Trans-Pacific Partnership

"The GOP Follows Sen. Sessions—Backwards" on Immigration and Trade

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Who caused Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's amazing flip-flop on immigration? The Republican presidential hopeful used to be in favor of letting more people into the country and legalizing those here illegally. Which is to say, he used to be positively Reaganesque on the issue.

Then he started listening to Sessions, one of the great nativists of the current moment, who has yet to meet an immigrant he likes or a southern border he doesn't want to fortify. As Walker explained to Breitbart.com:

In terms of legal immigration, how we need to approach that going forward is saying—the next president and the next congress need to make decisions about a legal immigration system that's based on, first and foremost, on protecting American workers and American wages, because the more I've talked to folks, I've talked to Senator Sessions and others out there—but it is a fundamentally lost issue by many in elected positions today—is what is this doing for American workers looking for jobs, what is this doing to wages, and we need to have that be at the forefront of our discussion going forward.

Sessions is indeed an influential figure in contemporary conservative politics and that's a damn shame. For the country at large, for huddled masses yearning to be free, and, as I argue in a new column for The Daily Beast, for the Republican Party too.

Gallup

Contra Sessions, there is no clear public desire for reducing immigration, except among Republicans. Fully 84 percent of Republicans are dissatisfied with the current generous levels, a super-majority that only shows how out of touch the GOP faithful is with the rest of the country. Earlier this year, Gallup found that 54 percent of Americans are either satisfied with current levels of immigration or want more immigration. Just 39 percent were dissatisfied and want less immigration, which is 11 points lower than the same figure in 2008.

The majority of Americans embrace immigration for a lot of different reasons. Part of it is our history and sense of national identity and part of it is a basic if unarticulated recognition of what economists on the right and left haveconsistently found: "On average, immigrant workers increase the opportunities and incomes of Americans."

Leave aside the fact that immigrants are twice as likely to start their own businesses as native-born Americans. The fact is they tend to be either higher- or lower-skilled than the typical worker, so they complement rather than displace natives. And, as the Cato Institute's Alex Nowrasteh documents in his exhaustive rebuttal to Sessions's Washington Post piece, immigrants not only consume less welfare and commit less crime than the average American, they pay taxes (often without any hope of getting the money back) and stop coming when the economy sours. If you think immigrants cause problems, check out the parts of the country that nobody is moving to and you'll understand that it's precisely when migrants stop coming that your real troubles are starting.

By the way, Alabama is lagging nationwide population growth. Just saying.

Whole Beast piece here.

Sessions is also against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) or "fast-track authority," a standard practice in negotiating such deals for 40 years that allows the executive branch to negotiate a deal and then bring it to Congress for an up-or-down vote. His anti-TPA/TPP stance has him locking arms with such champions of laissez-faire at Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Gov. Martin O'Mally, and Sen. Bernie Sanders. The main reason Sessions dunnit like the deal? Well, allowing the president to negotiate deals that are then submitted to Congress is a dangerous "consolidaton of power" don't you know? And heavens to Hessians, "TPA could facilitate immigration increases above current law." Also, reducing trade barriers could increase…trade with other countries, potentially leading to "increased trade deficits." This is all according to a CRITICAL ALERT the senator released last week (ALL CAPS in original).

There are reasons to be against TPP but increased trade deficits and potentially increased immigration are not among them. In many ways, Sessions represents the worst tendencies of the contemporary Republican Party. He's for limited government, except when it comes to social issues and increasing the defense budget. He's in favor of employer-surveillance programs such as E-Verify, he's conspiracist when it comes to the executive branch (as long as a Dem is sitting in the Oval Office).

But that's him. It's a real shame that other Republicans, especially those running for president, are following his lead on trade and immigration. Those used to be issues the GOP was pretty good on, meaning they were pretty libertarian. Those days seem to be receding into the past.

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  1. Reason’s socialist view on supporting open borders is based upon their false view that public property means public to the universe.

    Let me suggest that public property may be more private that Reason would have us believe.

    1. Oh hey, you’re one of those tiresome creatures that copies and pastes your own posts in multiple threads? Get pegged in a room, supper chunks.

      1. I reqote myself from memory because unlike you I have a brain and can remember 😀

        1. I have a brain

          [citation needed]

    2. Zing!

    3. I would try to counter this statement, but you haven’t actually said anything…

      1. So why did you bother to post something then ….. because you need company ?

        1. I was trying to get you to explain your position in more detail. And I did it with a little bit of snark because this is the Internet, and in particular, Reason.

          And yes, I comment here because I enjoy the banter and ability to discuss and debate libertarian ideas.

          1. Well, believe it or not, I haven’t developed it further. But I am somewhat confident I will be able to.

            If you would like to help me do that, please do. I admit I am not the swiftest of libertarians and it took me this long to label the Open Border concept as socialist.

            1. Let me suggest that public property may be more private that Reason would have us believe.

              Answer these questions:

              1) How public do you think Reason believes public property to be?
              2) In what ways do you think it is private? In what ways do you think it is public?
              3) How does this impact immigration policy?

              1. 1) That’s not clear, but supporting open borders means to me that they think people are free to cross borders as they please which implies a public property view of public to the world.

                2) Public property has always been an ambiguous concept and I have decided to merely refer to it as state-owned property that the state allows (or has a duty/obligation to let) the public use. But I am tending to believe that PUBLIC actually means PUBLIC TO THE CITIZENRY

                3) I think I answered that in 1 above and 2 also

                1. So if I own a path from the border to my factory and apartment building, you’d be cool with me inviting in anyone I wanted?
                  How about if I own an airplane and airport next to said factory?

                  1. I’m inclined to believe that you would be free to invite anyone … but it remains an invite only and while invited you would have to “put them up” in your apartment.

                    Not sure how last part has anything to do with anything apart from the rules the state would set down in a way similar to to the way the state sets down speed limits use of “the general citizeny” property.

                    My guess is that along these lines, the state too would be able to invite people in .. but it must do so on behalf of the citizenry. Just what this includes in terms of duties/obligations on the state is unclear to me.

                    1. What if I wanted to sell them one of the apartments?

                    2. You may do so, but that would not actually affect their citizenry status

                    3. This needs developing, what is the status of foreigners who buy property now ?

                      Perhaps owning property within the borders might entitle the owner to free invites or something …. You are right … this needs devolping

                2. All fair points. But here is the thing: not all libertarians are in favor of a completely open border (which in the extreme actually means borderless).

                  I don’t know if Nick is in the extreme open borders camp. Nothing he says in this post indicates that he is. When I read Reason’s excellent collection of articles on immigration there was some open border stuff in there, but most of it was concrete and realistic steps towards a freer immigration system, not one where people just cross the border without any checks whatsoever.

                  But I rarely see people on this board criticizing concrete steps like reforming the visa system and making it easier for workers to come here to fill the jobs that need filled. Instead they criticize the concept of open borders, which only the most extreme people are actually promoting.

                  So let me respond directly to your statements. Yes, the extreme open border crowd basically has the view that borders should not be any impediment to the movement of peaceful people. But it is perfectly reasonable to say that the government has the authority to control borders while also saying the current system is a terrible way of doing so, and that a much freer system of immigration would be better for almost everyone.

                  1. Considering how he speaks of any deportation of illegals as a crime against humanity, I’m pretty sure he wants an open border.

                  2. Yes, the extreme open border crowd basically has the view that borders should not be any impediment to the movement of peaceful people.

                    A problem with this idea is that, if the borders do not impede the movement of peaceful or industrious people, they also will not impede the movement of unpeaceful and unproductive people.

                    1. Removing borders will remove the incentive for people to be unpeaceful and unproductive…

                      In some universe.

            2. Well, believe it or not, I haven’t developed it further.

              I believe it.

  2. Whoa. That pic of Lizzie is terrifying, somehow.

    1. Heard her blathering on on NPR this morning, and every word out of her mouth sounds like she’s about to cry. She feels everything that she says. So it must be true. I mean, she feels it.

  3. No doubt that merely changing the name of the patriot act to the free trade act would lead to Gillespie endorsing it’s reauthorization.

    Because anything and everything that includes those magic words promotes freedom.

    1. There are reasons to be against TPP but increased trade deficits and potentially increased immigration are not among them.

  4. GET OFFA MY METAPHORICAL LAWN, MESSIKINZ!
    YOU’RE BREATHING MY AIR!

    1. And take your Mary juana and your buttsex with you!

  5. So many of these articles are a false dichotomy. For some reason if anyone thinks there should be any check at the border or really any process that makes legal and illegal immigration possible than they want no immigration. Nick then proceeds to tackle that straw man.

    1. So you’re saying that most of the Republican candidates actually do want more immigration? Go on…

      1. That’s not what I said at all, but I’ll adress it. I think most republicans think that allowing approximately 11 million people to pass through the borders without so much as a head check is stupid, they think relaxing a drive with no border control is stupider, and they think that people should be able to immigrate legally. Maybe they even figure that if illegal immigration is easier, and provides the same benefits than people will skip the legal immigration hassle.

      2. Of course they do. the big money donors want immigration and that is who counts. Most Republican candidates hate Republican voters and are embarrassed to have to ask for their votes.

  6. Earlier this year, Gallup found that 54 percent of Americans are either satisfied with current levels of immigration or want more immigration. Just 39 percent were dissatisfied and want less immigration, which is 11 points lower than the same figure in 2008.

    Let’s rewrite this using the same facts.

    Earlier this year, Gallup found that 93 percent of Americans are either satisfied with current levels of immigration or do not want more immigration. Just 7 percent were dissatisfied and want more immigration, which is 2 points lower than the same figure in 2008.

    1. In other shocking news, 93% of Americans want to preserve the welfare state, as illustrated by basically every election ever.

      1. In other shocking news, 93% of Americans want to preserve the welfare state, as illustrated by basically every election ever.

        Considering that the average voter turnout has been less than 70% from 1948 – 2012, 93% American support for the welfare state is a bit… exaggerated.

        1. It was a rhetorical play on the poll results being cited.

          1. Roger! I guess my rhetorical meter needs calibrating! 🙂

    2. I understand what you are trying to do, but you are doing it wrong.

      Let’s say there are four possible responses: S for satisfied, M for want more immigration, L for want less immigration, and U for unsure.

      The 54% number = S + M
      Your 93% number = S + M + L
      What you really want is S + L

      Unless you have access to numbers showing that M = 7% and that U is essentially 0%, your claim is not justified.

      1. As indicated below, M = 7% but U = 7% also so S + L = 86%

        1. Thanks for clearing that up.

          But let me respond by asking the question: so what? From a libertarian perspective, the proper role of government in this regard is to safeguard national security and protect the rights of American citizens. So unless immigrants are violating someone’s basic rights or pose a threat to national security, it doesn’t really matter to me if 86% of American’s don’t want to really let any more in that we are currently doing. I’ll concede that the welfare state muddies the waters, but it doesn’t change the fundamental issue for me.

          1. It doesn’t really matter. I think the only point here is to stop making appeals to polls (i.e., eschew argumentum ad populum), perhaps especially when they can be read as opposing your position more strongly than agreeing with it.

            In other words, if polls are meaningless/irrelevant (and I agree they are), then don’t pull them out when convenient.

          2. It is not. The whole “freedom and moral imperative’ stuff is a red hearing. The American government doesn’t owe any moral obligation to people form other countries. They owe an obligation to the people who vote them in office and pay the bills in the form of taxes.

            1. The American government doesn’t owe any moral obligation to people form other countries.

              Absent a declaration of war, the US government has the “moral obligation” to respect life, liberty, and property. That doesn’t mean the government has to go into foreign countries and force their governments to change, just that insofar as the US government deals with foreigners it must respect their rights the same as non-foreigners. That however isn’t an obligation to provide something, it is a restraint on what actions can be taken.

              1. No it doesn’t. It can’t go and bomb them. But it certainly doesn’t owe foreigners entry into this country. That is up to the people who live here.

                1. But it certainly doesn’t owe foreigners entry into this country. That is up to the people who live here.

                  That’s a statement that doesn’t really say anything. I think you mean “that is up to the Congress” and not what you said, since there are people of different minds on this matter and they can’t both get their way.

      2. I got the total wrong. It’s 86%. Pesky polls that don’t add up to 100%.

        There’s another number, the strange “dissatisfied but keep it the same” group, which weighs in at 14%. So S + DS + DL = 33 + 14 + 39 = 86%. That’s what I was wanting to use.

      3. How about Z?
        Z= I’m bored with this irrelevant argument.

  7. Earlier Gallup Poll – a different reading:

    Gallup Poll: Only SEVEN PERCENT Of Americans Want More Immigration

    In total, 60 percent of respondents said they were dissatisfied with the current levels of immigration to the United States. 33 percent said they were satisfied with current levels.

    But among those who are dissatisfied with current immigration levels, 39 percent said they want less immigration, 14 percent say they want current levels to say the same, but only 7 percent say they want immigration levels to increase.

    (Yes, 14 percent of Americans say they are dissatisfied with current immigration levels, but also say they want immigration levels to stay the same. I don’t get it either.)

    1. The issue is a dead loser. Even Hispanics are not single issue immigration voters. Open borders really is a stuff rich white people like thing.

  8. Leave aside the fact that immigrants are twice as likely to start their own businesses as native-born Americans.

    I’ve heard this claim a lot. Never seen any actual evidence for it though. And if they do start their own businesses at higher rates than real Americans, they are still poorer than us, why?

    The fact is they tend to be either higher- or lower-skilled than the typical worker, so they complement rather than displace natives.

    Only low and high skilled American workers need fear. That makes a lot of sense.

    1. Leave aside the fact that immigrants are twice as likely to start their own businesses as native-born Americans.

      Considering that the vast majority of visas, I believe, are of the type that require a sponsoring employer, I’d like to see some support for this as well.

    2. Agreed, I want to be persuaded but saying “the fact is” does not a fact make.

  9. Sessions has always been pretty bad on this. Now he has seniority and a chairmanship, so more power and a bigger mouthpiece.

  10. if anyone thinks there should be any check at the border or really any process that makes legal and illegal immigration possible than they want no immigration.

    Speaking of bogus characterizations…

  11. And, as the Cato Institute’s Alex Nowrasteh documents in his exhaustive rebuttal to Sessions’s Washington Post piece, immigrants not only consume less welfare and commit less crime than the average American, they pay taxes (often without any hope of getting the money back)

    Actually, all Nowrasteh was able to show was that poor immigrants use less welfare than poor natives. He did not mention crime. Gillespie did not read the piece he was citing.(It is actually true that immigrants commit less crime than natives. However, second and third generation Hispanics commit more crime than the general population, and significantly more crime than White people)

  12. I’m just so relieved we’re spending even more time talking about immigration and campus rape and not wasting much time at all (Suderman’s bit on Huckabee excepted) on entitlement reform. You know, that pesky little problem that is bankrupting the country.

  13. Forget immigration for a moment, you don’t have to be against free trade to be against the TransPacific Partnership. The thing is a monstrosity that is so bad they won’t show it to the public. Fuck that thing. Obama is so awful he manages to fuck up things that I would normally support.

    1. Yep, but slap the magic incantation free trade on it and Cosmos go all wobbly.

      1. Words are not magic. Just because you utter the phrase “free trade” doesn’t make it a good idea.

        And free trade is good because it is freedom. A “free trade agreement” that overall reduces freedom in other areas is not a good idea.

  14. you don’t have to be against free trade to be against the TransPacific Partnership.

    We have a winner. Sure, lots of the opposition is stupid, but don’t we all wish the stupid opposition to OBamaCare had prevailed?

    1. TPP is just boiler plate document.
      The poor fools at the US Intl Trade Commission are incapable of original thought.
      They’re just thinking to themselves, “Duh, NAFTA worked….let’s just do word search and take out the words “mexico” and “canada” and insert some new ones, huh huh”.

      I am not sure what the strategic goal of this toilet paper document is!!
      Maybe our leadrship really does think we have to pay nations to be our friends.
      just give it away.

  15. It is sad to listen to this continuing debate over immigration, fustrated that everyone INSISTS on framing the debate/shouting match in terms of an out-dated “Ellis Island” mythology.
    “”
    Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
    A mighty woman with a torch,
    From her beacon-hand glows world-wide welcome;
    “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she!
    “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
    “”
    –From the “New Colossus” written for the Statue of Liberty.
    Emma Lazarus, 1883.

    Here we are.. 132 years later, still picturing hungry eastern european immigrants filing off steamships into Ellis Island, eager to abandon the oppressive ways of the Old Aristocratic Europe, yearning to be free, to be american.

    The 21st Century reality is that nobody…absolutely NOBODY is comming to America to become American anymore. They throng to America because America is ripe for the pickin’.
    There’s no abandonment of old world ways….in fact americans have developed the opinion that we are somehow INFERIOR to the rest of the world,,,,that their “culture” makes them better than Americans….and that we ought to be ashamed of ourselves for abandonning “culture” in the first place.

  16. A bit off-topic but I saw this article of American Thinker showing 2 videos about the TPP.

  17. Senator Sessions may be excessively zealous on guarding the border, but at least he’s my hero for fighting corporate abuse of the H-1B program? See
    http://www.sessions.senate.gov…..e0c642cd9a and

    http://www.computerworld.com/a…..rkers.html …
    Now the latest abuse is that corporations (like HP, Hewlett Packard) go and BLACKLIST FOREVER, prevent from re-hire, those that they lay off? They may not even hire back on as agency contractor at HP? Then HP goes and whines and cries to Congress, they need more H-1B immigrant worker visas! I do not have anything against hard-working and peaceful immigrants? I just want to be able to compete with them, on a level playing field. The likes of HP will NOT allow that, if they have laid me off! And that pisses me off!

  18. “I have always been amused by kind of a paradox. Suppose you go around and ask people: ‘The United States, as you know, before 1914 had completely free immigration. Anybody could get on a boat and come to these shores. If you landed on Ellis Island, it was an immigrant. Was that a good thing or a bad thing?’ You will find hardly a soul who will say it was a bad thing. Almost everybody will say it was a good thing.

    “But then, suppose I say to the same people: ‘But now, what about today? Do you think we should have free immigration?’

    “‘Oh no,’ they’ll say. ‘We couldn’t possibly have free immigration today. Boy that would, uhh, that would flood us with immigrants from India and God knows where. We’d be driven down to a bare subsistence level.’

    “What’s the difference? How can people be so inconsistent? Why is it that free immigration was a good thing before 1914 and free immigration is a bad thing today?

    “Well, there is a sense in which that answer is right. There is a sense in which free immigration, in the same sense in which we had it before 1914, is not possible today.

    “Why not? Because it is one thing to have free immigration to jobs. It is another thing to have free immigration to welfare.”

    – Milton Friedman

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eyJIbSgdSE

    1. And of course the solution to this is to abolish the welfare state, not restrict movement of people.

      1. Agreed, and common sense would suggest we do it before we open the borders. Friedman also discussed how difficult it is, politically, to roll back the welfare state once people are already here. So in effect, people who are advocating open borders prior to serious entitlement reform might as well be welfare statists. And many are.

    2. Also, fuck Jeff Sessions with a chainsaw. Worthless hillbilly sack of shit who’s too useless to do anything besides politics.

  19. It’s funny: the Republicans will survive the demographic transition. Sure, they’ll have to move to the left, but they’ll survive.

    The libertarians will not, yet here they are, cheering it on and trying to hasten it.

  20. Nathaniel . although Stephanie `s rep0rt is super… I just bought a top of the range Mercedes sincee geting a check for $4416 this last four weeks and would you believe, ten/k last-month . no-doubt about it, this really is the best-job I’ve ever done . I actually started seven months/ago and almost straight away started making a nice over $79.. p/h….. ?????? http://www.Jobs-Cash.com

  21. If there is one issue that Reason.com doesn’t have any “Reason” on, it is illegal immigration. Let’s just all pretend that if we open the borders, that a jobs-creation paradise will occur, and everyone that loses a job will miraculously be freed up to engage in more productive pastimes. Yeah, right. Let’s leave ivory tower economic theories where they belong.

    While I don’t condone the protectionists in general, the fact is that globalization produces serious social harm on a relatively short time scale. Tempered protectionism and immigration is a perfectly valid approach to accommodating economic and social changes that occur on a time scale longer than the economic changes and/or benefits themselves.

    Oh, while you’re at it, quit offering illegals amnesty, welfare, jobs, and everything else. That means that every illegal that swims the Rio Grande forces an American to work harder to support the illegal.

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