Immigration

Want to Reduce Illegal Immigration? You Don't Have to Build a Wall

Make new and better pathways for people to come here legally instead of creating a police state armed with biometric scanners.

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Zhang Chaoqun Xinhua News Agency/Newscom

Donald Trump's hard-line immigration speech on Wednesday night included plans for hiring more border patrol agents, deploying bio-metric scanners to catch illegal immigrants and establishing a new "deportation force" to round-up and eject many of the estimated 11 million people in the United States without documentation.

Of course there will also be a wall. An "impenetrable, physical, tall, beautiful, southern border wall" that would be paid for by Mexico, as Reason's Ed Krayewski reported.

Cracking down on illegal immigration is the central plank of Trump's campaign, but if he's serious about shutting down the flow of undocumented workers across America's southern border, he might want to consider an idea more radical than giant walls and an expanding immigration police force: letting more people into the country legally.

As David Bier, an immigration policy analyst for the Cato Institute, notes in a blog post this week: historically the best way to reduce illegal immigration has been to increase legal immigration. That's because one of the biggest impediments to legal immigration is the federal government's quotas on certain categories of workers. Those quotas are arbitrary totals completely disconnected from the economic forces that drive immigrants to seek work in the United States.

Those quotas "are the definition of an unreasonable immigration policy," writes Bier. "They are no different than Soviet manufacturing quotas, and they have the exact same effect: discord in the free market—surpluses where workers are unneeded, shortages where they are needed, and black markets that inevitably results when government makes movement illegal."

For example: the federal government issues about 150,000 visas annually for temporary farm workers — a number that doesn't even come close to the estimated 2 million seasonal workers on U.S. farms and ranches.

When government policy allows more lesser-skilled guest workers in the country, there are fewer illegal immigrants, Bier argues with this graphic:

David Bier/Cato Institute

In an op-ed for CNN on Wednesday, Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson explained why this approach would do a better job of reducing illegal immigration than Trump's proposals (or current U.S. policy).

"Our politicians, both right and left, have created a system for legal immigration that simply doesn't work. We have artificial quotas. We have 'caps' on certain categories of workers that have no real relationship to the realities of the free market," Johnson wrote.

Instead, Johnson favors a system with no caps, no categories and no quotas. "Just a straightforward background check, the proper paperwork to obtain a real Social Security number and work legally," he wrote, calling that "a reliable system to know who is coming and who is going."

Note that he isn't calling for open borders or amnesty for illegal immigrants. People coming to the country still have to follow the rules, but he says the government should make it easier for them to do that.

Under Trump's plan (and current U.S. policy) there are essentially two groups of people coming across the border: legal immigrant and illegal immigrants. The first group is fine, but the second group consists of de facto criminals because they are breaking the law to enter the country, the argument goes.

Immigration policy requires a bit more nuance than that. Let's assume there are actually three groups of people coming across the border: legal immigrants, illegal immigrants who want to come here legally but cannot because of quotas and actual criminals who are coming to the United States to traffic drugs or fulfill any of the other fevered nightmares of the so-called Alt-Right.

Current immigration policy forces the second and third groups to cross the border illegally, but for very different reasons. Members of the second group are seeking economic opportunities and are forced into breaking the law by nonsensical government policy, but would be able to pass a basic background check under a "reliable system to know who is coming and going," like Johnson proposes. They want to be legal immigrants, and we should welcome them.

The third group is pretty small, but those are the people Trump and his fans are actually worried about. Right now, they are harder to find and stop because they are mixed in with all the illegal-but-would-prefer-to-be-legal immigrants. In a better legal immigration system, only those "criminal immigrants" would be jumping the fence—or wall, if you believe Trump will actually build one—and the border patrol (which, by the way, has been doubled in size under President Obama) could focus exclusively on them.

If Trump's supporters don't like this idea—and I suspect some of them won't—then what they are really against is immigration, period. Trump even suggested during Wednesday's speech that he would be open to further restrictions on legal immigration, saying he wanted to "reform legal immigration to serve the best interests of America and its workers."

If the goal is truly to stop the "criminal immigrants," as Trump is fond of saying, then this is the best way to sort that element out from the rest of the people coming across the border in search of a job.

If Johnson's plan were implemented, says Bier, "the days of illegal immigration would be behind us for good."

That's what Trump says he wants, right?

NEXT: Settlement slush funds

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  1. Make new and better pathways for people to come here legally…

    That’s like saying you’ll reduce crime by making fewer activities criminal. What a rube.

    1. Next thing you know, people will be talking about legalizing drugs and prostitution. Won’t anyone think of the children?

      1. Next thing you know, people will be talking about legalizing drugs and prostitution.

        GayJay talks about NOT legalizing drugs and prostitution.

        1. Oh, look… The Trumpsucker is here.

          1. Cry TRUMP! to distract from the fact that your TEAM candidate sucks in every possible way. I don’t give a fuck if anyone here votes for Trump. I’m just pointing out how bad a candidate Johnson is and why libertarians shouldn’t vote for him.. I did the same thing back in 2012 and it wasn’t because I supported Romney.

            1. Uh-huh. Sell your bullshit walking, shill.

              1. Let Gary Johnson into the debates, hell, any debates. Deal closed, now let the grownups talk, as difficult as it is to hear. STFU SF.

            2. Clinton
              Trump
              Stein
              de la Fuente

              That looks like it will be the other 4 choices on my ballot.

              Want to tell me who I should vote for instead.

              1. Don’t vote. You act like it is mandatory.

                1. It isnt mandatory, but I am going to do it.

                  While statistically, it doesnt matter, not voting doesnt help any at all.

                  1. Also, not voting doesnt help the LP get ballot access for the next 4 years.

            3. I’m just pointing out how bad a candidate Johnson is and why libertarians shouldn’t vote for him..

              Two things, one, you aren’t “just pointing out” anything.

              And two, you don’t think you’ve made your point? Because if you haven’t by now, you aint gonna.

        2. And Daddy does?

        3. Jesus Christ, dude. Didn’t you used to be at least occasionally interesting and non-tiresome?

          1. Not really. He dropped in, whined about a few things and then went back to his hole.

            1. And all I missed was you and a Tulpa sock* having a circle jerk.

              *(Ship of Theseus)

      2. (OMWC rubs palms together in anticipation)

    2. But, but, ignore the fact that 50% are taking welfare. Ignore the fact that 70% are here legally. Ignore the fact that 90% are “Mexican”. Does that change your mind? :-0

    3. Yes, which is what an “Amnesty” is. “You know, we used to consider Rape illegal, now we call it ‘Ok’!” Come on in and hump away. Because, of course, it is not possible to earn a living anywhere else, and other such horseshit.

  2. Unfortunately, if you have large swathes of the public who don’t want people to come here legally, then this discussion is a non starter.

    1. I said that to my father about a decade ago.

      Him: “My problem is they don’t have any respect for the law. Their first act is to break it by coming here because they can’t be bothered to do it legally.”

      Me: “So your problem is the illegality, not the immigration itself? Ok, I’ll bite. So what if we legalize them all? Problem solved, from your perspective, right?”

      Him: “Of course not, then you’re rewarding that behavior!”

      Me: “Cool cool. So let’s kick’em all out, then open the floodgates and let as many as want to come here legally do so, if they pass a disease and crime screen.”

      Him: “No, you can’t do that, then we’ll be swamped with third-world peasants who don’t share our values!”

      Me: “Wait, I thought you didn’t have any issues with the immigrants, it was just the law?”

      Him: “You’re just deluded and don’t understand the real issues.”

        1. The best way to end illegal immigration is to elect socialists in USA, which will tank our economy, and we’ll become Venezuela Redux, Part II… Then NO ONE in their right minds, will want to migrate here!

  3. I expect the “what part of illegal don’t you understand” crowd will see that if you change the law you can let anyone who wants to come across the border.

  4. Ive got a better idea: END THE FUCKING WELFARE STATE!!!!!!!

    And it would solve a fuckton more than just our immigration woes. But I know that solution doesn’t get you invited to cocktail sorties, so no use in bringing it up.

    1. Cocktail parties. Although a cocktail sortie would be pretty cool, in concept.

      1. cocktail sortie

        I think that’s what I did last weekend.

      2. I’m willing to go over the top in the first wave for that.

      3. I think we have a new meme.

        I’m going out on a cocktail sortie!

        1. “When you put your hand into a bunch of goo that a moment before was your best friend’s daiquiri, you’ll know what to do.”

          1. When somebody asks you what you did during the great World War Two, you don’t wanna say well, I pounded Boone’s Farm in Louisiana.

      4. One of the things which seemed like a good idea at the time was that the party
        should fly – not in the normal sense that parties are meant to fly, but literally.
        One night, long ago, a band of drunken astro-engineers of the first generation
        clambered round the building digging this, fixing that, banging very hard on
        the other and when the sun rose the following morning, it was startled to
        find itself shining on a building full of happy drunken people which was now
        floating like a young and uncertain bird over the treetops.

        Not only that, but the flying party had also managed to arm itself rather
        heavily. If they were going to get involved in any petty arguments with wine
        merchants, they wanted to make sure they had might on their side.

    2. I don’t think ending the welfare state, even just for non-citizen immigrants, is an acceptable topic for discussion-much less policy-in the Catopian reasonverse.

    3. Riight. No one at Reason has ever suggested ending the welfare state.

      1. Shikha and others have specifically argued against ending welfare for non-citizens.
        Everyone arguing for admitting refugees is for paying them near-limitless welfare.
        There’s quite a bit of enthusiasm at Reason for GBI, negative income tax, and other new and improved welfare schemes.

        I’m sure they’ve had a “contributor” speak against the welfare state once or twice.

        1. Everyone arguing for admitting refugees is for paying them near-limitless welfare

          Uh huh?

          1. Welp. if you don’t reform the welfare state, you’re going to be paying more immigrants welfare*, make no mistake.

            Near-limitless is a bit of a misnomer, true.

            *Welfare in the sense of any transfer payment and Medicaid. Yes, legal immigrants can qualify for Medicaid, although I wouldn’t be shocked if immigrants on Medicaid went down after a more open borders policy, on account of illegal immigrants commit identity theft to qualify for Medicaid, and if they were legal they’d be less likely to do that and more likely to go through qualification based on who they really are.

    4. You think it’s only the “cosmos”?

      The natives which include the Trump supporters don’t ever want to end the welfare state.

      He won’t touch medicare or medicaid. Even talks about debt as if it’s a good thing, so you know that’s how he plans on paying for everything if he ever gets elected.

      At least Cruz had the balls to talk about ending subsidies straight in the face of the corn belt.

  5. Can reason please do something about the click bait ad with hillary in the bathing suit? On my phone, it’s damn near full screen.

    1. “Damn near full? Dammit, it broke again – Gene, get the larger JPEG!”

    2. I assume its cookie driven based on your browsing habits.

  6. The biggest problem with worker visas is the birthright citizenship. Essentially you will have to either change the Constitution on that or forbid women to come work in the U.S.

    1. Sounds like ti would just be easier to grant citizenship to women who give birth in the US as well.

      1. With the preference to family unification in granting citizenship that would be the end result anyway. It just takes longer now.

    2. Or maybe it’s not that big of a problem.

      Another problem that would be solved by eliminating or severely curtailing the welfare state, I think.

      1. Trump proposed ending the welfare state for non-citizens in his policy speech last night. The law is alreasdy on the books too.

        1. Trump proposed ending the welfare state for non-citizens in his policy speech last night.

          Confident prediction: that would be struck down by the courts, on the same basis that they struck down attempts by school districts to verify citizenship/immigration status as a condition of admitting children.

    3. I’m trying to understand how the European system of inherited (can’t remember what it’s actually called in Europe) isn’t racist.

      1. Primogeniture?

      2. Primogeniture?

  7. Er, what if the issue is that we don’t want them to come here, period?

    Seems the cosmotarian position is that we can have immigration legally or illegally, but immigration we’re gonna get, like it or not.

    1. I know right? It’s almost like those cosmofagrians believe that migration in search of better lives is just something that humans do. Where would they get such a crazy idea?

      1. Humans do a lot of things.

        1. Yes. And those things that they do which don’t directly harm anyone, such as migrating in search of better lives, are called “rights”.

          1. Oh wow, can we all add our qualifiers and definitions?

            1. OK, how do you define rights? Isn’t pretty much the whole basis of libertarianism that you have the right to do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t harm someone else?

              1. +1 Wiccan Rede

              2. But that just hinges on what constitutes “harm” to which even libertarians disagree. You’re just moving the argument.

                I mean, does someone walking on your lawn truly “harm” you?

                1. “Get Off My Lawn!!!!! (Shaking My Cane)

              3. I define “rights” as a social construct, and unless you can produce a stone tablet from Moses documenting their existence, my position is that they don’t exist at all. In fact, I would be thoroughly delighted if every time I had to listen to some whiner crying about his “riiiiiiiights!”, a couple alt-right skinheads would magically appear and beat them into a coma.

                Whaddaya think about that?

                1. I think you are a nativist, racist and xenophobe and not a libertarian.

                2. I think you and Tony would get along famously.

          2. And those things that they do which don’t directly harm anyone, such as migrating in search of better lives, are called “rights”.

            Freedom of movement is a positive right that limits property rights and freedom of association.

            1. Looks like quite the opposite to me. Limiting freedom of movement limits property rights and freedom of association.

              If I want to hire an illegal immigrant, or sell or rent him property and am forbidden to do so, that’s a violation of my property and freedom of association rights.

              Freedom of movement doesn’t mean you can go anywhere you want, no matter whose property it is. It means you can travel on public ways and go where you are welcomed by the property owners.

              1. I may be mistaken, but he may be referring to the concept of national borders being collectively “owned” by the “us” via the government, and by electing people who pass immigration laws, “we” are choosing to deny them association.

                I don’t personally agree with that line of thought, but I’ve seen it used here before.

                1. Yes, of course that is the argument.

                  The same argument says that you have no right to leave your own property at all.

                  I’ll admit that this is a tricky area for property rights. But I reject the notion that the whole country, or even the borders are collective property of citizens.

              2. “””on public ways”””

                Socialist!!!!!!

          3. There are six billion people with worse economic lives in the world then the US, are all six billion suppose to have a right to move here?

            1. In the same sense that all 300 million American citizens have the right to all travel to some small town on the same day, yes. Or in the sense that Eric Idle has the right to have babies. It’s theoretically true, but not something that will ever happen.

              Immigrants come largely because there is a demand for their labor. They aren’t a mindless horde of zombies that will keep coming no matter what the conditions on the ground are.

            2. YES. And each individual has the right to move to whereever anyone *INDIVIDUAL* agrees.

              Goddamn whatever fucking collective rights there are. Only invidividuals are sovereign.

              You’re property is your property and my property is my property. Period.

          4. Yes. And those things that they do which don’t directly harm anyone, such as migrating in search of better lives, are called “rights”.

            But migrating into another’s range IS direct harm.

            Every single life form on the planet lives by this rule. Loins don’t share their hunting grounds with other lions–or any other predators, if they can help it–and if they can’t, they die.

            Apes, monkeys, herdbeasts, reptiles, insects—everything does the same.

            Where did this idiotic notion that humans must allow other humans to move wherever they will, regardless of impact on local populations come from?

            Where the hell do you think the concept of war comes from?

            Immigration is NOT a right.

            EMIGRATION is a right.

            You can leave, but no one HAS to take you.

            1. “Loins”

              Mmmm loins?

            2. As I explained a bit above, I’m not saying that anyone has the right to travel wherever they wish, despite the wishes of the property owner. I’m saying that Americans, as individuals, have the right to welcome whomever they want onto their property, and to use the generally available public ways (the people who want immigrants own the roads just as much as the people who don’t) to get them there. And immigrants have the right to use/buy property or seek employment from people willing to have them.

            3. You’re an idiot.
              Immigration and emigration are two sides of the same coin.

              And you’re assuming that no one else would agree to recieve another person from across some manmade border.

              As I mentioned above:

              YES. And each individual has the right to move to whereever anyone *INDIVIDUAL* agrees.

              Goddamn whatever fucking collective rights there are. Only invidividuals are sovereign.

              You’re property is your property and my property is my property. Period.

              1. each individual has the right to move to whereever anyone *INDIVIDUAL* agrees.

                So if a diehard Wahhabi who owns a section of land wants to invite 1,000 ISIS fighters to move onto the land and turn it into a terrorist training camp, there’s no basis for turning them away? We have to wait until they actual start launching terror attacks to start kicking them out?

          5. And then the thing they do after they get here, where they or their children become citizens and vote, is called “power”. Every immigrant is a person who will have power over you (however diluted) in a generation.

            It would be foolish not to think carefully about who you cede that power to. If they agree with you on cultural and political issues, great for you. If they agree with the majority, it’s just preserving the status quo. If they’re communists, nazis, or islamists, you’re shooting yourself in the dick.

            1. I’m a lot more worried about the people already here.

              1. “I’m a lot more worried about the people already here.”

                So adding more is going to make it better?

              2. One of the lessons to be learned from our political situation in the year of our lord 2016 is that you are absolutely right to be very worried about the power the people here have over you. The other is that you can always make things worse.

          6. Zeb, the problem with treating migration across national borders as a human right is that it would outlaw any immigration restrictions at all. Got a communicable disease? You have a human right to move to our country. Got a history of violent crime? Come on in, at least until you are convicted in our courts of committing another violent crime in our country.

            1. Well, as I’ve said before, I think a tolerable practical compromise would be to allow people to come to work if they pass some disease and criminal background screening. Maybe even require some proof that they have a job or place to stay when they get where they are going.

              I’m not completely unreasonable. But the basic principle should be that people can employ, house or host who they want.

      2. You’re such a fucking dumbass, Hugh. Collectivizing people based on class or race is stupid and evil. Collectivizing people by where they’re born is normal, natural, and should be encouraged. “We” have spoken.

        1. I collectivize most people of the world since I don’t have the capability to individualize 7 billion people.

          Do you have that capability?

          1. Yes. I’m a human, you’re a human. I own myself, you own yourself.

            What’s the issue?

            1. I’m a human

              You just described yourself as a member of a group, I hope you realize.

        2. Collectivizing people by where they’re born is normal, natural, and should be encouraged.

          If you think people should have birthright citizenship, then this is pretty much what you believe. And I do believe it. But that means I also get to collectivize them even if they weren’t born in this country.

    2. Pretty much, yeah. All historical evidence seems to support that idea too.

    3. . . . we can have immigration legally or illegally, but immigration we’re gonna get, like it or not.

      Pretty much. Which countries in the world have ever ‘successfully’ managed to control their borders? Pretty much only the ones that no one wants to live in anyway – and even they have trouble keeping people from leaving.

      You want to control immigration, really control it? Then you have to get serious about it and make it your number one priority.

      No more of this ‘freedom’ talk – we need to secure the border. That means mandatory ID and mandatory ID presentation laws, RFID and facial scanning checkpoints. It means biometric registration of *all* legal residents, removal of 4th and 5th amendment protections. It means internal passports and travel visas – you don’t think you can just ‘secure the border’ and that’s it, do you? You need defense in depth. And if there’s a legitimate defense of preventing travel across international borders then there’s one of travel across state borders.

      It means travel checkpoints – both inside and between metropolitan areas. It means sweeps of schools to catch illegal cuckoos sucking away the sustenance of our genuine offspring.

      1. It means a massive ramp up in taxes and the size of government and a loss of prosperity orders of magnitude larger than the worst that immigration could ever hope to do.

        If you’re not willing to do that then you’re simply not serious about illegal immigration.

        The best part of all this is – once you’ve done the above, no one will want to come live and work here, legally or otherwise. So, win-win. Well except for the part when you now have to turn the guns inward in order to keep your citizens from emmigrating – can’t afford to lose the tax income that pays for all those guards.

      2. Japan does a good job, no?

        1. The United States used to as well, but suddenly the things that we did then are now impossible. So I am told.

          1. When did the US ever do a good job? For a good chunk of our history the border was effectively completely open.

        2. Not particularly – especially for an island nation.

          But we could try that – how many trillions are you willing to sacrifice to dig a multi-mile wide moat? How may Americans will you displace?

          You may as well start thinking about it now, even if you ‘only’ build a wall, you can’t build the whole thing right along the border. As has already happened with the parts of a wall that have already been constructed – you’re going to leave occupied property outside the wall.

      3. Which countries in the world have ever ‘successfully’ managed to control their borders? Pretty much only the ones that no one wants to live in anyway

        Switzerland and Japan come to mind, except for the part about no one wanting to live there.

  8. Maybe natives don’t want that many immigrants though.

    1. Some clearly don’t. Others do.

      1. Yes, that sounds right.

    2. Yeah I’m sure they were pretty upset when the immigrants shipped them off to reservations.

      1. So you’re saying immigrants will ship the natives off to reservations?

        Seems like a good reason to keep them out.

      2. So we’re agreed that allowing unchecked immigration poses a risk of genocide?

  9. Biometric scanners break down to fiber optics, asbestos, and nuclear material. Biometric scanners are a good thing.

  10. But, allowing a legal work program means our great nation will still be filled with filthy, smelly Messikins.

    NO, WE NEED THE WALL, DAMMIT!

    1. End the Islamomexican threat!

      1. According to Wikipedia, there were only 3,700 Muslims in Mexico in 2010. It’s hard to believe that the number is so low.

        1. No, no… ISIS is sneaking in through Mexico. And since no one can tell one brown from another we must ban all browns.

        2. Because they all came here. Duh.

    2. Who cares about Mexicans? Just wait until you see what your neighborhood is like when it’s filled with dirty Canadians.

      1. No one is willing to have an adult conversation about the snowback threat.

      2. Empty the prisons and send them to Montana to man the wall!

      3. Ugh. Floppy heads as far as the eye can see, the air filled with odor of maple syrup and the sound of pucks slapping into nets. No one pronouncing Os correctly anymore. It’s horrible, horrible.

        1. You should hear them speak French. Mein Gott!

        2. You forgot the rape oil.

  11. Want to Reduce Illegal Immigration?

    “Illegal” has nothing to do with it. It’s just a convenient, loaded label.

    1. Exactly. Also a good starting point.

  12. How about we just stop paying to import people to come to over here.

    We’ve reached the point where the State Department can clear a Syrian Refugee faster than they can clear a Clinton E-mail. So here’s a quick and dirty compromise, 1 Syrian Refugee admitted for every Clinton E-mail released.

    After all if it takes the Stated department three months to handle 30 e-mails, then maybe we ought to hold back on new immigrants.

    1. *I’ve* got no problem ‘not paying to import people’.

      If you can get here on your own, that’s one thing. But there are plenty of very nice countries you can refugee your ass to without my needing to pick up the bill for a cross-atlantic flight.

    2. I like the one refugee per Clinton email plan. I’d purely love to see Trump pick it up.

  13. How about we just stop paying to import people to come to over here.

    We’ve reached the point where the State Department can clear a Syrian Refugee faster than they can clear a Clinton E-mail. So here’s a quick and dirty compromise, 1 Syrian Refugee admitted for every Clinton E-mail released.

    After all if it takes the Stated department three months to handle 30 e-mails, then maybe we ought to hold back on new immigrants.

    1. I thought it took like 2 years to clear a Syrian.

      But I do agree. I’m pretty pro-open-immigration. But that doesn’t mean we have any obligation or moral duty to go out of our way to move people here from the other side of the world.
      If someone has the means and motivation to come and work, great. But the government shouldn’t be “importing” anyone.

      1. I agree completely. Now can we end refugee/asylum immigration for anyone who is or becomes a public charge?

      2. “Clearing a Syrian” would be an excellent metaphor for getting food poisoning from bad hummus.

      3. Well, in one of the few things the Obama Admin managed to pull off ahead of schedule, they managed to pull off bringing in 10,000 Syrian refugees ahead of schedule

        You might have a problem with that, but fuck you racist.

  14. When government policy allows more lesser-skilled guest workers in the country, there are fewer illegal immigrants, Bier argues with this graphic

    What of the confounding variable that administrations who like to promote guest worker programs probably ain’t too hot on apprehending illegal immigrants? Could that not explain the graph?

    1. My father once told that, having visited some of the shithole countries from which people flee to come to the U.S., he would, were he in their position, come here by any means necessary, including breaking the law.
      Some here say that the welfare state and immigration are inextricably intwined, but I think the Gordian knot can be undone by simply making welfare unavailable to 1st generation immigrants with the exception of Social Security (which if I had my druthers wouldn’t exist, Ponzi scheme that it is). If producing manufactured goods to the world market is important to a sound economy, then the U.S. needs more unskilled or low-skilled workers yesterday. Imagine if the U.S. were to reduce her corporate tax rate to 10%. Every corporation ON EARTH would move its’ headquarters here. Imagine how that would kick-start the economy of the entire world. Of course other states would respond in kind in order to keep their own economies from collapsing. I know it’s all just wishful thinking, but it’s fun to dream from time to time.

    2. The gap in numbers between declining illegals and guest workers is a glaring sign that Biers is a very long way from proving causation.

      Because there are confounding variables, namely, that state of our economy (stagnant) and the state of Mexico’s economy (coming along nicely).

  15. I’m sure Hillary Clinton will be along shortly to tell us that we can’t afford to legalize immigration because there is just too much money in it.

    https://reason.com/blog/2011/02…..ant-legali

  16. As near as I can tell from talking to a few Trumpwits, the U.S. would have to be a virtual police state in order to round up and deport 11 million illegals. Here’s how one guy explains it: Internal passports with police checkpoints, both regular and pop-up on highways, bus terminals, ball games, the mall, etc. etc. “Your papers, please.” Those who are found to be here illegally, get arrested and shipped to camps until they can be repatriated. If, say, Honduras,
    won’t allow the repatriation plane to land, then all imports, trade, travel, etc. from Honduras is banned until they take their citizens back. Camp internees will be treated humanely at the same levels of treatment accorded military personnel in boot camp. Able bodied men will be required to work on highways, etc. like the chain gangs of old. Yes, machine guns will be mounted on the southern border Wall and land mines will be liberally sowed.
    All this will, he assures me, “Make America Great Again.”

    1. Nah. There are simpler ways. Just declare anyone in the country illegally forfeits any claim to protection under US law, and let the citizenry take care of the rest. I guarantee the immigration issue will be settled so fast it’ll make your head spin.

      1. A blanket statement of all illegal immigrants to be caput lupinum? I fear this may dilute my brand a bit.

      2. Denying them any taxpayer funded benefits would do. Any hardships they might suffer would be cheerfully alleviated by the charity of those citizens who benefit so greatly from mass immigration.

    2. Yeah, if you believe Trumpshirts are going to go door to door and pack illegals into vans, its absurd.

      We could get a running start on it far short of that, though. Right now, we are in the habit of releasing into the wild in the US illegal immigrants that have been picked up on violent crimes, for example.

  17. I am surprised Johnson isn’t being criticized for failing to mention guns in his op-ed on immigration.

  18. There are always going to be people you want not to come in, with good reason. People carrying diseases, criminals, terrorists, etc. (non-libertarians would also probably throw smugglers in that list), so you’ll still need border enforcement.

    Anyway, so long as we have the constraint of a welfare system, even one that is restricted to natives, an additional unskilled worker may be a net loss in times of high unemployment, since productivity will just shift from one person to another without increasing much overall, while consumption definitely increases for each person.

    The culture of America is commerce, of course, so immigration should be not be limited in any arbitrary numerical sense. Just so long as someone is willing to pay for the risk and potential economic harm that the immigrant represents. The former could work like a bail bonds system. The latter would probably just be a tax levied per immigrant hire that would offset the costs of welfare and unemployment payments the state makes.

    1. As long as we have a welfare state, this sounds good to me. Put your money where your anti-tax open borders mouth is.

    2. Oddly enough, Trump-whisperer Scott Adams spitballed something quite similar:

      Or suppose we create a system in which a legal resident can buy a performance bond to “sponsor” an illegal immigrant to stay. That works like insurance. If the sponsored immigrant doesn’t pay taxes, or commits a crime, the sponsor loses the value of the bond. That way we move the risk from citizens who don’t want extra risk to sponsors who have personal relationships with illegal immigrants and trust them. Would that deal work for you?

      Of course, to most totally-not-racist border control advocates, the value of this bond would probably have to be eleventy quinquagintillion dollars for them to agree that a single dirty wetback can be permitted to cross the border.

      1. As long as the state wasn’t the “victim” making this scheme a hidden tax.

      2. Oh, yes. Anyone who thinks we don’t need any more welfare cases would require an unpayable bond. They are all like that.

    3. Re: ant1sthenes,

      There are always going to be people you want not to come in, with good reason. People carrying diseases, criminals, terrorists, etc.

      Maybe those are people YOU don’t want to come in, yet in an effort to hide your prejudices, you project them to everyone else.

      an additional unskilled worker may be a net loss in times of high unemployment,

      That’s… Oh, God. Did you even read what you wrote?

      An unskilled worker would WORK. Create WEALTH. How can you say then that this production would represent a net loss considering the high unemployment? Do you REALLY think that where not for the unskilled worker, the unemployed would immediately spring into action and stop being unemployed? That their incentives would change, all other things being equal?

      since productivity will just shift from one person to another[…]

      That’s not how it works. You’re thinking in terms of a zero-sum game. Assume that person A is unemployed. Employer B posts a job and immigrant C is hired. Where the FUCK was the shift in productivity? Or do you think person A was just about to get up when….???

      Please.

      1. Maybe those are people YOU don’t want to come in, yet in an effort to hide your prejudices, you project them to everyone else.

        No, I think an honest poll would show that 70-80% of the public is opposed to having more serial killers, terrorists, or people carrying Zika or whatever. I’m not sure that really counts as prejudice since those are objectively bad things and bad populations.

        That’s… Oh, God. Did you even read what you wrote?

        An unskilled worker would WORK. Create WEALTH.

        Um, no. An unskilled worker is not literally a person who is performing unskilled work, it is a person with the capacity to perform unskilled work. It only produces wealth when plugged into a job socket. The supply of job sockets is not fixed, but at the moment we already have far more workers than sockets to plug them into, and tossing another worker onto the pile isn’t helping the situation. If it does produce wealth, it’s only because we pulled another one out of the wall and tossed it onto the pile. See, there are multiple factors of production, and wealth creation is a sort of chemical reaction between labor and capital (and land, etc.). Labor by itself doesn’t necessarily lead to more output without the other reactants.

        1. That’s not how it works. You’re thinking in terms of a zero-sum game. Assume that person A is unemployed. Employer B posts a job and immigrant C is hired. Where the FUCK was the shift in productivity? Or do you think person A was just about to get up when….???

          At the margins, that’s exactly how it happens, and economics happens at the margins. When a job is created, someone fills it. Do you think that if all immigrants (legal or otherwise) were expelled, we would (once the initial dislocations settled) simultaneously see massive unemployment coupled with massive numbers of vacant jobs that, by the nature of being unskilled, nearly anyone could do? And in the unlikely event we did see that, you don’t think it would generate a political impetus to tighten up welfare eligibility and thus nudge those people back into self-reliance?

          I’m sure you can point to a specific case of a person A that wouldn’t bother with work if it was available. But immigrant C isn’t competing with specific lazy native A, he’s competing with everyone in the (local) native, unskilled, unemployed population, and there is definitely some subset of those people who will take the job.

      2. That’s not how it works. You’re thinking in terms of a zero-sum game. Assume that person A is unemployed. Employer B posts a job and immigrant C is hired. Where the FUCK was the shift in productivity? Or do you think person A was just about to get up when….???

        At the margins, that’s exactly how it happens, and economics happens at the margins. When a job is created, someone fills it. Do you think that if all immigrants (legal or otherwise) were expelled, we would (once the initial dislocations settled) simultaneously see massive unemployment coupled with massive numbers of vacant jobs that, by the nature of being unskilled, nearly anyone could do? And in the unlikely event we did see that, you don’t think it would generate a political impetus to tighten up welfare eligibility and thus nudge those people back into self-reliance?

        I’m sure you can point to a specific case of a person A that wouldn’t bother with work if it was available. But immigrant C isn’t competing with specific lazy native A, he’s competing with everyone in the native, unskilled, unemployed population, and there is definitely some subset of those people who will take the job.

        1. Oh, damn you squirrels.

  19. The graph looks like Kentucky. I don’t know what to make of that.

    1. That you’ll go hungry if you decide to get a Big Mac.

      I DARE you to understand what one of those Kentuckian adolescents say. I. DARE. YOU.

  20. If Trump’s supporters don’t like this idea?and I suspect some of them won’t?then what they are really against is immigration, period.

    Because a lot of them don’t like seeing the country slowly getting destroyed.

    1. Re: WhatAboutBob,

      Because a lot of them don’t like seeing the country slowly getting destroyed.

      Yeah, right. That’s why.

  21. one of the biggest impediments to legal immigration is the federal government’s quotas on certain categories of workers. Those quotas are arbitrary totals completely disconnected from the economic forces that drive immigrants to seek work in the United States.

    Also known as ECONOMIC CENTRAL PLANNING between us econ nerds.

    But Trumpistas would like you to believe they’re no Commies. I beg to differ: their inner Commie comes out the moment an employer employs anybody BUT THEM.

  22. Walls, walls, walls. We’ll need’em either way. We want to build walls now because the Socialism is so good the people want to crap their babies here, but eventually, when the smoke and mirrors clears, the Socialism will turn into the kind where you need walls to keep people in.

    In a fit of optimism, I decided to have some kids with my wife. About the time I decided to, our Estemible Leaders decided to go Full Derp. I kinda feel responsible. What a charming country I brought them into.

  23. When I see how worked up people can get over what amounts to around 3.75% of the population, I begin to understand the truly existential threat posed to society by the existence of libertarians.

  24. Want less immigration. Legalize drugs and turn the growing, processing, manufacturing, and distribution over to the corporations. Put the cartels out of business and drastically reduce the violence many of these people are trying to get away from.

    1. Nah. Put up a wall that makes it hard to cross the southern border illegally (minor cost, no matter who “pays” for it), then use e-verify to make sure the people you are paying are US Citizens or otherwise legal US workers, then turn off welfare ENTIRELY and see who shows up for a job. I got $10K that says that works. My guess is you get more apps than jobs. Anyone want to bet against? Anyone?

  25. I wonder what else was going on during the year 1954. Some program like this perhaps, never to be mentioned on the fair pages of Reason?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Wetback

  26. Instead, Johnson favors a system with no caps, no categories and no quotas. “Just a straightforward background check, the proper paperwork to obtain a real Social Security number and work legally,” he wrote, calling that “a reliable system to know who is coming and who is going.”

    That works, provided there is a denial of government welfare and other social programs until people get citizenship.

  27. Cut off the money i.e. welfare, food stamps, EBT, emergency room visits, forced removal from places of employment…trust me, they’ll stop coming.

    1. But, so “Raycist” ? ! What? We are NOT responsible for the people from Mexico? Wha?

  28. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail.
    >>>>>> http://www.Sky.Jobss1.com

  29. still waiting for the trump rally where his stump speech is reduced to “they took errr jobs!”

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