing offshore. Design, research and development are now following manufacturing offshore. A country that doesn’t make things doesn’t need engineers and designers. Corporations that have moved manufacturing offshore fund R&D in the countries where their plants have been relocated.

    Engineering curriculums are demanding. The rewards for the effort are being squeezed out by jobs offshoring and work visas. If the current policy continues of substituting foreign engineers for American engineers, the profession will die in the United States.

    Mr. Roberts was associate editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page from 1978 to 1980, and from 1981 to 1982, he was assistant secretary of the treasury for economic policy.

  22. wayne,

    Aside from your ludicrous assertions that half of all poor people would come to the US if its borders were open, and your apparent disregard of any feedback mechanism such as the increasing marginal difficulty of immigrants’ finding a place to live or work, the numbers you try to use are simply made up!

    Looking at USAID’s poverty proportions for Latin America and the Caribbean, the highest poverty rate is that of Haiti — from which one can’t walk — at 65%. The only others above 50% are Colombia, Bolivia, and Guatemala. And the monster 190 million person country of Brazil has a whopping 22% poverty rate.

    Before you pretend to know how all these people from different countries will behave given a US immigration regime that looks more like that of the early 20th century than that of the early 21st century, can we at least ask you to use some valid facts?

  23. Mike,

    You take issue with my numbers. That is fair. You are welcome to use your own. Whatever number you come up with though still represents a very real economic burden on US tax payers. How do you address that burden? Is it the responsibility of US tax payers to support the poor people of the world?

    Are my numbers ludicrous? Under our current immigration policy there are about 15 million illegal aliens in the US. Is it so ludicrous to assume that we could get 200 million if all barriers to immigration are removed? You think it is. I don’t.

    You failed to address the immigrants who will want to come from across the oceans. Will you deny them entry?

  24. I don’t understand why cost savings from engineering salaries aren’t a good thing, as good for consumers as any other kind of cost savings that is.

  25. Wayne,

    I would prefer that you post links to long articles rather than post the whole damn thing. Use this cheat sheet for html code if you need help.

    Thank you.

  26. You failed to address the immigrants who will want to come from across the oceans. Will you deny them entry?

    Of course not. What right would I possibly have to deny them their free movement?

    That said, people on the other sides of the oceans are very similar to people in the Americas: They are human beings living in a non-zero-sum world with a finite instantaneous capacity for growth.

    Each of them will have to make the decision of whether they’d rather remain in their home village and live as a 10th percentile resident of their home country or be absolutely impoverished and unemployed living on the streets of Fresno with tens of thousands of other unskilled immigrants. Shockingly, I believe the proportion of people who would make that trade is far below 50%, and the number of people living on those Fresno streets would end up being far less than tens of thousands.

    In fact, the immigration rate will represent the balance between the marginal benefit of immigrants to the advantages of being potentially employed in the US economy and the marginal benefit of potential immigrants to stay in their familiar home and culture as some around them emigrate.

    In short, the rate of immigration to the US will not exceed the capacity of the US economy to employ the new immigrants — just as it never ever has in the history of the nation. Margins are real things. You can’t ignore them simply by spouting very large numbers.

  27. “I don’t understand why cost savings from engineering salaries aren’t a good thing, as good for consumers as any other kind of cost savings that is.”

    If you are an engineer, then maybe you would.

    “I would prefer that you post links to long articles rather than post the whole damn thing.”

    How come, Ass_Man?

  28. Mike,

    So, full and completely open borders is your policy, with too much immigration being regulated by the marginal pain felt by new immigrants? OK, fair enough.

    What about the other questions below?

    “You take issue with my numbers. That is fair. You are welcome to use your own. Whatever number you come up with though still represents a very real economic burden on US tax payers. How do you address that burden? Is it the responsibility of US tax payers to support the poor people of the world?”

  29. Nice try, Wayne. It is all too obvious that you are baiting me.
    I am trying to help you.
    By the way,
    If you are an engineer, then maybe you would.
    should be
    If you were an engineer, then maybe you would.

  30. If you are an engineer, then maybe you would.

    Even if I was an engineer, and I couldn’t compete, I wouldn’t support having the government protect my uncompetitive ass by using immigration laws as some kind of protection mechanism. Can you imagine all the buggy whip manufacturers we’d still be supporting?

    Do you believe in free trade or don’t you? Is it not better when steel costs less regardless of where it’s made? What makes engineering services different from steel or oil? When steel and oil cost less, it’s better. What makes engineering services any different?

  31. Wayne, let me guess : it’s ok for businesses to reduce costs, except when they do it by hiring foreigners. Right ?

    And because an engineer happened to be born in America, he should never have to compete with foreigners, let alone ever face a reduction in his salary because of said competition …

    So – you’re all for economic freedom, except when companies try to move to another country, where costs are lower. That’s absolutely forbidden, am I correct?

    By the same logic, all imports should be banned. After all, they were made by those evil furriners that seek to drive loveable american engineers into poverty.

  32. “I don’t understand why cost savings from engineering salaries aren’t a good thing, as good for consumers as any other kind of cost savings that is.”

    Mr. Roberts, the author of the piece, seems to think that a loss of engineering ability in America is a bad thing. I agree with him. Why do you not agree with him? Is it because you think America will simply import all the engineers it needs and pay them half what they would cost if they were American citizens?

  33. “I don’t understand why cost savings from engineering salaries aren’t a good thing, as good for consumers as any other kind of cost savings that is.”

    If you are an engineer, then maybe you would.

    Or maybe he wouldn’t.

    I am an engineer. I have seen nothing that would lead me to believe that either engineering positions or engineering salaries suffer because of H-1B visas.

    At my workplace we lost a valued employee because his 6 years were up on his H-1B.

    My engineer wife was lucky to get one of her coworkers an H-1B visa starting October 1 a mere couple of days before they ran out last week. To make sure you get this point: Applications for the October 2006 H-1B visas started April 1, and the quota ran out in May!

    I would guess that a poll of the engineers in my household would find that 100% would want higher H-1B quotas as well as longer time limits.

  34. By the way, wayne….

    I went to the source of that Roberts article you posted. There was a link in the sentence, “Americans are simply being forced out of the engineering professions by jobs outsourcing and the importation of foreigners on work visas.” I thought, Aha! Finally an explanation of just how these jobs are being lost. What did I find? An argument claiming that foreign workers and outsourcing constituted a potential terrorist threat to American software!

    Have you got any good anti-immigration pieces from the Onion you want to cut and paste?

  35. Mr. Roberts, the author of the piece, seems to think that a loss of engineering ability in America is a bad thing. I agree with him. Why do you not agree with him?

    I don’t know who Mr. Roberts is, but even if he’s the brain of the century, I think the market should decide whether we’ve got too many or not enough engineering talent in this country–not Mr. Roberts.

    …of course, if do we get more engineering talent, engineering salaries should decline, other things being equal, regardless of where those engineers come from.

    Is it because you think America will simply import all the engineers it needs and pay them half what they would cost if they were American citizens?

    Interesting idea, this, about how engineers are paid relative to where they come from. Once an engineer is here in this country, in this market that is, and he becomes naturalized, isn’t his salary a function of supply and demand rather than nationality?

  36. You take issue with my numbers. That is fair. You are welcome to use your own. Whatever number you come up with though still represents a very real economic burden on US tax payers. How do you address that burden? Is it the responsibility of US tax payers to support the poor people of the world?

    Yes, I am free to use your made up numbers or find actually true numbers… Gotcha.

    The burden of immigrants on US taxpayers is entirely an artifact of US government policy. It is in no way an inherent property of the economy or of immigration.

    No, it is not the responsibility of the US taxpayers to support the poor people of the world. It is up to the US government to make sure that does not happen. But denying the freedom of movement of the people of the world, or the freedom of the residents of the US to employ who they want, are not legitimate means for doing so!

  37. I fear a spiral into poverty, and third world status for America.

    I think the US government should not conspire with Corporations to falsify the notion that there are not enough American engineers to satisfy that corporation’s hiring needs.

    What does America become when it no longer produces engineers, and doctors, and mathematicians, and you name it because any of those skills are out-sourceable. If we get to that point, why would we need universities?

    Maybe it is all just a big cycle where the industrialized world is destined to out-source all of its wealth, and the third world will become the next set of super powers. And then the cycle repeats. Maybe that is the point many of you are making.

    Somebody above said, “isn’t it a good thing if steel costs less, no matter where it is produced?” Maybe it is, but there are consequences to losing the ability to produce steel in the US. Destruction of the lower middle class who worked in the mills is one consequence. Dependence on foreign companies and their governments for your steel supply is another. Maybe those consequences are unacceptable, i.e. maybe there is more involved in a deal than just “the cheapest price”.

    Just to bring us back to reality though I have to ask this: have you looked at the price of steel today compared to five years ago? Now that we have mostly driven manufacturing out of the US, are we better off? America can not exist in the long run by just providing “services” to the rest of the world. The notion that we will do all the brain-work and let the peasants in India/China/land-of-little-yellow-people do the heavy lifting is idiotic, not to mention condescending.

  38. Wayne. Ever heard of a thing called “comparative advantage” ???

    If not (and I believe that is the case), I recommend reading up on David Ricardo.

  39. wayne,

    What is truly condescending is your unbelievably intense us versus them mentality based on the collectives known as nations.

    Why is it so unfathomable to allow individuals and enterprises composed of individuals to make these decisions without regard to national boundaries in order to bring about the best results for all?

  40. “Yes, I am free to use your made up numbers or find actually true numbers… Gotcha.”

    I am not trying to trick you with numbers, so there is not “gotcha” to be had here. My point was simply that there are already large numbers of illegals here in the US and that number will only grow if the borders are opened. How do we cope with that economic burden?

    “The burden of immigrants on US taxpayers is entirely an artifact of US government policy. It is in no way an inherent property of the economy or of immigration.”

    I agree. That has been my whole point. Open borders are incompatible with our current welfare state. Any immigrant to the US should pay his full cost: food, clothes, housing, medical, schooling for the kiddies… everything! I don’t particularly oppose free and open migration of people. I just refuse to take care of them after they get here.

    Apparantly you do not think any changes are necessary to our welfare policies before we throw open the borders. Are US taxpayers just supposed to suck it up and deal with it; just open their wallets because MikeP says it is the right thing to do?

  41. “Why is it so unfathomable to allow individuals and enterprises composed of individuals to make these decisions without regard to national boundaries in order to bring about the best results for all?”

    Who pays the social costs?

  42. Apparantly you do not think any changes are necessary to our welfare policies before we throw open the borders.

    I am not arguing that the only reform that should happen is the opening of the borders. I would hope that a number of other reforms occur at the same time that would mitigate the issues of high welfare burdens or inequitable tax treatment.

    However, I do argue that voluntary immigration is a benefit to the economy. I also argue that governments’ preventing people’s voluntary migration and labor is a much greater abrogation of individual freedoms than the marginally higher burden induced by improperly limited government services.

    Fix the immigration problem — that is, legalize it all — then fix taxes and benefits to suit this freer regime. Don’t hold free migration hostage to a broken welfare state.

  43. “What is truly condescending is your unbelievably intense us versus them mentality based on the collectives known as nations.”

    The world is a competitive place, so in that sense it is us versus them.

  44. “Fix the immigration problem — that is, legalize it all — then fix taxes and benefits to suit this freer regime. Don’t hold free migration hostage to a broken welfare state.”

    Whew! Finally, I extracted that fucking wisdom tooth from your jaw. A simple answer, if you ignore the two preceeding paragraphs.

    Let me repeat it in plain language: Open the borders completely with no restrictions whatever (I will give you the benefit of the doubt here: disallow immigrants who are criminals, or who have communicable diseases). Provide all the immigrants who come with the full set of social services. If that causes problems then amend the welfare state after the fact, i.e. after we are hip deep in immigrants. Is that correct?

  45. wayne,

    I would have thought I am obviously a libertarian posting to an obviously libertarian site. Of course I have a problem with the welfare state! I’m sorry that I withheld that information from you if it would have made the discussion easier.

    No, I would not wait to be hip-deep in immigrants living off welfare before I’d pare back welfare. As I said, reforming government services should be done in concert with opening the borders.

    One possible suggestion is to make provision of social services require proof of citizenship, permanent residency, or productive residency, where productive residency means something like “has earned $X in the last 6 months.”

    See, I am willing to reform government services to meet the need for open borders. Are you willing to open the borders if the new immigrants are not going to be a drain on the taxpayer?

  46. “Are you willing to open the borders if the new immigrants are not going to be a drain on the taxpayer?”

    Yes. I thought I had made that clear all along. My objection to open borders is economic, i.e. what is it gonna cost me?

    When I say social services though, I mean all of it, not just the dumbed down notion of food stamps, etc.

    Having said all that though, it ain’t gonna happen. You and I both know there is no way that America will make it the law of the land that immigrants are free to come, but they get none of “services” that citizens get. The Democrats would be shreaking at the top of Hillary’s lungs that we are a nation of racists, blah, blah, blah. The Republicans would never let it happen either because business likes having immigrants who are afraid of La Migra, hence unable to complain at being paid too little.

  47. I thought I had made that clear all along.

    Yes, I thought so too. Then you started quoting commentaries on purely economic impacts of immigration, which led me to think maybe you’ve got other problems with it.

  48. …especially given that the Roberts commentary maligned high value, high income immigration that is as distant as one can get from the issue of immigrants using government services they are not paying taxes for.

  49. wayne, MikeP and others have answered you as well as (actually better) than I can. Whatever they’ve said is my reply.

    Except for one other thing. As long as we’re talking about welfare, keep in mind that the horrendously expensive enforcement regime that you are advocating is going to have to be paid for by someone. And, just like all protectionism, it is essentially a welfare scheme for the benefit of people who cannot be bothered to compete in an open market.

  50. Isaac,

    OK. So, your position on this issue is: Open the borders to all. Feed, clothe, house, medicate, educate, and entertain all who enter. Deficit spend, or raise taxes to pay for it all. You are a real libertarian purist, Isaac.

  51. “especially given that the Roberts commentary maligned high value, high income immigration that is as distant as one can get from the issue of immigrants using government services they are not paying taxes for.”

    You should reread the piece. Roberts point was that industry, in colloboration with lobbyists and whoring politicians jacked up the H1B quotas using lies in the form of “studies” that “demonstrate” a shortage in the fields that cost these companies a lot of money.

    H1B visas are supposed to be granted to people with skills that Americans don’t have, that is the law. Instead they are being used to depress wages. Corporations do not want to pay $100,000 for an American software engineer, if they can import an Indian SW engineer and pay him $50,000. That is what is happening.

    I know all of your libertarian glands are gushing right now with the “why should a company pay 100K if they can get it for 50, it is a free market, the idian is happy and the company is happy and we all get the product cheaper and that is the way it ought to be…”. The H1B visa system was set up to allow entry for foreigners (actually you L’s seem to prefer furriners) who possess a skill that Americans do not have. The H1B system is instead being used by American corporations as a labor-busting mechanism, which the cynic in me thinks was a large part of the reason the H1B system was set up in the first place.

  52. No, wayne, that’s not what I said at all.

    A more accurate rendering would be people ought to be able to move freely wherever they want to and that nobody should be forced to subsidize anyone else’s lifestyle choices.

    That is with the standard disclaimer, “as long as noone else’s rights are infringed”.

    That, of course, excludes “Feed, clothe, house, medicate, educate, and entertain all who enter. Deficit spend, or raise taxes to pay for it all“, but if you want to put words in my mouth, fine.

    However, to avoid putting words in your mouth, just how, exactly do you propose to pay for the draconian enforcement regime necessary for you to have your way. That is ways that don’t involve “Deficit spend, or raise taxes to pay for it all”.

    Regarding your post re H1B, seriously, wayne, do you know any unemployed engineers?

    In the end, yes, allowing “open borders” would require radical changes in many, many policies. That’s why I expect no solutions her. At least, no pretty solutions. But that would true if we were talking about just about anything, eg the war in Iraq.

  53. “In the end, yes, allowing “open borders” would require radical changes in many, many policies. That’s why I expect no solutions here.

    I agree with this. I expect no solutions either, and I expect no changes in immigration policy or welfare either.

    As far as paying for draconian enforcement, I am not sure what you mean. Immigrants would be free to enter and leave, with some sort of ID that identifies them, maybe a “green card”. Public schools, hospital emergency rooms, welfare agencies, etc. would simply turn away those who are not citizens.

    I would also push very hard for a constitutional amendment that would eliminate citizenship for those who are born here unless at least one parent is a citizen, i.e. no more “anchor babies”.

  54. “Regarding your post re H1B, seriously, wayne, do you know any unemployed engineers?”

    The Roberts piece addresses this question.

  55. “I am an engineer. I have seen nothing that would lead me to believe that either engineering positions or engineering salaries suffer because of H-1B visas.”

    Supply and demand. If the supply of engineers goes down, and demand is unchanged then the salaries ought to increase for engineers, would you not agree?

  56. “I don’t know who Mr. Roberts is, but even if he’s the brain of the century, I think the market should decide whether we’ve got too many or not enough engineering talent in this country–not Mr. Roberts.

    …of course, if do we get more engineering talent, engineering salaries should decline, other things being equal, regardless of where those engineers come from.

    Is it because you think America will simply import all the engineers it needs and pay them half what they would cost if they were American citizens?

    Interesting idea, this, about how engineers are paid relative to where they come from. Once an engineer is here in this country, in this market that is, and he becomes naturalized, isn’t his salary a function of supply and demand rather than nationality?”

    Ken, this thread is about immigration policy, which you have ignored in your response. The costs for things are set by supply and demand, and supply and demand are determined by many things, immigration policy amongst them.

  57. Corporations do not want to pay $100,000 for an American software engineer, if they can import an Indian SW engineer and pay him $50,000. That is what is happening.

    No. It is not.

    If you want to know what an H-1B engineer makes, go into the room with the Coca-Cola in the fridge, look at the wall next to the “your rights as an employee” sign, and read his salary!

    At least in those places I have worked, the salaries are quite competitive.

    By the way, again you just make up numbers. Where did $100,000 and $50,000 come from? Why do you imagine anything close to that kind of difference?

    Oh, and also by the way, an H1-B making your ludicrously deflated $50,000 is not using more government services than he is paying taxes for!

    Do you believe in free migration of people as long as they are not a burden to the welfare state, or do you not?

  58. Supply and demand. If the supply of engineers goes down, and demand is unchanged then the salaries ought to increase for engineers, would you not agree?

    Ceteris paribus, yes. But in high tech industry, ceteris are rarely paribus.

    In particular, salary variations from changed supply of engineers due to changed H-1B quotas are utterly swamped by the natural investment and innovation patterns of the industry. Furthermore, since those quotas change only after pleading with Congress, the added supply severely lags the industry’s cycle of demand.

    But, most importantly, high tech is a collection of new industries with fresh innovations and synergies being developed all the time. More quality engineers to identify and take advantage of these means more new arenas for more new engineers to be hired into. Of all industries and spheres you can select, high tech is probably the least zero-sum! The assertion that H-1B visa holders push down salaries is wildly inaccurate, and harping on it demonstrates nothing but a motivation for economy-stifling protectionism.

  59. In considering the threats of immigration to US high tech workers, let us go back to recall one of the earliest threats to software engineers…

    There once was a time when people who wrote software had to do it in assembly. Assembly! Managing the registers yourself. Managing the stack yourself. Managing the memory yourself. Heap? What was that?

    Then some bright engineer invented the compiler. An application that previously required 20 extremely high paid geniuses to write now required only 5 less well paid subgeniuses to write.

    We all know what happened then. Instantly there was 75% unemployment among software engineers, with massive pay cuts for the ones who survived. Those engineers let go never got any other jobs. But they were the lucky ones. The surviving engineers found themselves writing the same applications as before. But with these new compiler tools, they used much less of the creative energy that brought them to engineering in the first place. Always afraid of the 75% on the street, their wages dropped until they could barely afford the sweet liquor that relieved the stifling boredom.

    And now look at how pathetic and atrophied the once proud software industry is. If only they could have destroyed that compiler notion before its hideous creation…

    If you don’t see the relevance of this story to high tech immigration and outsourcing, you really do need to emigrate from whatever zero-sum universe you inhabit.

  60. Why are politicians/polls stating that Americans favor comprehensive plans for the illegal invaders? It is just an outright lie. It is propaganda. The majority of Americans favor deportation, closing the borders, stopping illegal immigration. Mr. Bush is ignoring his base, and speaks to us as if we are ignorant. We have no representation, no voice. He is dangerous to the USA

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