Immigration Is Good for the U.S. Economy

Let them in.


Immigration hawks make many weak arguments, so it is hard to pick the weakest. But one contender you see a lot goes like this: "If you think the U.S. should welcome those people, then I assume you'll be putting some of them up in your own home, won'tcha? Hunh? Howaboutit, buddy?"

At first blush this could seem like a pretty devastating takedown, along the lines of the old joke by Will Rogers—who once said he was so old he could remember when a liberal was someone who was generous with his own money.

A few years ago Arthur Brooks gave that joke empirical heft in his book Who Really Cares? He went in search of data about charitable giving and found, to his surprise, that conservatives as a group tend to be far more personally generous than liberals. Among other things, he noted that if liberals donated blood at the same rate conservatives do, the nation's blood supply would jump by 45 percent. This confounding of stereotypes (liberals are compassionate, conservatives are not) seems mystifying, at least until you note economist Bryan Caplan's observation that while voluntary charity is costly to the giver, voting for charity is virtually free.

That's what makes the immigration hawks' argument seem so powerful: It makes the pro-immigration side look like hypocrites.

But that impression rests on a misunderstanding. Because, in fact, a great many Americans are willing to offering housing to immigrants. And to hire them, and to sell them groceries, and peddle clothing to them, and so on. In fact, it is precisely the willingness of many Americans to hire immigrants that drives another anti-immigration argument: If we let too many immigrants into the country, they will take our jobs. (More on that fallacy shortly.)

So here comes Juan, traipsing across the border in search of a better life. Lucas runs a construction company and would be happy to pay Juan to swing a hammer. Mike owns an apartment complex and would gladly rent Juan a room. Amanda would like to sell Juan some groceries. Steve wants Juan to have a few drinks at his nightclub. And so on.

Meanwhile there's Sebastian, a professor of literary theory, who supports broader immigration policy but doesn't want to turn his personal residence into a rooming house for new undocumented arrivals. Imagine how ridiculous it would be to say to Lucas and Mike and Amanda and Steve: "Look, we know you all want to do business with Juan—but we can't let you, because Sebastian isn't interested." Where is the sense in that?

To hear some border hawks talk, immigrants want to come to America only so they can sponge off welfare programs supported by hardworking Americans. The truth is much closer to the opposite. Among working-age men, immigrants are more likely to be working than native U.S. citizens. In fact, illegal immigrants are the most likely to work: In one recent year, 93 percent of undocumented alien males participated in the labor force. The figure for legal immigrants was 86 percent. Among native-born American men, it was 81 percent.

Immigrants also show a greater entrepreneurial spirit than native-born Americans. In a 2012 report, the Partnership for a New American Economy notes this: "Over the last 15 years, while native-born Americans have become less likely to start a business, immigrants have steadily picked up the slack. Immigrants are now more than twice as likely as the native-born to start a business and were responsible for more than one in every four (28 percent) U.S. businesses founded in 2011, significantly outpacing their share of the population (12.9 percent)."

Immigrant-owned businesses in the U.S. generate more than $775 billion in sales and pay more than $126 billion in payroll each year. Much of that prosperity derives from exports—"immigrant-owned businesses are more than 60 percent more likely to export than non-immigrant businesses," says the report—which makes perfect sense (who better than a Guatemalan native to sell U.S. goods in Guatemala?).

The entrepreneurship figures are significant because most new jobs are created by new businesses. As the Partnership paper reports, "one in every 10 workers at privately owned U.S. companies now works at an immigrant-owned company. … Altogether, immigrant-owned businesses have collectively created 4 million jobs that exist today in the United States." 

Were it not for business starts by immigrants, the U.S. jobs picture would look much more grim than it does. Immigrants aren't taking jobs from millions of Americans—they're giving jobs to millions of Americans. And doing business with millions more. 

But not the Sebastian of our example above. Doesn't Sebastian's willingness to let Juan enter the country, combined with his unwillingness to let Juan stay at his house, still make him a hypocrite? No. If Sebastian is willing to let Juan enter the country so he can do business with Lucas and Mike and Amanda and Steve, he isn't being a moral phony. He is simply minding his own business. 

Maybe the border hawks should try it some time.

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  1. In one recent year, 93 percent of undocumented alien males participated in the labor force

    If FedGov is unaware of their presence, how can they say what percentage of them are in the labor force?

    1. We have a compelling narrative here and you seem determined to fuck it up.

    2. I love the production of statistics about a group about which the government knows little or nothing–we have “don’t ask, don’t tell” rules for most questions that would provide data. 93%–sure, why not.

    3. This is true but you cant also prove the true unemployment rate.

  2. Immigration hawks make many weak arguments, so it is hard to pick the weakest. But one contender you see a lot goes like this: “If you think the U.S. should welcome those people, then I assume you’ll be putting some of them up in your own home, won’tcha? Hunh? Howaboutit, buddy?”

    One concern worth mentioning when it comes to indiscriminate immigration of low skill/low capital immigrants; the legions of new Democrats you create by importing an entire underclass.

    1. A free society does not concern itself with the voting habits of newcomers, especially when they are undocumented and therefore unlikely to vote.

      1. Agreed.

        Plus, it is insulting to say I must be a Democrat because I’m in a lower class. People of all classes are equally capable of blue AND red statist idiocy.

      2. A free society

        What does that have to do with us?

        1. Underpants gnome theory of libertarianism goes something like this:

          1. Open the borders
          2. ????
          3. LIBERTOPIA

            1. Yeah, I know, every potentially uncomfortable practicality of a given policy proposal is a strawman. And the great thing about strawmen is that they don’t have to be discussed or contemplated.

              If you’re making a moral case for immigration then it’s completely irrelevant anyway. If you want to go the utilitarian route, you might want to hammer out some of those details.

              1. That’s not an underpants gnome theory, that’s reality. Open borders are part and parcel of a free society.

                Underpants gnome theory of border restriction:

                1. Let people in


                3. BLUE TAKEOVER (except in Texas, or anywhere else)

                1. Open borders are part and parcel of a free society.

                  America is not a free society though. That was the intended point of the post that touched off this discussion:

                  A free society

                  What does that have to do with us?

                  The practicalities of open borders in a very much unfree society have nothing really at all to do with the benefits of open borders in a free society for reasons that should be obvious as a categorical matter.

                2. Open borders mean no borders. No borders mean – eventually maybe – no distinction between countries. There are some countries that I would rather not mix with randomly. Personally, I like contract law, property rights, etc. These things were not created nor will they be appreciated by the unwashed masses. Do Mexican laborers understand that the market that gives them jobs only works because we were sticklers over cultural and legal institutions that make market based semi-regulated capitalism work?

                  What if some country in Africa decides they want these institutions? They will start to have a large competitive advantage over their neighbors. Would it be prudent to let your society be infected by people that don’t care about the fundamental principles that create wealth?

                  Completely open borders are ridiculous. They won’t work. We can welcome immigrants without open unchecked borders.

                  1. Technically, borders in an open-border society would exist exclusively to delineate jurisdiction, so things like contract law, property rights, etc could still exist. The individual states and their respective municipalities provide a practical example: anyone is free to move about the states and the cities and towns within them as they please, and they become subject to different sets of laws based on whatever jurisdiction in which they find themselves.

                  2. Completely open borders are ridiculous. They won’t work

                    They’re working for a lot of people:

                    1) Chamber of Commerce Republicans
                    2) All Democrats

                    Open borders work so well that we’ve been doing them for over 30 years now. Teddy Kennedy promoted the 1965 law that fucked things up by essentially converting immigration policy run by the US to an immigration policy run by the immigrants.

              2. The argument is that immigrants are a net benefit. It’s NOT about utopia. That’s a strawman.

                1. That was the topic of the article, but not the post to which you replied. Did you lose the threading, or were you just not much interested in the trivialities of, you know, the actual discussion taking place?

                  1. You posted:

                    “Underpants gnome theory of libertarianism goes something like this:

                    1. Open the borders
                    2. ????
                    3. LIBERTOPIA”

                    This is a strawman.

                    1. Well, being a joke (the “underpants gnomes” is a South Park reference), the exaggeration is intentional. Some rather obvious editing to make it fit a joke template from a cartoon notwithstanding, it’s not a misrepresentation of anything though.

                2. The argument is that immigrants are a net benefit.

                  Perhaps they are a net benefit. I notice the examples given in the article were three business owners favoring more illegal immigration. That is not surprising. Just because a thing is a *net* benefit to the country as a whole, does not mean those for whom it is a net negative do should be castigated for opposing it.

          1. Re: PM

            1. Open the borders
            2. Which increases DIVISION OF LABOR
            3. Which releases more labor to more productive endeavors through COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE
            4. Which increases productivity and thus economic activity.

            I don’t know what you think “Libertopia” means but the above is true even if the government called itself communist.

            1. This.

            2. “I don’t know what you think “Libertopia” means…”

              He doesn’t either.

              1. I think “Social democracy with lots of brown people, because racism” would be a pretty shitty definition of it.

            3. the above is true even if the government called itself communist.

              Well, not really, because the communist government dismantles the market into which labor would freely flow, artificially restricts access to capital, distorts the equilibrium of labor, centralizes ownership so there are no price mechanisms by which the market can actually function, and puts its own citizens out of work, onto the dole, and then starves them to death when the Agriculture Bureau can’t properly plan the maintenance and distribution of food. Which is why the type of government in place is somewhat germane to a discussion of immigration policy.

              1. So we can assume you’re against any all other market reform, given that we don’t currently live in “liberrtopia”, right?

                1. You could assume that on many reform issues, I don’t mind contemplating the practical consequences of policy given the current context rather than mentally jacking off about what might be, if only reality was completely and totally different. Don’t get me wrong, I quite enjoy mentally jacking off about political philosophy as well, but when it comes time to actually do something like, say for example, end social security, yeah, I might want to talk about the particulars of how to best go about cutting off those resources to tens of millions of people without causing a catastrophic social disruption.

            4. It’s completely understandable that those at the top would want increased illegal immigration. What people should address is how increased immigration helps those in the bottom third of society. You’d get a lot further.

      3. Obama’s warning: ‘Right-size’ immigration expectations

        Adding to the elevated hopes about what Obama will do is the feeling among Democratic strategists that immigration reform is a clear political winner: … voters whom Obama might be able to activate, both among immigrant communities and progressives overall who see this issue as a touchstone, are exactly the ones that Democrats are hoping will be there to counter a midterm year in which the map and historical trends favor GOP turnout.

        In many competitive House districts and several of the Senate races that Democrats need to hold onto to have a chance of retaining the majority ? Colorado and Iowa, and to a lesser extent, North Carolina and Arkansas ? immigrant communities make up a significant bloc of votes. Done in a way that energizes Latinos and Asians, Obama’s taking the lead on immigration could prove a margin-making move for the midterms.

        Much of the discussions have focused on what can be sold to the American public and midterm voters, with the 2012 Dreamers model very much on the participants’ minds? Hispanic and

        1. Gah, the last para got cut off – it is:

          Much of the discussions have focused on what can be sold to the American public and midterm voters, with the 2012 Dreamers model very much on the participants’ minds? Hispanic and Asian voters turned out in large numbers that fall.

    2. Perhaps you don’t know what I mean by low capital. Is the capital advantage greater or worse when you get an influx of South American immigrants? We’d agree that your better off versus no immigrants, but probably also that you’re yet still better off when those South Americans come with a diversity of skills, so you can reasonably argue that Argentine immigrants would be preferable to Peruvian ones et cetera.

      Would the same principal apply with an influx of Pakistani tribesman immigrants? Do cultures that allow psuedo-moral permission to rape women have anything to offer our society? Should their migration costs be externalized onto tax payers? Should any groups be given preference? Should society be forced at gun-point to accept them?

      Intrinsic differences between immigrant groups is logical evidence that individuals from certain cultures tend to possess differing amounts of human capital. A group with utterly no respect for property rights and no prospect for integration will, in the long run, be a negative or at least a detriment to capital formation and accumulation. Multiculturalism is a costly myth that helps erode the centuries of progress in the West towards property rights and principles of liberty.

  3. But then we’d have to demilitarize the border. Inconceivable!

  4. A few things here.

    1. What is a border hawk, are there people who want to declare war on a line, is it just a smear against his opponents, or is it some avian species I’ve never heard of.

    2. The argument ” would you want them living in your house” is usually made vis- a-vis the welfare state, and especially concerning unacompanied children. Not really a hypocritical argument when people demand that I pay for their bennies.

    3. If we had an actual free market economy the “jerbs” argument would be ridiculous, but wage laws, taxes, and the regulatory state do give employers an incentive to hire illegal aliens over others.

    1. 3. Then illegals are a great way to circumvent The Total State-we need more of them!

      1. I find the economic argument in the article shallow. Immigrant owned businesses create jobs. Great. What about the ones that don’t which are still the vast majority? That doesn’t really show the effect they have on wages and unemployment for those already here.

        If you want to make a moral argument for immigration, do it. Don’t try and gloss over some of the major economic issues with intentionally shallow analysis.

        1. There is no economic argument in this article at all. I love when a guy starts with, “all the arguments against me are weak, but I’m going to take down the weakest one” and then claims that that somehow proves that open borders improve the economy…Very underpants gnome.

          1. Are you …retarded? Do you not do reading comprehension?

            1. Wow. Nice one man!

          2. exactly.

        2. RTFA. 1/10 jobs created by immigrants. Even if the rest of the immigrants were pushing down wages-which they fucking don’t-1/10 can’t be outweighed.

          Of course, the notions that cheaper labor is bad or that more workers will irreversibly lead to lower wages or that the labor market is homogeneous are all nonsense on stilts that border mouthbreathers *want* to be true because they enjoy feeling threatened by furriners.

          1. the article says one in ten workers is employed by an immigrant owned company immigrants make up a little more than 1/10 of the population so that’s not surprising.

            By the way, are you intelligent enough to make an argument rather than just call names?

          2. “one in every 10 workers at privately owned U.S. companies now works at an immigrant-owned company…”


            1/10 jobs created by immigrants.

            You should probably think about taking your own advice before you lecture anybody else on their reading comprehension. Interestingly, you could have used the actual cited stat to make the same point. I wonder if you even understand the difference.

            1. So owning the company means you don’t create the jobs there. There is a legitimate distinction here I’m just not sure if it makes a difference.

              1. If they make one tenth of the jobs, and they are more than one tenth of the population, and you argue that more jobs automatically equals better economy, you’re really arguing for an increase in population, not an increase in immigration.

              2. There is a legitimate distinction here I’m just not sure if it makes a difference.

                As I said, you could have made the same point with the correctly cited information. You just come off looking like a huge prick trying to condescend to people about their reading comprehension whilst improperly citing the source material.

            2. Are those legal-immigrant owned companies?

      2. “Then illegals are a great way to circumvent The Total State”

        ^^This x1000

    2. Yes, I couldn’t figure out that usage either.

  5. This article is mistitled. Arguing against the premise that if you’re for open borders you have to be ready to offer your home to an immigrant is not arguing for immigration’s impact on the economy.


    1. +1 Murica


    1. ^^If you haven’t read the article, just read this ingenious syllogism.

      Now you’re all caught up.

      Even his first premise, which most of you probably agree with, is bullshit. It’s not that the illegal immigrants should live in an open borderer’s house, but rather that the open borders beta should personally fund the welfare state that will go to support the hordes of moochers pouring across our non-border.

      1. MUH WELFARE!!!!

      2. “the hordes of moochers pouring across our non-border.” only exists in your imagination.

        1. So 70,000 kids in detention facilities is a figment of my fucking imagination?

        2. Let’s see: 50,000 kids when one kid costs public schools $10,000 conservatively to educate each year? K-12, 50,000 kids cost school districts $6 BILLION dollars. Reports are that the number is more like 65,000 now. So will they be paying property taxes of $10,000 per year to offset education costs?

          1. You’re almost right on the money – in 2012, the average cost of public education was $10,500 per child per year.

            Every single minor crossing the border is going to cost the taxpayer $10,500 in public schooling alone.

            Imagine that this minor came with a parent or adult. The adult would likely have to earn between $50,000 to $100,000 for his taxes to offset the cost of his child.

            Simple math like this eludes Reason magazine.

  8. No, Barton. Immigration and illegal immigration are not the same thing. You disingenuously try to equate the two. Trying out for the Washington Post?

    1. This is Reason. A twice-weekly open-border article in mandatory.

      1. Yes, how awful that a libertarian magazine would write articles about libertarian principles.

        1. Which libertarian principle would that be? And can you write about one while ignoring violations of the others?

    2. Ok… so create a path for legal immigration.

      1. There already is a path for legal immigration. It’s arduous and fairly restrictive. You’re talking about adjusting the quotas or changing policy, not opening a new path where none previously existed.

        1. The ‘path’ is a grossly unfair kafkaesque absurdity, and it doesn’t at all if you aren’t lucky enough to be included on the outrageously tiny quota for unskilled labor. Immigrants have no moral obligation to follow your asinine rules, and indeed they owe to themselves to break them.

          1. You just repeated exactly what I said. So, uh… I agree. Cool.

          2. And yet about 1 million people manage to successfully navigate this process and become legal US citizens each year (although process itself may take longer).

            I’m inclined to agree with you that the process is convoluted, unbalanced, and inefficient. But that does not negate the fact that it does succeed for a large number of people each year.

            Absent a welfare state, I’d certainly have a lot problems with much freer legal immigration.

            And one has to ask: just how many unskilled and uneducated people do we need to import each year? Do we not have plenty already? It seems to me the US excels at churning out unskilled and un(der)educated citizens, obviating a *real* need to import more.

          3. Those “asinine rules” are otherwise known as the law. I don’t believe it’s unreasonable to expect citizens of another country to follow the laws of this one if they choose to come here (or vice versa). Apparently, you do.

          4. There is a path for legal immigration. Whether it’s unfair in any way is an interesting question–what are the criteria? Why do we want unskilled labor? And they’re not MY rules.

  9. As per usual, the Reason staff fails to note that the higher incidence of entrepreneurship among immigrants stat refers to legal immigrants within the current US immigration structure that excludes virtually everyone who isn’t already well-educated and already relatively wealthy. Which should be kind of a “gee, no shit” bit of trivia. Shikha, as abjectly retarded as she is, at least has the intellectual honesty to admit when she’s referring to uneducated, half-literate manual laborers who will very likely never rise above the level of dishwasher in their lifetime instead of trying to statistically shuffle them into the same stack as Sergey Brin and Raj Rajaratnam. Open immigration entails a much different pool of immigrants and for that reason alone would have a large impact on statistical analysis of the immigrant population compared to the environment we have today. You can pom pom wave for open immigration without being intentionally dishonest.

    1. Or maybe the fact that illegals have to operate well illegally because of asinine enforcements regimes means they can’t start a business.

      1. Yeah, probably. You’re helping me make my point. Counting up the business started by a few hundred thousand carefully selected people, most with post graduate degrees and substantial savings, and then presuming they will extrapolate to a completely different population without the same selection criteria is probably not a good analysis.

      2. Yup, the only reason that illegals don’t open businesses is because they are obeying stupid regulations. Sure.

  10. You can pom pom wave for open immigration without being intentionally dishonest.

    Quoted and re-posted because it’s true.

  11. Thanks for the cherry-picked data; I note that what is NOT said is how much legitimate payroll is paid, including taxes. I am all for promoting small businesses, but let’s remove barriers for all and certainly enbole “immigrant-owned” businesses that don’t play by the same rules!

    1. So I guess you’re against Uber and Lyft for not playing by the rules?

      1. I’m not necessarily in-favor of the rules as they stand, but they need to be applied equally. And yes, in the case of Uber and Lyft, I do have strong opposition as they are simply circumventing.

        1. The “Rule of Law” is a bitch. We really need to get rid of this outmoded concept.

  12. Immigration Is Good for the U.S. Economy

    I don’t really need to read it, do I?

    The reasons: Immigration increases DIVISION OF LABOR which increases productivity, and releases more labor to more productive endeavors by way of COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE.

    1. That would be an actual economic argument justifying less restrictive immigration. It’s too bad Hinkle didn’t consult with you first.

      1. Re: PM,

        I understand that Hinkle is answering the bad arguments from anti-immigration “hawks” (which I call Nativists). Most nativists I’ve sparred with tend to dismiss economic arguments as “theoretical” musings not related to the real world (as if economics did not deal with the “real world”) so I understand what he’s doing. However, I stick to my guns because as I’ve shown these nativists, they can’t counter economic arguments with economic arguments and so resort to facile emotional and nationalistic diatribes about protecting the heritage and jobs. Next you know, they will want to argue they want protect our precious bodily fluids.

        1. Watch out, they’ll accuse you of ‘cherry-picking’.

        2. Agreed, but it is equally true that most analysis regarding the economic utility of immigration is based on a Ceteris paribus analysis — you will of course agree that welfare and other distortionary policies are powerful attractors away from selling one’s labor in the free market, and towards selling a promise of indolence to government instead — which, when combined with the ability to vote for continued subsidization of indolence, makes for a very powerful distortion of market equilibriums, no?

        3. Hinkle’s problem is that instead of relying on economic fundamentals, as you did, he is trying to cook up some econometrics to justify his position to utilitarians. And he did a bad job of it. He’s working in a different context entirely.

        4. When you make your indisputable economic arguments about immigrants, do you make the mistake of lumping undocumented and documented immigrants into one group like the author did?

    2. This would have been the best argument to make, but is not where the article went.

  13. And here we have yet another case of lying by omission. The truth has been well documentat that ILLEGAL immigrants ARE burdens on the taxpayer. But the open-borders cretins continue to lie about that – both by omission and directly.

    “You cannot have open borders and a welfare state” – Milton Friedman

  14. Do you know why they never seem to separate documented and undocumented immigrant statistics when making arguments like the ones in this article? Why do they lump all immigrants together? Must they to make these arguments truthful?

    I don’t know for sure but I think it is probably because separating these groups statistically ruins their arguments. Perhaps there is not enough separate data. I know I struggled to find separate data on the issue in the 5 minutes I spent surfing the web for it, but I am not an investigative journalist who has entire work weeks to devote to the subject.

    Reason needs to separate the two very different groups of immigrants and then see how the numbers play out. Maybe they have and I missed it, being blinded by all the articles that didn’t. I don’t think it would surprise anyone if the numbers skewed poorly for undocumented immigrants in a big way if this approach was adopted. Given the stats Reason has put out there, I am guessing documented immigrants would look even better when separated out. They are most likely carrying the group Reason defined as “Immigrants” and without them, Reason’s argument probably falls apart.

    1. One wonders why an editor would even publish an article that fails to make these critical distinctions.

  15. I recommend a major population exchange. ALL of the Mexicans and Central Americans (various countries) migrate north of the border. Then, all of the non-Mexicans, and non-Central Americans can migrate to Mexico and Central America. That should work. So, let’s get busy on this major project right now. If we speed things up, the exchange should be complete by at least 2020. This is a solution that will please everyone I’m sure. This will be real immigration reform, and not that no action stuff the politicians talk about all of the time.

  16. Just because a majority of illegal aliens are employed doesn’t mean that them and their families are not a burden on our social services. If our welfare state didn’t bend over backwards trying to accommodate this demographic using our tax dollars, the author might have a point.

  17. Pew Research Center: Hispanic Politics, Values, Religion

    Support for a larger government is greatest among immigrant Latinos. More than eight-in-ten (81%) say they would rather have a bigger government with more services than a smaller government with fewer services.

    1. +1

    2. What percentage of Americans want bigger government?? After all, immigrants will acclimate to the conditions, system that is already here.Its true they found a welfare state and some will want to expand on it, but the original sin was Americans implementing it in the first place.

      1. I am an immigrant myself, and I can tell you that many immigrants come from countries where there do exist variants on a welfare state, and they like it.

        Since the US is a wealthy country, the welfare state here pays out more and they like that too.

        Most immigrant from my own home country feel this way.

    3. Yes, but they are sure to see the light and support a ‘free society’. It’s not like that bigger government could lead to some kind of police state.

  18. Those of you on this blog that don’t have to compete with a an illegal alien hiding in the shadows not strapped with a ball and chain of regulations by being an American citizen raise your hand!

    This isn’t about votes. You want free enterprise, then let us citizens in construction work without insurance, use 10 yearold nephews and pay em’ with food, and let us send our untaxed money thru the banking system, because Lois Lerner isn’t checking on anybody named Martinez
    or Garcia.

  19. So you are putting in your bid for a contract and are informed that Juan’s business will get it instead to meet a “diversity” requirement. No problem?

    So your kid is applying for admission to a university but doesn’t get accepted because Juan’s kid got extra points for being a “person of color.” No problem?

    So your spouse uses the term “illegal immigrant” instead of “undocumented person” and is consequently dragged before a “sensitivity” re-education session at work where she must make a Maoist style self-criticism. No problem?


    How do you plan to deal with the legal discrimination in favor of Juan in the USA?

  20. Yeah, I’m sure all those kids swarming across the border now are all coming here with plans of opening businesses. Give me a gigantic fucking break.

    1. +1

  21. The immigration issue is pretty good in fishing out the statists from the real champions of liberty. They want small government with the exception of ‘protecting our border’ and stopping furriners from coming in, protecting American labor from cheaper competition, harassing businesses that hire undocumented workers, amassing a bureaucracy with documentation of ‘legal immigrants’, arresting and deporting non violent ‘illegal immigrants’ etc etc LOL.
    Understand one thing, Immigration is a fundamental act of mankind that preceded governments and borders. You cannot stop it and you will not stop it. I’d much rather end the welfare system, the voting system and even the state than interfere with the free movement of people across imaginary lines. Remember also that a government strong enough to keep people out is strong enough to keep you in.

    1. Any action that expands the size and scope of government is the polar opposite of libertarianism and liberty.

      So, expanding welfare by expanding immigration is against the stance of any authentic libertarian.

      Only crypto-Republicans champion illegals and even more immigration under the guise of libertarianism.


      End the welfare state and then open the borders.


      Open the borders first and then somehow believe you shall convince everyone to shrink the welfare state after a massive expansion of it.

      1. You want to preserve the welfare state, i don’t. I want it to collapse. If bringing in immigrants will expedite that, then all the better. As a first generation immigrant myself, i could care less about the welfare state. I have been paying into all the schemes for 12 years now but i don’t care to collect, nor do i believe they’ll exist as they are when its my time. Where do you get the mentality that all immigrants are here for welfare? As an immigrant myself, i deeply resent the welfare system that i found here and blame Americans for not being able to keep my own hard earned money.

        1. If bringing in immigrants will expedite that, then all the better.

          It won’t.

        2. It’s you who wants to expand the welfare state specifically by increasing immigration.

          Cause to effect. Learn it.

          1. I don’t care about the welfare state one way or the other. It was introduced by Amerikans, not immigrants. No wonder you love it so much. Personally, i have no use for it.

            1. You continue to worship the welfare state in your quest to expand it. This is clear to everyone who reads your comments.

              Good luck, um, genius.

            2. “It was introduced by Amerikans, not immigrants.”

              Yeah, but La Raza insists, America was founded by immigrants. The folks who came on the Mayflower are the same exact thing as the minors trying to cross the borders solo.

              So you see, immigrants are responsible for the welfare state. They’re scumbags.

        3. Where do you get the mentality that all immigrants are here for welfare?

          Not all but certainly more as a percentage collect it than the native born.

          With you attitude that everything is YOUR money when a lot of native born have contributed to make America what it is, you should have never been allowed in.

    2. If you believe that that immigration is a fundamental right, then let’s try an experiment: cross the border from Guatemala into Mexico without papers. And then explain this high minded right to the Mexican border patrols.

    3. OK, as soon as you end the welfare state, we can open our borders.

  22. Contrary to what many believe, wages rise when capital rises. Wages are a consequence of producing wealth under efficiency. The more wealth produced and gained by each worker, the higher wages would rise.

    True wages, or “real” wages if said by economists have been falling for years in lockstep because capital spending per prime age worker, those between 25 and 54, has been falling.

    So why has there been a fall in wages since the 1980s? The growth in prime age working adults in America has been tremendous, up 45.3% since 1980. And not-so-coincidentally, true wages have fallen 41% and capital spending has fallen 49.5%

    Immigration, which has been responsible for all net increase in population in the USA since the 1980s, has led to the lowering of true wages for Americans.

    If you believe A. Barton Hinkle and his claim that immigration is good for the economy, then you are as subnormal as A. Barton Hinkle Jingleheimer Schmitt.

    See the proof in charts here:


    REASON.COM writers are wrongly, consistently, on immigration precisely because they are illiterate with respect to commerce and thus economics.

    1. *wrongly = wrong

    2. You are wrong, wages rise mostly from higher skilled workers. If stopping immigration led to higher wages, then hermit nations like Japan would have the highest wages, but they don’t. America has higher economic growth rates, higher disposable income and higher quality of life. Your protectionist policies will lead to loss of jobs. Outsourcing is the result of government meddling in the labor market. If the workers don’t come here, the companies will go where the workers are.

      1. I’m right. You are clueless. End of story.

      2. Without tools, anyone can barely produce a surplus of anything.

        It only pays to add tools if there is increasing returns to the outlay for tools.

        Only by increasing returns can substantial surplus arise.

        Only from such surplus can higher wages get paid.

        All entrepreneur-adventurers face this question: Is there dearth of workers or an abundance of workers?

        Asked another way: Can I get increasing return to capital?

        Again, I am right. You are clueless.

        Right now, you seem to be little more than one of these Useful Idiots of the Crypto-Republicans who are behind

        1. we get it, you are a protectionist.

          1. Name calling does nothing but make you twice as much of the loser that you have shown the world yourself to be.

            Also, your lame fallacy of appealing to “we” amuses.

            Facts remain. Immigration hurts U.S. citizens.

            By depressing wages, immigration hurts the economy in two major ways.

            1. Increasing prime age workers through immigration reduces real cap spending.
            2. Reducing real cap spending reduces the need to gain efficiency over extant methods, thus retarding growth.

            As too much cash in circulation raises prices so too does too much labor lowers prices as all wages are merely prices.

            Again. I’m right. You are clueless in all matters of commerce, also said trade, and often said by academicians as economics.

      3. It’s hard to build a house for Barstow in Mexico Dumbass. And tell me how do you pour a sidewalk in Mexico and deliver it to Atlanta.

        Unbelievable! Step outside, and look up. If you get wet it’s raining!

  23. Most of the article is an argument for legal immigration, and has little to do with unaccompanied children who try to cross the borders. They’re not “immigrants” of any sort.

    I’m a bit confused, to be honest. If a state made some sweetheart deal (involving tax payer money) with a corporation so they can build a stadium or a convention center, Reason writers would dismiss any sort of promised economic benefit immediately.

    But they’re almost completely sold on the economic benefits of restraint free immigration, even though the system they abhor will likely spend 3 dollars for every one dollar immigrants contribute. Successful immigrant business owners are probably under a mountain of debt and regulation, and likely working in fields that doesn’t hire people in bulk.

    If an illegal alien with 10 years of experience in America wants to work for my construction company for 10 dollars when the min wage is 15, I might secretly consider hiring him. Amnesty for that guy, sure. But that means I have to support endless immigration from random places over the world?

  24. You cannot really be arguing for open borders. How many people do you think would come here if we did so? A million? 10 million? more? This issue is not, and has never been, about legal immigration. It is about people sneaking in. Many of those people are honest, hardworking individuals who will make the U.S. a better place. But not all of them. There are drug mules, cartel enforcers, and criminals of all types. And there are certainly more people who want in than any of us could imagine. Personally, I think we should let all the Sudanese refugees in, but only if they agree to live in Richmond. You could learn to write articles in Awadia or Najdi. Once the Sudanese are firmly in control, you might even get to see public stonings!

  25. These numbers need to be closely looked at. As the son of Cuban Immigrants(not refugees) I see that the first batch of immigrants that come are the professionals in their countries whether they be Honduran, Jamaican or other. Once the new government diminishes the resources their the rest of the population discover that the ideas that led their country down hill follows. The first wave of immigrants is entrepreneurial seeking to recover their status in a new world. The second wave is not of the same quality.

  26. Likely, legal immigration needs to be curtailed for decades to come if wage-working Americans want to see a rise in living standard and a return of the so-called middle class.

    The Clinton era ushered in the second highest immigration decade, surpassed only by the Ellis Island era.

    There are too many prime age working adults relative to trade needs. The massive growth in prime age workers has done nothing but suppress real wages. The net result has been a lowering of the living standard of all wage-earning Americans.

    Those Reasonoids who support expanding immigration have become Reason-voids, mere Bezmenov Useful Idiots for the establishment that uses as yet another psy op tool.

    Read this and de-program yourselves, Reason-voids:


  27. Sarcasm Button On:
    Comrades! Let us all now rejoice knowing Dear Leader has a couple of years to go while bringing into America as many of the world’s unskilled, uneducated and diseased into our borders as possible. We can only hope by the end of Dear Leader’s term the American people will have joyously embraced millions of the most diseased, illiterate, and poorest of people in the world to shelter, to educate and to cure at the American workers’ expense. Taking these people in will also serve to make partial amends for the hundreds of billions of people the American capitalist system has destroyed since recorded history. Hopefully, the diseases brought in by these illegal aliens will spread to these selfish Americans. Then a just and fitting punishment will occur on America for not sharing their money with the uneducated and lazy people of the world! This way, the true disease of American exceptionalism and capitalism might be once and for all be destroyed.
    We can only hope.
    Sarcasm Button Off

  28. all pure nonsense. NONSENSE.

    Here is the best argument against mass immigration: mass immigration brings diversity, and diversity is weakness for the people.

    Diversity generates factions in the populace–race, language, culture, etc. The more factions, the less united the populace. The less united, the less well defined is the will and self-interests of the populace. That means less unity. Less unity means the people are less able to elect and hold accountable politicians who can represent their interests.

    When the politicians are less accountable because the interests of the people are less well defined, then the people have less control of the government, and the elite/corporations have more control.

    That is the real crux of the matter–who has control: those at the top, or the people.

    Now go get yer f*cking shine box!

    1. Good point. The current trend is for elites to exploit the underclass to undermine the middle class.

      1. Why can’t I say everything I think about this in 1 sentence. I wrote it down and would like to tell everyone I see. Maybe drag a plane sign!

        Thanks J West

  29. It’s articles like this that have shifted my opinion towards allowing many more immigrants into the US. Additionally, the US has historically allowed orphans and children whose parents are already in the US into the US so it’s not uncommon for children to enter into the US without parents. In any case, I’m now a big proponent of substantially loosening our borders to the point of amnesty for current illegal immigrants, but I’m so not a fan of parents sending their children to the US as a back door into the US. If a US parent were to do such a thing they would be locked up for endangering their children. Not sure how the nanny state allows for that contradiction.

  30. Could you possibly separately identify and discuss LEGAL and ILLEGAL immigration? And also skilled/educated immigrants vs. unskilled/poorly educated immigrants? Because right now your piece is a muddle. Not many unskilled Central Americans are going to be owning businesses any time soon after crossing the border, for example. Oh, and that construction company wanting to hire Juan to swing a hammer is going to be laying off the American getting a decent wage to swing that hammer right now. That undermined the entire construction industry.

  31. Tea Party Loyalists also understand the unchecked invasion of the United States by tens of thousands of illegal immigrant unaccompanied minors, pregnant females, teenage males and potentially hidden terrorists committed to cause mayhem in the US. The majority from Central Americans, but outlander foreigners are possibly from the Middle East. This is nothing more than President Barack Obama rushing to the finish line, unwaveringly to open once and for all the southern border with Mexico while overloading the welfare system to the point of collapse before he has to leave office.

    The National TEA PARTY have been schooled on how clandestine socialists like Barack Obama plan for Cloward-Piven techniques to usher in a potential Communist state.

    We must Block amnesty for illegal aliens, which is entirely up to us?grassroots America?the little hapless people, who pay all the bills. We need you. Check this site that has the phone Numbers and Mailing Addresses of Members of Congress at: http://www.contactingthecongress/ in demanding an end to illegal immigration. You can also get alternative news about issues at One-America-News and You might also like to try and additionally numbersusa

  32. The Comprehensive Reform (Senate Bill-744/2013) from the Democratic Senate was nothing more than a vote-grab by politicians and it must stop now! If amnesty goes through the Democrats, they will claim control of the House and Senate for decades to come?that is their sole purpose for this push. If it happens, illegal aliens now will NOT only suck from the monetary trough worse than they do now, but thousands more will get unrestricted?welfare, food stamps, housing vouchers and even Social Security impacting the taxpayers. Appallingly, they’re demonstrating in our streets, demanding amnesty, claiming it’s their civil right. Congress must put an end to this travesty right now.

    Send every member of the House and Senate a harsh reply demanding they “STOP THE AMNESTY TRAIN WRECK, we are heading for now.

    What kind of rogue could be president of the United States of America and care less about the rule of law and our Constitution and instead show sympathy for terrorists, deserters and law-breakers? Obama are going to do whatever he damn well pleases, with one stroke of his pen–so it is up to us to stop him–even if Congress won’t. He has failed miserably as a president but succeeded in creating “dramatic change” in America: total destruction?undermining our freedoms. Support the National Tea Party today and join the ground troops?we are so close to ousting him out of office.

  33. The researchers’ observations were among the warning signs conveyed to the Obama government over the past two years, as a surge of Central American minors has crossed into south Texas illegally. More than 57,000 have entered the United States this year, swamping federal resources and catching the government unprepared.

    Americans cannot let our guard down. We cannot let Obama and his administration continue to recklessly run our country into the ground. In the OVAL OFFICE we have a PAPER TIGER, a weak president who is soft on foreign policy and players patter-cake with dictators as Russia’s Putin, and makes this mighty country feel like a third world country. Go to hard bat with Mexico and tell them we will cancel trade agreements, unless they enforce their side of the border. Start boycotting Mexican tourism and see how quickly this government will get there attention. At least the Governor of Texas has a backbone and installing a 1,000 National Guardsman to enforce the hard pressed US Border Patrol.

  34. ‘Our Citizens are Under Siege’

    Obama Administration Ignored Border Crisis to Win Reelection and press for Amnesty. Push Amnesty Bill

    Nearly a year before President President Obama affirmed this humanitarian calamity on the border; a team of experts arrived at the Fort Brown patrol station in Brownsville, Tex., and discovered a makeshift transportation depot for the potential deluge of foreign children.

    Thirty Border Patrol officers were assigned in August 2013 to drive the children to off-site showers to wash their clothes and make them sandwiches. Once the first onslaught of children arrived and then placed in temporary shelters, more were already here. An average of 66 was apprehended each day on the border and more than 24,000 cycled through Texas patrol stations in 2013. In a 41-page report to the Department of Homeland Security, the team from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) raised alarms about the federal government’s inept capacity to manage a situation that was expected to grow worse.

  35. Open borders is idiocy. How exactly do you propose preventing every nation on Earth from sending their chronically ill, their criminals, and their unemployable, to the United States, without some sort of border and immigration control? Open borders is an invitation to a Mariel boatlift on a global scale.

  36. Texas state senator: 100,000 illegal immigrant gang members in state

    Texas state Senator Dan Patrick, who is also the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, said from 2008 to 2012, 143,000 illegal immigrant criminals were arrested and jailed in Texas. He said these were “hardened criminals, gang members, and other criminals that we identified as being in Texas illegally.”

    “We charged them with 447,000 crimes, a half-million crimes in four years, just in Texas, including over 5,000 rapes and 2,000 murders,” Patrick said. “We estimate we have 100,000 gang members here illegally.”

    I did some basic plausibility fact checking on Dan Patrick’s numbers using FBI UCR data for Texas and his numbers are very plausible.

  37. I think more Americans need to realize that immigrants are employed by large farms at cheap labor. These are our jobs and if Americans want to, they can have them if they are willing to be paid at that level.

    Downsides of Reverse Mortgages

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