Immigration

Freeing Them from Their Paychecks

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Kerry Howley on the American Apparel crackdown:

There was always something transparently cynical about Obama's lofty promise to "go after employers" instead of undocumented workers themselves, as if making it impossible for immigrants to find decent jobs were something other than persecution….About 1,800 people are about to lose their jobs not because the economy is bad, their performance is weak, or their employer is struggling. They're losing their jobs because they happen to be without documentation in a country where it is near-impossible for poor Mexicans and Central Americans without family already here to obtain permission to stay. Obama has spent the past few weeks talking up the millions of people without access to health care in this country. His adminstration just added a few hundred to that number.

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  1. Well, its pretty obvious someone has to do something!

    RT
    http://www.complete-privacy.net.tc

  2. WTF!!! It’s like privacy bots on every page! Skynet is up to no good.

  3. Obama is all about unions. Period end of story.

  4. Jesse,

    If business is that good, won’t they just hire someone else? Yeah, those 1,800 are out of luck, but doesn’t that mean 1,800 people who don’t have a job now will get one? We do have 9.8% unemployment afterall. Maybe the people who replace them will people who could not get jobs anywhere else? That wouldn’t be such a bad thing would it? We do have 52% unemployment for the young.

    Open borders totally screw people at the bottom end of the workforce. Suppose you are someone who has been in jail or are a high school drop out or some poor kid who has no connections and absolutely no work experience. Why would anyone hire you, when they can hire a 30 year old Mexican peasent? Moreover, why would they hire you when doing so requires things like workman’s comp and dealing with a law suit if they fire you unfairly? Hell, you can hire the illegal and if you don’t like the looks of him one day, fire his ass. What is he going to do, sue you? There are two sides to open borders. It would be nice if Reason would recognize that fact.

    1. John, I am not an open borders advocate, but I believe we should hand out green cards (e.g., permission to work to people who want them.

      This means they would be here legally, and therefore couldn’t go through the shenanigans you mentioned.

    2. We do have 52% unemployment for the young.

      If they stopped getting useless humanities degrees, then Indian and Chinese immigrants wouldn’t be taking all the good jobs.

  5. Why am I not suprised Howley is writting on XX.

  6. 52%? John, I’m gonna need a link . . . several. Even in France, unemployment for the young isn’t that high.

  7. Your wish is my command Naga

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/b…..uIlGONNX1K

  8. I wonder what LoneWacko thinks of the new layout. I bet we’re about to find out.

  9. FrBunny . . . yes. To steal a line from Warren.

    doom
    DoooooM
    DOOOOOOOOOM

  10. Lonewacko and Howley deserve each other.

  11. Dammit – I need to be able to hop between comment threads without going back to the main page every time.

    I demand my free features back Reason!

  12. I wonder what LoneWacko thinks of the new layout. I bet we’re about to find out.

    Think of this post as the Lonewacko welcome wagon.

    1. Lonewacko welcome wagon

      Try saying that three times, real fast, and maybe he’ll appear.

      1. You’re thinking of Betelgeuse.

    2. I’m sure you meant to type: the LoneWacko WelcomeWagon

  13. This policy is still better than sending in the SWAT team, setting up immigration road blocks, and turning the local police into ICE. While I think immigration should be loosened, moving enforcement from a military-style crackdown to an administrative paperwork issue seems to deescalate the issue. Of course, paper pushers and bureaucracy can be just as bad, if Terry Gilliam’s Brazil is to be considered.

  14. John,

    Free markets should apply to labor just as much as it does to widgets (indeed, the attack on the free flow of labor in the 1910s and 1920s explains some of the economic downturn of the 1930s). Where someone grew up is almost entirely inconsequential.

  15. Open borders totally screw people at the bottom end of the workforce.

    Only for provincial definitions of “workforce”.

    1. Exactly.

    2. Open borders for only the bottom end of the workforce totally screws people.

      FIFY

  16. Seward,

    That is nice in theory, but in reality free markets don’t appy. Illegals and those on H1 Visas have much less leverage over their employers than citizens do and thus have an unfair advantage in the job market.

    Now, you could say, end all requirements for Visas and that goes away. True enough. But, there is a huge social cost to be paid for that. Since there is a virtually limitless supply of unskilled labor willing to move to the United States, having a true open border would totally screw those at the bottom of the workforce. The bottom end jobs would always be scarce and it would be very difficult for a given individual to get into the labor market in good times letalone bad. That is a social price I don’t want to pay. I would rather have closed borders and an always tight job market at the lower ends. That way anyone who wants to can get a start up the labor market easily. If that means that I am a little poorer because I have to pay more to have my lawn mowed, so be it.

    Lastly, open borders do terrible things to Latin America. The reason why countries like Mexico in particular are able to have such corrupt governments is because anyone who doesn’t like it can leave for the US. Mexico loses its youngest and potentially most productive citizens to the US. That sounds nice but long term it is terrible for Mexico. If you shut down the border, Mexico’s system would change for the better.

    Lastly, if you opened the border with Mexico, the wages would hit an equalibrium between the lower Mexican wages and the higher American wages. That would be great for Mexico and terrible for the US. I fail to see how it is a good idea to nail American workers to the cross of open borders.

  17. “Only for provincial definitions of “workforce”.”

    That means anything only if you are transnationalist who doesn’t believe in the nationstate. Having seen some of the rest of the world, I say fuck that. I like my nation state as it is and have no desire to join with the rest of the world.

  18. I’m all for loosening restrictions for legal immigration, for work purposes or otherwise, but enough with the “happen to be without documentation” language in order to move the ball politically.

  19. That means anything only if you are transnationalist who doesn’t believe in the nationstate. Having seen some of the rest of the world, I say fuck that. I like my nation state as it is and have no desire to join with the rest of the world.

    Do you hate free trade too? Or do you only care about free trade for widgets and not for labor?

  20. John,

    The bottom end jobs would always be scarce and it would be very difficult for a given individual to get into the labor market in good times letalone bad.

    Why would they “always be scarce” exactly? It seems to me that in a capitalist economy that the pie grows, so I don’t take the mercantalist attitude that the pie remains the same size. Are you going to tell me next that a nation’s wealth resides in its gold reserves?

    Illegals and those on H1 Visas have much less leverage over their employers than citizens do and thus have an unfair advantage in the job market.

    That is just another example of government failure.

    The reason why countries like Mexico in particular are able to have such corrupt governments is because anyone who doesn’t like it can leave for the US.

    Well, this is just a beyond stupid argument because it so harmful to the individual Mexican. See, I am not a collectivist. The individual is what is important; not the health of the state.

    Lastly, if you opened the border with Mexico, the wages would hit an equalibrium between the lower Mexican wages and the higher American wages.

    That would be a good thing because it would lower prices; any capitalist knows that consumption is what is important, not production.

  21. Trade and labor are two different things Mo. You can have free trade without open borders. We have for years.

    1. Trade and labor are the same thing. Free trade of widgets is not substantially different from free trade of labor. If you move a factory to Mexico, you are moving the jobs outside of the US and are, in essence, purchasing the labor of the people working in the factory in Mexico. The only difference is, the money that the laborers get in Mexico circulates in that economy versus here.

      We’ve never had free trade. Look at all of our protective tariffs and industry subsidies.

      1. Mo,

        If you move a factory to Mexico, you are moving the jobs outside of the US and are, in essence, purchasing the labor of the people working in the factory in Mexico.

        That is a fantastically good point.

        Furthermore, restrictions on immigration reinforce restrictions on goods and vice versa. One legitimizes the other.

        Of course what a lot of people just don’t get is that we should not concern ourselves with the trade policies of other nations; unilateral free trade will benefit us no matter what they do.

      2. Trade and labor are the same thing.

        Outside the open-borders-libertarian mindscape, this is a truly silly statement. Widgets don’t vote and consume social services. More importantly, the widgets who don’t get bought don’t vote and consume social services.

  22. “That would be a good thing because it would lower prices; any capitalist knows that consumption is what is important, not production.”

    I don’t think so. It would be good for some. Certainly those who want to hire foreign slaves to raise their kids and mow their lawns it would be good. It would be a bad thing for most everyone else. There is no shortage of cheap goods as it is. Further, a flood of cheap labor does not gaurentee wealth. By making labor cheap, it lowers the incentive to invest in capital and lowers productiveity gains. There are lots of advantages to an artificially tight labor market.

    1. Scratch a nonlibertarian, find a statist.

      1. Yes, because anyone who is not a anarchist or supports any concept of national sovereignty is a “statist”. In a stict sense anyone who is not an anarachist is a “statist”. But, you have by making such a distinction rendered the term meaningless.

  23. Mo,

    Immigration is just another aspect of free trade. It seems though that human beings may have a natural inclination against free trade: http://econlog.econlib.org/arc…..tifor.html

    John,

    BTW, it seems to me that large segments of a population’s exit could just as easily lead to reform. Anyway, Mexico is not nearly as corrupt, not nearly as poor, etc. as it was thirty years ago. We see this partly reflected in Mexico’s birth rate, which has plummeted since the 1960s.

    1. I don’t think that the reduction in population lead to reform. Reform seems to have happned in spite of this. Had the population not left, reform might have happened sooner.

      But again, if positive immigration is so good for the US, why is it not equally bad for Mexico. I don’t see how free trade combined with closed borders wouldn’t have greatly helped both countries.

  24. John,

    Certainly those who want to hire foreign slaves to raise their kids and mow their lawns it would be good.

    I think I can safely ignore you at this point.

    1. If you can’t think of a way to argue the point, you can always ignore. I believe it was Clint Eastwood that said “a good man knows his limitations”.

      1. John,

        Calling a nanny or a gardner a “slave” is just so stupid on its face I don’t see any reason to converse with you further.

  25. John – I never said anything about national sovereignty (a notion I support), but I noted your statism emerging when you openly conjectured that it might be good idea to dictate the labor market because you think you can tell better tell people how to direct their resources (capitalistic technology > cheap labor) better than they can.

    In other words, you’re a technocratic statist, all because there are some Mexicans coming in to work as nannies.

  26. That one sentence is really messed up. Should read “John thinks he can tell people how to direct their resources better than they can.”

    1. He can if he draws arbitrary, imaginary lines on maps.

    2. If you admit that the US has sovereignty, they you have to admit it has the right to control its borders? If sovereignty doesn’t mean that, what does it mean?

      So if the US has a right to control its borders, the question becomes how should it do that? And how do you judge what is the best policy. As a sovereign, the US government owes its own citizens a duty over the citizens of other nations.

      In the end, open borders with Mexico produce a better over all welfare if you include Mexicans. If you just look at Americans, open borders do not improve our welfare. If you had open borders, Mexicans would be wealthier and Americans would be poorer.

      There are downsides to immigration. Try going to get a job on a construction site or as a lawn mower in a major city in this country. You will, unless you are a Central American, have a hell of a time. Most crews speak Spanish and most supervisors do not want to upset their crews by hiring someone not from wherever his crew is predominately from. That is not good for society. Libertarians deny such realities exist. But they do.

      1. John, your lack of economic literacy in general is showing. Every “argument” you just presented is a generic protectionist argument. Watch:

        “There are downsides to cheap goods. Try to get a manufacturing job inside the United States. Most factories are Chinese, Indian or Mexican. That is not good for society”.

        You’re coming close to the “R” word.

  27. TAO,

    You know, short of a police state, how exactly do you stop in any way immigration?

    1. It is not that hard. You will never stop all of it, but you can stop most of it. We just don’t like to enfroce our laws. You wouldn’t have to have a police state to do it. Just go after the employers.

      1. Seriously, John, the contract between employer and employee isn’t harming you any. Mind your own business.

        1. It harms the hell out of me by social effects of that contract. If you want to have open borders, you are going to create a perpetually lose job market for low skilled labor.

          Again, if we have an endless stream of labor from Mexico, how are people at the bottom of our labor market supposed to ever get jobs? Why would I hire someone who had been in jail or made other mistakes in their life when I could hire someone from Mexico with none of those risks? I wouldn’t. That is good for me, but it is bad for the guy I don’t hire. It means that people who are on the bottom stay there. It chops off the ladder. That sucks.

          1. If you want to have open borders, you are going to create a perpetually lose job market for low skilled labor.

            This has been continually claimed since the days of the 19th century anti-immigrationists; it has been proven to demonstrably by the facts on the ground every time it has been raised. Labor markets are no more static than any other market is; unless of course they are stagnated by protectionist policies.

    2. Easy. Haven’t you seen From Dusk Til Dawn? Just set up a series of roadhouses full of vampires just inside the Mexican border. Anybody trying to get into the US illegally will get eaten.

  28. Seward – you pretty much do not. But, given that I think it’s permissible for a nation to block foreign agents, terrorists, criminals and the diseased. Other than that, there is no compelling interest to block people from engaging in freedom of contract for labor.

    I am curious as to what is so compelling to John to turn him into a statist.

    1. You agree that we have to have some immigration controls. We don’t want terrorists and criminals in the like coming into the country. I agree with that as well.

      That means there will never be such a things as “open borders” as long as we have a country. There will always be illegals because there will always be criminals and the like wanting to come into the country.

      I theory I understand the value of open borders. If Mexico were as wealthy as the US, I would be all for open borders. But, if you open your borders to a poorer country, your well being is going to go down and theirs is going to go up for at least a few decades. In the long term, you will get back what you lost, but I won’t be living in the long term. So, no thanks.

      1. John,

        If Mexico were as wealthy as the US, I would be all for open borders.

        Apparently you’ve never encountered the terms comparative advantage or opportunity costs.

        1. Really? Do tell. Don’t just throw words around. If we have free trade, we can have all sorts of comparative advantage trade relationships with Mexico. You don’t need open borders to have open trade.

      2. There may always be “illegals”, but you could reduce the quantity by 99% if you were screening simply based on TAO’s criteria.

        1. MP,

          I agree. It is a decent compromise.

    2. Well, IMHO, what a lot of this leads to is things like national ID cards and a plethora of other evils.

      1. You have to do something. I am not anti-immigration. I would support a system where anyone can come in but they have to not have a criminal record and they have to submit to a biometric indentity system. Get their biometrics. Then if they are convicted of a crime, they are done and they get deported immediately. But, anyone who is not a criminal can get the card. The card would then be good for say 7 years or so. At the end of that time, they have to pass an English test and apply for citizenship. If they don’t want to do that, they lose their card and go home. That would allow people who just want to come and work for a few years to do so. But, it would make people who stay, learn the language and become citizens. I think if you put those hurdles in, you wouldn’t totaly flood the labor market and you would get a ton of skilled workers who came, stayed and became citizens.

        1. Really? Any crime? So a guy gets a speeding ticket and he gets the boot? Why not deport American citizens that commit crimes as well?

          Also, why the requirement to speak English? If they can get along well enough speaking only German, Spanish or Polish, why should they have to learn English?

  29. If you admit that the US has sovereignty, they you have to admit it has the right to control its borders? If sovereignty doesn’t mean that, what does it mean?

    Sovereignty is the recognition that a state can effectively do whatever the hell it wants within the dominion it controls. As a positive concept, not a normative one, sovereignty tells us absolutely nothing about whether a state should or should not have open borders.

    The Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were sovereign, too. Does that mean everything those states did was legitimate because they were sovereign?

    1. No Sovereigns can’t do everything. No, they can’t stick people ovens. But, they sure as hell can determine who comes into their country. You can’t compare controlling your borders to killing your population. One is nothing like the other.

      1. Yes, but the rational basis for that control is self-defense. It is not economic.

        1. It is self defense and economic. People have a right to self determination. Nothing says every country has to be libertopia.

          1. Any program which tries to limit immigration for economic reasons will be captured by interest groups which will funnel the benefits from such a policy towards discrete groups in the society while screwing over everyone else. Concentrated benefits, dispersed costs; insights on which are brought to us by public choice economics. That by itself is enough reason to reject such.

            1. Sweard,

              No country in the world has open borders. None. The world seems to have done okay with immigration control. I don’t think it is quite life or death.

              Further, industries that want cheap labor manipulate the system for increased immigration at the expense of industries that don’t benefit from such. It works both ways.

              1. No country in the world has open borders. None.

                Realize, please, that a century ago you would have said the exact opposite.

                The world seems to have done okay with immigration control.

                The US seemed to do okay with no immigration control for its first three centuries.

                1. The [region now covered by the] US had huge tracts of sparsely populated arable land for its first two centuries, and an industrial sector that grew up from nothing during its third. Comparing that to our current situation is ridiculous.

  30. BTW, it is not surprising that some of the biggest anti-immigrationist advocates are also big supporters of enhanced government surveillance, national ID cards, etc.

  31. Again, if we have an endless stream of labor from Mexico, how are people at the bottom of our labor market supposed to ever get jobs?

    If we keep “outsourcing” our lower-run manufacturing, how will the poor ever get manufacturing jobs?

    John, your “logic” applies to all economic protectionism. Sight unseen, it makes no difference who I hire on the individual level.

    Why would I hire someone who had been in jail or made other mistakes in their life when I could hire someone from Mexico with none of those risks?

    Why should I be forced to hire an American criminal when a perfectly law-abiding Mexican worker is available?

  32. “John, your “logic” applies to all economic protectionism. Sight unseen, it makes no difference who I hire on the individual level.”

    So what? You are right. But, I would rather take a hit and pay a little higher price for some things and have a labor market that is tight and easy for anyone to get a job, than have cheaper goods and a brutal job market will people end up unemployable.

    We are a rich country. Why not spend some of that wealth to help out people on the bottom and make it easier for them to get jobs. Why not do that and then have free trade? That way we get get cheap goods via free trade so that we have the money to pay a little extra for labor?

    “Why should I be forced to hire an American criminal when a perfectly law-abiding Mexican worker is available?”

    Because we as a society should make the right determination that it is better to have a society where it is easy for people to enter the job market. That is why.

    1. John,

      But, I would rather take a hit and pay a little higher price for some things and have a labor market that is tight and easy for anyone to get a job, than have cheaper goods and a brutal job market will people end up unemployable.

      The quickest way to create a lot of unemployment is to create a lot of barriers to entry into the employment market. Most of Western Europe has have far more restrictions on these sorts of things and look at their perennially bad employment numbers in comparison to the U.S. Dude, this is Econ 101.

      1. You are comparing apples to oranges. Europe has barriers for entry for everyone not just immigrants. If you lower the hell out of barriers for locals and shut down immigration, you will not have high unemployment.

        1. Actually, barriers to entry for foreigners will breed barriers to entry for locals. It is all part of the same logic actually.

          1. That is nonsense. This country has decades of a very free economy and very high barriers to immigration. One does not have to cause the other. Just because something is the same logic, doesn’t mean that it is all or nothing. You can make choices.

            1. Actually, as controls on immigration so have controls on other areas of our lives. The drug war, controls on immigration, licensing laws, etc. are all part of the same phenomenon.

              Anyway, by your own account the U.S. has had only “formal” high barriers for entry. You know there is something wrong with a place where the informal or non-legal economy makes up a large portion of its GDP. Now that doesn’t make us say Latin America, but it means that we are headed that way.

        2. BTW, you are more than welcome to show me a nation which threw up barriers to entry for foreigners which was also had even a relatively free “internal” labor market. No such state exists to my knowledge.

          1. This United States. U.S. immigration policy has been both very lose and very restrictive depending on the time. But, it had until the New Deal very free interal labor markets. And the US still does have reasonably free internal labor markets when compared to the rest of the industrialized world.

            1. Internal barriers started to come into being the 1880s and 1890s with the rise of professional societies and the like just when the first external barriers came into being. This probably is not coincidental.

              1. You seem to have this idea that governments can’t make choices and distinctions. There is nothing that precludes haveing a free internal labor market and a strictly enforced border.

    2. Oh, and the surest way to an even deeper welfare state where more people depend on the government for their day to day existence and more “Tullock Lotteries” exist is to create barriers to entry in the job market.

      1. That is just a bizzare statement. Restricting immigration does not cause people to depend on the government for their existence anymore than enforceing contract law does. Indeed, if the government didn’t enforce contract law, the economy would collapse and few of us would have jobs.

        1. Actually it does, because restrictions on immigration lead to higher unemployment.

          1. Why, because you say so? Last I looked supply and demand still held sway in the labor market. Thus, an increased supply will lower prices and potentially create a surplus if the increase is large enough.

            1. Supply and demand are the same thing actually; and an increased “supply” will mean that more resources can be brought to bear for consumption. You have a very static model of how the world works apparently.

  33. About the only area I will give the “they tukRjerbs!” any credit is in some construction trades, especially when they can form an entire crew. Drywall and tile especially.

    In every other area I can think of, the need to communicate is so vital, that even low-skilled jobs typically stay with US citizens, or aliens who are proficient in English.

    1. Well, no one has a “right” to a job, so the job was never something they claim ownership to.

  34. Anyway, the reason that our immigration laws are not enforced as much as some would want is largely because the consequences of such would be so negative. Immigration law is just like a lot of other things the state makes laws about and then only loosely enforces; political theater.

  35. I agree with John completely. You know what else I’d like to see? Restrictions on people leaving the country; particularly those that possess valuable skill sets. Do you know what happens to our society when we lose our most talented doctors and engineers?

    1. Even worse, do you realize what happens to our precious nation-state? Well do you???

      1. What about are precious bodily fluids? The folks from beyond the nation’s borders will take them!

    2. I have never said that I am anti-immigration. I am not. I am anti-open borders. There is a difference. I am all for letting in all of the skilled labor you want. The more the better. It is the unskilled labor that is a problem.

      1. This is centralized economic planning. There is no way the state can really determine with any efficacy what is “skilled” and “unskilled” labor. My suggestion is that you check Hayek on the “socialist calculation” debate.

        Furthermore, again this is basically a system set up so that concentrated interests can benefit from it at the expense of everyone else.

  36. They’re losing their jobs because they happen to be without documentation

    Um, no. They don’t just “happen to be without documentation”. They’re both losiung their jobs and without documentation because they’re inside the country in violation of the law.

    It’s perfectly possible to be for open borders without deliberately lying about causality.

  37. To be fair, here’s the actual causality:

    1. Person is created equal and endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable rights, the securing of which is government’s sole objective.

    2. Government ignores that objective and abrogates person’s rights of travel, residence, and labor.

    3. Person tries to exercise these rights.

    4. Government prevents him.

    1. rights of travel, residence, and labor

      The “right to travel” is disputable when you’re talking about travel across international borders. The other “rights” you’re citing appear utterly fabricated in order to get the conclusion you want. A native ditch-digger could just as easily claim that his inalienable right to labor is violated by letting illegal immigrants take his job.

      1. Why do you think you don’t have the right to travel on whatever private conveyance or common right of way, the right to reside wherever you can find mutually agreeable accommodation, and the right to employment by whomever might wish to employ you?

        1. Do terrorist wannabes have the right to travel and residence too? If not, how do you justify not allowing them into the country?

          The right to travel ends at international borders. No, it’s not derivable from first principles, but that’s the way it has to be in this messy place called the world.

          1. Terrorists can legitimately be prohibited from entering the country because they pose an immediate and pressing danger to the common weal.

            Add violent felons, foreign agents, and carriers of contagion, and that pretty much exhausts the list of those whose migration the government can prohibit on the basis of compelling public interest.

            Economic migrants who exceed a quota don’t come close to meeting that standard.

            1. But people who have numerous characteristics in common with terrorists, and violent felons, who are already in the US don’t have to leave.

              You’re discriminating in protecting the so-called “right of residence” on the basis of the so-called “arbitrary line” again. Tough trap to escape from, isn’t it.

              1. What the hell does “numerous characteristics in common with” mean?

                I assure you that federal, state, and local governments authorize themselves to detain people of all those classes — save felons who the state has deemed have done their time — today, within the borders of the US, regardless of their citizenship. And most anyone would think that authority legitimate.

                The border is simply a convenient and pragmatically important place to do such filtering — a place that the government should exploit, but only in the compelling public interest.

                1. If you’re going to screen for likely terrorists at the border, then you’re going to have to have a list of characteristics to look for. Characteristics that the govt does not (and should not) have the authority to kick people out of the country for.

                  I also like how you exclude violent felons in your response to my question about violent felons.

                  The border is simply a convenient and pragmatically important place to do such filtering — a place that the government should exploit, but only in the compelling public interest.

                  Dude, you can either take a pragmatic view, or you can bloviate about inalienable rights to international travel and residence. They are mutually exclusive. Your statement above is going to violate the rights you accuse anti-open-borders people of wanting to violate. “Compelling public interest” means different things to different people, so quit pretending like your definition is perfectly rational and prudent while John’s, for instance, is horribly statist and reactionary. It’s like, your opinion, man.

  38. The land of the United States is the collectively-owned property of its citizens. If the owners of that property are free to do whatever they like with respect to guests.

    Mexicans have no more of a right to cross the Rio Grande than I have to wander on to your front lawn.

    1. If the owners of that property are free to do whatever they like with respect to guests.

      Just what is it in this finely thought out political theory that prevents them from doing whatever they like with respect to fellow citizens?

      1. I think what our bright young friend is trying to say is that Mexicans should be barred from federal lands. As for my factory, shop, or home, I don’t see how his collective property rights argument has any bearing. Seems like if I want to employ a person who doesn’t happen to be a US citizen on my private property, neither he nor any other American other than the property owner (or leaseholder, as the case may be) would have any say one way or the other.

  39. I would ask the folks who deride international borders as “arbitrary lines drawn on maps” that should be of no account, whether they had a problem with US troops crossing arbitrary lines drawn on maps in Iraq. And why, if those lines don’t matter.

  40. Borders are arbitrary lines drawn on maps with respect to individual rights — just as race is an arbitrary line drawn on a color chart and sex is an arbitrary line drawn on chromosomes with respect to individual rights.

    The border of Iraq matters to the US because a party that is not the US believes it has dominion there, and it is willing to defend that belief with force. It does not and should not matter to the question of whether individual Iraqis can migrate wherever they want.

    1. Ah, so if I — a party that is not the US — sincerely believe I have dominion over my house and yard, I should therefore be subject to no local, state, or federal law enforcement actions while in that area?

      1. Odd. I don’t seem to have said anything like that.

        I was citing the pragmatic difficulty of a state believing it can exercise itself in the de facto dominion of another state without repercussions.

        I assure you that you and your house and your yard provide no pragmatic difficulty to the state in its exercise of its perceived sovereignty.

        1. The army of Iraq presented little pragmatic difficulty to the US during the invasion too. In any case, that wasn’t my question; I was asking if the US was within its rights to invade Iraq under those conditions. Not about what the tactical situation was.

          If you’re arguing might makes right, as you’re coming very close to doing, then you’re contradicting your position on the US govt needing to respect foreigners’ “right of residence”.

  41. Tulpa|10.1.09 @ 4:00PM|#

    I would ask the folks who deride international borders as “arbitrary lines drawn on maps” that should be of no account, whether they had a problem with US troops crossing arbitrary lines drawn on maps in Iraq. And why, if those lines don’t matter.

    We have no problem with US troops crossing that arbitrary line as civilians and not killing people. But dressing up in a uniform and driving a tank or a bomber across arbitrary lines for the purposes of blowing things up and killing people, that is generally a thing to be avoided, barring extreme provocation.

    It should be noted that I don’t really want the US military to shoot people or bomb things (outside of designated target ranges) on this side of those imaginary lines, either, if it can in any way be avoided.

  42. Open borders totally screw people at the bottom end of the workforce.

    Open borders for only the bottom end of the workforce totally screws people.

    FIFY

  43. OK, so if the governor of Kansas was believed to be stockpiling chemical and biological weapons and working on a nuclear program, and he was slaughtering tens of thousands of Kansans and throwing them in mass graves, do you think the Federal Govt should remove him by force if he refuses to step down?

    Yes?

    So why can’t the federal government do the same thing with Saddam Hussein when he does these things? (Note: do not include any reference to arbitrary lines on maps in your answer)

  44. Article IV, Section 4

    The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.

    I don’t see Iraq in there. Do you?

    1. The answer in general is that the people of Kansas expect the US to protect them against the Kansas government’s running amok exactly as we all think they should.

      The people of Iraq, however, may or may not have any such expectation. The government of Iraq that claims dominion there certainly does not. Thus it poses a pragmatic difficulty for the US to try to protect the rights of Iraqis in Iraq.

      Iraqis in the US, of course, are a different story. Their rights — including those of travel, residence, and labor — should be protected by the US government.

  45. Your position has led you to the conclusion that other than “pragmatic difficulties”, there’s no problem with the US sending troops into Kazakhstan, for instance, to protect the right of travel of people who want to cross from Kazakhstan to Uzbekistan.

    You might want to reconsider your position. Especially since it depends on identifying the expectations and beliefs of groups of individuals who probably don’t share a single expectation or belief…

  46. You asked me, effectively, what the difference was between the US exercising its powers within its claimed dominion and the US exercising its powers in another state’s claimed dominion. I told you that the difference is that the US will have a lot more difficulty doing the latter, both because the other state might be unhappy about it and because the other state’s denizens may be unhappy about it.

    I fail to see how one can draw from that the conclusion that there’s no problem with the US sending troops into another state’s dominion or how anything I said implies that I think that is a good idea.

  47. “Compelling public interest” means different things to different people, so quit pretending like your definition is perfectly rational and prudent while John’s, for instance, is horribly statist and reactionary. It’s like, your opinion, man.

    My opinion is that individual rights are not determined by which side of a border you were born on. My opinion is that states should secure and not abrogate those individual rights. Therefore, my opinion is that you should be able to cross borders freely unless it can be proven, individually and specifically, that your migration poses a serious threat.

    My opinion is also that economic theory and empirical results show free migration maximizes wealth and happiness. My opinion is that that is the case even counting only those on the side of the border the immigration is into. My opinion is that, when you consider the wealth and happiness of the migrant himself, the net gain from free migration is truly enormous.

    So if you ask me on what grounds the state can prevent immigration, the answer I give you will be focused, specific, and targeted solely at individuals for cause. That cause must meet a standard. I call it the compelling public interest. If you are fast and loose with any of those three words, please call it something else.

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