Immigration

Arizona Supreme Court Justice: GOP Nativism Has Paul Ryan Ducking-and-Covering on Immigration

"When you see someone like Paul Ryan really duck-and-cover on the immigration issue you know that the pendulum has swung in the wrong direction."

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"It is not in my nature to be pessimistic, but it is impossible not to be pessimistic about immigration reform." So says Clint Bolick, the veteran libertarian lawyer, pro-immigration advocate, and newly appointed justice of the Arizona Supreme Court.

In an exclusive interview with Reason, Bolick took aim at the GOP's increasingly hostile anti-immigration stance. For Bolick, who in 2013 co-authored (with Jeb Bush) the pro-immigration manifesto Immigration Wars, the recent rise of conservatism nativism has been deeply discouraging.

Credit: C-SPAN

"The current Republican campaign has been a reflection of a very disturbing nativist trend," Bolick told Reason. "One of the things that has especially disturbed me is, as we report in the book—which was published only three years ago, so things have really moved in a bad direction really quickly—mainstream Republican opinion at that time and consistently before that time was pro-immigration. The typical Republican strongly supported border security, but also strongly supported a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and other, I would say, mainstream or moderate reforms. For the first time in well over a decade, polls this year show Republican sentiment growing far more nativist than ever before. It is impossible to get systemic immigration reform without bipartisan consensus. And when you see someone like Paul Ryan really duck-and-cover on the immigration issue you know that the pendulum has swung in the wrong direction."

Click here to read Reason's full interview with Clint Bolick, libertarian lawyer turned Arizona Supreme Court justice.

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  1. End the welfare state and next to nobody will care.

    1. This. It is hard to find any other rational argument to be against immigration whether legal or illegal.

      1. Well, there is also the argument that an unlimited influx of immigrants, especially from one particular geographic region, will transform our culture into something more like where those people came from. Does America have a right to preserve its culture? Does America even HAVE a coherent culture? Do we have several incompatible cultures thrust together into a tenuous association?

        1. Do we have a right to preserve “our” culture? You mean like banning The Beatles or Brigit Bardot or
          Pilsner Lager or Puccini or silk cravats or any other foreign import that changed American culture? You always have a right to reject Irish jigs or Bollywood movies or tacos but not the right to require others to do so.

        2. If a bunch of Frenchmen move in next door to you, will that turn you French? Inquiring minds want to know.

          France was the one particular geographic region you were talking about right? Because they are the worst, what with their false sense of cultural superiority and all. You’d think they painted the Mona Lisa or something, but no they just house it. It was done by an Italian and they are still piggybacking off of its success. Their greatest general was a Corsican. Also they are the world’s worst tourists.

          I will give them one thing though, they did conquer the UK.

          1. I will give them one thing though, they did conquer the UK.

            Actually, they outsourced that to the Vikings (ie the Nor[th]men)

          2. Snarkiness aside, it’s a fundamental question. Should the Native Americans have welcomed the Pilgrims with open arms?

    2. We had no welfare state in the late-1800s and we still had the Chinese Exclusion Act.

      Some people just really don’t like immigrants.

      1. well can you blame them, the Chinese are pesky tricksters.

    3. Since we are unimaginably far from “ending the welfare state”, lots of people will be caring for a long time.

    4. That’s pretty naive. They’ll still be takin r jerbs.

    5. Re: Idle Hands,

      End the welfare state and next to nobody will care.

      How sweet. Idle Hands really believes the conservative’s shibboleth that a welfare state turns immigrant labor into a “cost.”

      If that really were the case, then for the sake of logical consistency (or at least so people don’t believe you’re simply being an ass) you should advocate for the sterilization of all those Americans whose offspring could potentially enter the rolls. Unless, of course, we end the welfare state.

      The next thing is that you really believe people care about immigration because the welfare state exists. Ah, you poor, naive sap! No! People think about immigration because they’re economically-illiterate fools looking for convenient scapegoats to blame for their own woes. They are also easily swayed by facile arguments by protectionists.

      1. Maybe we produce quite enough welfare cases on our own and don’t need to import any more.

        Of course anyone who pretends to think that is really a racist xenophobe; there is no other possible explanation for the idea.

        1. Re: Homple,

          Maybe we produce quite enough welfare cases on our own and don’t need to import any more.

          Where’s the evidence that immigrant labor produces more welfare cases? Most welfare recipients are American-born, and the greatest group of welfare recipients is made of the elderly, which is why you don’t see Social Security and Medicare reformed in any meaningful way.

          Of course anyone who pretends to think that is really a racist xenophobe[…]

          You can be a xenophobe without being racist. Most nativists are actually protectionists at heart. That means they’re economically-illiterate fools.

          1. Point well taken about Social Security and Medicare as the largest welfare programs. I think that many non-libertarians whooping for unlimited immigration hope to perpetuate these Ponzi schemes by importing younger people. The problem since 1965 is that we are importing people with minimal skills who aren’t ever going to pay enough tax to keep the scheme viable.

      2. WTF?

        The welfare state, especially the minimum wage, greatly reduces the cost of illegal immigrant labor. An illegal immigrant has no reason to rat out an employer for paying him $6.75 an hour. The only downside is getting caught, and both the employer and employee have vested interests in helping each other avoid that.

        Contrast that with the added costs of the welfare state for “legitimate” labor. Even if given a simple path to legality, some immigrants would prefer to remain illegal in order to keep their jobs since there isn’t any proof the leviathan welfare state will actually improve their quality of life.

        1. Re: Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper,

          The welfare state, especially the minimum wage, greatly reduces the cost of illegal immigrant labor.

          It may reduce the cost of hiring, which is what payroll taxes do: increase the cost of hiring. But don’t fool yourself into thinking that employers demand immigrant labor because it is cheaper. That’s not the only consideration. The greatest consideration is that immigrant labor is MORE PRODUCTIVE, because of Comparative Advantage. Whether you like it or not, many American workers are not interested in the type of labor that most immigrants perform. Even if the United States decided to abolish the federal Minimum Wage and all payroll taxes, you will NOT see Americans flocking to gas stations to work as attendants.

          And there are certain jobs that American entrepreneurs will not hire an immigrant to do; just take a look at how big is unreported employment in the US.

          1. “Whether you like it or not, many American workers are not interested in the type of labor that most immigrants perform. ”

            True. Very many Americans prefer to get by on welfare rather than by fixing roofs in Nevada in July for shit wages and no benefits.

            Immigrants prefer fixing Nevada roofs in July for shit wages and no benefits to starving and dodging drug gang bullets in Central America. But, given access to the welfare state, immigrants will eventually choose welfare in the same proportion as natives do.

  2. … Bolick took aim at the GOP’s increasingly hostile anti-immigration stance.

    It’s all fine and good to open your home to outsiders and offer them a glass of tranya, but at some point one of them will be bringing some corbomite with him. And then what?

    1. Double hand chops to the neck?

      1. Shoulder rolls at the very least.

  3. I suspect that “comprehensive immigration reform” might get more support if voters thought it was offered in good faith.

    These comprehensive reforms generally involve a promise of enforcement in exchange for legalizing some illegals.

    This was the approach of 1986 when Congress and Ronald Reagan adopted their comprehensive reform package.

    “Legalize some of these people working in the shadows, and we’ll tighten up enforcement.”

    We know what happened then.

    So when people say, “don’t you want a comprehensive reform bill like Reagan signed?” the answer is “no, we saw what happened that time.”

    1. “I suspect that “comprehensive immigration reform” might get more support if voters thought it was offered in good faith.”

      ^This.

      This administration and the modern left doesnt even pretend to operate in good faith anymore.

  4. BTW, this ‘nativist trend’ is a bit of a global phenomenon, in my opinion.

    1. Trumpism, Putinism, National Front and the rest of the European blood and soil right. If not a global phenomenon, certainly a western one.

      1. Once the Europeans, especially the Germans, realize the economic benefits and cultural vibrancy provided by a couple of million young Middle Eastern and North African men, they will forget their fears and repent of their xenophobic ways.

    2. The nativist trend is a direct result of the failure of welfare states, especially since the nativists are basically just wanting to keep all the welfare for themselves.

  5. An, another call for “open borders”, and by open borders I mean the govt playing favorites as to who can get in and can’t based on who will vote for more govt, and/or shoot someplace up to gin up support for gun control and other violations of civil liberties. All paid for by tax dollars.

    The libertarian moment continues.

    1. Re: Longtorso, Johnny

      Open Borders only means not impeding the movement of people who want to peacefully move to live and work in this country. Open Borders actually goes both ways. Remember that unless a person surrenders his or her passport and renounces his or her citizenship, the US government still feels entitled to that person’s productive efforts.

      1. The trick is to distinguish between those who want to work and live peacefully among the existing population and those who have other ideas.

        1. It’s an arcane legal device known as habeas corpus. No one really knows how it is supposed to work though.

        2. Re: Homple,

          The trick is to distinguish between those who want to work and live peacefully among the existing population and those who have other ideas.

          That’s what guns are for.

            1. Re: Homple,

              If someone moves into this country with other motives in mind besides engaging in peaceful trade and voluntary contracting, then that is what guns are for: to keep those individuals at bay, or send them to kingdom come. The problem with having the government sift through people is that the bureaucrats ALWAYS assume any individual who wants to migrate is harming others by that action alone, leading to a extremely onerous and painfully-slow process. This explains why so many immigrants risk their lives using other (and more expeditious) avenues.

              1. Interesting. Under what circumstances would you say we get to shoot one of them? While staying out of trouble with the government, that is.

              2. I didn’t realize that shooting welfare recipients and those who vote for caudillo politics (seeing as how those aren’t “trade and voluntary contracting”) was the humane option, or an option at all. Here I thought that simply barring entry to the country was the better option, but I guess summary execution is the libertarian way.

                Once again I wonder at a libertarian politics that condemns anything short of open borders while in the next breath suggesting the threat of a shooting as a response to relatively small infractions, with nothing in between as a response.

                1. Re: The Immaculate Trouser,

                  I didn’t realize that shooting welfare recipients and those who vote for caudillo politics (seeing as how those aren’t “trade and voluntary contracting”) was the humane option

                  I only shoot people who commit acts of aggression against my property or life. When Homple said that there’s a difference between those who want to live peacefully among other people and “those who have other ideas,” then the logical conclusion is that the people he’s referring to who have other ideas must want something besides living peacefully among other people. That means ipso facto those people want to act as criminals, which is the reason behind my reply: that’s what guns are for. If Homple meant something else, then that means there’s an error in the way he was arguing his case.

                  People who seek welfare benefits are NOT committing an act of aggression. The organization committing such an act of aggression is the government. Those who vote for caudillo politicians are not committing an act of aggression. The aggressive acts would be committed by the politicians IF they engage in the taking of property.

                  I don’t judge intentions. I judge acts.

                  1. How do you square people seeking welfare benefits through government force with NOT being an act of aggression?

                    Obviously that would apply to both domestic and foreign welfare seekers.

      2. Open borders is not on the table and it never will be

    2. This. It’s not like the mainstream immigration debate is between nativism and actual open borders, as much as Reason writers like to pretend that it is

      1. The fact that they pretend that to be true shows how weak they believe their own arguments to be. Calling everyone on the other side “racist”, which is all screaming nativist is, is just a way to shut down debate and avoid having to defend their positions. And then of course reason collectively shits their pants over Trump, as if their side’s utter refusal to engage in good faith debate or compromise on immigration isn’t the entire reason for Trump’s rise in the polls.

        1. Re: John,

          Calling everyone on the other side “racist”, which is all screaming nativist is, is just a way to shut down debate[…]

          There may be those who conflate the two terms (mostly Marxians, that is those whose minds orbit the planet Marx). Those of us who understand the term use it to label people who harbor protectionist notions that run counter free markets and freedom itself, without resorting to ascribing other motives, which are quite irrelevant.

          ‘Nativists’ are those who believe only native-born people should enjoy the productive fruits of others – be it ‘jobs’, be it ‘land’, etc. If you say “wait, that implies socialism!” then you will begin to understand why principled libertarians such as myself criticize the idea and why we present arguments against it. Nativism is just another protectionist scheme, nothing more sophisticated than that.

          1. A nativist is someone who believes in no immigration. What you are saying is that anyone who believes in any form of border control of national sovereignty is a “nativist”. You can define the term however you like of course. If you choose to define it as you have, you have essentially made it meaningless and just a synonym for “anyone who disagrees with me”. And that is the definition of a bad faith argument.

            1. John, here’s no point arguing about the definition. Nativist”, “racist”, “bigot” and “xenophobe” are simply shorthand for “shut the fuck up”.

            2. Re: John,

              A nativist is someone who believes in no immigration.

              That’s NOT TRUE, John. A nativist is someone who believes the fruits of other people’s labor belongs to the native born first. That is the concept and the definition. A person who wants NO immigration is simply someone who believes in economic autarky – like the North Koreans. Those terms are NOT to be confused.

              What you are saying is that anyone who believes in any form of border control of national sovereignty is a “nativist”.

              That’s not the case. National sovereignty only pertains to governance from inside and not outside. That is what the word “sovereign” entails.

              A nativist believes the fruits of someone else’s labor – call it a ‘job’ which is the money offered by someone, or call it ‘land’ – belongs to the native-born. It is part of the protectionist mindset which is chauvinistic, but not necessarily racist. Nativists can perfectly support immigration as long as the immigrants bring capital with them; just not labor.

        2. To be fair, and dropping my snark, there really isn’t any chance of compromise on immigration. You’ll notice that the Democratic party’s stance is basically, “well, we really want to fix this, really, but you see those Republicans just make it so hard.” I really view the Democrats as perfectly content to let this be an issue that they can hammer Republicans on for as long as possible.

          On the other side of the aisle, you’ll notice that anything short of deportation is the new amnesty. Path to citizenship for illegals, it’s out of the question. Legal status but no path for citizenship, also out of the question. The Ann Coulter wing of the Republican party are hardliners on the issue. They have no desire to compromise.

          1. The compromise is simple and could be had. You continue to deport immigrants legal or illegal who commit crimes and you offer those in the country illegally a path to legality. I don’t see why you can’t let the people who are here working and not bothering anyone stay without granting them citizenship. The only reason to give them citizenship is in hopes they vote for whatever political team you are on.

            That compromise doesn’t and won’t occur, however, because Democrats want voters and don’t give a shit about immigrants. If the compromise doesn’t create new Democratic voters, they see no point in doing it.

          2. Re: regularidiot,

            I really view the Democrats as perfectly content to let this be an issue that they can hammer Republicans on for as long as possible.

            That’s because the Democrats don’t believe in immigration. They’ve always been protectionists at heart. Bernie, to his credit, is at least honest about this position. I haven’t seen before the level of hostility towards immigrant workers as I’ve seen under Obama. The current administration loves to pander to the Latin American community in order to get their votes but it is all a sham and Latinos know it.

            The Republicans let themselves be hammered by the Democrats because they love to pander to the bases which are mostly economically-illiterate and suspicious of foreign-born workers. Plus they have no moral standing from which to educate people on the reasons for their economic woes since the Republicans were as guilty as the Democrats of causing them in the first place.

  6. Immigration politics on the left is fairly open about diluting the power of the native class of Americans in favor of client groups more amenable to leftist coalition politics. It is therefore hardly surprising that the large part of the US that doesn’t identify itself as part of this coalition (or that sees its part of the leftist coalition losing power with this change) looks askance on the proposition of increasing immigration under these terms.

    Frankly, many libertarians come across as welcoming this change as beneficial — Bleeding Hearts Libertarians being the extreme outlier, but even Cato and Reason oftentimes seem to cheer on one side of the culture war (albeit in non-combatant roles) rather than being particularly outside the struggle altogether.

    1. The Reason staff will believe and generalize virtually any slander against groups it doesn’t culturally approve like Cops or SOCONs. In contrast, Reason will broach no criticism of immigrants. Every immigrant is presumed to be a freedom loving hard working person looking for a better life and any examples, no matter how numerous, to the contrary are of no importance and say nothing about the larger issue of immigration. A cop shoots a dog in Cleveland and reason is happy to view it as indicative of the law enforcement culture of the entire nation. A SOCON in Kentucky refuses to give gay marriage licence and reason happily concludes all SOCONs are intolerant and not to be trusted. Syrian refugees go on a rape and groping spree in Europe and reason tells us only racists would ever object to the country taking Syrian refugees.

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