Election 2016

The Misguided Cruzade for Total Border Control

The Texas senator's fencing plans will impose a hefty cost on Americans

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Sen. Ted Cruz launched his bid for the Republican presidential nomination last week by promising to "finally, finally, finally secure the borders" and put an end to unauthorized immigration. This will warm the hearts of restrictionists, no doubt. But it should scare Americans who love their pocketbooks and liberties more than they hate undocumented Latino immigrants.

Restrictionists accuse many of these immigrants of being welfare queens who come to America illegally and live off taxpayers. Cruz has contributed to the hysteria by proposing bills barring undocumented workers from ever receiving any means-tested benefits, presumably even after they become legal.

Accusations that undocumented Latinos strain the welfare system are a red herring. If anything, immigrants, legal and illegal, constitute something of a welfare windfall. How? By coming to this country during their peak working years, after another society has borne the cost of raising and educating them, they save our system a ton of money. Studies generally don't take this windfall effect into account, and still find that the economic contributions of low-skilled Latinos far outpace their welfare use. For example, a Texas comptroller study found that although unauthorized workers consumed about $504 million more in public services than they paid in taxes, without them, the Texas economy would shrink by 2.1 percent, or $17.7 billion. A full accounting of these folks would likely show them to be an even bigger economic boon (especially since the employment participation rate of Latino men is higher than the native born, and their overall welfare use is lower).

Meanwhile, as Cruz and his ilk whine about the (exaggerated) welfare costs of immigrants, they act as if their own plans to erect the Great Wall of China on the Rio Grande would be costless. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Cruz wants to establish "100 percent operational control" of America's southern border by completing a double-layer fence on the entire 2,000 miles, tripling the size of the border patrol, and quadrupling the number of helicopters and cameras.

This is beyond ill conceived. First of all, 45 percent of all illegal immigrants are visa over-stayers. So Cruz's efforts are totally irrelevant for nearly half of America's illegal immigrants. What's more, even the Berlin Wall, the most fortified border in modern history, was successfully breached 1,000 times every year. That rate will be a gazillion times greater on America's southern border, which is not a barren, open expanse of land. In fact, it has a varied and rugged terrain with mountains and valleys and national parks (one the size of Rhode Island) and rivers that the wall will have to hop, skip, and jump around.

The Rio Grande has myriad tributaries that feed millions of people on both sides of the border. If Cruz's wall is anything like the current 18-foot-high structure with rust-red hollow posts sunk six inches apart in a concrete base, it will have to stop several miles short on each side to avoid damming the watershed, leaving major openings for people to walk through.

And what would a double-wall cost taxpayers?

It is very difficult to get a full grip, but the construction cost alone of a single-layer fence on the 1,300 or so unfenced miles would likely be upwards of $6 billion (assuming, as per a CBO study, pedestrian fencing costs of $6.5 million per mile and vehicle fencing costs of $1.7 million per mile). Annual maintenance costs would be hundreds of millions more.Tripling the number of boots on the ground wouldn't be cheap either. President Obama has already deployed 20,000 border patrol agents, over twice more than he inherited.

Tripling this number would cost a whopping $7 billion or so more a year since, according to the CBO, the annual cost of an agent is about $171,400.

And the bill in dollars pales in comparison to the price Americans will have to pay in lost liberties.

Conservatives are outraged when the government confiscates private property for environmental or other ends. Indeed, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, a vile man with retrograde views on race, became an instant conservative hero when he stood up to Uncle Sam and let his cattle graze on land that the federal government had, in his view, illicitly obtained. Yet Cruz and his ilk have no qualms about authorizing Uncle Sam to perpetrate an even bigger property grab in the name of their Swiss-cheese wall.

Over half of the recently constructed 700 miles of fence was on private property that Uncle Sam deployed blatant strong-arm tactics to obtain. It confiscated ancestral land that had been in families for over 200 years and offered virtually peanuts to Texas landowners who couldn't afford to hire expensive lawyers to duke it out with Uncle Sam in court. Oscar Ceballos, a part-owner of a small trucking business, recounts how a government lawyer went so far as to figure out how much his assets were worth to dissuade a free legal clinic from representing him in his fight against the government's ridiculously low-ball initial offer. Cruz's even grander wall ambitions will only compound such abuse.

Nor would Americans on the border be the only ones affected. The vast majority of undocumented workers are here because there are Americans, especially employers, who benefit from their presence. Hence, Cruz and his fellow anti-immigration fighters want to force all American employers to verify the work eligibility of potential hires—American or foreign, legal or illegal—against a federal database through E-verify. Should this program become mandatory, all Americans will be effectively required to obtain a government permission slip to work.

What's ironic about Cruz's crusade to build a wall between two free—and friendly—people, divert billions of taxpayer dollars to militarize the border, and abrogate the civil rights of Americans is that he is doing so while vowing to "stand for liberty."

If this is his idea of liberty, what would tyranny look like under President Cruz? (Actually, don't answer that—I hope to never find out!)

This column originally appeared in The Week

 

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  1. I cant wait for the comments on this one, given how anti-immigration some of our fellow commenters are. Please convince us how surtounding our coubtry with armed guards who can search people and property without warrants is a Win for libertarians. All to stop the Pedros and Pacos of the worls from engaging in such diabolic crimes as picking tomatos and mowing lawns. The horror!

    1. You don’t see the downside to letting all the Jazz playing stoners, who steal our women and get all uppity when they drink into this once great country?

    2. Not to mention, making most of the country a Constitution-free zone, conscripting employers into working as immigration agents, using eminent domain to seize tons of private property, and preventing people from freely associating.

    3. We have to sacrifice liberty to save it of course.

      1. “Don’t you know it’s better for one man to die than for the whole nation to perish?”

        /Caiaphas

    4. The fuck is a worls?

      1. It’s what I get in my hair overnight.

    5. But it should scare Americans who love their pocketbooks and liberties more than they hate undocumented Latino immigrants.

      Of course, the only way someone can hold any misgivings about the wisdom of unfettered immigration is if their heartsw are filled with hate and bigotry right? This is so fucking tedious by now.

      1. Reason is afraid of being called racist and homophobic, so yes.

      2. Exactly. I’m fact that’s the kind of bullshit I expect o her from a progressive. Not libertarians.

        1. And you’re point would be?

          Have you failed to notice the wave of Progressive articles on Reason?

          1. Yes. I thought the bulk of the were written by Sheldon Richman though. Is Nick now going full on progressive with Reason?

            I do not expect to hear it from most of the commenters here. Except for Bo, Tony, Am. Soc., PB, and a few other kooks. That is my point.

            Most people favor having control over our borders while allowing controlled immigration and work VISA programs. I am in that camp.

      3. Oh piss off, statist. There is no libertarian argument for border walls.

    6. All to stop the Pedros and Pacos of the worls from engaging in such diabolic crimes as picking tomatos and mowing lawns.

      It’s not the Messikinz I’m worried about…

      …it’s those goddamned Canadians.

      1. Oh, God, I forgot about those flappy-mouthed beady-eyed square-heads!

        Build the fucking fence!

        1. Blame Canada!

      2. You joke but Canadian-U.S. border crossings became way more of a pain in the ass post 9/11. Used to be you didn’t even need a passport. Goddammit America, let me in so I can buy cheap things and ammunition!

  2. The total hypothetical costs of a secured border should be compared to the total hypothetical costs of welcoming illegal aliens (including benefits paid and possible opportunity costs on others). Presenting just one side of the comparison doesn’t accomplish anything.

    1. Maybe there ought to be a political party that opposes those freebies then. Other than the LP that is. You know, one that actually wins elections.

      1. BUTTPLUG!!!

        1. Is that like:

          MAATTT DAAAAMON!

          ?

          1. Yes. See Xeones responses (sometimes said like Kirk ala “Khaaaan!” or McBain saying “MENDOOOOZA!”).

    2. The ‘hypothetical costs’ of the latter are very hypothetical indeed, the costs of the former are fairly direct and predictable.

      1. the costs of the former are fairly direct and predictable.

        Yeah. You take whatever it is they say it will cost, and multiply it by ten.

        1. By 10? Is this like some kind of reverse hyperbole, Sarc?

          1. I was going by Boston’s Big Dig as a benchmark.

            1. Congrats to the Big Dig. Only 10 times over budget, they must have struck a gold vein.

              1. And the shoddy construction only killed one innocent driver!

            2. Use the healthcare.org website as a benchmark. Didn’t that cost almost 100 times what industry experts said it should cost?

      2. BUTTPLUG!!!

      3. The downstream costs are not hypothetical, they’re very much real. They may be harder to predict but that doesn’t negate the fact that they exist.

        1. Something, something seen and unseen, something.

      4. The costs of welcoming illegals are not hypothetical. They are just difficult to estimate. But that doesn’t mean they should be ignored. And counting the “increase” in the economy from illegals as a benefit to immigration is an egregious error in economic analysis that I wouldn’t expect from Reason. Just because the Comptroller of Texas thinks that’s the way to calculate the benefit doesn’t mean Dalmia has to take it at face value.

    3. Well, my goodness:
      “But what about the immense strain on social services and money spent on welfare for these law breakers? The Congressional Budget Office in 2007 answered this question in the following manner: “Over the past two decades, most efforts to estimate the fiscal impact of immigration in the United States have concluded that, in aggregate and over the long term, tax revenues of all types generated by immigrants?both legal and unauthorized?exceed the cost of the services they use.” According to the New York Times, the chief actuary of the Social Security Administration claims that undocumented workers have contributed close to 10% ($300 billion) of the Social Security Trust Fund.”
      http://thehill.com/blogs/congr…..us-economy

      1. “But there is little doubt that unauthorized, that is, illegal, immigration has made a significant
        contribution to the growth of our economy. Between 2000 and 2007, for example, it accounted
        for more than a sixth of the increase in our total civilian labor force. The illegal part of the
        civilian labor force diminished last year as the economy slowed, though illegals still comprised
        an estimated 5% of our total civilian labor force. Unauthorized immigrants serve as a flexible
        component of our workforce, often a safety valve when demand is pressing and among the first
        to be discharged when the economy falters.”
        http://www.judiciary.senate.go….._30_09.pdf

        1. But Sevo those immigants are illegal! Illegal! ILLEGAL!

          What part of “We made the law so byzantine and restrictive that it’s impossible to emigrate the legal way before you die of old age” don’t you understand?

          1. Hugh,
            Some folks want the utilitarian argument, so there it is.
            But for folks supposedly supportive of freedom, a whole lot seem to think that freedom doesn’t include choosing where to live.

            1. You only have the right live on property you own.

              1. What about the right to contract with willing landlords to live on property they own? Paid for by contracting with willing employers to exchange labor for money, of course.

                1. There is no right to negotiation. If they want to they can. But getting them to the property involves negotiation with every property owner along the way.

                  1. Oh god, not this idiotic trope again. By this logic, leaving your own home is trespassing.

              2. DJF|3.31.15 @ 11:33AM|#
                “You only have the right live on property you own.”
                I’ll bet you think that means something.

          2. “Impossible”?

            How long has it been impossible to emmigrate/immigrate the legal way?

              1. Thanks for the link. I’ll rephrase the question: Since it is impossible to immigrate legally, when and to whom was the last legal immigration granted?

          3. Part of immigration reform really a needs to include modernization of the system and a streamlining of the process.

      2. I can repeat this ad nauseum but it never seems to make any difference: the total welfare collection of illegal immigration is vastly underrated because the only direct transfer the illegal immigrant himself qualifies for are food stamps and medicaid. But the common means of collecting welfare state lucre is having children, whose parents being illegal workers and thusly having “no income”, the child recieves the TANF benefit. The child’s take is not factored into the immigrant’s welfare cost, but it is a direct welfare payment to an immigrant (whose child cannot cash a check), and it’s repeated hundreds of thousands of times.

        1. Plus fake ID seem to be a thriving busness and using those ID’s will make it look like illegals are citizens or legal residence and put them into another catigory.

        2. It’s a good point. Do we have numbers for it?

        3. Its not just you, many people continually point out that open borders types continually fail to be both consistent and comprehensive when viewing the total cost to society of illegal immigration. They cherry pick and end up with a sweet cherry pie.

          When Reason argues the benefits to society of immigration they fail to discuss the matter like it should be. They need to separate legal and illegal and consider them separately. Not doing so is disingenuous. The vast majority of Americans have no issue with legal immigrants (except maybe certain people who were recently, but no longer working at a certain CA power company) and when they are complaining about immigrants, they nearly always are referring to the illegal type. If Reason separates them and evaluates them separately, many of their arguments fall apart.

          If you throw in the costs to society of the natural born children of illegal immigrants, then their arguments become even more dubious.

          1. “They need to separate legal and illegal and consider them separately. Not doing so is disingenuous. ”

            Dishonest, irrational argument is the norm for Progressive arguments.

        4. Lenin’s maxim about the Capitalist selling you the rope you use to hang him surely applies to many Libertarians’ views on immigration.

          Let’s have 10 million illiterate Socialists come here, have kids, bring their primos, hermanos, tios and abuelos and then vote. What could possibly go wrong? I’m sure this will lead to the Libertarian paradise of which we all dream.

          End welfare and then I will listen to the monotonic Ms. Dalmia. My grandparents came here (legally) from Mexico to get away from the pathology of Mexico. Illegal immigrants’ “freedom of movement” ends when I’m coerced to pay for it.

      3. So they are claiming that low wage illegals are contributing 10% of the Social Security trust fund. How many illegals do they say are here?

      4. tax revenues of all types generated by immigrants?both legal and unauthorized?exceed the cost of the services they use

        Of course, some of the services they use don’t come out of the government’s pocketbook. We lose millions a year on illegals at my hospital. That doesn’t show up in this analysis.

        Not saying they aren’t a net gain. I’m saying just looking at the government’s spend doesn’t answer the question.

        Between 2000 and 2007, for example, it accounted for more than a sixth of the increase in our total civilian labor force.

        Since 2008, the number of “jobs created” and the number of “jobs held by immigrants” is pretty much the same, I seem to remember seeing. But, everybody else gets lifetime welfare/disability, so its all good, right?

        Again, not saying they aren’t a net plus, or that we shouldn’t be indifferent to whether a job is held by a citizen or an immigrant. Just that we’re looking at one side of the equation.

        1. I don’t support building a wall. But I don’t support biased articles like this one written to mislead the reader.

          “By coming to this country during their peak working years, after another society has borne the cost of raising and educating them, they save our system a ton of money.”

          Our schools are being inundated with children who are under educated by age and many can’t even speak English. Most illegal immigrants aren’t fully literate in Spanish much less English. Get your kids out of these schools unless you want them to graduate through the system and remain semi literate like the highschool girl in the Travon Martin trial who couldn’t read cursive

          “Studies generally don’t take this windfall effect into account, and still find that the economic contributions of low-skilled Latinos far outpace their welfare use. ……………..since the employment participation rate of Latino men is higher than the native born, and their overall welfare use is lower).”

          Every food store in Texas has a sign in Spanish that says “WIC Se Acceptan Aqui”. The men may have a lower welfare participation rate but what about the women ? Many couples claim to be unmarried for this reason. I know some of them personally, it is not uncommon. An unmarried woman with children gets multiples more in benefits than a married couple with the same children.

          1. The are numerous immigrant activist groups who teach the illegals how to gain the system. They may have been married in the Catholic church in Mexico but there is no government record of it here in the US.

            All said and done I favor immigration, just not the way it’s being handled.

            All of the unaccompanied young that are being ushered into the country are necessary to prevent the colapse of Social Security and other Ponzi schemes run into the ground by the government mismanagement and the retirerment of the Boomer generation. We must have more people paying into the systems than taking out to keep them afloat.

            1. Even Snopes allows that our prisons and gangs are filled with illegals.

              All the bleeding hearts claim that the illegals just come here to work and better their lives.

              Many do. Many professional criminals find a much better life North of the Rio Grande as well.

              Face it, if you were a professional thief would you stay in Mexico where the prisons are notoriously rough or come to the US where the worst that can happen is Sherrif Joe Arpio in Arizona makes you wear pink underwear ?

              Would you stay in Mexico where the majority don’t own anything worth stealing or come to the land of plenty where the jails and prisons have color TV with cable ?

              1. Professional thieves fare much better in Mexico as all it takes is some bribery to get out of anything.

        2. “Between 2000 and 2007, for example, it accounted for more than a sixth of the increase in our total civilian labor force.”

          And how many American citizens were unemployed at that time?

    4. (including benefits paid and possible opportunity costs on others)

      Such as?

      1. See what I mean? 😉

    5. The total hypothetical costs of a secured border should be compared to the total hypothetical costs of welcoming illegal aliens (including benefits paid and possible opportunity costs on others).

      You mean a growing economy as more productive people get involved with tranforming natural resources into goods and services people want to consume?

      Gosh, how terrible!!!!!

      BTW, you might want to familiarize yourself with economic concepts like “opportunity costs” before you salt your comments with them; it prevents embarrassments where one uses them nonsensically and thus signals to people who do know what they are that one is an idiot.

      1. You mean a growing economy as more productive people

        Growing economy, you say? After netting out the inflation of GDP by deficit spending, its nothing to brag about.

        More productive people? I guess that can’t include all the unaccompanied children we are now welcoming into the country. Tens of thousands a year, by all accounts.

  3. If immigrants take our jobs, and restricting immigration is good for jobs, then by that same logic people shouldn’t be allowed to have children. After all, those children will eventually enter the workforce and displace people who are already employed.

    1. Also, those kids might end up using welfare.

      1. Or voting for Democrats!

        1. Fucking Democrats pander to them by actually letting them stay here if they don’t commit a crime or go to college/military.

          Asshole types.

          1. The plug almost had me fooled with its sane comment above. But never fear, it will not stop being a mendacious retard.

            1. On immigration, it’s a pretty low hurdle to clear.

          2. BUTTPLUG!!!

      2. Also, those kids might end up using welfare.

        EVery argument against immigration can easily be applied towards making babies.

        Inevitably, someday, they will be.

        1. China did it, why can’t we?

        2. Now there’s a prohibition I can get behind.

          Little vermin!

    2. Actually, they will just be replacing folks who have left their jobs for retirement.

      1. But what if birth rates outpace retirement rates? Won’t they then be displacing workers?

        1. But they’ll be proper white babies.

  4. All I know is I can’t find some wetback to shovel my driveway for a few bucks after a blizzard. So we don’t got enough illegals here in Iowa.

    1. You could if you paid him 15$.

    2. Suppose you could get a gay Mexican to do it, but in either case “wetback” probably get you in trouble.

      1. “Snowback”?

    3. I’ll rent you an orphan for $3.

      1. It’s a win/win, partly because the orphan can take in mouthfuls of snow when he or she gets thirsty from all that hand-shoveling and no one will have to pay for water.

        Additionally, it’s kinnath so you’re very likely to get your orphan back emotionally and physically intact (unless kinnath’s mom mistakes the orphan for an intruder, then its 12 gauge time).

        1. Hence the requirement fr the security deposit.

  5. “And can the seantor erect the Great Wall of China on the Rio Grande and still “stand for liberty” as he says he’ll do ”

    False choices, how do they work?

  6. Wait a minute, are you saying many conservatives are willing to set aside principles of fiscal responsibility, private property and small government if it means keeping some brown people out of their neighborhoods? I’m frankly shocked.

    1. Wait a minute, are you saying many conservatives are willing to set aside principles of fiscal responsibility, private property and small government

      Presumes they had those principles in the first place.

      1. Republicans give lip service to economic liberty while actively opposing personal liberty, Democrats give lip service to personal liberty while actively opposing economic liberty, and in practice they differ very little from each other in any meaningful way.

        A lesser of two evils is still evil.

    2. BUTTPLUG JUNIOR!!!

      1. Look over there! Someone on Bartbitch.com is not expressing the proper fealty to Team Red!

    3. When did conservatives have such principles? In reality I mean.

    4. Or conservatives are willing to budget money for an expense that is a legitimate exercise of an enumerated power.

      1. Enumerated where? I don’t see a “build the dang fence” clause in the constitution. I do see a clause that says anchor babies are full US citizens.

        1. Oh, but the power to provide healthcare is in there.

          1. I’m not the one claiming my preferred policies and only those are touched by the sacred hand of the founders.

        2. Sudden’s obviously referring to protecting or securing the border. A “dang fence” would be a possible means to achieve this.

          You already know this so don’t be such an asshole.

          1. Where does the constitution discuss migration across borders? I only see stuff about citizenship and naturalization.

    5. Yeah moron. It’s about keeping brown people out of our neighborhoods. Actually it’s not. I have an idea. Since you and your prog pals are all marxist traitors, why don’t we have an exchange program? I would gladly trade out you progtards on a one to one basis for the aforementioned brown people. Most of them come from socialist countries, so you should feel right at home with all the camaraderie. There are probably enough of your kind that we can swap out enough to let most to all of those here illegally stay here in your stead.

      And you will finally get the worker’s paradise you have been dreaming of since being brainwashed by your marxist professors. Does that work for you?

  7. This whole business is nuts. The political parties are in this fight because they both see most immigrants as occupying the lower end of the economic spectrum, eligible for buy-out by the Democrats, to be more likely to vote for Democrats. That’s the fight going on in Washington.

    So all of the political and ethical analysis here and elsewhere is mostly meaningless if it doesn’t realize what’s being fought over.

    1. Gee, and I thought Democrats were just bleeding hearts. What happened to that term anyway? Does everything have to have a CT element to it these days?

      THEY JUST WANT THEIR VOTES!

    2. Behaving in such a way that wins you more votes is more virtuous than restricting access to voting to people who won’t vote for you.

      1. So you support Citizens United now? Good to know.

        1. Of course not. That would be principled.

      2. So you are in favor of everyone in the world voting in US elections?

        1. I’m in favor of anyone subject to the actions of a particular government being able to vote for that government’s makeup. Come to think of it, maybe that should include large portions of the world.

          1. So if you go to Englalnd for the weekend, that grants you the right to vote in England’s sundry elections?

            1. It’s a broad principle and foundational to our country (consent of the governed). Citizenship is a practical means of determining which jurisdictions people are entitled to vote in.

          2. Moron

      3. Those who rob Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul, though not for being virtuous.

      4. Well, except that’s an argumentum ad populum that assumes that anything supported by a majority is ‘virtuous’. A million idiots believing or supporting something does not make it a good idea. Consensus does not equal reality.

        1. The Constitution is chock-full of restrictions on majoritarian power as well as on other kinds. Our political class was much wiser about governments and people back then.

          1. And one of the first things they did was the A&S Act, followed by taxing liquor.

            1. Which just goes to show that we should trust no one in government, even Founding Fathers.

      5. Eager to vote on the right method of execution for blasphemy with 100 million Pakistanis? No?

      6. You mean restricting voting access to non-citizens?

  8. Cruz has contributed to the hysteria by proposing bills barring undocumented workers from ever receiving any means-tested benefits, presumably even after they become legal.

    The horror

  9. 40% (or more) of the illegal alien population simply overstay visas, and a substantial number of ‘Mexians’ don’t need to trek through the deserts with their family in tow to enter either – a half-million or so pass right through border checkpoints annually.

    Even assuming a hermetically-sealed border were possible (it isn’t), would it be desirable, relative to cost? No. Even assuming costs were within a reasonable range (they’re not), would we want to turn our southern border into a Federally managed demilitarized zone? Fuck no.

    All of which is taco-sauce leaked on a napkin relative to the issue of the millions of ‘illegals’ who are already living here and have been for some time.

    Anyone who fulminates about “border security” is a fucking idiot who should be roundly mocked. They’re no different than the idiots who think ‘Electric cars’ are a more-environment replacement for existing transportation infrastructure. They both demonstrate they don’t understand the “problem” at all by fixating on the most irrelevant and entirely useless ‘solution’.

    1. 40% (or more) of the illegal alien population simply overstay visas

      See, we had to make the entire country a Constitution-free zone for a reason!

      /bordertard

    2. It’s kind of a half-empty/half-full phenomenon.

      I’m actually shocked that 55% of present illegals got here by bypassing the normal immigration process, ie., they “snuck in”.

      Prior to reading the statistic flyer in the earlier article, I would have guessed that about 90% of illegals entered legit and then overstayed.

      55% sneaks would argue for more control, not less.

      1. Actually 55% sneaks is an argument for making it easier to cross the border legally.

        1. Agreed. Just sign the guest book on the way in.

          1. Just sign the guest book on the way in

            Outside of placating control freaks, what exactly is this supposed to accomplish?

      2. For the record, the “40%” number is a % of the *total illegal population in the US*

        (say 5million of out 12)

        Not “40%” of the total illegal entrants every year.

        Whether or not people think there needs to be more “control”, some basic understanding of what “control” means is necessary before anyone starts pretending “Giant Wall” makes the slightest bit of fucking sense.

        Reforming the current system and creating a simple path for “illegals” to enter, work, and leave transparently would solve the vast majority of the so-called ‘problem’.

        But that would be politically difficult. Instead, people wank over the idea of militarized border guards and Escape From New York secure-border-fantasy scenarios.

    3. It would be a lot easier to police the southern border if we quit rewarding them for coming here illegally. A lot cheaper too.

  10. Are all illegal immigrants tomato pickers and nail pounders or are there any bad people we should be interested in keeping out? It seems like actually knowing who is entering would allow for the good kind of discrimination.

    1. It seems like actually knowing who is entering would allow for the good kind of discrimination.

      This is the government we’re talking about; it doesn’t do “good” things.

  11. offered virtually peanuts to Texas landowners who couldn’t afford to hire expensive lawyers to duke it out with Uncle Sam in court.

    While I have no doubt the government behaved like the total shits they are in this instance the linked article says the short-changed landowners accepted the initial offer while the well-compensated ones contested the seizure in court. It also compares $1600 compensation for taking 60 feet to “nearly $1 million” for taking several miles. The writer obfuscates this fact by switching from feet to acreage to quantify the takings.

    1. While I have no doubt the government behaved like the total shits they are in this instance the linked article says the short-changed landowners accepted the initial offer while the well-compensated ones contested the seizure in court.

      Without more context, that could just as well be read as “people who couldn’t do anything about it accepted the meager payments, while those who could fight were offered more in a failed attempt to keep them from suing”.

  12. “That rate will be a gazillion times greater on America’s southern border,”

    Using words like “gazillion” (especially in conjunction with “times) makes you sound like a very not serious person.

    1. Your insistence on using real numbers is patriarchical heteronormative cis-shitlord WAR ON WIMMINZ! !1!!1!!!!

  13. I say make all illegals indentured servants for seven years, then they can be citizens. And will have learned a valuable trade! Win-win-win!

    1. Take them in; teach them how to run small businesses; send them home; and let them reform Mexico from the inside out.

      1. Never mind, I just described the black market drug business.

      2. I think Friedman was right: The big problem with unlimited immigration is welfare. If they can get that, then it just makes an already future-threatening problem more threatened. So let’s open the borders in exchange for getting rid of welfare. Win-win-win!

        1. This very article explains why that argument is bunk.

          1. “Tony|3.31.15 @ 11:24AM|#

            This very article explains why that argument is bunk.”

            This article is a piece of misinformative crap and the only thing it explains is your bias to believe it.

            1. I’d ask for a citation, but I realize that the idea of losing the one seemingly legitimate excuse for continuing to be a racist asshole is just too much.

        2. The welfare state is doomed regardless. Restricting human freedom further in a bid to help it survive a little longer strikes me as so wrong.

          1. Tell that to Europe and the domestic socialists. When it ultimately does from its own sclerosis it will take a lot down with it.

            1. Yes.

              And your point?!?

              The welfare state is a destructive monstrosity that forces the poor to stay poor, consumes vast quantities of wealth and erodes and weakens non-state institutions. The existence or absence of immigrants doesn’t change the incentives that drive people implacably towards crisis under a welfare state.

              1. Even though they likely don’t benefit from the welfare state they consistently vote for it. Cue botard and the irish and toxic and texas. I would much rather maximize the chance of fixing the welfare state short of catastrophic implosion than your clearly preferred “watch it burn!!!” Increasing the ranks of those who even unkowingly support it is not a rational action.

                1. I would much rather maximize the chance of fixing the welfare state short of catastrophic implosion than your clearly preferred “watch it burn!!!”

                  I see, let’s impoverish ourselves and make our country less free in the hopes of turning 99.5% likelihood of catastrophe to 99.4%!!!!

                  Good luck with that!

                  I should say that your belief that outlanders can’t be persuaded to support freedom is a pretty pathetically abject kind of surrender.

                  1. Well, my point was loosen the borders and get rid of the welfare state at the same time.

                  2. The welfare state directly impoverishes me. Why would I increase the rate of thatdecline? And since we’re pulling numbers out of our asses I’ll see your 0.1% and raise you a 100% chance of incrEasing the welfare state vs. A 50%.

                    You can call it a defeatist attitude or you could wake up and actually look at their multi-decade expressed prefeernces.

                2. I would much rather maximize the chance of fixing the welfare state

                  Why would you want to preserve a horribly illiberal institution?

                  1. Where did I claim I wanted to preserve it?

          2. I’m convinced that all governments turn into welfare states in some shape or form, before they consume all of society’s resources and then die.

            As Bastiat said: “Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.”

            1. Glubb wrote an interesting take on historical empires called The Fate of Empires and the Search for Survival which I think has a lot of relevance to the rise and fall of states as well. Glubb characterized ’empires’ as going through seven generalized stages:

              1. The age of pioneers.
              2. The age of conquests.
              3. The age of commerce.
              4. The age of affluence.
              5. The age of intellect.
              6. The age of decadence.
              7. The age of decline and collapse.

              Where do you think modern America would be on this list? I’d say at the end of 5 and the beginning of 6.

              1. “Age of Intellect”?

                really? When did that kick off, exactly.

                1. Like I said, it’s generalized stages where some can easily overlap. I’d place America’s ‘age of intellect’ being cued off largely after the Second World War with the rise of stuff like Big Science projects, widespread expansion of university attendance, etc. Glubb also notes that there’s negative aspects to the ‘age of intellect’ as the prosperity and safety associated with a ‘late age empire’ can breed intellectual movements that openly teach largely useless skills or openly condemn the processes that got them the prosperity and safety in the first place. To steal a line from Mark Steyn, they can encourage a ‘trust fund society’ that encourages the decline into the age of decadence.

                2. I think “age of intellect” is a euphemism for “age of leisure”.

              2. End of 6, beginning of 7.

              3. When poor people are fat, I’d say you’ve reached decadence. I think we’re at 7 and sliding fast.

        3. Fiscal conservatism only applies to fighter jets. Everyone knows that.

        4. ” let’s open the borders”

          First off = the notion of “open” or “closed” borders are both completely false. Neither is either possible or desirable.

          I’m sick of people saying that people who advocate “immigration reform” are to be lumped together as “Open Borders Advocates”.

          Its idiotic for multiple reasons, the most absurd being that the status-quo may be “restrictive” on paper, but is otherwise a “completely open-border policy” in practice because it incentivizes illegal immigrants to sneak in and live in the shadows for decades.

          i.e. by the standards of the ‘restrictionists’, they are the authors of their very-own-worst-scenario

          by contrast = most people who’ve spent some time looking at what might be done to ameliorate the flow of “undocumented” immigrants actually have a far more realistic and actionable ‘border policy’, which would provide for greater security over areas were smuggling occurs while directing the greater flow of ‘temporary workers’ through more-visible checkpoints.

          in short = the tropes of “open borders” / “closed borders” are entirely reversed – its the blindness of the ‘closed borders’ types to the issue that have resulted in the ‘fake protections’ we have. And those same idiots get a charge out of accusing ‘reformers’ (aka ‘open borders’ types) of wanting to ‘turn america over to the brown horde!!’, for attempting to fix the problems that the panic-mongers created.

          1. ameliorate *mitigate*

          2. I also find it odd that so many people here seem to fundamentally grasp the futility of the “enforcement only” approach to the Drug War….

            …yet insist that this is the ONLY policy possible when it comes to immigration

            ….and that anyone suggesting that we need to expand the focus beyond mere “PEOPLE-CONTROL”? is a weak-kneed surrender-monkey who thinks we should turn the country into one big welfare tit for Mexican lepers.

          3. I’m sick of people saying that people who advocate “immigration reform” are to be lumped together as “Open Borders Advocates”.

            I’m tired, if not yet sick, of people advocating “immigration reform” without spelling out in detail what they mean by it.

            1. Right, because calling people who propose “work permits” for non-citizens “OPEN BORDERS” is so much more rational than actual acknowledging that any reforms have been proposed.

              I don’t know if you’re suggesting “willful dishonesty” is preferable, or you’ve been genuinely ignorant of any actual ‘immigration reform’ proposals over the last decade+

              1. It rather depends on whose proposal you’re whooping for.

      3. At this point we might as well conquer Mexico and turn it into a territory. The we can build the damn place up ourselves with some benefit. Something we are doing now anyway with little benefit. And then we get all that oil too.

  14. Dystopia?

    Is this a Salon article?

    1. If you can’t find the expression “Vile, right-wing”-preceding the subject of the piece, its probably not a Salon story.

      1. Meh – over the top characterizations don’t exactly win me over when someone is trying to present an argument.

    2. Sikha’s a one trick pony.

      1. It’s almost like Reasons writers tend to specialize in specific topics. I don’t hear your making this complaint when Suderman writes about Obamacare.

        1. The trick isn’t writing about immigration issues. The one-trick is castigating all dissenting voices as irredemibly racist for not seeing the world through her lens.

  15. OT = in unrelated epic-retardedness…

    This is a real photo, not a badly-staged student-drama

    “A far-left Turkish group took an Istanbul prosecutor hostage and threatened to kill him, prompting special forces to enter the courthouse and police to evacuate the building.”

    actually, from what i can tell = yes, it IS a badly-staged student drama. Only they’re leftist students who didn’t bother first noticing that this sort of “WE DEMAND!” shit didn’t work in the 1970s either. I can imagine the old Baader Meinhoff people now looking at this…clucking, ‘amateurs’….

    1. At least he is wearing a mask over his nose so the authorities will never be able to identify him.

  16. Modest proposal:
    It would be cheaper and more effective to secure the border with barbed wire backed by machine gun pill boxes. After all, who wants to get shot trying to get a job that pays below minimum wage?

    $40,000 per machine gun nest * 20 per mile = $800,000 per mile * 2,000 miles = 1.6 billion
    Even with another billion for barbed wire, that is still a third the cost of the proposed fence.

    Better yet, lower the cost by contracting the work to Mexico to secure the border from their side.

    1. I still like the Kinky Friedman proposal.

      Set up a fund for each Mexican governor. Every time we catch somebody crossing from their province illegally, or overstaying a visa, we deduct a set amount from that fund. The remainder gets paid to them at the end of the year.

      Rinse and repeat.

      Naturally, I would pair this with a “wide gates” policy to make it easier for people to work here.

  17. You can be BOTH PRO-imigration AND ANTI-illegal imigration. The cost and effort it takes to get a visa for people outside this country is ridiculous. We should grant visas based on a state ID of some sort and a simple international criminal background check. That can be done quite quickly and relatively inexpensively. We absolutely should allow immigrant workers into this country. They’ve always been a part of our economy and always will.

    What we should ALSO do is control our own borders! The idea that you have to be for open borders to be pro-immigration is far more the red-herring than any welfare-queen argument.

    1. That actually makes sense. So it will probably never happen.

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  19. a whopping $7 billion or so

    Chump change.

  20. What Cruz proposes for border security is EXACTLY why he is popular. If I were running I would have a minefield in between the double layer fences, with guard towers every 1/2 mile, with orders to shoot anyone between the two fences. How to pay for it? Withdraw from the UN, and use the savings to pay for the fence. Too bad the fence wasnt built in leiu of the Iraq war-would have paid much higher dividends for unemployed Americans.

    Your logic regarding illegals benefitting the economy is non sensical- healthcare and education costs have skyrocked because of untaxed funding required to support these people. Indeed hospitals cite unreimbursed care costs for illegals the number one reason service delivery costs are out of control, even with Medicaid reimbursements.. You ignore the fact that all the illegals dont pay Federal taxes, never mind they can get Social security. Being here illegally MEANS you live off the radar, untaxed, cash and money order based, consuming public services, food stamps, and whatever else you can get your hands on because govt personnel cant ask you if you have an SSN.

    For border security, and many other reasons, we can only hope that Cruz could win though sadly, with people like the author whose ill witted opinion augur mistrust and hate for Cruz, along with the econ-politically ignorant(about 98% of Democrats), it seems unlikely that a courageous leader like Cruz could be elected.

    1. You forgot a 23.4 terrawatt force field in your security scenario.

  21. Also, I didn’t see anything in there about securing the northern border. I don’t need mouth-breathing, maple sysrup sweating canucks takin’ muh jerbs.

    1. If you want to see a secure border, enter the country through an airport sometime.

      Reason never bellyaches about keeping out immigrants who can afford airfare.

      1. Reason never bellyaches about keeping out immigrants who can afford airfare.

        WTF is this supposed to mean?

        1. It means that, while reason carrirs on about Hispanics and the Mexican border it never mentions immigrants from any other crossing. It’s ends up being Hispanics every time.

  22. The solution is actually pretty simple. Just declare anyone not in the US legally is not protected by US law, and let the citizens handle the rest. Just for once it’d be nice to see some of this “freedom” libertarians are always whining about work in the favor of normal citizens instead of the usual crowd of parasites, perverts and gate crashers it mysteriously always seems to favor.

  23. To anyone coming into the US from its southern border:

    If you are a rabid freedom-liberty person, and despise Karl Marx and all his sick variants, then welcome.

    But if you hail Che Guevera?.think Daniel Ortega ain’t so bad?.and tolerate the Shining Path and Sandinistas?.then stay the Hell out. You suck and we don’t want your worthless, leftist ass anywhere near here. Stay where you are, asshole.

  24. “more than they hate undocumented Latino immigrants”

    Because if you don’t believe in open borders you’re just RACIST RACIST RACIST HATER HATER HATER.

    Nice to see that Reason has adopted the Progressive playbook – when someone disagrees with you, call them a RACIST HATER until they submit and grovel for forgiveness.

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  26. I’d say that 10 milllion plus, going on upwards of another 10 million illegals is cause for Blacks to demand an end to the flood of work-for-peanuts Hispanics stealing their jobs. Personally, I think good use could be made of the illegals – they could be forced to build the fences that will keep out their brethern (and themseves). That fence would save a ton of money. It would also keep the hundreds of thousands of killers and rapists that have come to the land of easy pickings. The flood will only continue until that fence is built. Not building it is incredibly stupid and a slap in the face of the Black community. It’s about as racist a position as one can take.

  27. My ex-wife makes $75 every hour on the laptop . She has been laid off for seven months but last month her pay check was $18875 just working on the laptop for a few hours.
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