Immigration

Illegal Editor

Immigration restrictions hurt legal residents.

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I first broke immigration law one month after my 22nd birthday. Czechoslovakia had a rule, left over from the recently expired Communist regime, that foreigners were required to change around $15 per day at the state-run tourist office. Not only did I fail to meet the daily legal minimum, mostly due to poverty, but I changed whatever greenbacks I could with some strictly verboten Egyptian dudes, because they gave a 40 percent better return (when not robbing you, that is). So I was an immigration scofflaw and a violator of my host country's domestic laws, and that's without even considering the kinds of materials I was having mailed to me from Amsterdam.

The way I figured it, then as now, is if the laws governing my place of residence were dumb and/or prevented me from carrying out my peaceful day-to-day transactions, there was no reason to pull a muscle straining to comply.

It wasn't long thereafter that I hired my first $100-a-month illegal aliens. It all sounds so terrible that way, until you consider that the first such hire was me, along with my American co-conspirators and a couple of Yugoslav war refugees. One hundred dollars was lousy in any language, but still higher than the prevailing minimum wage. And it wasn't like we were going to find an ethnically homogeneous pool of local Czechs and Slovaks willing and able to work marathon hours launching an English-language newspaper in just four months. Like start-up businesses everywhere, we had a strong desire to become fully legal in order to avoid uncertainty and potentially costly hassles, but that goal just wasn't as urgent initially as getting product into customers' hands.

These memories come to mind whenever a friend or foe poses one of the most potent questions in America's ongoing family feud over immigration: "What part about illegal do you not understand?" Leaving aside the fact that most of these interlocutors have, at some point in their lives, knowingly (and illegally!) written a wrong date on a check, imbibed an illegal drug, or undervalued an item in a suitcase, there is something undeniably resonant about the criticism that illegal aliens openly flout U.S. law when they cross the border or overstay their visas, and then compound their original crime by either working off the books or obtaining fake Social Security cards. The whole arrangement can feel like an affront to the rule of law, a fact that immigration enthusiasts like me forget or downplay at our peril.

But as most small-government types are otherwise more than happy to tell you when it comes to stuff like the tax code and the regulatory state, nothing converts ordinary human beings into "criminals" faster than laws that shouldn't have been written in the first place. And there are few areas in American life where the laws are as byzantine, crazy-quilt, and Kafkaesque as those related to entering the United States from abroad. See our bureaucratic maze of a chart on pages 32-33, showing how legal immigration is a head-scratching, lawyer-demanding gauntlet that can take as long as two decades to complete.

If you glean one fact from the illustration, make it this: In an economically expansionary era in which 20 million jobs have been created in 15 years, unemployment hasn't once cracked 7 percent, and even the supposedly recessionary economy we're suffering through right now grew 1.9 percent in the second quarter of 2008, unskilled foreign workers are expected to fight over just 10,000 green cards a year. Restaurants and construction companies around the country have an exponentially higher demand for low-skilled workers, and laborers in Mexico have an insatiable desire for more money, but poorly conceived U.S. law prevents supply from meeting demand. That's one part of illegal I don't understand.

Another part, also reflected in the chart, is the notion that the federal government is the entity best suited to deciding what the precise ebb and flow of foreign-born labor should be at any given moment. You would think that prior catastrophes in the federal control of wages would be evidence enough that central labor planning doesn't work, but there's also the conspicuous contemporary example of Europe.

When European Union countries dropped almost all restrictions on labor movement in the 1990s, and then expanded membership to poorer Central European countries in the 2000s, the result wasn't the widely predicted cutthroat competition for ever-scarcer jobs in rich countries. Unemployment rates tumbled across all member states, especially the poorer ones. Finland, Ireland, Spain, and the United Kingdom have all seen unemployment cut by more than half during the last two decades. The 15 countries that belonged to the E.U. in 1995 have gone from a collective unemployment rate of 10 percent to 6.7 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Note: Europe and America measure unemployment differently.)

A heavily bureaucratized labor market system, in which businesses are supposed to line up with specific foreign employees years before the paperwork is finalized, also clashes with the dynamic reality of entrepreneurial improvisation. Immigrants, particularly young adults, are famous for starting on a whim businesses that would not have existed without them, whether a newspaper in Prague or a taco truck in Los Angeles.

But even if job creation leaves you unmoved, there is another side effect of immigration restriction that should give pause even to the most fervent border closers: Cracking down on illegal immigration almost always ends up constricting the freedom of legal residents as well.

I observed this dynamic up close in California during the late 1990s, while going through the laborious process of getting my French-born wife a green card. Because of the first World Trade Center attack in 1993 and the immigration panic that swept through the state in the early part of that decade, new federal laws ostensibly designed to thwart terrorism essentially gave every border guard the power to stamp "no entry" into my wife's passport if he so chose, without the possibility of appeal. So we sweated through every border crossing for three years while reading countless tales of legal-resident Canadian spouses of Americans being barred for five years, and Japanese business travelers being harassed by overzealous, underscrutinized immigration cops.

Two articles in this issue illustrate how today's anti-illegal immigration measure is tomorrow's anti-legal resident law. Senior Editor Kerry Howley's profile of anti-immigration crusader Russell Pearce ("The One-Man Wall," page 34) details how Arizona's toughest-in-the-country sanctions on employers who hire undocumented workers has required all employees, citizens or not, to be vetted through a federal database rife with errors. Legal residents are leaving the Phoenix area rather than living in fear of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's immigrant-hunting deputies.

And in "Who Killed Real ID?" (page 24), Associate Editor David Weigel explains how immigration fears stoked by the September 11 massacres nearly led to something that civil libertarians have fought against for decades: a national ID card. This story, thankfully, has a happy ending, as a ragtag coalition of Americans from across the political and geographic spectrums rediscovered their orneriness and sent the ill-begotten Real ID Act packing.

The successful anti-Real ID activists all exuded a quintessential American virtue that has been in surprisingly short supply these past seven years: confidence. When we forget that openness is our strength, opportunity is our drawing power, and skepticism of government intervention is our bulwark against tyranny, those are precisely the moments the country becomes a little less free. It's no surprise that the activists most eager to restrict immigrants are the ones most convinced that the United States is going to hell in a handbasket. They are wrong about that, and they are wrong about the law.

Matt Welch is editor in chief of reason.

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  1. Lonewacko in 3…2…1…

  2. Show of hands – Who thinks running the “From the editor’s desk” introduction to the print mag, on Reason.com is silly?

    Bonus question – who agrees with me that Matt need to cut his verbiage by at least a third?

  3. “Show of hands – Who thinks running the “From the editor’s desk” introduction to the print mag, on Reason.com is silly?”

    Not me. I think it’s an interesting article, and I’m glad to have been able to read it without buying the mag.

    “Bonus question – who agrees with me that Matt need to cut his verbiage by at least a third?”

    Not me. I like his writing style.

    BTW, how do you people get that nice vertical bar beside quotes from previous comments?

  4. Nice article, Matt.

    What makes even less sense (if such a thing is possible) is the lack of H1B visas for skilled workers, that employers are only too happy to sponsor.

    A coworker of mine had to wait a whole year to work in the US after attending college here and being offered a job here. All of the visas were snapped up a day after being offered, and she had to go cool her heels in Hong Kong for another year. Just one of the millions of examples of sheer stupidity.

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  6. “See our bureaucratic maze of a chart on pages 32-33, showing how legal immigration is a head-scratching, lawyer-demanding gauntlet that can take as long as two decades to complete.”

    No can do.

  7. According to my local indignant anti-immigration people, if it weren’t for immigrants we’d all have rewarding, fulfilling, high-paying jobs and could afford to retire at 40.

  8. < blockquote > text < / blockquote >

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    Thanks!

  9. What makes even less sense (if such a thing is possible) is the lack of H1B visas for skilled workers, that employers are only too happy to sponsor.

    Don’t forget how much they cost. Extra if you want it expedited because you have to leave the country soon or risk overstaying! It came down to two days. Nerve-wracking.

  10. What are the chances of Michelle Malkin debating someone from the Reason staff on immigration? That would be great to see!

  11. Don’t forget how much they cost.

    Right. And even the big employers, like my firm and Microsoft, who don’t mind paying through the nose, can’t get enough visas. Insanity.

    If it were only a cash grab, fine. It would still suck, but at least there would be a possible way to do it. As it is, it’s just nativism, creepy and simple.

  12. If it were only a cash grab, fine. It would still suck, but at least there would be a possible way to do it. As it is, it’s just nativism, creepy and simple.

    I suppose you must be right, because it is amazing that the government would fail to increase H1B’s at least. It would increase revenue, please big businesses, add even more skilled labor to our workforce (and therefore taxpayers!), and be virtually unnoticeable to most people who might be apt to complain about it.

  13. It would increase revenue, please big businesses, add even more skilled labor to our workforce (and therefore taxpayers!), and be virtually unnoticeable to most people who might be apt to complain about it.

    Right. You said that better than I could.

    That has always seemed like a fail-safe first step, at least (kind of like legalizing weed first). Once we prove to all the pantswetters that the world will not, in fact, come to an end, better policy awaits, right?

    *shakes head and awakens from dream world*

  14. Gee, after all the complaining about Europe’s employment laws on these pages, it’s refreshing to hear the admission that they’re not doing badly after all. See, it is possible to have laws granting long vacations, employment security, parental leave, generous social benefits,and still have a low jobless rate! The point is, the European Union is designed to provide higher standards for people in all member countries, not have a “free market” race to the bottom.

  15. Gee, after all the complaining about Europe’s employment laws on these pages, it’s refreshing to hear the admission that they’re not doing badly after all

    Do you know any Europeans, classwarrior? Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get a professional job there? And how little it pays?

    *shakes head and awakens from dream world*

    Hey, at least you have your H1B. That’s better than many.

  16. Finland, Ireland, Spain, and the United Kingdom have all seen unemployment cut by more than half during the last two decades.

    Yes, all kinds of benefits have accrued to Europe courtesy of immigration:

    https://reason.com/blog/show/128823.html
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jul/21/spain
    http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/3527
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2005/nov/03/20051103-111739-3190r/
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7593773.stm

    That’s from about 2 minutes worth of googling. Which is obviously more research than you did for your article.

  17. But you didn’t mention me.

  18. Hey, at least you have your H1B. That’s better than many.

    Even better, I have an actual Green Card. My dad’s from Oregon, so it was (relatively) easy for me to get status. It just took a year, a couple grand, and a lot of sweating in various immigration meetings.

  19. “Bonus question – who agrees with me that Matt need to cut his verbiage by at least a third?

    Triple bonus question – does anyone remember when Reason Headlines were exceptionally witty? A real cut above anywhere else? When did that stop?

  20. How ironic that MattW starts the column discussing Czechoslovakia, a country that has some experience with “immigration”.

    The bottom line is that MattW has no knowledge of this issue and is simply doing what those in the Beltway expect of him.

    One thing you’ll never see at Reason is a discussion of the power that immigration gives inside the U.S. to foreign governments, and the massive cost of ceding part of our sovereignty to those governments.

    For real reporting on this issue, see my site. I’ve got thousands of posts and you’ll learn all the things that hacks like MattW and his friends in the Beltway will never discuss.

  21. Even better, I have an actual Green Card. My dad’s from Oregon, so it was (relatively) easy for me to get status. It just took a year, a couple grand, and a lot of sweating in various immigration meetings.

    Cheater. Wait a second–this makes you half human American, half Cylon Canadian. Is your real name Hera?

  22. The one problem with immigration is that it does lead in theory to salary depression. You have an increased labor supply without (initially, at least) more jobs.

    Here’s the dirty and poorly kept secret about HB1 visas – foreigners must be paid the same wage as Americans at the same position. That says nothing, however, about their same skill level. Companies hire foreigners with five years of experience and pay them the same as Americans with one year of experience. Get enough visas around and suddenly the intro salary *requires* five years experience, and good luck with what you now make with only one. Good for the company, good for the foreigner, bad for the US citizen.

    I’m still not saying we shouldn’t allow people to come here, but it’s not as though there aren’t consequences. A glut of labor leads to reduced wages, at least initially – that’s basic free market principles.

    Personally I think we need to make it easier to get in legally, and then crack down on those who hire people who are here illegally. Employers hiring illegals aren’t paying social security on them, aren’t paying into their healthcare, insurance, much of the overhead that goes along with business. Therefore they have a competitive advantage, because their labor is cheaper – they can underbid construction projects, make cheaper furniture, whatever. And suddenly the only people who can get jobs are those working illegally without the protections that they should have as workers.

    I have nothing against immigrants, illegal or legal – I have a problem with companies that gain a competitive advantage by skirting laws designed to protect us.

  23. Wait a second–this makes you half human American, half Cylon Canadian. Is your real name Hera?

    I plead the 5th. (The self-incrimination being that I haven’t seen season 4 yet!) Your comparison holds in that I am both adored and feared in both worlds.

  24. Your comparison holds in that I am both adored and feared in both worlds

    I like the way you phrased that. Very nice.

    I, and everyone else, have only seen half of season 4, because the final 10 episodes have not aired yet.

  25. Good for the company, good for the foreigner, bad for the US citizen.

    No… Good for the great majority of US citizens. It is better for everybody in the economy except those directly competing with the new labor.

    A glut of labor leads to reduced wages, at least initially – that’s basic free market principles.

    Reduced wages for noncomplementary and directly competitive positions — which are frankly not that many in the H-1B arena — that translate to reduced costs for everyone else in the economy. Yet you would hold all future cost savings and productivity advantages, for all time, hostage to the initial wage decrease of a small subset of the population.

    I have nothing against immigrants, illegal or legal – I have a problem with companies that gain a competitive advantage by skirting laws designed to protect us.

    I have a problem with laws designed to protect (a few of) us (at the expense of the rest of us).

  26. I’m willing to admit when I’m wrong. It took Lonewacko longer than I expected to post a rant.

  27. I like the way you phrased that.

    Thanks. 🙂

    the final 10 episodes have not aired yet.

    Enough time to convince you doubters that cylons are trustworthy friends, right?

  28. who agrees with me that Matt need to cut his verbiage by at least a third?

    Not really. I thought it was an excellent, clearly-written article.

  29. Here’s an example of the type of subtopic that MattW won’t discuss: the network that the MexicanGovernment has built up inside the U.S. Advisors to that government even include a state senator, as well as various others active in immigration matters. The latter includes the head of a well-known IL group that’s connected to the IL gov’t. And, through a very active imm. lawyer (PeterSchey) they have links to Reason faves like the SPLC.

    And, the ACLU is directly collaborating with that government, investigating whether to join in a suit agains the U.S. government.

    And, all those and the countless others I could discuss are things that MattW implicitly supports.

    If you want to know what’s really going on with this issue, visit my site and look through my archives.

  30. RE: The one problem with immigration is that it does lead in theory to salary depression. You have an increased labor supply without (initially, at least) more jobs.

    Only if you are restricting your analysis to a region that has a frontier between one of the richist countries in the world and one that is rather middling. In a more uniform situation it wouldn’t have any impact other than to make local economies more efficient, just as it does when Americans move around inside of America.

  31. THERE WILL BE NO AMNESTY!!!

    OUR ACCEPTABLE IMMIGRATION REFORM

    #1. Secure the Border!!!
    #2. Mandate E-Verify for ALL Employees!!!
    #3. Mandate E-Verify for ANY Benefit!!!
    #4. Stop the Underground Economy!!!
    #5. End Birthright Citizenship for Illegals!!!
    ……and make it retroactive!!!
    #6. End Chain Migration!!!
    #7. Make English our Official Language!!!
    #8. Cut Off Federal Funds to Sanctuary Cities!!

    NOTHING MORE!!! NOTHING LESS!!!

    1. So you’re in favor of taking away citizenship from children born in this country who have grown up American citizens? Just want to make sure I’m properly understanding what a bastard you are.

  32. There are over 9.4 million unemployed American workers, and that number is growing with every passing day.

    In the meantime, illegals, using forged, falsified, and stolen identities, have illegally taken millions of jobs; jobs that rightfully belong to American workers….

    Support mandating E-Verify, and let’s take those jobs back.

  33. ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A 5TH GRADER???…

    …YOUR MATH PROBLEM FOR TODAY……

    FACTS: SOUTHWEST BORDER APPREHENSIONS
    1999 1,537,000
    2000 1,643,679
    2001 1,235,718
    2002 929,809
    2003 905,065
    2004 1,139,282
    2005 1,189,108
    2006 1,071,972
    2007 858,638
    2008 660,288 (ends 9/30)

    FACT: Over 11 million illegals have been apprehended, at the border, in just the last ten years…..

    FACT: Even now, less than 1, out of 4, illegals, are apprehended while crossing the border.

    THE QUESTION IS: How many illegals have entered our United States in the last ten years????

    YOUR ANSWER PLEASE…….

    HINT: The answer is not 12 million

  34. Here’s an example of the type of subtopic that MattW won’t discuss: the network that the MexicanGovernment has built up inside the U.S. Advisors to that government even include a state senator, as well as various others active in immigration matters

    Loney, I recall “discussing” with you, at protracted length, the danger to our sovereignty posed by the prospective mayorality of Antonio Villaraigosa (back there in the non-Beltway region of the country that — as you well know — I’ve lived in for 30 times as long as I have in the District of Columbia). And after about a thousand instances of me pleading for you to bring a specific complaint about the supposed Danger, the best you could come up with was that some Mexican once shipped like 5,000 elementary school textbooks to New Mexico.

    It was pathetic, and disappointing, and since then, it’s true, I have lost most interest in playing chase-the-rabbit with you.

    Also — I will take Reason’s archive of SPLC criticism over yours any day of the week.

  35. Barack Obama’s thuggish campaign has exceeded itself with a Spanish-language ad that is dishonest at several levels. ABC’s Jake Tapper blows the whistle:

    “Sen. Barack Obama has launched a new Spanish-language TV ad that seeks to paint Sen. John McCain as anti-immigrant, even tying the Republican to his longtime conservative talk-radio nemesis Rush Limbaugh.
    As first reported by the Washington Post, Obama’s ad features a narrator saying: “They want us to forget the insults we’ve put up with…the intolerance…they made us feel marginalized in this country we love so much.”

    The screen then shows these two quotes from Limbaugh:

    “…stupid and unskilled Mexicans.”
    –Rush Limbaugh

    “You shut your mouth or you get out!”
    –Rush Limbaugh

    The narrator then says, “John McCain and his Republican friends have two faces. One that says lies just to get our vote…and another, even worse, that continues the policies of George Bush that put special interests ahead of working families. John McCain…more of the same old Republican tricks.””

  36. To MikeP:

    I’ll give you that it is better for those not working in the affected industries to have cheaper services. But how does it work when you’re trying to develop a strong local workforce?

    Employers are already bemoaning the fact that fewer and fewer Americans are going into science and engineering fields – the fields that allow our country to maintain a dominant position in the world economy. But why would an intelligent young person go into engineering when all they hear through school is that their jobs are being outsourced or replaced by HB1 immigrants? It doesn’t seem to me to be a good long-term solution to base our economic strength on the ability of India to produce engineering students.

    I know, free markets improve everyone’s life, right? Well, on average. Until global politics gets in the way and suddenly you can’t depend on your foreign suppliers, especially when they’re supplying core knowledge and skills that take years to develop.

    I understand what you’re saying, and I don’t know that limiting competition is better – just saying that there are costs, and they are paid by people who would like to be able to earn a good living by American standards for their work, not by the standards of the country whoever just left. I can see how it gets people worked up, even before you throw in the idiotic culture clash issues into it all.

  37. Sorry to double-post, but I found an interesting thing to add.

    First, sorry for the typos (replace HB1 with H1B).

    Second, I thought this was an interesting article on the topic from computerworld.

    http://www.computerworld.com/careertopics/careers/labor/story/0,10801,72848,00.html

    Interesting quote:

    ‘After the ostensible libertarian in the room, former Cato economist Steve Moore, laid out his case for permanently recruiting foreign talent, the panel’s economist called his bluff: “So, there is no argument for a temporary visa, then?” Moore did a double take before stammering, “Well, this is one of those wink-and-a-nod programs. Everybody expects most of these workers to stay.”‘

  38. Thank you so much for this article, Matt.

    My girlfriend is Japanese and is basically enslaved to a fast-food chain restaurant because they are sponsoring her work visa. Currently her status is ambiguous – her post-graduation extension of her student visa has now expired and we haven’t received any information from either the company or the government as to her current status. She has submitted and resubmitted all kinds of paperwork multiple times, can’t contact the lawyer the company hired who hasn’t seemed to have done anything, received the corporate runaround, has been told that she can’t be promoted until they have gotten approval from the government, etc. Its horrible and this is a college-educated person trying to do things the 100% legal way, pays taxes and is gainfully employed and not using state welfare. I worry she could be deported at any time.

    It’s even worse for poor Mexicans for whom legal immigration is practically impossible – the government requires immigrants from Mexico to keep at least $5000 in a bank account to prove that they can pay their way. Most Americans don’t have $5000 in a bank account, much less unemployed Mexicans!

    Any libertarian, including Bob Barr and Ron Paul, who advocates a war on illegal immigration is not really much of a libertarian. Haven’t we learned any lessons from the war on drugs, the war on guns, the war on gambling, the war on prostitution and any other activity that creates a black market for the criminal underworld? There is a lucrative industry in fake documents, human smuggling, etc. that is funding border gangs.

    Also, they don’t seem to understand basic economics. Illegal immigrants do for the most part pay their fair share in taxes – property and sales taxes are obviously paid (which cover most of the welfare state programs they actually use, like public education and public healthcare). Many pay income and social security taxes to get higher paying jobs, and those who don’t would mostly not qualify for income taxes anyway. In fact, I can almost guarantee that if illegal immigrants payed income taxes legally, tax credits would end up costing us money. The economics for the case against illegal immigration is simply not there.

    I’m glad John McCain at least has sounded like his old self on immigration the past few days. I hope either McCain or Obama, neither of whom I like or plan to vote for, will at least get comprehensive immigration reform passed. But I guess I shouldn’t get my hopes up.

  39. By the way, wanted to point out that by preventing illegal immigrants from holding licenses, we prevent them from being able to buy insurance, which impacts ALL of us. Illegal immigrants exist, they drive to work and some will get in accidents. Because of the system, the legal residents will be left holding the bag.

  40. Immigration Terminology 101

    With the vitriolic immigration debate roiling in all parts of our country, it is important to understand terminology. Be prepared to dispel the half-truths and no truths of the way those who are illegally in our country are described by their advocates. Knowledge is power:

    ILLEGAL:
    1.) Unlawful; illegitimate; illicit; unlicensed.
    2.) Illegal, unlawful, illegitimate, illicit, criminal can all describe actions not in accord with law.
    3.) Illegal refers most specifically to violations of statutes.
    4.) Prohibited by law

    ALIEN:
    1.) a person who is not a citizen of the country.
    2.) in the United States any person born in another country to parents who are not American and who has not become a naturalized citizen. There are resident aliens officially permitted to live in the country and illegal aliens who have sneaked into the country or stayed beyond the time allowed on a visa.

    INVADE:
    1. to enter like an enemy: Locusts invaded the fields
    2. to enter as if to take possession: To invade a neighbor’s home
    3. to enter and affect injuriously or destructively, as disease: Viruses that invade the bloodstream.
    4. to intrude upon: To invade the privacy of a family.
    5. to encroach or infringe upon: to invade the rights of citizens.
    6. to permeate: The smell of baking invades the house.
    7. to penetrate; spread into or over: The population boom has caused city dwellers to invade the suburbs

    Those illegally in a country are not “immigrants”. There is no such thing as an “illegal immigrant”. An immigrant is involved with an established and orderly procedure of immigration (entering a country to which one is not native in order to settle there by legal process).

    They are not immigrants, not undocumented immigrants (Kennedy and the PC fan favorite), not undocumented workers, not undocumented Americans (Harry Reid’s favorite), not economic immigrants (Big Business and Wall Street favorite), not immigrants without work papers, not people who are working (Enrique Morone’s favorite), not migrant workers, not entrants, not day laborers and not the “unbanked” (Bill Clinton and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s favorite).

    The government has defined them as “illegal aliens” and explicitly uses that term in all its laws and statutes. So keep it simple?a spade is a spade?they are illegal aliens. Or, if you’d prefer, another term that would be just as correct to use is “invaders”. I would consider the two interchangeable.

    One other definition is exceedingly useful since you’ll hear with every piece of amnesty legislation, the open border lobbyists, facilitators and illegal alien advocates declaring that it isn’t amnesty in the hope that you will think so. Here’s the definition of amnesty so you can decide for yourself:

    AMNESTY is legislation to forgive the breaking of immigration laws and to make it possible for illegal aliens to live permanently in the United States. Amnesty represents a system of federal rewards and assistance for illegal aliens, and they entice an even greater number of foreign nationals to illegally enter a country. Amnesty is providing the ultimate goal of the perpetrators illegal entry…legalization of their presence.

    AMNESTY:
    1. A general pardon for offenses against a government
    2. An act of forgiveness for past offenses, esp. to a class of persons as a whole
    3. Forgetting or overlooking any past offense

    There you have it, folks. Knowledge is power?use it wisely

  41. MikeP – “It is better for everybody in the economy except those directly competing with the new labor.”

    I feel better now.

    But wait, Reason is for totally open borders, meaning unlimited immigration from everywhere at completely uncontrolled rates. And basic economics says labor will migrate toward the highest wages.

    But I am labor. I am the labor currently earning the highest rates, and so are you and you and you. So new labor will migrate here, and again with the economics, will compte wages down to a new equilibrium.

    So none of us ought to ask for whom the bell tolls.

  42. Incidentally, my comment above was theoretical.

    Now let me tell you about practical. I recruit people for technical jobs. When employers decide they don’t want to pay the levels that citizens and green card holders demand in the market place, I find them H1B visa holders who will work for less, substantially less.

    This is not theoretical. I’ve done this process for many many Information Tech hires, and I’ve seen it done for many, many more hires.

  43. Mike,

    Employers are already bemoaning the fact that fewer and fewer Americans are going into science and engineering fields – the fields that allow our country to maintain a dominant position in the world economy. But why would an intelligent young person go into engineering when all they hear through school is that their jobs are being outsourced or replaced by HB1 immigrants?

    You are correct that far, far too many economically illiterate people are saying ridiculous things that will mislead intelligent young people. I fail to see how that is an argument against high skilled immigration.

    Rather we should point the intelligent young people toward better sources for career information such as Money Magazine’s Top 50 Jobs in America, which ranks software engineer number 1. Note that of these top 50 jobs, only physician assistant has a higher predicted 10 year growth rate.

    As for the ComputerWorld article, I concur that H-1B visas are a subsidy for those companies and industries that can get them over those companies and industries that can’t. The US should replace such programs with visas that have no quota or expiration.

  44. But wait, Reason is for totally open borders, meaning unlimited immigration from everywhere at completely uncontrolled rates.

    They are not “completely uncontrolled rates”. They are rates moderated by market forces rather than by haphazard and out of touch government fiat dancing to the tune of special interests.

    And basic economics says labor will migrate toward the highest wages.

    That is why the population of Connecticut is 300 million while the rest of the US is a desolate wasteland.

  45. This. This is why I’m in Canada right now.

    My husband and I got married a couple of years after 9/11 and it was impossible to get a legal fiance visa for a skilled and over-educated Canadian and then impossible to get a spousal visa. We tried and tried to do things legally and ended up spending lots of time apart before we gave up, he got a job in Ottawa and in about 3 months of processing time I had a Canadian green card. I’m about to take my citizenship test and (yech) swear loyalty to some queen (fingers crossed behind my back). But I’d still rather be in the states, except they don’t like my hockey husband. 😛

  46. Thanks Zeezil….Focusing on the fact that can
    no longer be denied , that Mexico us doing
    everything it can to create an Illegal Mexican Nation
    within the borders of the USA and its footsoldiers
    the La Razas,LULACs,Maldefs,etc. file lawsuits
    to stop U.S. Laws on the books from being enforced every step of the way while its fifth column anchor babies
    cry a river of tears to protect their illegal parents
    who are using them as human shields !!

  47. Meg – “I’m about to take my citizenship test and (yech) swear loyalty to some queen (fingers crossed behind my back). ”

    What would you have your fingers crossed behind your back about when you “swear loyalty” to the USA?

    Here is the embodiment of another problem associated with too much immigration over too short a period of time. The very foundation of the nation that makes it attractive stands in peril to waves of immigrants who share no values with and grant no loyalty to their new home.

  48. Sully misses the point. If not for the war on migration she would never had to swear oyalty to secular gods.

  49. I agree to a large degree with your entire column – until you get to “real id.” What is wrong with having a national identification card, issued by the states? I can see no rational for your position and no conflict with the tenets of libertarian philosophy.

    As to the many posts regarding swearing loyalty to the USA as a citizen or when one becomes a citizen, why then become (or stay) a citizen? The strength of our country derives not only from the contribution of immigrants, but also form their assimilation into the culture and the new ideas that they contribute to the culture. Point of reference: my grandparents arrived in the USA, via Ellis Island, c1910.

  50. It seems to me the logic in this article is a little bit flawed. The author is mixing together two entirely different issues, the system that is in place to bring immigrants into the United States and the type of people that are allowed into the United States. Just because the system is flawed does not mean that “anyone” should be allowed entrance into the United States.
    People immigrate from virtually every country in the world to the United States. Some of those countries have cultures that allow their immigrants to easily merge into a modern country like the US. Even if those countries are relatively poor, the cultures of those countries value learning, productive moral standards and the drive to get ahead, while other countries do not.
    I live in Phoenix, Arizona where areas of the city have been substantially denigrated by the influx of largely illiterate Mexicans. I own apartments in one of these areas and have seen a marked improvement in my neighborhood since the employer sanctions law has been in effect. The problems caused by large numbers of people with minimal earnings capabilities and low standards of cleanliness such as overcrowding of apartments and the general trashing of neighborhoods has been reduced considerably. I think the author would consider the problem to be substantially different if he was personally affected by it. Perhaps the author would look at the situation differently if the value of his property dropped because of an influx of people from a relatively primitive culture into his neighborhood.
    Each person sees the world from a relatively small point of view. I see the problems caused by illegal immigration and the author sees the problems caused by a broken immigration system and he believes them to be the same problem. We should fix both problems, figure out who we want to immigrate into the United States and make the system that allows them to immigrate into the United States work properly.

  51. scineram – “If not for the war on migration she would never had to swear oyalty to secular gods.”

    I see. We are all citizens of the world. Borders are meaningless. Nations are meaningless. No reason to ask migrants if they have any intention of honoring the basic premises of the nation. An anarchist is a fascist is a monarchist is a democrat is a libertarian is a communist is an oligarchist. Loyalty to a competing or downright hostile nation state is no big deal.

    Peace and love, brother.

    I can hear the singing. . .

    This is the dawning of the age of. . .

  52. Sully – Oh, I’d swear to Canada, it’s the whole queen and empire thing that gets me. Canada’s swearable.

  53. I see. We are all citizens of the world. Borders are meaningless. Nations are meaningless. No reason to ask migrants if they have any intention of honoring the basic premises of the nation.

    Someone who claims to find citizenship so important should understand the difference between citizenship and residence. If a nation allows free migration and free residence to noncitizens, it does not make any of citizenship, borders, or nations meaningless.

    Nations may still use citizenship to distinguish those sworn to uphold the nation, those validated to vote and hold office, and those who the nation will protect in international affairs. None of that precludes a nation from acting as though it holds that all men are created equal and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.

  54. I agree with most of the article. I say make it easier for people to do the right thing and harder for them to to the wrong thing.

    We have many undocumented people in this country and, yes, we should enforce our laws, but instead of taking about mass deportations, we should be welcoming law abiding people with no dangerous comunicable diseases who wish to come here, work with out any entitelment programs for a certain period of time. Let’s expidite the process. In exchange we can get a tax paying citizen who can produce, create goods, services and jobs and have a stake in the future of this country.

    Otherwise the same person may come here anyway, live on the economic fringes in a country that feels hates him. That person may then view our laws to be scoffed at, locals to be mean spirited xenophobesand ok to violate the laws to illegaly vote for people who peole who will offer more of the largess. A race, religous and ethnic baiting demagoge could not ask for a better subject!

  55. If we need more labor, then we expand our legal immigration program.

    Illegal immigration = subversion of the democratric process. Our laws, democra5ically passed, say no one come in illegally. The only legal way to change that is to convince a majority of Americans to change the law for the future, with no retroactive effect.

    Illegal immigration = lawlessness.

    Illegal immigration = discrimination against legal immigrants

    Illegal immigration = discrimination against non Hispanic Americans re family reunification.

    Illegal immigration = discrimination against all non Hispanic races and ethnic groups who do not have the same opportunity to invade our country illegally. ( statistics shows illegals are almost all Hispanic).

    Illegal immigration = abolition of the rule of law

    Illegal immigration = take over by the Mexican Drug Cartel and MS – 13

    Illegal immigration = fraud -illegals have on the average three false identities which they use to avoid arrest for criminal acts, and to avoic paying their bills, and to obtain benefits they are not entitled to.

    Illegal immigration = criminal acts. Illegal entry is a crime. Driving without a license is a crime. Stealing an American’s SS No is a felony. Tax evasion is a felony. Using false id is a felony. Ignoring court orders is a felony.

    Illegal immigration = spread of disease. We had wiped out TB in our country. Now it is en endemic. My child caught it from an illegal at school.

    ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION IS NOT A VICTIMLESS CRIME.

    AMERICA FOR AMERICANS AND LEGAL IMMIGRANTS ONLY.

  56. My girlfriend is Japanese and is basically enslaved to a fast-food chain restaurant because they are sponsoring her work visa.

    Obvious solution, Nick, join your girlfriend in Japan.

  57. Or merry her.

    “Illegal immigration = criminal acts. Illegal entry is a crime. Driving without a license is a crime. Stealing an American’s SS No is a felony. Tax evasion is a felony. Using false id is a felony. Ignoring court orders is a felony.”

    Did I miss that TReason is now not libertarian? Why should we care?

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