Immigration

This White House Chart About Chain Migration Is Misleading

The U.S. immigration system makes bringing family members into this country very difficult and time consuming.

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The White House's official Twitter account tweeted this chart earlier this week:

First of all: Terrible infographic design. How are these generic stick people related? Spouses? Siblings? Are these generations? Who knows?

But let's assume this is just a very simple illustration of the idea that one legal immigrant can currently bring over their closest relatives and then those people can do the same. (Note that well over half of the family-based immigration in the U.S. consists of spouses or children—the kind of family reunification very few people would consider a violation of the spirit of the law.) Hypothetically, though, maybe the third person in each layer of the chart is an adult sibling of an immigrant.

But legal immigrants do not have immediate rights to bring over their entire extended family. Far from it.

In fact, the time scale of the White House chart is a century or more. Each tier represents many, many years stuck in the immigration bureaucracy. As Reason's Shikha Dalmia has explained in our pages:

That is not how America's immigration system actually works.

For starters, there is no provision in U.S. immigration law for either permanent residents (green-card holders) or American citizens to sponsor non-nuclear relatives such as aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, grandparents, or cousins to come to the United States. Other than spouses, parents, and minor children, the only relatives who can be sponsored are adult children and siblings. And depending upon the green card backlogs for their country, this process could take them anywhere from 15 to 25 years.

This means that if a typical 26-year-old foreign woman were to get married to an American citizen, and then sponsor her 25-year-old sister to get a green card, that sister would be 40 years old before she could obtain permanent residency. If she's a Filipina, her sister would be closer to 50 years old. If the sister then sponsored some other immediate relative, that person would have to go through a 15- to 25-year process as well. Over a half a century, then, most families could at best traverse two links in the alleged "chain," hardly the kind of thing that would result in mass migration. Most people have built lives for themselves in their home countries by that age and, when their turn comes, they opt out.

This is not a chart that shows the looming threat of waves of foreigners assaulting our shores and threatening our way of life, it's a representation of a gradual legal process whereby people come to our country to work, live, and build communities and families. Why should we be worried about the little stick people at the bottom of the chart? They will land on our shores having cleared every legal hurdle over a century from now. When they arrive, they will be embedded into a multi-generational family support network that is already established and assimilating.

What's more: Every single person in that chart came to this country legally, something politicians of both major parties have historically said they support.

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  1. Trump is right, end chain migration. Case closed.

    1. You are completely wrong.

      1. No, I’m completely correct. If immigrant #1’s parents, uncle, etc., want in, they can apply on their own merits. If they get approved, awesome. They shouldn’t get to line jump because they have a relative here. After we properly absorb what we have now we can open the spigot further, but we have a backlog already.

    2. Also, the capital of Israel is Jerusalem.

      If he starts knocking sandwiches out of fat people’s hands and then telling them they’re fat, I might consider voting for him.

      1. If he hired Chris Christy to do that job, then I might consider it.

        1. That would actually be a good job for him.

    3. We do’n need no steenkin chains! They should all go back to the blings they came from

  2. I gotta say, that is a brilliant tweet. It will get the tookoorgoobers all worked up, which is the intended effect.

    1. Trolling the leftie media for the lulz Epic.

      Meanwhile…

      1. Meanwhile…

        Is that a new NYT paywall? Nice!

      2. War is the one thing on which the left and the right can come together. A mutual orgasm, if you will.

      3. Is he . . . is he clapping for *himself* in that picture?

        1. He’s saying chop chop, I’m an important man.

    2. The tweet got the open borders crowd all lathered up as well.

      Fun, as always.

    3. Chipper, given you clearly don’t understand immigration, or economics, it’s irrelevant mic that you are so condescending towards those who don’t share your poorly thought out, ignorant views.

  3. Terrible infographic design. How are these generic stick people related? Spouses? Siblings? Are these generations?

    PLUS THEY’RE NOT EVEN BROWN.

    1. END THE RETEPSIAN INVASION!

    2. Yeah, I thought it was obvious that they’re all related by the fact that they weren’t born here.

    3. Blue is for Democrat voter

  4. Why should we be worried about the little stick people at the bottom of the chart?

    I am more worried about the little sick people* who invade our country for our free healthcare and schools and murder and rape our daughters.

    But hey, I just bleed red, white and blue, so what do I know?

    *You people are so lucky that you get to read my comments.

    1. This is why I support a healthy, hot chicks only immigration policy. Bonus points for cooking skills.

      1. And extra bonus points if they lez out with other hot chicks, but only do it if we watch.

  5. As Reason’s Shikha Dalmia has explained in our pages:

    Considering Shikha’s falsely or disingenuously conflated American and Canadian immigration schemes and simultaneously employs her husband as a talisman at border crossings and while cursing Westerners for not being more supportive of non-natives and appreciative of racial/cultural nuance, you may as well have just quoted a dog barking.

    1. Re: mad.casual,

      Considering Shikha’s falsely or disingenuously conflated American and Canadian immigration schemes[…]

      Liar.

      1. As long as we agree that her opinion is rising to par with Lassie’s I’m okay on the details being fuzzy.

      2. OK, OMS, I took the time to get the details to clarify any fuzziness. Here you go.

        A country’s record of protecting its minorities gets better as we move farther across the liberal democracy continuum.

        But Indian Americans, like other people of color who look remotely like they may be Muslim, face a triple threat: They face the same odds as other Americans of being targeted in a terrorist attack. In addition, they are vulnerable to hate crimes (post-9/11, there was a definite spike in attacks against Indian Americans, especially Sikhs, who wear a turban). And they experience racial profiling by authorities. (I usually have my white American husband in the driver’s seat for the border stop when we drive from Detroit, near where we live, to Canada, to lower the odds of a full car inspection) So it is understandable that the Indian press ? given the large diaspora in America ? should follow the plight of Indian Americans closely.

        The question is why hasn’t the American press devoted more attention to these shootings?

        1. “A country’s record of protecting its minorities gets better as we move farther across the liberal democracy continuum.”

          Progressivism has been responsible for badly hurting minorities. So has socialism. So: bullshit.

          “But Indian Americans, like other people of color who look remotely like they may be Muslim, face a triple threat:”

          All negligible threats. Also, Indian Americans have the highest incomes in the US, so cry me a river.

      3. US to Canada, Canada to US? What does it matter as long as you’ve got a white guy in the driver’s seat! The point is, Americans discriminate against Indians going into Canada after 9/11.

        This was shortly after she trashed Trump’s adoption of Canada’s credentially-biased immigration policy a month before lauding Canada’s credentially-biased immigration policy.

        Whether you’re for immigration or against it, Shikha is either not on your side or on your side and a detriment to your cause.

        1. A) You don’t have a clue of what one faces when nearing the border from Detroit to Canada and
          B) Canada has chain migration too.

  6. This is another example why true libertarians must support open borders. Chain migration simply takes too long. Anybody on this planet who is not currently imprisoned has a human right to move to the United States immediately.

    1. You continue to be terrible at this.

      1. I find his arguments thoughtful and enlightening.

    2. Re: Whoeverthefuckyouare,

      Well, I support open borders (open to trade, to capital exchange and yes, labor) because that would be consistent with my respect for liberty and free markets. Most pseudo-libertarians (or paleo-conservatives) along with the nativists and xenophobes in the Trumpista camp want to limit immigration either because:

      a) They’re woefully ignorant of even the most basic of economics (whence comes the “Dem Immigruntz Takum Er Jebz!” or the lie that immigrants take 1/2 of all welfare)
      b) They hate immigrants or
      c) They only want white European immigrants (I didn’t say that; Ann Coulter said it).

      Immigrants are actually a boon for the economy because they come with two good arms and a mind, ready to produce. This human capital is there to be tapped, yet the nativists and xenophobes prefer to think that these foreigners enter the US to take over “er jebz” and seduce our daughters… or something.

      1. The ad hominem is strong with this one

      2. In reply:

        A). You don’t have the first fuckng clue about any of that, so just stop.

        B). Oh, bullshit. That is as baseless as when progtards scream ‘racism’ about everything with which they disagree.

        C). Another bullshit sandwich with only a two percent truth content. We want immigrants who have skills and education.

        Plus, your straw man is just more cliche bullshit too. So just ducking stop, m’kay?

      3. “Well, I support open borders (open to trade, to capital exchange and yes, labor) because that would be consistent with my respect for liberty and free markets.”

        True: you have no respect for liberty or markets. Like progressives and US “liberals” in general, your use the pretense of respecting then in order to impose self service statist policies.

    3. And then after the 7 billion population of the world moves to the US we can then turn around and invade the world since it will be empty!!!!

      Brilliant simply brilliant!

      1. No, because if enough people immigrated here that we started to get overcrowded, then the US would be a less attractive destination for immigrants. So they would choose to remain in their home countries, or just immigrate somewhere else. It’s the free market in action.

        1. So unlimited immigration is great since it will make living in the US less attractive! Great!!!!!!!

          I can’t wait until that happens.

        2. Most people DON’T want to come to the U.S. It is not like there are 7 billion people waiting in line to arrive, that’s insane.

          What feeds this notion that the borders must be defended against hordes of invaders is pure hubris and arrogance.

          1. Hundreds of millions want to move to the US. That’s more than enough to destroy our way of life.

    4. Do you have a newsletter I can subscribe to?

  7. This is not a chart that shows the looming threat of waves of foreigners assaulting our shores and threatening our way of life, it’s a representation of a gradual legal process whereby people come to our country to work, live, and build communities and families.

    The long con it is. Are KMW and Reason really suddenly in favor of kicking our country’s various cans down the road? “Let’s just raise the debt ceiling. It’s not my generation’s problem. Why not devalue the dollar? I’m not saving for my retirement anyway. What’s the problem letting WAVE AFTER WAVE OF FOREIGNER into the country to bring WAVE AFTER WAVE OF FOREIGNER FAMILY along in their wake? I’ll be too old to be a pubescent girl put into an arranged marriage for the price of a goat outside of Bozeman or to be a teenage boy used as a status symbol for the village chieftains in downtown Kansas City.” That’s you.

    Now, blockchain migration is something libertarians can all get behind.

  8. This White House Chart About Chain Migration Is Misleading

    It’s more than misleading. It’s a fucking lie. Only the goobers inside the Trumpista camp believe that a naturalized immigrant can bring over his extended family in a matter of a few years.

    If any of you ever bothered to check the requirements to sponsor a family member, you would see that only parents or children can be brought over within 5 years but not siblings. Siblings of naturalized immigrants from Mexico have to wait 16 years to get a visa; if from the Philippines, 22 years, and so on.

    Green card holders cannot sponsor family members until they become naturalized, which may take about 5 years if they apply immediately after receiving their green card. And even then, the only immediate blood relatives they can sponsor are parents, their own children (if older than 18) and their siblings. That’s it.

    1. Which shows why we should end immigration, it breaks up families!

      Why do you hate families!

      1. Re: DJF,

        Which shows why we should end immigration, it breaks up families!

        Actually, the p…y grabber hates families.

    2. ” It’s a fucking lie. Only the goobers inside the Trumpista camp believe that a naturalized immigrant can bring over his extended family in a matter of a few years.”

      This is how you know the Open Borders Uber Alles crowd has no arguments.

      They argue against hallucinations of controlled immigration arguments instead of real arguments. “In a few years”. Who says this? And how material is it to the argument anyway? Is it ok to destroy the country in 20 years? In 50?

      1. Re: buybuydandavis,

        This is how you know the Open Borders Uber Alles crowd has no arguments.

        Hey, unintelligent: Katherine already showed that the notion an immigrant can instantaneously bring his whole extended family is a lie. I provided facta that show it’s a lie. The point is being argued, goober.

        1. Katherine who? Link?

        2. Oh I see, Mangu Ward.

          I guess citing a bald assertion from a discredited polemicist writer is “showing” in your world. Fits.

    3. You’re assuming that 5 years is some long ass waiting time, or that “siblings” can’t fly in here, overstay, and apply for citizenship. I’ve lived here for over 20 years and my family provided housing for random relatives from Asia who wanted to work or attend school here. You think they applied for legal status before coming here – think again.

      The result speak for themselves. We have like 100 times Canada’s immigrant population. Canada uses a merit system. There are about a dozen family members on my dad’s side alone in the bay area. There’s like one aunt living in Canada.

      Obviously chain immigration is not a golden ticket in, which is why people prepare for the move. Having a bunch of relatives living in a ethnic zone where the language barrier becomes less of an issue helps.

      And unlike 99% of the world, you can be “illegal” here and take root somewhere for 10-20 years. That’s an impossibility in places like Korea, where some local cop can report your ass to immigration based on nothing. That’s why immigration is such a unique and gray situation in America. It became a community and a network.

  9. Why should we be worried about the little stick people at the bottom of the chart?

    Because the White House wants to sell their agenda by scaring their white supremacist supporters into believing that foreigners can bring their whole gawd-damned extended family over as if they were Gypsies, that’s why. They want to sell the bill that anti-immigrant and run-of-the-mill Fascist Sen. Tom Cotton (virulently anti-libertarian as well) is sponsoring, a bill that purports to “end chain migration” even if we’re talking about legal immigrants, the “good kind” presumably. Whether it will work or not remains to be seen; nevertheless, the nutty Trumpista media is already running with that lie.

    The graphic is also pure propaganda. Reminds me of that German film that purported to show Jews reproducing like rats…

    1. The republican “we’re only against ILLEGAL immigration” canard is in the sense that Chicago is only against ILLEGAL firearm possession. It will technically be true once all firearm possession is banned.

      1. Exactly. You see many Trumpistas repeat the same lie on Fox News and other outlets alike but then they let their true intentions known when they speak of “chain migration” as if it were a real thing, or speak against a supposed (and rather mythical) abuse of H1B visas. The only few sincere white supremacists who spoke against all immigration before the election were Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham. The rest were clumsily playing the “we’re for legal immigration” card.

        1. or speak against a supposed (and rather mythical) abuse of H1B visas.

          I’m confused about how credentialism is bad and preventing immigration is bad but allowing immigration because credentials is good?

          Do we let everyone into the country or just the ones educated to “your” standard? If you accept that the H1B program makes some manner of sense, then you’ve already accepted the fact that there are people outside the country who want into the country and that, among them, some level of denial based on some level of desirability is acceptable.

          I have yet to find an honest open borders libertarian with a legitimate explanation as to how, in a theoretically free libertopian America, we prevent “Russian hackers” or the Zeta cartel from seeking whatever ends they may desire. Let alone deal with the welfare state supporting laissez-faire immigration.

          1. Re: mad.casual,

            [How]we prevent “Russian hackers” or the Zeta cartel from seeking whatever ends they may desire.

            “Russian hackers”?

            And the Zeta cartel is the result of the War On Drugs, so if we’re going to talk about a libertarian utopia, at least be consistent.

        2. “chain migration” as if it were a real thing, or speak against a supposed (and rather mythical) abuse of H1B visas.

          You don’t know the first goddam thing about what you’re talking about.

        3. Do you consider it an “abuse” for Disney to bring over H1b recipients so that they can lay off more expensive American workers who do the same job? Keep in mind the H1b recipients in this case had no special skills for the job, indeed the Americans were forced to train them so they could be laid off.

      2. Funny that you should say that because Chicago just settled a lawsuit. Apparently, it’s only a “sanctuary city” as long as you aren’t a “gang member”. And by “gang member” I mean foreigner with literally no evidence or verifiable ties to gangs or gang-related activity.

        Sure, the City’s schools are among the most segregated in the nation and terrible to the point that black families are fleeing them, but immigrants and brown people are flooding in to fill the seats and keep the teachers and admins in pensions. So… Win!

      3. The republican “we’re only against ILLEGAL immigration” canard is in the sense that Chicago is only against ILLEGAL firearm possession. It will technically be true once all firearm possession is banned.

        So if you think people who perform surgery should have to go to medical school first, you’re anti-surgery?

        1. End illegal immigration.
        2. Fix the legal immigration system so we’re not just bringing in mouths to feed. This would bring us in line with pretty much every other developed nation on earth.

        1. Re: Deflator Mouse,

          So if you think people who perform surgery should have to go to medical school first, you’re anti-surgery?

          Leave it to Trumpistas to come up with the stupidest possible analogy.

          Immigration only means moving from place A to place B where you have a job and home available for you. Why would you think anyone needs permission or the same level of paperwork a surgeon would need to work to do this is beyond me.

          1. Immigration only means moving from place A to place B where you have a job and home available for you.

            Oh, so you are against open borders?

            You forgot the part about drawing welfare benefits, stealing SSNs, and voting in our elections.

            1. They always do forget that.

    2. “that purports to “end chain migration” even if we’re talking about legal immigrants, the “good kind” presumably”

      Family based immigration by definition is always for legal immigrants. It is an absurd practice with no justification.

      “scaring their white supremacist supporters”

      You’re a despicable racist.

  10. Dalmia is full of it again. Look for yourself.

    USCIS Processing Time Information

    Form Title Classification or Basis for Filing YTD FY16 FY15 FY14
    I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance(e) K-1/K-2 – Not yet married – fiance and/or dependent child 150 150 148 112
    I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance(e) K-3/K-4 – Already married – spouse and/or dependent child 170 150 143 151
    I-130 Petition for Alien Relative Permanent resident filling for a spouse or child under 21 236 150 189 187
    I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a spouse, parent, or child under 21 320 152 127 163
    I-130 Petition for Alien Relative Permanent resident filling for an unmarried son or daughter over 21 780 490 327 463
    I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for an unmarried son or daughter over 21 740 450 326 462
    I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a married son or daughter over 21 1093 771 605 563
    I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a brother or sister 1245 928 710 668

    Those are in days. None of those are anywhere near 15 years.

    1. How dare you intrude facts into the comments section of a Reason’s Open Borders propaganda fest!

      1. You two are idiots. One, for not checking the waiting time table and the other for believing the other’s bullshit.

        1. That is the waiting time table from what I can tell. You have a link to something that backs up the 15-25 year figure?

          1. Visa Availability USCIS

            In general, family-sponsored preference visas are limited to 226,000 visas per year and employment-based preference visas are limited to 140,000 visas per year. (By statute, these annual visa limits may be exceeded when certain immigrant visas from the previous fiscal year’s allocation were not fully used.) Both categories are further divided into several sub-categories, each of which receives a certain percentage of the overall visa numbers as prescribed by law. In addition, there are limits to the percentage of visas that can be allotted based on an immigrant’s country of chargeability (usually the country of birth).

            1. Doesn’t say anything about the 15 to 25 year figure.

              1. It says visas are limited per year. It is one thing to have your application approved, quite another ballgame to have a visa issued to you. Those take at least 14 years after the application is approved.

      2. Notice how she said it “could take anywhere from 15 to 25 years”. Not “will” or “would”, but “could”. So if you’re sponsoring an ex-ISIS terrorist with chlamydia, it could take 15 to 25 years.

        Dalmia is deploying a common sophistry tactic: string together a bunch of steps in your argument, each of which is only true due to the presence of weasel words in it, with each step forgetting about the weasel words in the steps before it.

        1. Unintelligent, I’ve applied for a green card throuhg an American Citizen sibling and government is processing applications approved on 1999. So it’s not a “could”. It does take from 15 to 25 yeara, depending on your country of origin.

  11. “But legal immigrants do not have immediate rights to bring over their entire extended family.”

    Did the infographic say they did? Is the only thing that matters what happens *today today today*? Does the future of the country not matter?

    Man brings in wife, children, parents, and siblings. Let’s say 5 children per generation, which is not extreme at all.

    4 siblings, wife, mom, dad, all their children. 12 people.

    So now, all the siblings, wife, and children bring in their families.

    9 x 12.

    The key to never ending expansion is marrying back from the home country, which seems to be the thing to do.

    Notice how the scenario started with a US national marrying a foreigner with only one sibling, and apparently no children in the old country? Instead of 12, it’s 1. Two designer children in this family. No spouses, no children in the old country.

    If Reason actually wanted to do journalism, they’d have actual stats in this article. Nada.

    More Open Borders Uber Alles propaganda from Reason.

    1. And then the foreigners eventually get promoted because their employer doesn’t want to be seen as racist.

      They then promptly start pushing American workers out the door in favor of people from their own country and ethnicity. Because only white people can be racist you see.

      Think I’m exaggerating? I’m not. I’ve seen it happen.

      1. Re: Deflator Mouse

        Think I’m exaggerating?

        You are exaggerating. If you have to ask, is because you are.

    2. Re: buybuydandavis,

      Did the infographic say they did?

      It certainly suggests it.

      Man brings in wife, children, parents, and siblings.

      You were certainly fooled like an asshole by that infographic. A man can’t bring his siblings like he brings his wife or children. It takes from 15 to 25 years for siblings to receive an immigrant’s visa after an application is filed by the sponsor.

      But what am I doing expecting Trumpistas to be honest, or smart? Waste of time.

      1. It takes from 15 to 25 years for siblings to receive an immigrant’s visa after an application is filed by the sponsor.

        Bullshit, as I showed above. 4 years tops.

        1. Idiot, that’s the time it takes the application to be APPROVED. You still need to have the visa issued. Those take a MINIMUM of 14 YEARS before one can be issued.

          You understand NOTHING.

          1. So far, you haven’t made any compelling argument for why immigrants should be able to sponsor siblings at all.

            Why should the US admit as immigrants people who simply happen to be the siblings of people already here?

            There are several hundred million people who want to migrate to the US. We should pick the best and the brightest among those, not the siblings of naturalized farm workers.

      2. “It certainly suggests it.”

        It suggests nothing about time frame. Your cognitive dissonance induced hallucinations must be fun.

        “A man can’t bring his siblings like he brings his wife or children. It takes from 15 to 25 years for siblings to receive an immigrant’s visa after an application is filed by the sponsor.”

        And where did I say otherwise, hallucinator boy?

      3. You were certainly fooled like an asshole by that infographic. A man can’t bring his siblings like he brings his wife or children. It takes from 15 to 25 years for siblings to receive an immigrant’s visa after an application is filed by the sponsor.

        Your reasoning is bogus. The rate limiting step on family based immigration isn’t how long getting a visa takes, it’s the number of family-based visas that are issued each year. Therefore, it makes no difference whether it takes five years or 25 years for a sibling to receive an immigrant visa, family based visas are swamping the immigration system either way. The long wait times are simply a result of the large number of applications that have already been filed and are clogging the system.

  12. First of all: Terrible infographic design. How are these generic stick people related? Spouses? Siblings? Are these generations? Who knows?

    The arrow connecting people obviously represents “X sponsors Y”. A branching factor of three is pretty modest, given that developing countries often have fertility rates of >3. So, you naturalize an illegal couple, they can legally sponsor four or more siblings and up to four parents. Siblings with minor children will be able to bring those as well. All children require school funding, and the parents likely require lots of social services and medical care. On top of that, the illegal couple itself usually has low skills and low incomes, so they will also require government services.

    When they arrive, they will be embedded into a multi-generational family support network that is already established and assimilating.

    Yes, an entire network of low skill, low income workers that will overwhelmingly remain low skill and low income, and continue voting for big, oppressive government, for generations to come. Leftists even encourage them to celebrate their shitty cultures and political beliefs.

    And for what? There is no logical reason to let these people into the country, to let them stay in the country illegally, and/or to grant them citizenship. No other Western nation behaves in such an absurd manner, and neither should the US.

    1. “the illegal couple itself usually has low skills and low incomes, so they will also require government services.”

      Whereas a 2,000 mile wall manned by 100s of 1000s of personnel is a great deal for taxpayers.

      “that will overwhelmingly remain low skill and low income”

      And here I thought “income mobility” was a libertarian talking point.

      “and continue voting for big, oppressive government, for generations to come”

      As opposed to Republicans, who vote for slightly smaller budget, equally oppressive government. You only need about 5% of a nation’s GDP to finance a Drug War, abortion prohibition, police unions and constitution-free border zones, you know. Enough with the right-wing dicksucking.

      “Leftists even encourage them to celebrate their shitty cultures and political beliefs.”

      IKR? I mean, what are those Asian families raising those straight-A students thinking, amirite?

      “And for what? There is no logical reason to let these people into the country”

      Other than the part where upper-income immigrants form outsize parts of our scientific and entrepreneurial communities, lower-income immigrants free up nativeborn labor for more productive sectors, and both commit crime at lower rates than their nativeborn class peers.

      “No other Western nation behaves in such an absurd manner”

      If someone used this re: US gun laws, you’d go apeshit.

      1. Whereas a 2,000 mile wall manned by 100s of 1000s of personnel is a great deal for taxpayers.

        Well, since my family actually fled from behind the Iron Curtain, I can tell you that border walls are a quite effective deterrent to migration. Nevertheless, it isn’t my preferred policy. Personally, I think the US should impose stiff penalties on banks, schools, landlords, and employers that work with illegals; without jobs, banking, remittances, schooling, or housing, illegals would self-deport.

        “that will overwhelmingly remain low skill and low income”

        And here I thought “income mobility” was a libertarian talking point.

        Libertarians are not concerned with the level of “income mobility” but with economic benefits for all. But bringing in low-skill statists from corrupt nations is certainly not going to help either income mobility or growth.

        Other than the part where upper-income immigrants form outsize parts of our scientific and entrepreneurial communities

        They do. Which is why we should focus on skill-based immigration.

        lower-income immigrants free up nativeborn labor for more productive sectors

        They don’t. Labor statistics show that lower income immigrants result in low income Americans dropping out of the workforce, not moving into “more productive sectors”.

        1. “I can tell you that border walls are a quite effective deterrent to migration”

          Not the point. The point is that they are an *expensive* one. And so if you’re complaining about the 100s of billions that low-income immigration might cost us, you might want to consider the 100s of billions it would cost to *stop* them. Especially since, unlike the USSR, the USA does not have the significant money-saver of using deadly force to maximize deterrent. (Unless you’d like that to change…)

          “Personally, I think the US should impose stiff penalties on banks, schools, landlords, and employers that work with illegals; without jobs, banking, remittances, schooling, or housing, illegals would self-deport.”

          Because forcing every institution in the country to analyse the background of every potential employee and customer, on pain of heavy fines or revoked licences, won’t cost *anything at all* to the nativeborn. Or make it ridiculously easy for the .gov to shake down any large business it feels like. What was it that Rand said about “nations of criminals” again?

          “Libertarians are not concerned with the level of ‘income mobility'”

          So when socialists argue that “the land of opportunity” is a lie, we don’t cite stats re: class mobility to counter them?

          1. And so if you’re complaining about the 100s of billions that low-income immigration might cost us, you might want to consider the 100s of billions it would cost to *stop* them

            If the US gets another influx 20-30 million low income, low skill statists, the US is done for, economically and socially. It will deteriorate into a South American or European shithole. So, the cost isn’t 100s of billions, it’s many trillions. And you can bet that neither profitable corporations nor skilled immigrants like myself will hang around to see that play out.

            Because forcing every institution in the country to analyse the background of every potential employee and customer, on pain of heavy fines or revoked licences, won’t cost *anything at all* to the nativeborn.

            That doesn’t take any “analysis”, it takes a simple ID card that gives citizenship and employment status, like almost all European nations have.

            Or make it ridiculously easy for the .gov to shake down any large business it feels like.

            Quite the opposite: right now, businesses face a lot of legal uncertainty because there is no simple way of determining employability and because there is a minefield of anti-discrimination laws. That allows government to “shake down” any business they like, and the Obama administration did.

            1. “If the US gets another influx 20-30 million low income, low skill statists, the US is done for… So, the cost isn’t 100s of billions, it’s many trillions.”

              Several big assumptions you’re making here:

              A, that there actually would be 20/30 million people coming in at all. Low-income immigrants could move pretty much freely for the last 30 years, yet in the mid-Aughts the immigrant population began to “self-deport” due to low opportunity. If they were just living off of welfare largesse, why would they ever leave? And if welfare isn’t enough to sustain them by itself (and clearly it wasn’t), what makes you think the free market would bring in 10s of millions more than we have now, when it couldn’t, and didn’t, sustain even as many as we had 10 years ago?

              B, that there wouldn’t be 20/30 million upper-income immigrants to balance them out with an expanded tax base. Good for the economy on net? Maybe not- maybe it would just make up for the harm done. But “collapse”? Please.

              C, opening the border would, in practical terms, never get past Congress without heavy restrictions on welfare access- so your main complaint would pretty much be guaranteed to be resolved should an “open borders” policy ever be implemented IRL.

              1. Oh, and again, as far as political ramifications of immigration are concerned, I see no downside to importing high-tax, gun-controlling, over-regulating voters (eg Democrats) COMPARED TO Drug-Warring, mass-incarcerating* (*Dems used to be as bad about this, but not anymore), patent-feudalist, abortion-restricting voters (eg Republicans). Right-wing voters may be less *economically* statist than Left-wing voters, but they are as statist *on net*.

                To say nothing of the bizarre assumption that immigrants who are self-selecting as escapees from Chinese Communism and Mexican narco-terrorism *have* to be left-leaning. If the Red Rs actually made an effort to recruit rather than alienate immigrants, there’s no reason large percentages couldn’t be persuaded to Christian Values (Hispanic), Family Values (Muslim/Asian) conservatism. Muslims were actually trending rightist pre-9/11.

              2. Several big assumptions you’re making here: A, that there actually would be 20/30 million people coming in at all

                Which part of “if the US gets another influx 20-30 million low income” did you not understand?

                Low-income immigrants could move pretty much freely for the last 30 years

                That is absolutely not true. Moving across the border has been personally risky.

                If they were just living off of welfare largesse, why would they ever leave?

                I didn’t say they came for “welfare largesse”. They come for our infrastructure, opportunities, education, and relative lack of Mexican drug lords. Those benefits cost the US tons of money to provide. Of course, once they become permanent residents or naturalized, they will be eligible for other government handouts.

                that there wouldn’t be 20/30 million upper-income immigrants to balance them out with an expanded tax base

                That’s an easy assumption to make: there just aren’t enough of them.

                1. “Which part of ‘*if* the US gets another influx 20-30 million low income’ did you not understand?”

                  If you didn’t think that was going to happen, why did you bring it up?

                  “That is absolutely not true. Moving across the border has been personally risky.”

                  CBP only catches a relatively small percentage of crossers even now, all of whom can then try again, and prior to 9/11 the border was pretty much open. If the poor of Mexico wanted in, they got in, without difficulty.

                  “They come for our infrastructure, opportunities, education, and relative lack of Mexican drug lords”

                  I was using “welfare largesse” as a catch-all for all that (this thread is verbose enough as it is). Doesn’t change the fact that, WITH all that, the country apparently could not sustain any more immigrants in the mid-Aughts than it already had, and actually started bleeding migrants about that time. If it couldn’t maintain that migrant population, what makes you think it could sustain even millions more?

                  “That’s an easy assumption to make: there just aren’t enough of them.”

                  There are +/- 1.5 Billion-with-a-B people in China, and in case you hadn’t noticed, they’re currently trying to get their suitcases of cash and anchor babies out however they can. Mexico as a whole isn’t actually that poor any more either.

                  1. If you didn’t think that was going to happen, why did you bring it up?

                    I do think it’s going to happen with an open borders policy: there are hundreds of millions of people who want to come to the US. But it isn’t what we were discussing. We were discussing the implications of large scale migration to the US, which you mischaracterized as merely merely a modest strain on the budget, and I responded to that. Now you deny the possibility of 20-30 million people choosing to come to the US under an open borderrs policy, which is absurd in its own way.

                    1. “I do think it’s going to happen with an open borders policy”

                      Then why did you put “if” in big bold letters, as if we *weren’t* operating on the assumption this would occur?

                      “there are hundreds of millions of people who want to come to the US”

                      I bet they want ponies too. Their “want” is irrelevant to their “can”.

                      “Now you deny the possibility of 20-30 million people choosing to come to the US under an open borders policy, which is absurd in its own way.”

                      If America could sustain another 20-30 million poor immigrants in addition to those we already do/did, then why did they start leaving a decade ago? If we had all those jobs, all that welfare, or the combination thereof to sustain more than the immigrants we had in the mid-Aughts, why did they inexplicably start acting like we had only the jobs/welfare/combo to sustain quite a bit fewer?

                  2. CBP only catches a relatively small percentage of crossers even now, all of whom can then try again, and prior to 9/11 the border was pretty much open

                    None of that makes it “low risk”. Apparently, you simply lack the experience of actually crossing restrictive borders illegally to understand the process at all.

                    I was using “welfare largesse” as a catch-all for that

                    Yes, and you incorrectly implied that Congress could control that spending based on immigration status, thereby lowering the cost of open borders. As I was saying: that’s not possible.

                    There are +/- 1.5 Bllion people in China

                    Yes, and the overwhelming majority of the are uneducated peasants as well. Even the majority of Europeans is too uneducated and dumb to make above average income in the US. US immigration policy has to be blind to national origin and be selective based on skill and income.

                    1. “None of that makes it ‘low risk'”

                      If you’re implying that immigration would’ve been higher without those restrictions, than you’re saying that there were a bunch more “slots” for immigrants, welfare-users or otherwise, to fill, that said restrictions prevented. But if that were true, then *why did the illegal immigrant population start decreasing a decade ago*? If there were a bunch of immigrants being kept from getting in, then why weren’t there lots of unfilled jobs or doles for those exiting immigrants to take, instead of exiting?

                      “incorrectly implied that Congress could control that spending based on immigration status, thereby lowering the cost of open borders. As I was saying: that’s not possible.”

                      Direct welfare payments can be. The Republicans would be in an excellent position to negotiate draconian restrictions on entitlements in exchange for open immigration- including taxes on immigrants for roads and civil services, so that they can’t foist those costs off on richer Americans like native poor can. If that deters immigration so be it- I have no problem with demanding immigrants pay for services they are granted (given that ideally the native poor should have to as well).

                    2. “Yes, and the overwhelming majority of the are uneducated peasants as well”

                      Even if only 5% of the PRC population is wealthier than here, that’s 75 million potential immigrants. More importantly, said immigrants merely add to those from South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, who would hardly be excepted from an open borders regimen.

                      “Even the majority of Europeans is too uneducated and dumb to make above average income in the US.”

                      Given that the American public education system is notoriously deficient compared to those of the EU and East Asia, this assertion is hard to take seriously.

                    3. I would add that the comparatively greater welfare payments available to most EU/EA citizens makes mass movement of low-income immigrants from those countries to ours unlikely, even assuming welfare benefits were still on offer to them under an open borders regime.

              3. opening the border would, in practical terms, never get past Congress without heavy restrictions on welfare access

                As I was saying, there are many benefits people receive, and costs they impose, simply by being in the country. Congress can’t cut those. Furthermore, anybody who comes to the US and stays more than a few years is likely to become a permanent resident and citizen eventually. For many families, parents are simply going to be sponsored by their kids. You cannot allow people to remain legal residents for decades and treat them as second class citizens: it’s impractical, immoral, and a recipe for political unrest.

                And the political dynamic is that Democrats want low skill, low income third world immigrants to come to the US, and they want them to become government-dependent voters as quickly as possible. So your idea that somehow magically Congress will open the borders but not quickly turn these people into voters is out of touch with reality.

                1. “Congress can’t cut those”

                  It can certainly reduce them.

                  “You cannot allow people to remain legal residents for decades and treat them as second class citizens: it’s impractical, immoral, and a recipe for political unrest.”

                  But forcing them to go back to a place they *voluntarily chose to leave* is totally practical, moral and a recipe for political harmony.

                  “And the political dynamic is that Democrats want low skill, low income third world immigrants to come to the US, and they want them to become government-dependent voters as quickly as possible.”

                  How fortunate then that the Democratic Party has to deal with that pesky snag called “the Republican Party”. You do remember that both parties have to appeal to the Centrist middle, yes? The Dems couldn’t even pass an amnesty for the ones already here, and actual, balls-to-the-wall Open Borders would be an incredibly hard sell to independent and center-leftist voters. There’s no way in hell “open citizenship” could ever pass- as emphasized by the fact that no one *in real life* is talking about open borders either. Or did you forget that HRC sent those kids back south to die, and Sanders explicitly rejected open borders by name?

                  1. It can certainly reduce them.

                    No, it cannot “reduce them” based on immigration status; they are a public good, and hence usable by anybody in the country

                    But forcing them to go back to a place they “voluntarily chose to leave” is totally practical, moral, and a recipe for political harmony

                    There are two issues here: (1) whether to open borders, (2) what to do with illegals already here.

                    As for (1), the practical, moral, harmonious thing to do is to prevent illegal immigration in the first place. That’s neither expensive nor difficult, as decades of European experience show. It’s even easier in the US, which really has to worry about only one border.

                    As for (2), that’s a separate discussion. As a legal immigrant who came to the US as a child and had to leave when my visa ran out more than a decade later, I have little sympathy for all the whining and chest beating from illegal migrants. Be happy you got a free education, and now comply with the law.

                    You do remember that both parties hvae to appeal to the Centrist middle, yes?

                    No, they don’t. They only have to appeal to about 50% of voters. Decisions are largely made in a winner-take-all fashion (look at ACA or tax reform). And Democrats are trying to shift the balance permanently by bringing in Mexicans.

                    1. “There are two issues here: (1) whether to open borders, (2) what to do with illegals already here.”

                      In this thread as a whole, yes. But I was specifically addressing your seeming assertion that letting immigrants be “second-class citizens” is immoral, etc. And I reiterate: if they think that “second-class citizenship” is more abusive than the circumstances they came from, the door is that-a-way.

                      “They only have to appeal to about 50% of voters. Decisions are largely made in a winner-take-all fashion (look at ACA or tax reform).”

                      Both of which involved controversial, neck-and-neck issues. There is no such deadlock about open borders: it is a radical position. Open citizenship, even more so. Ergo anyone seeking to pass such a law would have to have make enormous concessions to have a hope of passing it.

                  2. There’s no way in hell “open citizenship” could ever pass

                    Sure, it’s easy to pass that sort of thing.. One model is to pass a crappy system that you know won’t work, and then add the unpopular policies as fixes as you go along. Another model is to add a series of loopholes and exceptions that, taken together, achieve the goal you want. Sometimes that sort of thing happens unintentionally, often politicians deliberately plan it.

                    As for “the centrist voter”, that’s what Democrats are trying to shift. The “centrist voter” used to be married men and women with children steeped in protestant work ethic and culture. Democrats have been attacking marriage, children, protestant work ethic, and culture, precisely to shift the political center of the US to their benefit.

            2. “That doesn’t take any “analysis”, it takes a simple ID card that gives citizenship and employment status, like almost all European nations have.”

              Ah, so we just have a national ID card. Well, that would certainly take the onus of regulation off of businesses, true enough. By putting it on literally everyone else. Because requiring every US citizen to clear a federal databse every time they do anything important is totally “chill” under the NAP. Plus, as the success of healthcare.gov and the NICS background check system have shown, requiring people to wait on a federal bureaucracy before completing important financial interactions is guaranteed to never devolve into a choice between VHA-style waiting lists or useless insufficiency. Right-wing faith devotion to small government and deregulation in action…

              1. A “national ID card” does not mean a national database. A national ID card can be issued by many different authorities, is secure and private, and it can be checked instantaneously and offline.

                So: the complete opposite of Healthcare.gov and NICS background checks, and none of your objections apply.

                1. “A ‘national ID card’ does not mean a national database”

                  Does it not now? And how does that work?

                  “So: the complete opposite of Healthcare.gov and NICS background checks, and none of your objections apply.”

                  If it doesn’t involve a database (still not buying that), perhaps the former’s bureaucratic inefficiency is not a concern, but the latter’s easily-evaded porousness still applies: if it really is as simple as showing your employer your ID card and starting your job, what’s stopping employers from just… not doing that? An enforcement mechanism? Auditors, raids, fines, prison time? Ooh, sounds *expensive*…

                2. An ID card that can be checked instantaneously and offline can be duplicated. You need to verify it against a database to weed out the fakes. However, this doesn’t have to be done before you’re hired; they can take the information and send it in, with the results coming back later.

                  Or better, with an investigator being assigned to check on discrepancies. This can start in a low-key way. The ID# isn’t in the database, or doesn’t match the name? Go out with a portable scanner to find the person at work and rescan their card – maybe something was entered wrong. Maybe the subject got married and changed her name, and the investigator puts the update into the database. Or maybe the card is faked or tampered-with, and the investigator gets to use his handcuffs.

                  Or the database says that one person has three jobs in Dallas and one in Seattle. (And this is where a _single_ national database can find things fragmented databases could not.) The investigators get pictures of each worker and compare them. If it’s the same person, whatever is going on is none of their business. If it is four people, they need to discreetly find out which one is real, then move in on the imposters.

                  And all this will be done with secure and competently maintained databases, by persons that never take bribes, inject their own agenda, jump to conclusions, get lazy and sign off on completing tasks that weren’t completed, or just make mistakes. (End Satire.)

          2. “Libertarians are not concerned with the level of ‘income mobility'”

            So when socialists argue that “the land of opportunity” is a lie, we don’t cite stats re: class mobility to counter them?

            You shouldn’t cite class mobility because it’s irrelevant. Class mobility means that as many people move downward as upward. Relative mobility is a lousy policy goal for a democracy; it is rooted in greed, envy, and class warfare, the kind of idea socialists and progressives thrive on, not the kind that advances the wealth and well-being of citizens.

            “Land of opportunity” doesn’t mean “class mobility”, it means that skilled, smart people have the ability to improve their lives. Illegal migrants and their children are statistically mostly not “skilled, smart people”, and won’t be for generations to come, so they can’t take advantage of those opportunities. And at a national level, “land of opportunity” means that people are doing better in absolute terms than in other countries, and over time.

            1. “‘Land of opportunity’ doesn’t mean ‘class mobility’, it means that skilled, smart people have the ability to improve their lives.”

              …which, if you’re a smart, skilled poor person, is sort of hard to do without class mobility. Or is it that poor people are never smart or skilled, according to you?

              “Illegal migrants and their children are statistically mostly not ‘skilled, smart people'”

              Ah, that clears that up, then. I’ll just leave this here:

              “Immigrant entrepreneurs… also tend to be predominantly Hispanic/Latino???this group of immigrant entrepreneurs has some of the highest observed rates of entrepreneurship in the data, as seen here. Immigrant entrepreneurs also tend to have lower educational attainment than native-born workers. Nearly 80% of Hispanic/Latino immigrant entrepreneurs have no more than a high school diploma.”
              https://medium.com/ @sslivinski/why- occupational-licensing- reform-is-a-crucial-part- of-immigration- reform-e2471ecfffb0

              1. it means that skilled, smart people have the ability to improve their lives.”

                …which, if you’re a smart, skilled poor person, is sort of hard to do without class mobility.

                Not at all. Everybody could get richer without anybody moving between classes at all. Class mobility, in fact, implies roughly as many people going down as going up, since class structure generally remains fairly static. For example, I moved down in my social class when I immigrated to the US, but I’m economically a lot better off.

                Ah, that clears that up, then. I’ll just leave this here: “Immigrant entrepreneurs… also tend to be predominantly Hispanic/Latino … Nearly 80% of Hispanic/Latino immigrant entrepreneurs have no more than a high school diploma.”

                Someone who refills water bottles in a favela is an “entrepreneur”; being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean someone is going to make a net fiscal contribution. And, if anything, it makes it more likely that they will require government support down the road compared to a salaried employee making the same annual income.

                A necessary criterion for immigration should be the ability to pay more in taxes than average US per capita spending. That criterion should be applied in a race blind way to all immigrants, to Mexicans, Brits, Spaniards, Japanese, and Chinese.

                1. “Someone who refills water bottles in a favela is an ‘entrepreneur'”

                  Given that these entreprenuers are in the US, favela standards are not relevant.

                  “being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean someone is going to make a net fiscal contribution. And, if anything, it makes it more likely that they will require government support down the road compared to a salaried employee making the same annual income.”

                  So entreprenuers contribute *less* to society *on net* than salaried employees? Why do people do it, then?

                  “A necessary criterion for immigration should be the ability to pay more in taxes than average US per capita spending.”

                  If keeping poor immigrants out cost nothing in enforcement, perhaps. But courtesy of that big-ass desert we live next to, it doesn’t. Big wall or national ID card, you’re talking billions of dollars and more 4th Amendment violations than a Sessions-Arpaio circle jerk.

                  “That criterion should be applied in a race blind way to all immigrants”

                  I wasn’t suggesting you meant otherwise.

                  1. Given that these entreprenuers are in the US, favela standards are not relevant.

                    Why not? These are uneducated third world immigrants. When you call them “entrepreneurs”, obviously that refers to something different from Silicon Valley immigrant-entrepreneurs.

                    So entrepreneurs contribute “less” to society “on net” than salaried employees?

                    I didn’t say that. What I pointed out is that entrepreneurship is riskier than salaried employment, so low income entrepreneurs are likely going to use more government services down the line.

                    Why do people do it, then?

                    Many low skill immigrants become “entrepreneurs”, i.e., open food carts, freelance as handimen or gardeners, do nails, etc., because nobody else will hire them.

                    Big wall or national ID card, you’re talking billiions of dollars and more 4th Amendment violations…

                    A national ID card implies no 4th Amendment violations and would save the US billions of dollars in preventing fraud, identity theft, and a host of other problems in addition to ]immigration enforcement. Since it doesn’t require the creation of a centralized database, it is less privacy invading than the hodgepodge of databases we have right now. And we know from other countries that it works well and is effective. If there were constitutional issues with such a reasonable policy, then the Constitution should be amended.

                    1. I can’t be bothered to do any more research on immigrant entrepreneurship than what little I did above, so in the interest of being an honorable opponent I concede this SPECIFIC line of argument without *necessarily* conceding I was wrong, but while acknowledging I offered insufficient evidence to prove my case. I responded to the ID card argument further up the thread.

                      I would however like to note that this line:

                      “If there were constitutional issues with such a reasonable policy, then the Constitution should be amended”

                      …is remarkably disturbing.

        2. “They don’t. Labor statistics show that lower income immigrants result in low income Americans dropping out of the workforce, not moving into ‘more productive sectors’.”

          How is an immigrant taking a nativeborn job different (in economic, not political or cultural, terms) from free trade resulting in a job going overseas? Or are you a protectionist and mercantilist too?

          1. How is an immigrant taking a nativeborn job different (in economic, not political or cultural, terms) from free trade resulting in a job going overseas?

            Simple: when low skill and low income jobs go overseas, those other countries have to pay for the welfare, retirement, and social costs of those workers.

            1. Which may balance out the economic benefit of increased consumer wealth, but can just as easily be phrased as “the economic benefit of increased consumer wealth balancing out the welfare/retirement/social costs”. Which, given that most studies indicate that immigration has increased upper/middle class wages but slightly reduced lower-class wages and employment, is probably true- but does not reflect on a true free market immigration model (which would not “capture” that increased consumption in welfare payments to immigrants, and thus would indeed allow movement of native workers to “more productive sectors”), and furthermore leaves that aforementioned 200,000,000,000 or so in immigration enforcement costs.

              1. Which may balance out the economic benefit of increased consumer wealth, but can just as easily be phrased as “the economic benefit of increased consumer wealth balancing out the welfare/retirement/social costs”.

                Illegal and low skill immigrants probably do seemingly “increase consumer wealth”, but the national debt keeps going up at the same time. What you are really doing is using immigration as a cover to borrow money to hand out to Americans to spend; that’s even worse than just handing out the money directly.

                and furthermore leaves that aforementioned 200,000,000,000 or so in immigration enforcement costs.

                That’s your number for “building a wall”. Obviously, lots of other Western nations have found much cheaper ways of keeping out unwanted immigrants.

                1. “Illegal and low skill immigrants probably do seemingly ‘increase consumer wealth’, but the national debt keeps going up at the same time.”

                  Correlation =/= Causation, and you know full well that it is nativeborn entitlement programs, “stimulus”, and the War on Terror that are mainly responsible for that.

                  “What you are really doing is using immigration as a cover to borrow money to hand out to Americans to spend”

                  Eh? I said the increased consumer wealth was (possibly) going to *immigrant* welfare, not nativeborn welfare. Thus “covering the cost” of said immigrants, using the excess wealth that would otherwise have created new nativeborn wages, turning what would in a free market be a net profit from immigration into a neutral draw.

                  “That’s your number for ‘building a wall’. Obviously, lots of other Western nations have found much cheaper ways of keeping out unwanted immigrants.”

                  Not having a 2,000 mile border with a major source of low-income immigrants is a luxury most other countries possess, yes. Although I wonder how many costs are accrued from those national ID card systems they use to keep tourists from jumping their visas that they don’t see or consider.

              2. true free market immigration model (which would not “capture” that increased consumption in welfare payments to immigrants, and thus would indeed allow movement of native workers to “more productive sectors”)

                The reason “native workers” displaced by low skill immigrants don’t move to “more productive sectors” is because they don’t have the ability. If they did, they would have given up their low skill jobs already.

                Even disregarding issues of welfare and government spending, at a minimum, free trade and free movement of labor has to work both ways. What you call “open borders” isn’t “open borders” at all, because it is largely unidirectional. That’s another one of these absurdities when liberals equate letting in large numbers of Mexicans with “open borders” and proclaim it to be a “libertarian” policy.

                1. “The reason ‘native workers’ displaced by low skill immigrants don’t move to ‘more productive sectors’ is because they don’t have the ability. If they did, they would have given up their low skill jobs already.”

                  I didn’t say “higher-income jobs”, I said “more productive sectors”, as in more productive *to society* (because immigrants are covering the original sectors, opening up new ones) but with similar wages as before. The fired workers don’t get *more* wages, but they get similar wages plus cheaper immigrant-made goods to buy with them, just as they do with trade and automation. Nativism, Luddism, and Mercantilism are very similar issues- a fired worker doesn’t care if he lost his job to a Mexican here, a Mexican in Mexico, or a Terminator.

                  “at a minimum, free trade and free movement of labor has to work both ways.”

                  Other nations blockading themselves does not require us to do so as well. Trade wars are the equivalent of two men threatening to kill themselves if the other does so first, and immigration is just another form of trade.

                  1. I didn’t say “higher-income jobs”, I said “more productive sectors”, as in more productive *to society* (because immigrants are covering the original sectors, opening up new ones) but with similar wages as before.

                    Ah, the valuel theory of labor raises its ugly head again.

                    The fired workers don’t get *more* wages, but they get similar wages plus cheaper immigrant-made goods to buy with them, just as they do with trade and automation.

                    We know what happens to the fired US workers; they don’t get similar wages, they go on disability and welfare.

                    Nativism, Luddism, and Mercantilism are very similar issues- a fired worker doesn’t care if he lost his job to a Mexican here, a Mexican in Mexico, or a Terminator.

                    Correct. Which is, oddly enough, why those fired workers simultaneously oppose legal immigration, illegal immigration, cheap Chinese imports, and automation in the US. And all four factors are additive. Fortunately, the US can easily and constitutionally do sometthing about the first three factors: we can limit legal immigration, we can sharply reduce illegal immigration, and we can limit trade.

                    1. “Ah, the valuel theory of labor raises its ugly head again.”

                      I assume you mean “labor theory of value”? Because if you do: EXCUSE me? What in the forsaken armpit of hell in that sentence sounded Marxist to you? I was reciting Libertarian trade and automation catechism and applying it to immigration- specifically, disproving the Lump of Labor fallacy your argument rests on. Speaking of which…

                      “We know what happens to the fired US workers; they don’t get similar wages, they go on disability and welfare.”

                      …thanks to the fact that the consumer wealth that should create those new service jobs is being captured by immigrant welfare. Which is why I said immigrant welfare:

                      “turns what would in a free market be a net profit from immigration into a neutral draw”.

                      The “more productive sectors” business is what happens without that, not what’s happening now. It still doesn’t make immigration restriction a good idea, when one adds lost consumer advantage to enforcement costs.

                      “Fortunately, the US can easily and constitutionally do sometthing about the first three factors”

                      Too bad about that 4th one, then, I guess? If “limited” Mercantilism and Nativism are swell ideas, why not Luddism too?

                  2. Other nations blockading themselves does not require us to do so as well. Trade wars are the equivalent of two men threatening to kill themselves if the other does so first, and immigration is just another form of trade.

                    Free trade, open borders, unilateral removal of trade restrictions, etc. are prudent and beneficial policies only under specific circumstances. Those circumstances are not met in our dealings with the rest of the world. You keep arguing otherwise, but your arguments are flawed; for example, displaced American workers do not enter “more productive sectors”, and we do not benefit from helping China or Cuba prosper economically.

                    When you don’t have simultaneously free movement of goods, people, and capital in both directions between two countries, arguments for the benefits of selective opening of borders become very difficult to make and need to be made on a case-by-case basis. Some liberalization of trade and movement is good, but not all is.

                    That’s why in practice, every nation on this planet imposes restrictions on both trade and immigration. Such restrictions do not amount to “trade wars” because all nations recognize their importance, tolerate them, and don’t escalate because of them, as long as they remain within certain limits.

                    1. “You keep arguing otherwise, but your arguments are flawed; for example, displaced American workers do not enter ‘more productive sectors'”

                      They WOULD enter more productive sectors if it weren’t for the welfare and regulation that captures the consumer wealth that would *otherwise* create those new jobs. Welfare, for both immigrants and the jobless natives themselves, captures it directly through taxation; regulation, most severely occupational licensing and housing regulation, captures it by artificially raising prices on labor and housing by bottlenecking supply, reducing employment opportunities and making moving to job-heavy urban areas expensive.

                      In retrospect, I did not make it clear enough that I was referring to what happens without those state interventions; for this I apologize. But even without those new jobs, the quality of life improvement for the rest of the citizenry, added to enforcement costs and secondary effects, makes immigration restrictions (and tariffs, and Luddism) a bad deal.

          2. Or are you a protectionist and mercantilist too?

            We have a massive social welfare state in the US right now, where pretty much every adult American ends up receiving $25k/year in government spending even if they don’t work. If we ship low skill work overseas and put Americans on disability or welfare, we’re paying the Americans not to work and then pay the Chinese to produce our goods. That is economically absurd and it creates social unrest in the US. My preferred solution is to massively cut back government spending. Politicians that are unwilling to do that offer trade restrictions as an alternative solution. You’re welcome to come up with your own solutions.

            You have to realize that libertarianism only makes sense as a package: open borders, free trade, free markets, and small government can only be implemented together. If you leave out any one of them, you end up with a disaster on your hand.

            1. “You have to realize that libertarianism only makes sense as a package: open borders, free trade, free markets, and small government can only be implemented together. If you leave out any one of them, you end up with a disaster on your hand.”

              Sometimes this is true, and sometimes it isn’t. Combining (pseudo-)open borders with welfare states was a failure in Europe, but cutting off free trade with China in order to combat US welfare dependency would do as much harm as good- putting US workers back to work balanced out by increased costs for all Americans, including low-income urban Americans who wouldn’t stand to benefit from returned manufacturing. EG, IE, QED, ETC.: restricting trade is never a “good” thing, even when other statist policies at home (like overregulation and overly generous/poorly designed welfare programs) blunt its benefits, and so it is *not* dependent on being part of a “package deal”.

              And as well that it isn’t, since getting everything on the Libertarian Xmas List all at once is never going to happen: the only path to a freer world is piecemeal, incremental addition of Libertarian policies, one by one. If we have to wait until we can do it all at once, the greatest libertarian luminary will no longer be Hayek or Rand or Bastiat: it will be Godot.

              1. but cutting off free trade with China in order to combat US welfare dependency would do as much harm as good

                We don’t have anything resembling free trade with China, And whether the current trade arrangements with China are good for the US in the long term is an open question. Arguments for the benefits of free trade assume that the economic gains accrue to private, rational actors, not to politically motivated state actors, as in the case of China-US trade.

                the only path to a freer world is piecemeal, incremental addition of Libertarian policies, one by one

                That is correct, but the order and details in which you bring this about matter a lot.

                We potentially can have free trade and free movement of people already without full libertarian reforms with nations that are similar to the US in terms of government spending, economic organization, social welfare, values, education, and individual wealth, under the condition that those countries are willing to enter such relations symmetrically.

                Mexico and China don’t meet any of those criteria. We could open trade and immigration unilaterally to those nations if we were a fully libertarian nation, but we are not. If we engage in free trade and unilateral open borders policies with such countries while we ourselves still remain a progressive social welfare state with massive rent seeking and crony capitalism, we are going to run into serious trouble.

              2. but cutting off free trade with China in order to combat US welfare dependency would do as much harm as good

                We don’t have anything resembling free trade with China, And whether the current trade arrangements with China are good for the US in the long term is an open question. Arguments for the benefits of free trade assume that the economic gains accrue to private, rational actors, not to politically motivated state actors, as in the case of China-US trade.

                the only path to a freer world is piecemeal, incremental addition of Libertarian policies, one by one

                That is correct, but the order and details in which you bring this about matter a lot.

                We potentially can have free trade and free movement of people already without full libertarian reforms with nations that are similar to the US in terms of government spending, economic organization, social welfare, values, education, and individual wealth, under the condition that those countries are willing to enter such relations symmetrically.

                Mexico and China don’t meet any of those criteria. We could open trade and immigration unilaterally to those nations if we were a fully libertarian nation, but we are not. If we engage in free trade and unilateral open borders policies with such countries while we ourselves still remain a progressive social welfare state with massive rent seeking and crony capitalism, we are going to run into serious trouble.

                1. “We don’t have anything resembling free trade with China”

                  I think we do have something that *resembles* free trade, at least. The point is that it is free-ER than what was before.

                  “Arguments for the benefits of free trade assume that the economic gains accrue to private, rational actors, not to politically motivated state actors, as in the case of China-US trade.”

                  What happens on the Chinese end of the trade isn’t our business, although I doubt that reducing the PRC’s GDP would have a positive effect on Chinese citizens. Remember that time we tried that approach with Cuba?

                  “If we engage in free trade and unilateral open borders policies with such countries while we ourselves still remain a progressive social welfare state with massive rent seeking and crony capitalism, we are going to run into serious trouble.”

                  Given that America was apparently already at “peak poor welfare-using immigrant” in 2005, and that the costs of restricting those trade and people flows, both in enforcement costs and in consumer losses, would easily balance out job-loss and welfare costs, I doubt it.

                  1. No, we don’t have anything resembling free trade with China. Free trade with China would mean that you can order stuff from China and sell stuff to China the same way you can from Wisconsin.

                    Wnat happens to the Chinese end of the trade isn’t our business

                    It is very much our concern if China is using the monetary gains from trade in order to hurt us politically or economically. The arguments for the benefits of free trade only work when all actors operate in a free market framework.

                    Remember that time we tried that approach with Cube?

                    As long as Cuba remains a hostile communist dictatorship, it is a good idea for us to keep hurting their economy.

                    1. If trade between the USA and PRC is freer now than it was prior to our whatever-you-want-to-call-it trade agreements, then it resembles free trade- at least on the only metric that matters, namely *that* it is freer than before.

                      “It is very much our concern if China is using the monetary gains from trade in order to hurt us politically or economically”

                      And they are doing this how? Not necessarily contradicting, just seeking clarification.

                      “As long as Cuba remains a hostile communist dictatorship, it is a good idea for us to keep hurting their economy”

                      Didn’t work for 50 years, but maybe Year 51’ll do it.

                  2. the cost of restricting those trade and people flows … would easily balance out job-loss and welfare costs

                    We’re not talking about balancing costs here. If the US has too many people out of work and on welfare, we create a political powder ceg that’s going to blow up Venezuela style. It doesn’t matter how generous the welfare system is or how wealthy people are in absolute terms.

                    China and the EU understand this, which is why they are willing to make seemingly economically irrational decisions in order to promote employment even for their low skilled citizens.

                    1. “If the US has too many people out of work and on welfare, we create a political powder keg that’s going to blow up Venezuela style”

                      Are you actually suggesting the possibility of insurrection or something? Because if you are, I would reiterate the point about America having reached “peak poor immigrant” in the mid-Aughts. If poor immigrants are voluntarily exiting a country, that tends to be a good sign that said country isn’t going to be attracting many more.

                      Not that it matters anyway: America’s lower class has no right to hold the rest of the country hostage with threats of rebellion. Assuming, again, that that’s what you meant by “blow up VZ style”.

                      “China and the EU understand this”

                      Reminding me that the EU and CCP disagree with me is not making me doubt myself more. Quite the opposite, actually.

      2. “No other Western nation behaves in such an absurd manner”

        If someone used this re: US gun laws, you’d go apeshit.

        No, not at all. I think looking at other nations’ gun laws and their effects is a good thing to do when formulating US policy, just like I think looking at other nations’ welfare, tax, and immigration laws is.

        If you have examples of where open borders or gun control have been effective and beneficial to other Western nations and welfare states, please do share them.

        1. It sounded to me like your point was that “every other country has tight immigration laws, so we should too”. Change “immigration” to “gun” in that sentence and the problem becomes clear.

          If, in fact, you were actually saying that “we should look at the results of other countries’ policies”, that is fair enough; but the sentence:

          “No other Western nation behaves in such an absurd manner”

          …contains no such analyses. It just implies that global consensus is an argument in itself, which it is not.

          1. …contains no such analyses

            I had given an analysis and justification before that. Hence, I was saying: “here are my reasons for why the US immigration system is absurd, and, by the way, evidently all other nations have reached the same conclusion”.

            It just implies that global consensus is an argument in itself, which it is not

            Global consensus is certainly “an argument in itself”, in the sense that if you disagree with the global consensus, the burden is on you to explain why so many other societies have reached different conclusions from you, independent even of their political ideologies.

            1. “I had given an analysis and justification before that… Global consensus is certainly ‘an argument in itself’, in the sense that if you disagree with the global consensus, the burden is on you to explain why so many other societies have reached different conclusions from you, independent even of their political ideologies.”

              I simply disagree. That majorities of the world’s developed nations have strict immigration policies, prohibitive vice laws and high taxes tells the discerning observer nothing but that the statist propagandists who peddled said policies were unusually persuasive. Democratic vote =/= Consumer preference (since the whole point of government is to grant power over an interaction to people who are not privy to it).

              I think we’re simply going to have to agree to disagree on this one.

              1. That majorities of the world’s developed nations have strict immigration policies, prohibitive vice laws and high taxes tells the discerning observer nothing but that the statist propagandists who peddled said policies were unusually persuasive

                Majorities? Developed? Name one other country that has an immigration policy as unselective as that of the US. And the selectivity of immigration policies don’t correlate either with statism or with development: if you look at the top five economically free countries (Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, and Canada), they all have strongly selective immigration policies based on skill, income, and/or net worth. Even countries that sell citizenship generally charge at least $100k or more (e.g., Saint Lucia, Dominica, Malta), for citizenship and passports that are much less valuable than a US passport.

                I think we’re simply going to have to agree to disagree on this one.

                I gave my arguments why and challenged you to explain the universality of selective immigration policies. You have attempted to explain the universality of selective immigration policies by saying that statists won this particular debate everywhere. That explanation doesn’t make sense to me for the reasons I gave above. Saying “I disagree” doesn’t answer my question.

                1. And all of those countries have strict marijuana laws (other than Canada for like the last 5 seconds).

                  I hereby challenge you, then, to “explain the universality of” strict marijuana laws. Specifically with something other than “statists won this particular debate everywhere”.

                  1. Marijuana use is legal or decriminalized across half the globe, so your assumption is wrong.

                    Furthermore, the global uniformity of controlled substance laws such as it is, is not the result of independent parallel victories by statists, but rather the result of global conventions in which a few statists (mostly in the US) have imposed their views on the rest of the world. There is nothing like that accounting for selective immigration laws: selective immigration laws evolved independently under lots of different political systems.

                    1. “but rather the result of global conventions in which a few statists (mostly in the US) have imposed their views on the rest of the world.”

                      *sigh*

                      Fine. High taxes and strict gun laws, then. No global superpower pushing those.

                    2. And just to clarify, I am referring exclusively to the EU, East Asia and the Anglosphere here. I am not terribly concerned with the political consensus in Saudi Arabia or Zimbabwe.

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