Reason Writers Around Town: Shikha Dalmia on Why America Will Regret Restrictionism as it Does Segregationism


Conservatives are resorting to ever more draconian measures to take back the country from "illegal immigrants," points out Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia in her latest column at The Daily. The latest state to declare an all-out jihad is Alabama. But as with slavery and segregation, they are using the government to commit sins that will eventually require even more government to undo.

She notes:

Every country has a right to control its borders. But both liberal and illiberal immigration policies are consistent with this right. Dispatching drones and erecting electric fences to prevent willing foreign workers from being hired by willing domestic employers are tactics more suitable to a police state than a free republic…

Closing off economic opportunities and tearing apart families will ghettoize a subset of Hispanics, just as segregation and Jim Crow ghettoized Southern blacks. Right now, a country caught up in a restrictionist fury might not care.

But a civilized society doesn't forever tolerate such blatant inhumanity. Ultimately, some triggering event forces it to confront its turpitudes.

Whole thing here.

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  1. Officer, am I free to gambol about plain and forest?

    1. Big Chief, am I free to gamble about the reservation casino?

  2. So the US which has more then a million immigrants a year becoming citizens and others becoming legal residence is “restrctionist”.

    1. When it’s ridiculously difficult to do so, yes.

  3. So we’ve started to dispatch killer drones to shoot down border crossers? Why does everything you write have to be so exaggerated and hyperbolized. Seriously, get a grip.

    1. Because we will be there, shortly.

    2. “So we’ve started to dispatch killer drones to shoot down border crossers?”

      That’s the “jihad” part.

      The constant melodrama grates.

  4. Love the scare quotes around illegal immigrants. Guess they just left their documentation in their other pants…

    1. yea, i caught that, too. it’s pretty blatant evidence of bias, when you put scare quotes around as uncontroversial a term as illegal immigrants.

      they enter the country illegally, they are illegal immigrants.

      1. I believe these quotation marks were used because the writer does not believe there is such a thing as an “illegal” immigrant. Open-border folks, of which I am one, will tend to do this.

        Of course, the word “illegal” itself has its own stigma and in this case is based on the misconception that government should control the free movement of people and resources.

        1. Of course, the word “illegal” itself has its own stigma

          It will be a bad day if the word “illegal” ever loses its stigma. Open border proponents don’t like the word because it is accurate and because they are constantly trying to blur the distinction between legal and illegal immigration in an effort to smear those who just want the law enforced. If you don’t like the law, change it, but don’t promote lawlessness just because you can’t get your way legitimately.

          1. “Open border proponents […] are constantly trying to blur the distinction between legal and illegal immigration in an effort to smear those who just want the law enforced.”

            No, they’re trying to point out the problem with the immigration laws in effort to convince people the law should be changed. If that makes you uncomfortable, that’s your own problem.


  6. I’d like Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia to name a single nation with a more open immigration policy than the U.S..

    1. Mexico.

      1. That’s not true.

      2. Activists blast Mexico’s immigration law…..ants_N.htm

        1. Activists blast US immigration law

    2. According to this list?…..on_in_2005

      Hong Kong
      New Zealand

      …and about 20 other countries.

      1. Yeah,try moving to Canada for the States and getting a job. You want to talk about protectionist. Also, I don’t think your list really tells you anything anyways becuase it doesn’t have specifics about criteria. Most of these countries are not going to let just anyone in, how many poor 3rd world people are allowed to immigrate to Luxenbourge or Switzerland. How many Muslims to Isreal. Hong Kong goes after highly skilled workers. They don’t exactly have open border policies.

        1. Go ahead and move the goal post all you want. The Countries I listed have a higher percentage of immigrants living within their borders than the US. Despite what Che might think, the US does not have the most open immigration policies.

          1. Well, there is a difference between official policy and actual policy. The US actual immigration policy is to not enforce it’s official policy. I’m certainly not aware of any other country that does that. I think our official policy should be more open then it is, but that doesn’t change the fact that Shikha’s comparison of how we treat immigrants to the lynching of black slaves is freakin’ retarded to put it nicely. She’s always over the top.

            1. She’s on an “all-out jihad!”

            2. That’s why no one ever gets deported. Oh, wait… except that they do.


            3. The US actual immigration policy is to not enforce it’s official policy.

              Are you fucking retarded? Canada isn’t the one talking about building an electrified fence along it’s border.

              10 to 1 it’s a shit ton easier to live and work illegally in Canada than it is in the US.

              1. Where’s that electric fence at? Oh, that’s right they haven’t built one. Talk is not enforcement dipshit. There’s over 11 million illegals in the US. Is that what you call enforcing the law? Is that what you call making it difficult to live and work in the US illegally? You’re clueless asshole.

    3. Canada.

    4. Canada

  7. The protectionists should be happy, the trade deficit has been reduced! Only had to destroy the economy to do it…

  8. 1) The immigration laws probably aren’t going to change until the ones we have are enforced enough to discommode the status quo.

    2) The CURRENT situation relegates a large hispanic population to a cultural ghetto. Pretending that they are here with our blessings won’t change that as long as we could instantly change our minds

  9. The Free Market and no government intervention is the only way to solve the Immigration problem.

    Just get rid of the immigration and hiring regulations and the Mexicans would not be illegal.

    1. Just get rid of the immigration and hiring regulations and the Mexicans would not be illegal.

      A similar technique could be used to reduce the murder rate in America to zero as well.

      Hell, the total crime rate could be reduced to zero if we just abolished all crime laws.

      You are an idiot.

      1. You’re attempting to equate breaking immigration law with killing someone else. I guess you must be upset that laws enforcing slavery were eliminated too.

        1. I bet if spoke with many of these southern white folks they would agree that the government has no business intervening in the shooting of mexicans.

          1. “southern white folks”

            Bigoted much? I’ve encountered far more racial bigotry in the north than in the south. Probably because the racial mix in the south is greater and people have to learn to get along with one another.

      2. No, your inability to argue and your use of logical fallacies make you the idiot.

        1. my post was directed at heart of darkness

        2. What logical fallacy? Alice declares that the Immigration problem can be eliminated by eliminating immigration law and I responded in kind. Apparently, in Alice’s unicorn world, problems caused by human actions can be eliminated by pretending that they don’t exist.

          Eliminate criminals by making everything legal. Woo-hoo! Fixed all the world’s problems!

          1. “Alice declares that the Immigration problem can be eliminated by eliminating immigration law”

            No, that is not what Alice said. Alice said “Just get rid of the immigration and hiring regulations and the Mexicans would not be illegal.” That you jumped from there to comparing changing immigration law to making murder legal is not Alice’s fault.

            If we apply the logic you seem to be using, in your world all the world’s problems are apparently solved by making all problems caused by human actions illegal. Unfortunately for you, not everyone wants to live in an authoritarian prison.

  10. No one wants more illegal immigrants. But the problem is not the number of people trying to enter the country. The problem is the law that makes legal entry to the country so difficult for so many people. Make legal entry significantly easier, and the number of illegal immigrants will drop.

    1. True. I support tripling the number of immigration visas we issue each year.

  11. But a civilized society doesn’t forever tolerate such blatant inhumanity. Ultimately, some triggering event forces it to confront its turpitudes.

    Exactly. When Latin American gangs start routinely beheading people on US soil, then political correctness and the delusional idiocies of multiculturalism and post-nationalism will be swept aside and the blatant inhumanity will be confronted.

    will ghettoize a subset of Hispanics

    Histrionics, preposterous predictions, moral panic.

    1. You must be sad that the Yellow Peril didn’t pan out.

    2. You feel no concern at all for the perspective of a kid who has been living in the US since she was 2, who is a straight A student and a valedictorian, accepted to an Ivy League University, who is suddenly told that she’ll never be allowed to do anything other than work as a maid?
      Because shes “illegal”?

      What the fuck kind of libertarian are you?

  12. Jim Crow didn’t create ghetto blacks, welfare created ghetto blacks.

  13. Anyone who thinks that only Southern blacks were ghettoized needs to do some more American history homework. Try Loewen’s “Sundown Towns” for starters.

    1. When Blacks started moving into Englewood, NJ during the Great Migration, neighboring Teaneck, NJ created a park on the boarder to act as a buffer zone.

  14. And yet, it’s perfectly acceptable for a town to ban affordable multifamily dwellings to prevent poor American citizens from moving into a school district. Alabama wouldn’t get any flack if it enacted the North East building codes that drive poor people out of the Northeast.

  15. The immigration laws have created a vast underclass of undocumented immigrants, and their descendants, who are institutionally discriminated against in our society. The Jim Crow analogy is apt. If you look at especially the children of illegal aliens, these are kids who have lived their whole lives as Americans, in many cases, not even knowing they were undocumented until they reached adulthood. At which point they are confronted wityh the brutal reality that no matter how smart or educated they are, they will never have professional career, and their work opportunities are limited to menial jobs that will pay them cash under the table.

    Many of these people ultimately end up in a black market economy where they trade amoungst themselves, policed by criminal gangs, who are the only mechanism for contract enforcement and dispute resolution in their society.

    It’s an alternate society, forbidden from participating in the mainstream economy, legally restricted from experiencing the opportunities that America offers legal residents and citizens, who are effectively exploited by the rest of society. When one group of people is institutionally forbidden from legally working they are easily exploited by both legal Americans and criminal gangs.

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  17. As somebody famous once said: you can have open borders or a welfare state, but you can’t have both.

  18. As a friend and neighbour (Canada) with extensive experience in immigration it amazes me that the US continues in its immigration mess. If you seriously want to solve the many problems inherent in illegal immigration the first thing that needs to be done is to step the influx so at least the problem doesn’t get worse. That means effective border controls for those seeking entry and effective inland controls for those already in. Once this is in place you can decide what to do about those alr already in the country. In the end you will not remove 11 million people so while you can get rid of the criminals and others who diminish your society you will end up ignoring the rest and accepting the consequences or concluding that some kind of regularization is inevitable. If you regularize the illegals before controlling the border and as well as those in the country the problem is merely exacerbated.

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