Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

More Immigration Does Not Mean Less Economic Freedom

Conservatives who claim that immigrants import anti-liberty attitudes are wrong.

It is not easy to maintain a society's commitment to freedom and limited government. The social consensus on which these values are based requires Flag Immigrantslaverrue via Foter.com / CC BYconstant work. And many conservative intellectuals fear that large-scale immigration, especially from poor and unfree countries, makes this job much harder because immigrants bring with them the attitudes and beliefs of their home country that have an impact on their destination countries.

However, new research shows that the fear that immigration undermines economic freedom may be overblown.

Conservative pundit Victor Davis Hanson, expressing such anxieties, recently wrote that borders naturally arise to reflect common bonds of language, culture, habit, and tradition. And "when borders disappear" because there is no control over who comes in, these ties "become attenuated." Similarly, British scholar Paul Collier observes that "migrants are essentially escaping from countries with dysfunctional social models" that are the "primary cause of their poverty." Letting these migrants bring their culture and norms risks compromising their new countries' institutions.

Even the famed Austrian-school economist Ludwig von Mises, who viewed free migration as an essential component of the (classical) liberal program, feared that in any country where the state already intervenes in the economy, migrants might exploit opportunities to further erode the economic freedom of the native-born.

The main evidence for such fears has been offered by Harvard University's George Borjas. In a paper and a recent book he argues that estimates showing that opening up the borders would result in trillions of dollars in gains in global wealth assume that immigrants don't compromise the institutional environment of their destination that makes them prosperous. "What would happen to the institutions and social norms that govern economic exchanges in specific countries after the entry/exit of perhaps hundreds of millions of people?," he asks. He then proceeds to model the impact on national productivity given various levels of immigration and concludes that with enough immigration, productivity losses from negative "spill overs" become greater than economic gains. But he simply assumes the levels of negative spill overs that he models. He offers no evidence that such spill overs actually exist in the first place.

A new strain of research, which I have contributed to, has examined the relationship between increased immigration and changes in the destination countries' economic freedom. It finds the exact opposite of what these critics contend.

The first of these studies in 2015, which I co-authored, examined whether immigrants undermine economic institutions as measured by the Economic Freedom of the World Annual Report. This economic freedom index, which includes the size of government, the security of property rights, the integrity of the monetary system, the freedom to trade internationally, and the amount of government regulation, is a reasonable proxy for the type of institutions that conservatives worry immigration might destroy. Prior research has found a strong relationship between greater economic freedom and prosperity.

Our study compared 110 countries to examine how immigration impacted their economic freedom from 1990 to 2011. We examined how the economic freedom of countries with a greater initial percentage – "stock" -- of immigrants in 1990 was impacted 20 years later. We also examined how economic freedom was impacted in countries that allowed a greater "flow" of immigrants between 1990 and 2011.

We found that rather than decreasing economic freedom, there was a statistically significant positive correlation between more immigration and more economic freedom. In the 32 reported regressions, some of which parsimoniously controlled for only immigration measures and initial levels of freedom, while others controlled for multiple other factors which might influence changes in economic freedom, we did not find a single instance of a statistically significant negative relationship between immigration and economic freedom.

A similar study by Metropolitan State University of Denver's Alexandre Padilla and Nicolas Cachanosky examined how immigration affected economic freedom at the state level using the Economic Freedom of North America Annual Report. This index measures state level government spending, taxation, and labor market regulation. The study looked at how the immigrant share of a state's population and the naturalized-citizen share of the voting population impacted economic freedom in the state over 10-year periods between 1980 and 2010.

The study was unable to find a statistically significant relationship between either the immigrant or naturalized-citizen share of the population and state-level economic freedom, despite the fact that the foreign population in the United States more than doubled while the native-born population increased less than 18 percent during the final 20 years of analysis. In other words, more immigrants did not have any impact on the economic freedom in a state.

Critics could object that these studies were based on immigration samples taken in a world where migration flows have been tightly managed in terms of both the quantity and quality of migrants. Hence their findings can't be used to generalize to a world with little to no border controls. Perhaps these immigrants haven't reached the critical mass necessary to erode freedom. And perhaps there is a selection bias in the admission of immigrants that would not be present in a world of more open borders.

But another new study I coauthored with University of Tennessee's J.R. Clark and Cato Institute's Alex Nowrasteh, addresses these issues by examining a limited form of open borders in Israel. Israel restricts the immigration of non-Jews, but the "Law of Return" allows all Jews to emigrate to Israel regardless of their country of origin and gives them instant full citizenship, with the right to vote, upon arrival.

When the Soviet Union reduced its emigration restrictions and subsequently collapsed, migrants flowed en masse into Israel. The new Russian immigrants, who had a 70-year history of living under socialism with a lack of economic and political freedom, amounted to 20 percent of Israel's population by the end of the 1990s.

Yet the result was a dramatic increase in Israel's economic freedom. Israel catapulted from 15 percent below the global average in economic freedom to 12 percent above it, improving its ranking among countries by 47 places. With the exception of the size of government, all the major areas of economic freedom (such as the security of property rights, the freedom to trade internationally, freedom from regulation, and the soundness of their money), improved significantly. The size of government temporarily increased because, as citizens, the new immigrants were immediately eligible for government transfers. But even this measure eventually improved after the immigrants were economically integrated.

The gain in economic freedom occurred even though the new immigrants were politically active both in terms of influencing the two major parties and forming their own immigrant parties, which is unusual for immigrants. So if they were "importing" their attitudes to the new country, it would have showed. Yet far from bringing socialism's lack of economic freedom with them, they seem to have rebelled against economic control. In fact, in recognition of this, the left leaning labor party even stopped using the color red in their campaign materials out of fear that it would cost them immigrant votes.

An obvious objection to this study is that Israel is a special case because migrants who come there feel a deep affinity with it, which is not necessarily the case for more "opportunistic" immigrants. But surveys indicated that most Russian Jews would have preferred another destination had one been practical. Also, they were different from Israel's local population because nearly all spoke Russian and few spoke a Jewish language. And few of them were religious. (The Law of Return applies to descendants of Jews and their non-Jewish spouses.) The sociologists who have studied these migrants have classified them as 'normal' migrants who came because of "push motives" from their origin country, just like other migrants.

These empirical studies can't definitively say why immigrants don't negatively, and often positively, impact economic freedom. But I suspect that immigrants who leave a dysfunctional social system are not a random sample of a country's population and are unlikely to desire to recreate what they sought to escape in their new countries. Is there a more rabidly anti-socialist voting block in the United States than Cuban immigrants? They might be an extreme example, but there might be an element of them in other migrants from other unfree countries as well.

To be sure, these new studies are preliminary and don't decisively settle the issue. Much research remains to be done. However, they should make us more skeptical of those who fear that increased, or even unrestricted, migration would necessarily erode the economic freedom that makes destination countries prosperous.

Benjamin Powell is a senior fellow with the Independent Institute, Oakland, Calif., and director of the Free Market Institute and a professor of economics in the Rawls College of Business Administration at Texas Tech University. He's also the editor of the book, The Economics of Immigration.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Careless||

    California. /theead

  • Careless||

    /thread

  • Ryan Frank||

    "To be sure, these new studies are preliminary and don't decisively settle the issue"

    Tell that to whoever wrote the headline.

  • Tom Bombadil||

    Let me attempt to 'splain the underlying theme.

    In general, immigration is good.
    Therefore, all immigration and all immigrants are good.
    Any restriction on immigration (even illegal/undocumented) is bad.

  • OldMexican Blankety Blank||

    Re: Tom Bombadil,

    Any restriction on immigration (even illegal/undocumented) is bad.


    I love how Trumpistas can't seem to write coherent, logically consistent arguments.

    First:
    If you concede that immigration should not be restricted, then there would not be such a thing as "illegal" immigration, which obviates the use of the term (an epithet meant to dehumanize a certain set of immigrants by making then seem nefarious and dangerous.)

    Second:
    Limiting immigration is not a bad thing because "immigration is good". That's not the argument. I see your clumsy attempt at spinning the argument into a tautology by creating a strawman. The reason why limits on immigration are bad is because those require force, aggression, imposition. Whether you like it or not, immigrants are invited in by The Market, by people who want to trade with them, hire them, rent to them, even marry them. This is a voluntary transaction between free individuals. The fact that you harbor suspicions against immigrants does not justify imposing yourself, or the government, on those peaceful transactions.

  • Free Society||

    Whether you like it or not, immigrants are invited in by The Market,

    At first I read that as The Merkel, but conceding that politicians and faux NGOs have erected an industry of immigrant importation is well outside of the wheelhouse of a Conquistador.

  • hello.||

    Conquistador? Mexico's chief economist here couldn't conquer a taco stand. Also would have to spend hours trying to figure out what "NGO" stands for. Cut him some slack. Mexicans have about a standard deviation lower IQ than the average American, and he's dumber than the average Mexican.

  • BWM||

    "an epithet meant to dehumanize a certain set of immigrants by making then seem nefarious and dangerous"

    No, it's an accurate term meant to correctly categorize a specific group of immigrants. The fact that you automatically think "illegal"="nefarious and dangerous" does not mean everyone else does.

  • ||

    Good for whom? Are utilitarian concerns really the issue? If so, whose utility?

  • ||

    Samuel Huntington argued the same thing in The Clash of Civilizations.

    Plus, I hope we're not conflating anti-illegal immigration with anti-immigration (which I think is a minority voice anyway) because these are two different things. And the latter has the added feature of anti-immigration, in the context of global Islamic terrorism, from places known to foster terrorist activity.

  • OldMexican Blankety Blank||

    Re: Rufus the Monocled,

    I hope we're not conflating anti-illegal immigration with anti-immigration (which I think is a minority voice anyway) because these are two different things.


    They're in essence the exact same thing, because one is used to justify increasing the barriers on the other. If you have ever witnessed the draconian requirements to legally migrate to the US, you would realize that these are not meant to encourage immigration at all, but to stem it. HENCE, the existence of a BLACK MARKET of immigrant labor. It does not exist in a vacuum or because so-called "illegal" immigrants are some sort of different stock of human individuals. The fact is that US immigration policy has been driven by anti-immigrant sentiments. Period.

    Legal immigrants will tell you that every time they return to the US from abroad, they're treated like invaders by authoritarian immigration officials. Not that American citizens are treated much better, but at least Americans can invoke their constitutional rights without risking being thrown into the ocean.

  • Careless||

    Legal immigrants will tell you that every time they return to the US from abroad, they're treated like invaders by authoritarian immigration officials.

    You are so full of shit.

  • OldMexican Blankety Blank||

    Re: Careless,

    You sure live up to your nickname, Careless.

  • Careless||

    That's a particularly bizarre place to make that comment. I'm worried you've become senile given the crap you've strewn over this thread.

  • hello.||

    There's a reason why Mexicans spend their time picking white people's fruit and changing their baby's shitty diapers rather than contemplating political economy.

  • colorblindkid||

    I know very few conservatives opposed to immigration in general. It is illegal immigration most oppose. Neither "illegal" nor "undocumented" are found anywhere in this article.

    I don't care about the cultures people bring with them and do believe people assimilate in America better than anywhere else in the world, but something I am absolutely adamant about is making sure people are forced to learn English when they come here. Having a common tongue is essential for social coherence. Even though all Quebecois speak English as well as French, there is a huge disdain between them and English-speaking Canada. Belgium, peaceful and tolerant as it is, is in a near constant state of partitioning itself into two nations, and went a year and a half without a government (although I think that's great).

    America should let anybody in who wants to come here legally, but we should not go out of our way to accommodate them or tell them they are oppressed, which only breeds resentment and lengthens the time it takes to assimilate.

  • ||

    Despite being the most bilingual, not all Quebecois speak English. Once you go outside Montreal into the hinterlands you'll encounter very little of it. They're more bilingual because, as you state, English is the common language of North America - if not the world. There's little reason or incentive for Albertans or even Ontarians to learn French; not because of cultural or linguistic bigotry but out of plain practicality.

    https://slmc.uottawa.ca/?q=english_french_rate

  • buybuydandavis||

    I know very few conservatives opposed to immigration in general. It is illegal immigration most oppose.

    A cop out. Immigration is declared illegal because we oppose it being legal.

    If you want limits, own up to it.
    If you don't want limits, own up to it.

  • GILMORE™||

    We have limits, and always have.

    If you're arguing that the only acceptable policy is 'unlimited and indiscriminate' immigration, the onus is actually on you to demonstrate why that's better.

  • ||

    How about 'immigration should be significantly less limited than it is today'?

    Why is that better? Because the current system has certain inhumane results - such as the fact that 5.5 million people in the US are married to American citizens and/or have US citizen children, but can't get legal visas. Because we have a provision in the law which says they have to leave the country for two years and then start from scratch in order to immigrate - and not very many people are going to leave their children and or spouse behind, or force them to move to a third-world hell-hole, in order to get a legal visa. And there is no guarentee that they will ever be allowed back into the US, even on a vistor's visa, because a past record of illegal entry is grounds for denial.

    Another reason why it's better? Because people shouldn't have to obtain government permission before getting a job or employing someone they want to employ. The right to exchange money in exchange for labor is not something the government should be controlling. It's a fundamental economic liberty.

  • GILMORE™||

    "less limits" is still suggesting that there are limits.

    I wasn't proposing anything myself - i was responding to someone above who suggested that *any limits at all* are somehow something to apologize for.

  • buybuydandavis||

    I didn't suggest it's something to apologize for. I suggested it's something to own up to.

  • GILMORE™||

    It seems a pretty silly point, regardless of your distinction.

    The fact is that there has never been any policy on earth, anywhere, where any nation has adopted self-stated "unlimited" immigration. iow, all immigration policy is a matter of where limits are set, and what conditions are placed on immigrants. What you describe is the antithesis of that.

    what you describe is asking people to "own up" to believing in *any immigration policy at all*.

    You are pretending that the only proper posture libertarians should take on the matter is to maintain a stated belief in a completely-theoretical "open borders" - uncontrolled, unlimited travel of non-citizens across national boundaries. Sure, that might be the most libertarian posture *on paper*, but here in the real world, that's simply an impractical, impossible and unreasonable position when it comes to talking about actual policy.

    (Matt Welch said as much in one of the 5th column podcasts a few weeks ago, fwiw. - basically, that the 'theoretical' libertarian posture is effectively an unrealistic non-starter and wouldn't even be desirable were it possible)

    Its suggesting that anyone who makes concessions to reality, and actually bothers to get into a debate about *current US policy* is a heretic for failing to adhere to some purist myth.

    as i said, just seems silly. Acknowledging that immigration policy will *always* fall short of the libertarian ideal isn't something to "own up" to. Its just a fact.

  • Headache||

    So, you are totally against federal minimum wage laws?

  • Headache||

    people in the US are married to American citizens and/or have US citizen children, but can't get legal visas.

    That's odd, thousands of military personnel that have married other nationals don't have that problem.

  • Careless||

    Well, yes, she meant criminals couldn't get marriage visas conveniently.

  • buybuydandavis||

    or force them to move to a third-world hell-hole,
    The right to exchange money in exchange for labor is not something the government should be controlling.

    Deontological out of context absolutes have *consequences* in the real world. Something else to own up to.

    The world is full of people "forced to live" in third world hell holes. They all get to come? Because that has consequences. Everyone with a sad face at the window gets to come in from the cold? That has consequences too. How many hundreds of millions are you ready to take in?

    Or do they only get to come if they have a job sponsor? Come be my sex slave for a nickel a day and I'll sponsor you to live in the US? You aren't against prostitution, are you? Because you notice, if a job offer allows people to come, then the job sponsor is actually exchanging the right to live and work in the US, and not just his own money. Is that another absolute right?

  • BWM||

    "The right to exchange money in exchange for labor is not something the government should be controlling."
    Okay. I want to hire OJ Simpson to play ball with me, so the government should let him out of jail. What's that? He's being punished for having broken the law and thus is excluded from engaging in such economic transactions? Imagine that.

  • buybuydandavis||

    I wasn't suggesting either way. In particular to your "if", I wouldn't suggest that at all, as I'm actually for more limits.

    I was pointing out the bogus nature of "I'm only against illegal" as an argument from "my side". Presumably we don't view ourselves around here as "thou must approve of every government law". To be against illegal immigration entails approval a law imposing some kind of limit. Own up to it.

    Similarly, own up to it if you're really against any limits. If "look, a sad face at the window" means we have to let that person in, then you aren't for any real limit and should own up to that too. And own up to all that entails.

    Both sides should own up. That's what I was suggesting.

  • GILMORE™||

    *note:

    i didn't see this when typing my reply above. much of what i said can probably be ignored.

  • chemjeff||

    "I know very few conservatives opposed to immigration in general. It is illegal immigration most oppose. "

    I would have an easier time believing this claim if conservatives hadn't spent several years crafting arguments against illegal immigration that apply just as well against all immigration. I think at the very least, conservatives are *anxious* about immigration, both legal and illegal. Perhaps it is just the illegal immigration that gets them in a frothy rage, but legal immigration too I think they are reluctant to openly embrace.

  • ||

    Perhaps it is just the illegal immigration that gets them in a frothy rage, but legal immigration too I think they are reluctant to openly embrace.

    Wait, you mean they might be openly and morally opposed to people flagrantly violating the law but willing to acknowledge some benefits to allowing people to come and go as they please, as long as law and order are observed, and subsequently muzzle their statist demons as a matter of practicality? Those bastards!

  • Juice||

    Wait, you mean they might be openly and morally opposed to people flagrantly violating the law...

    I'd like to know how they feel about people violating gun laws or maybe the Cliven Bundy standoff or bake-me-a-cake anti-discrimination laws, etc.

  • ||

    I'd like to know how they feel about people violating gun laws or maybe the Cliven Bundy standoff or bake-me-a-cake anti-discrimination laws, etc.

    You do realize that libertarians are the crazy minority, right? And that this stance doesn't make you seem more practical and less crazy?

  • Juice||

    Nice deflection. So you're a non-libertarian conservative? I agree with conservatives, such as yourself, when it comes to violating gun laws and discrimination laws. I guess we just disagree about violating other laws that criminalize voluntary, victimless activities.

  • ||

    So you're a non-libertarian conservative?

    Or a conservative-libertarian. Or an economic-libertarian that recognizes that many of our social safety nets and tax schemes were put in place without mass influxes of people in mind. Or a plain old historically-aware-libertarian that knows invasive or prolific groups and/or ideologies routinely displace and destroy native groups and ideologies. Especially those that don't defend or otherwise strive to preserve themselves.

    Either there is a defined region in time and space (or other dimensions such as the economy) to which the NAP (and associated non- or anti-interventionism) is specifically deigned to apply (i.e. a border) or it doesn't. If you're going to circumscribe the one-true libertarianism to the true scotsmen libertarians, then we didn't need you.

  • Juice||

    So you actually believe in the non-aggression principle, but not 100%. What you're saying is in some cases aggression is justified. That's your right, but a term like "conservative-libertarian" would imply that you personally want to live your live according to your conservative values, but you're not going to impose them on other people through force.

  • ||

    So you actually believe in the non-aggression principle, but not 100%.

    Or I do and am aware that one person's aggression is the next person's handshake and the person after that's furtive gesture.

    Not saying that I agree that people should do anything one way or the other re:handshakes and furtive gestures, just that two rational people can see a thing and one call it a duck and the other deem it to be a ferocious attack duck.

  • Lord_at_War||

    Remind me how "voluntary" paying my property taxes is.

    The school district I live in has an estimated 22% children of illegal immigrants.

    5 people want to butt-rape me. "Democracy" means the 4 citizens can out-vote me and it's "legal", but the "law" says the 5th guy shouldn't even be here.

    Are you are saying I shouldn't complain when the 5th guy butt-rapes me just because I was unable to prevent the first 4 from doing it?

  • ||

    Citation needed.

    I just haven't heard or read anything from conservative circles or publications flat out craft it that way. Maybe some fringe elements do so but I'd like to see, say, if NRO advanced it.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Dude, seriously? NRO is a go-to example of conservatives in favor of further restricting legal immigration. Their "Against Trump" editorial faulted him for implying that legal immigration levels are fine.

  • Juice||

    I know very few conservatives opposed to immigration in general. It is illegal immigration most oppose.

    So they wouldn't have a problem with making all immigration legal?

  • ||

    When you say 'all' do you mean Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, all the Gitmo detainees, open-sympathizers to ISIS, the Russian 10 and other Russians in general, Syria, N. Korea, Saudia Arabia, China, etc.?

    I think some of these people should be allowed into the country pretty freely but 'all immigration should be/is legal' is dumb.

  • Juice||

    Ok, so it's not really the illegality that you're against, it's the immigration.

  • ||

    Ok, so it's not really the illegality that you're against, it's the immigration.

    This can't be known from what I said. I literally said 'some'. That may be just the ones demonstrated to have perpetrated a crime should be excluded it may be the innocent ones accused of a crime and deserving reparations should be allowed but you can't know and your blind zealotry prevents you from making any rational distinction or having meaningful discussion.

  • Juice||

    That may be just the ones demonstrated to have perpetrated a crime should be excluded it may be the innocent ones accused of a crime and deserving reparations should be allowed but you can't know

    If they have perpetrated a crime (with a victim) in their country of origin, wouldn't they be prosecuted there? If they are a fugitive, wouldn't they be extradited? If they commit a crime after immigrating, wouldn't they be prosecuted just like anyone else?

  • ||

    If they are a fugitive, wouldn't they be extradited?

    Wow.

  • Rat on a train||

    How dare you deny entry to foreign armies!

  • Juice||

    What's the army doing? Just standing around? Shopping? Going to football games? Or are they shooting at people?

  • ||

    Yup. No army has ever conquered and/or annexed a foreign sovereignty on a demonstration of force alone.

    You have to wait until they've killed before you can exclude them and, observing both pragmatics and the NAP, you should really wait until they've killed enough people to offset the cost of any legislation you would pass.

  • Juice||

    No army has ever conquered and/or annexed a foreign sovereignty on a demonstration of force alone.

    So the army made credible physical threats against people? Would you say that was a form of aggression?

  • ||

    So the army made credible physical threats against people? Would you say that was a form of aggression?

    No, the army itself just drives tanks or marches troops down public streets. Just like they do in their home country. It's only really aggression if the people who paved the streets somehow lay some sort of claim of ownership to them that precludes occupation by foreign nationals and their armies.

  • ace_m82||

    Yes, we like to call this "property rights". It's sort of very important to libertarianism (NAP).

  • ||

    Yes, we like to call this "property rights". It's sort of very important to libertarianism (NAP).

    So do you defend the local people of wherever's right to exclude foreign national (armies) from threatening their private property and/or occupying their public property/collective commons or not? The army was just peacefully driving their tanks like they do in the homeland. When does it become cultural oppression and/or regional aggression?

    The problem isn't that it isn't very important to libertarianism. The problem is that it isn't very important to non-libertarians.

  • ace_m82||

    So do you defend the local people...

    The property owner, not the "local people". If it's communally owned, well, that's called "the tragedy of the commons" and should be expected.

    When does it become cultural oppression

    Frankly, Scarlet, I don't give a damn. Only aggression matters, and only an individual can be aggressed against.

    The problem is that it isn't very important to non-libertarians.

    I don't care if they don't care. I care if they intend to send men-with-guns to stop me from protecting my property. That's where you've got it wrong.

  • hello.||

    The property owner, not the "local people". If it's communally owned, well, that's called "the tragedy of the commons" and should be expected.

    So, anarchy is unsustainable because the first person who doesn't subscribe to the principles of anarchy can enslave those who do. I remember when I was in 7th grade civics too.

    What a fucking embarrassment you people are.

  • Juice||

    Hey, this has been fun, but I've got to go. We'll make a full-blown libertarian out of you one day yet.

  • ||

    We'll make a full-blown libertarian out of you one day yet.

    What you lay claim to isn't practical, isn't libertarianism, or both.

  • Rat on a train||

    Just traveling when they cross the border. It isn't until they have all arrived and prepared that they launch their attack.

  • ||

    Personally I think it would be quite reasonable to stop someone from entering the country who posed a security threat due to being (say) a member of a hostile terrorist organization, or a member of the armed forces of a hostile country, or something to that effect.

    However, that consideration does not apply to the vast majority of current prospective immigrants, most of whom just want to come here to engage in peaceful economic exchange.

  • Free Society||

    Maybe Japan will have them.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Hazel: Why can't they engage in peaceful economic exchange in their homeland?

  • ||

    Why should their right to engage in exchange be limited to exchange with only people of the same nationality? Why should the right of American citizens to exchange be limits to only US citizens? It's not my obligation to explain why people of different nationalities should have the right to trade, it's your job to explain why they shouldn't.

  • ||

    Why should their right to engage in exchange be limited to exchange with only people of the same nationality? Why should the right of American citizens to exchange be limits to only US citizens? It's not my obligation to explain why people of different nationalities should have the right to trade, it's your job to explain why they shouldn't.

  • Careless||

    No one's stopping that, of course. You're just making things up for drama. They can have all the exchanges cross nationality they want

  • Headache||

    And you know who's who?

  • ace_m82||

    'all immigration should be/is legal' is dumb.

    Hi. Apparently, I'm dumb.

    Because I understand property rights. I also understand that 99% of arguments against any type of immigration is due to a misunderstanding of how property rights work.

    Respect property rights and I don't care how many people go wherever due to market supply and demand. Restrict property rights and you'll get people whining about this (immigration) due to that (government interference in any facet of life).

  • ||

    Hi. Apparently, I'm dumb.

    Adopting a definition of libertarianism that's not enshrined by The Constitution in any real way and has been null and void or impractical almost since the dawn of civilization? I know my decision, other opinions are up to you and bystanders.

    Personally, found libertopia first, get the NAP and property rights (IP? Speech?) consistently sorted out for some protracted period of time, then maybe* I'll support your open immigration policy.

    *Specifically anti-libertopian ideologies and discordant libertopian factions, among other unforeseen circumstances may conditionally void my support.

  • ace_m82||

    Adopting a definition of libertarianism that's not enshrined by The Constitution...

    I don't worship the "holy" governing document. The heck with it, it's actually quite terrible at protecting rights (defending NAP).

    Personally, found libertopia first, get the NAP and property rights (IP? Speech?) consistently sorted out for some protracted period of time, then maybe* I'll support your open immigration policy.

    It's not a policy. It's just NAP extended further (to people who don't belong to your "country"). Demanding that liberty takes hold before you'll support liberty is just as ridiculous as it sounds.

    Stop using men-with-guns and work at getting others to stop theirs. A wise man once said, "first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye". Don't be a hypocrite.

    Specifically anti-libertopian ideologies and discordant libertopian factions

    The cool thing is I don't have to care about (read: do anything about) what they believe or say, only what they do, and only if they initiate force. In this case, I only respond to what you say because you are claiming libertarianism (or something like it) and are actively calling for initiations of force.

  • hello.||

    Stop using men-with-guns and work at getting others to stop theirs.

    Teach the world to sing. Teach men not to rape. Have a Coke and smile.

    This is why the world is best run by grown ups rather than 5 year olds.

  • hello.||

    Hi. Apparently, I'm dumb.

    First step is admitting you have a problem. Good job.

    When a JDAM slams into your self-contained subsistence farm, utterly disconnected from every other individual in the world by any sort of public property, your perfect comprehension of utopian anarchist bullshit will surely save you.

    Stupid fucking piece of shit.

  • ||

    I know very few conservatives opposed to immigration in general. It is illegal immigration most oppose

    The usual motte-and-bailey strategy.

    Start talking about increasing H1-B visas and we'll see how much they like legal immigration.

  • hello.||

    Not having a problem with 1.1 million new immigrants a year doesn't obligate anyone to an expansionist position.

  • ||

    H1-B visa are a whopping 60,000 a year. BFD. But they don't even want to increase that to 80,000.

  • Liberty =>|<= Equality||

    That's not motte and bailey. In motte and bailey, both positions are claimed but only the weaker one is defended. Conservatives don't even claim to be against immigration per se.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    The size of government temporarily increased because, as citizens, the new immigrants were immediately eligible for government transfers. But even this measure eventually improved after the immigrants were economically integrated.

    So given a constant influx of immigrants, does this indicate a constant, steady increase in the size of government? In order for the gains to be temporary, wouldn't immigration need to stop, or at least really slow, at some point?

  • Shahid||

    I'm not sure how you can do this analysis with a straight face while ignoring the 1000 and 600 pound gorillas of California and New York. California, especially, with it's radical 20-year change in political shift from a precarious balance between western conservatives and progressives to a socialist utopia/hellhole.

    There are good reasons to question whether the example of Israel cuts in the way characterized by the author and his study too. Legal immigrants to Israel generally come from places, including Russia, where they faced significant political and economic oppression. Thus, they had plenty of reason to be opposed to the regimen imposed in such places. I'm not sure how you ignore that in the analysis.

    Immigration may be a good on balance, but demonstrating it good in a particular instance requires more than showing that it worked in a different place with different immigrants and different politics.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Perhaps these immigrants haven't reached the critical mass necessary to erode freedom.

    Can we ask the EU?

  • Shahid||

    Or California.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    We found that rather than decreasing economic freedom, there was a statistically significant positive correlation between more immigration and more economic freedom.

    Given this information, doesn't it behoove us all to become immigrants? How long can we be considered immigrants before we must move on with our economic power to be immigrants somewhere else?

  • buybuydandavis||

    Correlation, causation.

    When people immigrate, their politics and culture immigrate with them.

    Actual Facts on Hispanics it the US, immigrants and otherwise:

    PEW Research on Hispanic Americans

    http://www.pewresearch.org/fac.....democrats/
    Hispanics Lean Democratic over 3 to 1

    http://www.pewhispanic.org/201.....-religion/
    Hispanics Want Bigger Government Providing More Services over 3 to 1

  • Hank Phillips||

    In defense of my peeps, "we" are told how to vote by Il Papa di Roma, and "our" candidates selected by America's Central Idiolatry Agency. All of Latin America believes Mussolini moved Italy out of the 12th Century and seek to emulate that success with similar dictatorial regimes. Also, everyone under 50 possessed of powers of locomotion has fled Italy. Median age there is nearly 50, and median age in Mexico is 28 and fleeing papal fascism in desperation!

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Headline: More Immigration Does Not Mean Less Economic Freedom
    Conservatives who claim that immigrants import anti-liberty attitudes are wrong.

    We found that rather than decreasing economic freedom, there was a statistically significant positive correlation between more immigration and more economic freedom
    Another thing that was done by Benjamin is mix economic freedom and Liberty arguments without supporting them.

    His article goes on to reference scholarly papers showing a net benefit from immigration for economic freedom and then states that also means immigration also increase Liberty.

    Anti-Liberty immigrants are not suddenly going to shed these Nanny-State loving ideals because they are in America. They might but Benjamin's "evidence" does not explore that.

    In the end, America has been becoming a bigger Nanny-State for years and that is impacting my and every other Americans economic freedom.

    So, to say there is a net benefits to economic freedom is just BS.

  • Ron||

    Israel is a poor example since you had repressed Jews moving to a free Jewish state making a state with like minded peoples. but start bringing in people with multiple mind sets from vary differing countries who refuse to be a part of the existing culture and you no longer have a cohesive society with similar goals.

  • colorblindkid||

    I'm also pretty sure that if Jews become the minority in Israel, the country will descend into theocratic despotism like the rest of the region, all social progress will be eliminated, and Jews will be kicked out and/or massacred.

  • Hank Phillips||

    That would be a safe bet. There has been a massive exodus of Jews from Vichy France lately, and for good reason.

  • Tom Bombadil||

    " by examining a limited form of open borders in Israel. Israel restricts the immigration of non-Jews, but the "Law of Return" allows all Jews to emigrate to Israel regardless of their country of origin and gives them instant full citizenship, with the right to vote, upon arrival."

    This seems a good example of the opposite of what the author is claiming.

    It would be like the USA offering unrestricted immigration of Puritans and restrictions on all others, and then claiming that these "open border" policies have not had any negative impact.

  • Tom Bombadil||

    Obviously I was composing this while Ron was posting... I am not a plagiarist.

  • Ron||

    didn't think you were plagiarizing . that said similar points of view expressed differently are often helpful in disscusions

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    The United States, once considered a bastion of economic freedom, ranks 16th for a second consecutive year with a score of 7.75. Due to a weakening rule of law, increasing regulation, and the ramifications of wars on terrorism and drugs, the United States has seen its economic freedom score plummet in recent years, compared to 2000 when it ranked second globally.

    https://www.cato.org/economic-freedom-world

    Has the size of the US gov't decreased or increased over the last 50 years? What about the size of the welfare state? Positive correlation my ass.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I found that the federal government employees had stayed steady for decades at about 2M. We now have 3.7M contractors and about 2.1M federal employees.

    In 1983, the federal budget was 1.52T. In 2016, it was 3.54 trillion.

  • damikesc||

    We found that rather than decreasing economic freedom, there was a statistically significant positive correlation between more immigration and more economic freedom.

    Why, yes, New Hampshire wasn't changed for the worse by idiots from MA coming in there. Ditto CO with CA emigrants.

    They go elsewhere, support the same idiotic policies, and wonder why things turn to shit.

    "Must be bad luck"

    When the Soviet Union reduced its emigration restrictions and subsequently collapsed, migrants flowed en masse into Israel. The new Russian immigrants, who had a 70-year history of living under socialism with a lack of economic and political freedom, amounted to 20 percent of Israel's population by the end of the 1990s.

    Yet the result was a dramatic increase in Israel's economic freedom.

    Israel required the immigrants to have similar cultural views. Why do you think they aren't doing a right of return to "Palestinians"?

    BECAUSE IT WOULD END THEIR COUNTRY.

  • damikesc||

    I don't care about the cultures people bring with them and do believe people assimilate in America better than anywhere else in the world

    Not for years. In the Western world, it's now important to some idiots that all of these disparate groups remain disparate. The goal of assimilation has been for decades now. It's a huge problem, mind you.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Since Nixon, Reagan and Bushies did their impression of Herbert Hoover, These States have been assimilated by the only other opposition there was after America's youth were framed and imprisoned: ideological rats swimming over from the floundering hulk of the communist empire. Since conservatives, like Soviets, worship altruism and the initiation of force, it's hardly surprising that the wedding is resulting in National Socialism--basically an Econazi takeover like when East Germany engulfed and politically absorbed West Germany.

  • Careless||

    Is this some sort of bizarre bot?

  • damikesc||

    I have suspicions he is. I was beyond amazed he referenced the 30's again.

  • hello.||

    No, just a mentally deranged compulsive lying psychopath.

  • BYODB||

    The theory of the American melting pot has been pretty thoroughly debunked for years now, but last I checked they're still teaching this non-sense utopianism in public school which could explain the author believing that it somehow still holds water as an argument.

    Nope, sorry, people of various cultures tend to self segregate themselves within enclaves in the United States. There is probably a drift over generations but it really depends on how disparate the cultures are in how long it could take. A family from, say, the Western world won't take as long to integrate as an Islamic family from Syria as just a single example. That doesn't mean this will hold true for all individuals or families but as a general guideline it's about as accurate as we're going to get.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Of course the melting pot thing has been debunked because the pot they were talking about was a Constitutional democratic republic based on freedom, small government, self-reliance, personal responsibility, Liberty, freedom of of speech, etc.

    The pot is now a Nanny-State with soft police-state tendencies that wants to fill itself up to overflow while the mixer has been over printing fiat currency for decades.

  • DRM||

    People who had suffered under a Communist dictatorship that also visibly ran their home country into the ground, upon reaching a new land, did not try to make their new homeland's government resemble the regime they blamed for their suffering? In either Florida or Israel? Wow! That's an astonishing surprise!

    And obviously completely analogous to taking people from a country where the masses blame the rich and the United States for stealing their wealth, moving them to the US, and expecting them to support economic freedom as the key to prosperity!

    How about you guys re-run that by-state study, this time paying attention to the nationality of the migrants, and figure out the correlation of Mexican/Central American immigration to US states with economic freedom. Because, you know, that's the population the "immigration debate" is actually about, not Russian Jews.

  • Spinach Chin||

    "Half of all British Muslims think homosexuality should be illegal, poll finds"

    www.theguardian.com/uk-news/20.....sharia-law

  • Juice||

  • Spinach Chin||

    Sure, sure. Because if there's one thing we can definitely say, it's that being against gay marriage also means you want to make homosexuality illegal.

  • Juice||

    Just pointing out that Muslims in America seem to be different than those in the UK, at least when it comes to the way they answer polls about homosexuality. If 42% think gay marriage is ok, then it's hard to think that a majority believe that homosexuality should be illegal.

  • Spinach Chin||

    I would love to see some polls that shed light on that, but there aren't any, so far as I can tell.

    I think the problem with Islam is unique, as compared to other religions. And I say that as someone who knows and interacts with many Muslims (I live in Dearborn). Most absolutely love America. In many ways, they're more patriotic and freedom-loving than most white people I know. Most consider themselves American first, and Lebanese/Palestinian/Iraqi etc second. It's a side of American Muslims you don't really see adressed by most conservative media.

    However.... there's a pervasive "dark side" that stubbornly permeates. The Muslim women that I know, while westernized and liberated, still show a deference to their husbands that's relatively extreme by Western standards. Young boys act and play just as their white counterparts, yet I often have heard stories from their parents of ultra-conservative influences on them, i.e. "You don't have to listen to your teacher. She's a woman". I shit you not.

    While I haven't seen instances of child marriage, it's extremely common (maybe even the norm), for older Muslim men (mid 40s and older), to take wives that are in their early twenties. These younger women generally marry out of obligation, not love.

    Western culture has been an obvious positive influence on American Muslims, but to assume that there are no issues to be concerned about would be a mistake, I think.

  • hello.||

    Or it could be that Pew is a rank partisan polling group that works backwards from a preferred narrative and then sets about getting data to create it. When one poll is substantially different from all others conducted in every country across the globe regarding the opinions of Muslims, maybe it's the one poll that's the outlier and not all the others.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Sounds good. How many of Reason staff are lining up to sponsor, support and host Mohammedan berserkers currently detained by the Department of Holy Sanctuary? They also need clerical help filling out Credible Fear forms and Petitions for Asylum and Withholding of Removal, not to mention donations for legal fees and document and affidavit translations. What? You didn't realize that by "immigrant" God's Own Prohibitionists mean non-Aryan, non-English-Only, non-Christian and non-Republican?

  • BYODB||

    Are...are you Agile Cyborg? Or maybe you just both have the same brain disorder...?

  • EirkKengaard||

    Nothing has done more to diminish the quality of life for the US middle class through higher housing (land) costs, competition for jobs, low wages, greater poverty, mortgage fraud, medicare fraud, crime, disease, cost of public schools, cost of college, depletion of resources, burden on the taxpayer and overall congestion than the INCREASE of and change in the nature (more poor, more criminals, e pluribus multum) of the POPULATION since 1965, driven almost entirely by entry of migrants and their descendants (immigrants, h1b visa holders, visa overstays, refugees, etc)

    Because we are overpopulated, millions of young people graduating this year will never be able to buy a home in the town where they were born. What sort of person wishes for that?

    The high price of housing is a major factor in poorer quality of life for the middle class and the poor. Population density is the main driver of the price of land, and thus the price of housing. High immigration is the main driver of population density.
    See, for example, Immigration and the revival of American Cities by Jacob L. Vigdor for the Americas Society/Council of the Americas and the Partnership for a New American Economy, in which he claims that more than 40 million immigrants currently in the united states have increased housing prices nationwide by $3.7 trillion. Or, get the population and housing price data for 1900 to 2010 from the Bureau of the Census and do your own analysis.

  • Juice||

    Because we are overpopulated

    I guess you don't have any children?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    People who have zero kids are not increasing the population of the Earth.
    People who have just enough kids to replace themselves after they die are temporarily increasing the population.
    People who have more kids than to replace themselves are increasing the population of the Earth.

  • ace_m82||

    Because we are overpopulated...

    Malthus? Is that you? How are you still alive? Was it cryo-freezing?

    Hate to tell you, but you were wrong. Very wrong.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Over-population is relative, but for the USA, I agree that we are at a good population or a bit over-populated.

    I personally go by traffic. Most metro areas in the USA are bumper-to-bumper traffic during morning and afternoon commutes.

    I don't even go shopping on weekends anymore because there are so many people doing the same activities. I refuse to travel during the summer and during peak holiday seasons because public areas are too crowded to enjoy and to travel easily.

    I find the motives for artificially increasing the US population disturbing. Curb US immigration to less than 50k per year and let America have 20 years of having babies and normal mortality to see where we are.

  • BYODB||

    Are you insane? For a landmass the size of the United States we are so behind population-wise that it's almost laughable. We span an entire continent and yet we only have around 325 million citizens.

    Compare to places like India or China, and tell me who is 'over-populated'.

    India Sq. Miles = 1.27 million
    India Population = 1.31 billion

    U.S. Sq. Miles = 3.8 million
    U.S. Population = 323.95 million

    'Overpopulation' is a ridiculous claim that uses the same sort of idiot logic and flawed graphs that are used to 'prove' the world is going to end through CO2 emissions. Essentially they assume that population will continue going up forever at the same trajectory, which is absolute folly.

  • Rhywun||

    Most Americans don't realize how utterly empty the vast majority of the country is. Even parts of China or Europe that everyone characterizes as 'overcrowded' simply aren't when you actually visit them.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Having traveled most of the USA, you are right. There is a whole bunch of open space:
    mountains, rivers, lakes, deserts, swamps, rights of way for power lines and pipelines, farmland....

    Like most of the World, most Americans live near the oceans. Much of that land is already taken and some of it very expensive.

    I am not saying that I want to live in a mud hut. I lived in a smaller population area near a metro area with good infrastructure and one of the original 13 colonies. It has grown and more liberals are moving here to fuck this place up too.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I am not referencing CO2 emissions or how many people we can fit into the USA. China and India ARE over-populated for various reasons but I don't live there, I live in the USA.

    I am discussing over-population as it relates to standard of living for Americans. Its very subjective but over-population makes travel harder, it makes visit public places more crowded, etc.

    I think we had a discussion about this before.

    Why is 330M people in America NOT enough? When is it enough- 1B, 2B, 5 billion people?

  • Rhywun||

    over-population makes travel harder, it makes visit public places more crowded

    So move to a smaller city - there are plenty of them where those problems don't exist.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    So I have to move from my small town area that was made larger by huge influxes of immigrants from Somalia and other places outside America?

    My property taxes go up. My local taxes go up. My state taxes go up. My federal taxes go up.

    How very Libertarian of you.

  • Rhywun||

    The fuck? I didn't say you have to do anything.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Just like the government does not have to allow a bunch of immigrants in.

    But if I don't like the flood of immigrants, I am the one who needs to move?

  • Lord_at_War||

    Because I really want to live in a shit-hole like India...

  • Hank Phillips||

    After decades outside These States, it is tempting to assume ALL political problems to the south are directly exported by the worst elements of US government. Then again, looking at the historical record back before McKinley was shot, there does not seem to have ever been a time when Latin America was not a deathpool of smug, ignorant superstition, illiterate thievery and gratuitous political violence and corruption such as to make even the Confederacy seem an acropolis of civilization by comparison. But that is no excuse for striving to make things worse by obstinate meddling.

  • GILMORE™||

    i think the important thing here is to

    1 - pretend that "immigrants" are monolithic

    ...and that there are no qualitative or behavioral differences between either legal/illegal immigrants, or current-generation vs. previous generations, or the underlying reasons for those immigrant migration waves. etc. (e.g. seeking economic opportunity vs. flight from failing states)

    2 - always deal with aggregate topline-data so that you can make sweeping generalizations

    3 - pretend that US immigration-issues are comparable/identical to those of other nations,

    (despite the fact that when talking about the US we're mainly talking about the 'most developed nation on earth' importing lots of people from 'the most violent and persistently corrupt' places on earth)

    4 - Insinuate anyone who comes to different conclusions is racist

    ... i'm sure i'm missing some things. Where's Shikha? she wrote the checklist.

    An obvious objection to this study is that Israel is a special case

    nothing that some extra-hard handwaving can't deal with.

  • ||

    Mexico is not nearly as bad as you think it is, in terms of violence and political corruption.
    Central America is somewhat worse, but still not really comparable to sub-saharan Africa or (say) Egypt.

  • Careless||

    The Americas have the highest murder rate of any continent in the world, even with the US dragging down the rate significantly.

    If you ignore 8 tiny islands with under 100k people, Mexico has the 15th highest murder rate in the world. Only 3 countries above it are not from Central or South America or the Caribbean.

    In terms of corruption, it's not quite that bad relative to the world as a whole, but still very bad compared with the US.

  • ||

    Street violence vs. state violence.
    Where are you more likely to get killed in a war?

  • Careless||

    Uh, I'm not worried that if we allow a few thousand Sudanese in the country they'll build tanks and artillery and start shooting Americans with them. I am worried about the kind of street crime immigrants and their children actually engage in

  • Careless||

    IOW, the war is out there. It does not affect us if we let them immigrate here.

    their personal tendencies to violence, OTOH, become our problem

  • ||

    Street violence vs. state violence.
    Where are you more likely to get killed in a war?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Yes.

  • GILMORE™||

    Hazel
    Maybe you should read the link i posted instead of responding to things i never said

  • OldMexican Blankety Blank||

    Re: Gilmore,

    pretend that "immigrants" are monolithic


    There's no such pretension. The argument is that it is not true that immigrants pose a threat to economic freedom. People who think they do, tend to see immigrants as monolithic themselves.

    and that there are no qualitative or behavioral differences between either legal/illegal immigrants


    This is ridiculous. You're assuming that there are qualitative or behavioral differences between "Illegal" immigrants and "legal"immigrants only because you apply a clumsy rationalization, i.e. someone who comes here without papers does it for nefarious reasons (otherwise they would not be "ILLEGULS:, correct?) regardless of the economic incentives to migrate. There's no difference between a person who migrates to the US without papers and a person who gets compensated "under the table" for work provided, as in both instances, the two individuals are merely reacting to artificial barriers to entry. And just like there's no fundamental difference between a person who is paid through payroll and one who is paid in cash, there's no fundamental difference between a person who migrates legally and one who does without the State's permission. The ONLY difference between them is how much exposure they allow to the eyes of the Leviathan.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Is there a reason you removed the majority of the sentence you quoted? Does it impact the narrative slightly? "There's no difference between a guest worker and a voter, er, wait."

  • OldMexican Blankety Blank||

    Re: NotAnotherSkippy,

    Is there a reason you removed the majority of the sentence you quoted?


    Yes, there's a reason. How about that?

    I am responding to the quote as GILMORE wrote it. I don't have space available to place the complete quote, but it is there, and it is a clear attempt at misrepresenting the argument from professor Powell.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Actually you removed the majority of the meat from the quote:

    ..and that there are no qualitative or behavioral differences between either legal/illegal immigrants, or current-generation vs. previous generations, or the underlying reasons for those immigrant migration waves. etc. (e.g. seeking economic opportunity vs. flight from failing states)

    So it did hurt the narrative. Good we got that cleared up

  • OldMexican Blankety Blank||

    Re: NotAnotherSkippy,

    So it did hurt the narrative


    If you want to believe that, be my guest. To the point, GILMORE is seriously confusing the argument. Powell is not treating immigration as a "monolithic block", but rather he's merely not taking into account political affiliations or cultural differences since these have no bearing on the economics of immigration per sé. Treating these items as irrelevant is not the same and cannot be construed as thinking that immigrants are a "monolithic block". G should know better than that.

  • Careless||

    People who think they do, tend to see immigrants as monolithic themselves.

    Oh, so you're saying they're not at all racist because they'd think the same things about English immigrants? Or do you no actually believe what you're writing?

  • GILMORE™||

    OM =


    "There's no such pretension""

    Its inherent in dealing with all immigrants (illegal, illegal, H1B, non-skilled, etc) as one category.

    Not to mention attempting to compare US immigrants to @(*#(@ Israeli ones.

    . The argument is that it is not true that immigrants pose a threat to economic freedom.

    Who ever proposed that it was true for "all"? its responding to a proposition i don't think has any particular currency.

    People who think they do

    Name them, if they're not made of straw.

    there's no fundamental difference between a person who migrates legally and one who does without the State's permission.

    Legal vs. Illegal

    I'm not assuming anything. You're asserting things that have no evidence.

  • GILMORE™||

    Out of curiosity = do you think there are any fundamental differences between "Refugees" and "Immigrants"?

    because i think a very large share of what we call "immigrants" in the current debate are actually just refugees given the wrong name.

    this guy expands on that point a bit

  • Shahid||

    Indeed. I'm generally pro-immigration, and an immigrant myself. However, I don't know how anyone can look at the example of political changes in Califronia in the last several decades and still argue that all positives off immigration, anywho and anywhere, can be conflated and negatives generally hand-waved away. That would seem more the stuff of demagoguery than reason.

    (That and the decimation of low-skilled work for our less-credentialed citizens would seem to have a lot to do with a combination of rising minimum wage which kills entry-level jobs and illegal immigrants who will do more for less. This externality may not be one big-L Libertarians like to deal with, but It doesn't seem especially honest to ignore it.)

  • OldMexican Blankety Blank||

    Re: Shahid,

    However, I don't know how anyone can look at the example of political changes in [California] in the last several decades and still argue that all positives [of] immigration[.]


    What politicians do has NO bearing on the economic benefits of immigration. Immigration is the manifestation of people's free will. Besides, arguing that immigrants pose a threat because of their political allegiance would suggest that having children per se poses a threat to liberty because of our children's future political allegiances. You cannot argue one and then conveniently ignore the implications.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    The welfare state is the manifestation of ppls free will too. Denying that in the aggregate immigrants vote for a larger welfare state seems to be the biggest ignored implication. Citizens' rights are passed on to their children. By definition foreigners are not citizens, so the comparison is facile.

  • OldMexican Blankety Blank||

    Re: NotAnotherSkippy,

    The welfare state is the manifestation of ppls free will too.


    Liar.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Well that was convincing. Are you saying the the populace didn't elect FDR and LBJ? Man, this narrative is getting hard, isn't it?

  • OldMexican Blankety Blank||

    Re: NotAnotherSkippy,

    They voted for FDR after he presented himself as a small government Democrat, then after the political apparatus greased the gears a bit. And LBJ got the job because someone assassinated his predecessor.

    None of that makes the point that the welfare state is the manifestation of people's free will. Revealed preferences - i.e. the Market - is. And no, the Welfare state is not the result of market forces.

  • hello.||

    Elections ARE the political market you fucking retard.

    Jesus Christ, go pick me a fucking apple.

  • Careless||

    Skippy, he literally has no idea what he's arguing about when he's making these posts because he's forgotten what the thread is about.

  • Careless||

    What politicians do has NO bearing on the economic benefits of immigration.

    You literally forgot what article you were posting on, didn't you. I'll refresh your memory: it's an article about "the impact that immigrants have on native culture and institutions."

    IOW, culture and law, as passed by politicians.

  • OldMexican Blankety Blank||

    Again, you really live up to your nickname, Careless.

  • hello.||

    And you really live up to your nickname - low IQ stupid Mexican.

  • Careless||

    To recap you've exhibited paranoid delusions, an incredibly short memory span, flagrant stupidity, a failure of basic reading comprehension, and a tendency to use completely incoherent non sequiturs over a course of I think 7 consecutive posts.

  • Careless||

    (note that these things were all exhibited in separate posts)

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I can only say that I am thankful there are immigrants, like yourself, who see both sides of this issue and want to be good Liberty-minded Americans.

    Honestly, if America had more people like you, we probably would not be having the discussion of limiting immigrants.

    I would never expect that some other country would have to take me in if I wanted to leave the USA. I have traveled enough to know that we still have a chance to fix our problems here before its too late.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    We're told that the problem of the welfare state is distinct from immigration so there's no reason to wait for reform of the latter before the former. Yet instead of changing the tax code and contract law we had to go with the "pragmatic" solution of expanding the welfare state for gay marriage because the former was just too hard. Huh.

  • John's broseph||

    Why don't you just look at who immigrants and their children and eventual grandchildren vote for? We continue to allow uneducated immigrants to come into our country, typically because they are a family member of another immigrant. So the poor immigrant chain can continue out indefinitely

    These immigrants, and their typically poor children and grandchildren tend to vote for policies that increase the size and scope of government.

    One of the aspects of libertarianism that is confounding is being so wedded to all principals that you are required to ignore the effects of supporting one principal, to the detrimental of many of your other principals.

    Unless of course you are advocating for the abolition of democracy, in which case it would not matter what the voting tendencies​ of your new neighbors are.

    Let's say the libertarian island in the middle of the ocean is wildly successful. Due to the lack of government interference people on this island are able to achieve the best outcomes for themselves. Now let's say you were on this island. Would you support immigration from Indonesia knowing that the poor coming to your island will want to vote themselves largess from your prosperous island?

    Once you have declared immigration on this island to be good you will have two options. Either accept having less freedom or abolish democracy. Of course I don't know how you will find a dictator who's only desire is to leave you alone. But we can cross that bridge when we get there

  • OldMexican Blankety Blank||

    Re: John's broseph,

    Why don't you just look at who immigrants and their children and eventual grandchildren vote for?


    At what number of generations would you stop caring, John b?

  • John's broseph||

    Why would I stop caring? If in fact after 10 generations they are still voting for larger government then immigration was a bigger failure than even I imagined it to be.

  • OldMexican Blankety Blank||

    Re: John broseph,

    I am going to assume that you did not understand the question, because I don't want to think you're that obtuse, so let me rephrase it:

    At which generation would you be comfortable with the political decisions of the descendants of immigrants? You seem to be equally preoccupied with the first generation as well as the third generation, so at which generation would you say you're not going to lose sleep?

  • Careless||

    he clearly understood it and answered you plainly. There's no point where you should stop caring if they're making bad decisions if you care about the future of your country.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    He is saying that immigrants who would be voting themselves welfare are hurting the very thing that made the desired Libertarian island great.

    The generation that stopped voting for welfare would signal an assimilation in that regard.

    Limiting immigration does not equal not caring about people.

  • OldMexican Blankety Blank||

    Re: loveconstitutuon1789,

    First of all, he responded in an off-hand way that even at the 10th generation he would still worry, in which case the argument stops being one about voting and turns into a clear anti-immigrant stance, because aren't third- to 10th-generation descendants, Americans by now?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Its not an off-handed way.

    He stated that he would have been seen how big of a failure immigration policy was if after 10 generations those immigrant families are still voting for larger government.

    People are Americans as soon as they are born here or naturalized. That still would not preclude discussing immigrant "x" as starting a family line in America that still votes for larger government. Larger government being a problem, of course.

  • John's broseph||

    I would be comfortable with their political decisions when I agreed with them. I don't know what your trying to ask me.

  • OldMexican Blankety Blank||

    Re: John's broseph,

    I would be comfortable with their political decisions when I agreed with them.


    Oh, of course you would. That doesn't mean immigrants have that big of a bearing in the politics of the State. For instance and speaking of California, most policy in Sacramento is the result of pressures and lobby from union groups and rich liberals, not immigrants. And just because politicians wish to garner the support of immigtnts by paying lip service to immigrants' rights is not something that you can trace to immigrants' purposeful actions.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Haha. You must not live in Taxifornia. Hispanics make up a HUGE voting block.
    "According to US Census estimates, California—which became the first large majority-minority state after the 2000 Census—has a Latino plurality. Latinos account for 39% of the state's total population, while non-Hispanic whites account for 38%. Asian Americans (14%) and African Americans (6%)"
    -Public Policy Institute of California

    Add in white liberals who are racist-hate-anybody-white and you get Commiefornia politics.

  • John's broseph||

    So are you saying that poor people overall are no more likely to support expanded government spending? Because that's what this comes down to.

  • ||

    Half of the native born white people in America vote for policies that increase the size and scope of government. Most of the white people in Europe are in favor of much larger social welfare states. Hispanics are probably less socialist than your average French or Italian immigrant.

  • John's broseph||

    I don't care that they would be less socialist than a hypothetical European immigrant. What matters is they are more likely than a voting native to support larger government.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    In 2012, 126M people voted for President. In 2010 There were about 310M people in the USA. About 24% of those are under 18. About 72% of the 310M are white.
    Census

    As usual, you would need to provide citation for those numbers.

  • ||

    And half of Republican voters like their social security and medicare.
    Let's not pretend that libertarians are anywhere near a majority of white voters.

    When I see Hispanics, I see a lot of people who are willing to work hard, physically strenuous, dirty, risky jobs at long hours to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. When I see working class whites, I see a bunch of lazy whiners who want their 15 minute coffee breaks, workers comp, generous benefits, and overtime pay and who think that the government should restrict competition so they can keep it that way.

    Which group is more libertarian?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    As I said, provide a citation for 50% of Republican voters. You won't so...

    I see black people work hard. I see lazy black people.
    I see brown people work hard. I see lazy brown people.
    I see asian people work hard. I rarely see lazy asian people.
    I see white people work hard. I see lazy white people.

    You left out that hispanic workers might do all those things and also vote Democrat to get a fat social security check for a family member and want their 15 min break to have another baby.

    Point is that some people made this country better and want that to continue and other people that don't. Its not that hard to find examples of those two types of people. Outside of the USA, the fundamentals of freedom and constitutional rights are not widely accepted. What makes America great are those fundamental and not everyone coming into the US fight to keep those fundamentals alive.

  • ||

    It's not hard to figure out that most Republicans support social security. Even Donald Trump think's it's untouchable.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    One reason it's difficult to measure is because obviously, you can't treat "immigrants" as a singular bloc. Also, the countries they come from can have complex relationships with their people.

    For instance, a country might have a strong, even totalitarian government, but there might not be much OF that government. Ie, you're free to start a business without being pelted with regulations about your bathrooms, your food handling process, safety, lighting, cash-handling, workplace safety, Equal Opportunity regs, sex discrimination, wetland/navigable waters rules, but the state might be highly corrupt in more blunt ways-- the local constabulary simply demanding payouts etc.

    I could see an immigrant coming to the states to escape the corruption, but be perfectly fine and even support all the aforementioned regs because 'quality of life' is now a real possibility.

  • Kivlor||

    Good job Hazel, that's a great argument for us to not allow any immigrants at all. What it isn't: a good reason to let in the brown people you take a special interest in.

  • ||

    And 90% of Americans support the social welfare state. If you're trying to prevent America from becoming less libertarian by keeping immigrants out, that horse left the ban a long, long time ago.

    Libertarian ideas are only going to become a majority view again by persuasion, including, by persuasion of immigrants. That's not going to happen if we're total hypocrites about the right to do things like live when you want to live and have a job there.

    You have a poor view of libertarianism if you think we're not capable of persuading people from other culture of our views. Or are you only of those people who think that only white people are intellectually capable of being libertarians?

  • BWM||

    "You have a poor view of libertarianism if you think we're not capable of persuading people from other culture of our views. Or are you only of those people who think that only white people are intellectually capable of being libertarians?"

    What kind of racist are you to conflate skin color and culture like that? No, we don't care what your color is, but if you are born and raised to MUCH more socialism than we have, and raise your kids almost entirely ON welfare, who them have kids at 16 and live their whole lives on welfare, and they think cradle-to-grave state baby-sitting is simply the best way to go, they will be far harder to persuade than Americans and those from other countries where there is still a culture of self-sufficiency and freedom and some opposition to unlimited government.

  • buybuydandavis||

    If those are the facts, I don't need an ocean of French or Italians coming here either. I don't need an ocean of *anyone* coming here.

    Libertarians of all people should realize that a commitment to Liberty is the exception, not the rule in the US, and it's even more exceptional anywhere else!

    Any immigration makes us *less* Libertarian, with some immigrants making that less come faster than others.

    Limited immigration, spread among disparate nations, and spread among our population, maybe that can be assimilated without much loss of freedom. But it's just delusional to think that tens of millions of less libertarian immigrants will make the US anything but less libertarian.

    When people immigrate, their politics immigrates with them.

  • Steve-O||

    100% spot on, broseph. Get away from abstractions about liberty of movement and ask yourself why Dems and Repubs are on opposite sides of this issue. More immigrants equal more Democrat voters. Period.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I look for motives most of the time with these hot-button issues.

    -Democrats and most Republicans are fine with spending the USA into oblivion because it benefits both.
    -Some Republicans are pro-religious agendas because some of their base is, so it benefits Republicans. Democrats are against these issues because it does not benefit them.
    -Democrats are pro-illegal immigration, open borders and increased immigration because it benefits them. There are Republicans against this issue because it does not benefit them.

  • ||

    So I guess black people shouldn't have been allowed to vote. All it did was create more Democratic voters.

  • hello.||

    Most blacks voted Republican for the first half century after the Civil War and all of the first black politicians elected to office were elected as Republicans. LBJ "I'll have those niggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years" was the tipping point in flipping that. But what's a little history when you want to fuck your Mexican gardener.

  • Careless||

    Er, blacks were voting 70% for Democrats from 1932 on. Way before LBJ

  • Steve-O||

    I am against preventing American Citizens from voting once they're here, even for anti-liberty causes and candidates. But I am also against importing anti-liberty immigrants in the first place. Unlike you (apparently), I think that slavery and the slave trade were bad ideas.

  • Robert||

    If you really did have a libertarian island, why would they not have abolished democracy? They'd be fools to endanger their liberty institutionally.

  • Robert||

    Think about it: "We've got things just the way we want them. Now let's have a legal way to change them!"

  • John's broseph||

    Because overall democracy is probably the best system to ensure maximum freedom. Nobody is going to give up their power to decide how government operates, including the libertarians who create this island.

  • damikesc||

    I seem to remember Afghanistan not being an unfortunate shithole before a lot of "freedom fighters" were imported. Sure, the Soviets were there and were unlikely to be better --- but immigration worked out poorly there.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    To be sure, these new studies are preliminary and don't decisively settle the issue.

    It's difficult to know for sure how someone running away from one place might inadvertently turn the new place into the old place. I'm not sure why we have to look at immigrants of the foreign type to see the possible effects of demographic change on the electorate and subsequently the laws passed. Why, we can look at "immigrants" from one state to the other:

    Colorado's politics have become positively Californian lately. There are new restrictions on guns. Pot is legal. The legislative agenda featured an expansion of alternative-energy use requirements for rural consumers. Gay couples can now enter into civil unions.

    There's a reason for all this.

    Lots of Californians have moved to Denver and its environs, bringing a progressive strain of politics with them and angering more conservative parts of the state — so much so that 10 northeastern counties are planning symbolic but serious votes on secession this fall.

    Here is an argument, on NPR no less, that essentially makes the argument that immigrants from California make states more like California.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Great reference!

    The left really hates using its propaganda against it.

    The left knows that its a war of demographics and they admit such in that NPR article. Yet, if you speak against allowing this war of demographics, you are a racist.

  • Careless||

    Colorado has also had a rapid growth in its Hispanic population, although I'm unsure of how heavily immigrant they are.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Here is an argument, on NPR no less, that essentially makes the argument that immigrants from California make states more like California.

    Duh. When people immigrate, their politics immigrates with them.

  • Kivlor||

    More Immigration Does Not Mean Less Economic Freedom

    Hahahahahahaha.... [deep breath] Hahahahahahaha!

    Conservatives who claim that immigrants import anti-liberty attitudes are wrong.

    Hahahahaha....

    You can tell Reason is terrified they're about to lose their sacred cow: brown people from shit-hole countries who hate liberty. Because the only way we can be free is if we open our doors to every beggar in the world. Ignore what they've done up till now. Ignore what the voting patterns are among the groups here already... The magic air of America is too free for tyrants and their supporters to breath and remain such...

  • buybuydandavis||

    The magic is in the dirt.

  • Marshal||

    there was a statistically significant positive correlation between more immigration and more economic freedom.

    So you identified only a correlation but claimed to have reached a conclusion.

    Way to go guys.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Its how the left does science now.

    Correlation = Causation in leftyland.

  • zombietimeshare||

    I have no problem with immigration. I do have a problem with massive, uncontrolled, illegal migration—which is what the left is trying to defend by conflating the two terms.

  • BWM||

    Frankly, the "illegal" part is irrelevant; if the left managed to make all immigration legal, and we had massive, uncontrolled influxes from Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, we'd have all the same problems. As always, making something legal does not make it functional, or moral, or logical, no matter how people seem to think so.

  • dc9loser||

    More Immigration Does Not Mean Less Economic Freedom? Actually it does. The immigrants will vote for more government, the displaced workers will collect government benefits, and the resulting decrease in wages (increase in labor supply always drives wages lower, duh econ 101) will drive millions to vote for the next Bernie.

  • ranrod||

    immigrants or ILLEGAL ALIENS


    OPEN borders Reason . com

  • ranrod||

    Illegal alien numbers - Youve been lied to for decades!

    Fox News and other sources repeat the same old media/politicial lie of only 11-12 illegal aliens in the USA!!

    Whenever these politicians and the media regurgitate these lies you will know them for their cover up!!

    Univision boasted 50 million
    Retired INS M. Cutler writes of 40-50 million would receive amnesty if ever it is granted...
    Debbie Schlussel writes of 40 million..
    CAPS Study 2007 reports of up to 38 million..

  • BunkerBill||

    One word, California. Anyone who thinks that open borders will not drive politics to the left, take a look at California. California was once a Republican Bastion. Southern California especially was renowned for it's conservative politics.
    Immigration has driven California far to the left. Demographics count despite what lies the Open Borders "Libertarians" want to tell you.

  • JeremyR||

    Isn't Israel the best example of how being choosy helps? Is there a single demographic that has provided more to the world in terms of science or arts than Jews?

    OTOH, unlimited immigration of Latin Americans would end up turning the US into another Mexico (best case scenario) or Venezuela

  • Liberty =>|<= Equality||

    Exactly. I like how the author refers to it as "a limited form of open borders", i.e. not open borders at all.

  • Careless||

    Is there a single demographic that has provided more to the world in terms of science or arts than Jews?

    In gross? Sure. Per capita? Probably not.

  • Mekial||

    In large percentages, US immigrants support Democratic Party candidates. Whether these voters know they are also voting for less economic freedom or not is immaterial. Electing Democrats who support more government control is the sure way to less economic freedom.

  • Budbug||

    What part of "illegal" do you not understand? There is no justification, economic or otherwise for illegal immigration. The argument is NOT about the merits of immigration or who is immigrating; it is about respect for the law! Using straw man arguments of economics or false accusations of racism is intentionally deceptive or just plain ignorant. Into which camp do you fall?
    Rule of law is essential for social cohesion. If the law is bad, change it within the system. Flaunting the law weakens the nation.

  • vek||

    As I have become older, and I believe wiser, I have become a less strict libertarian. IMO for some issues (but not all) being a 110% all in libertarian is so contrary to obvious common sense it is kind of ridiculous. Immigration is one of them. I definitely agree we need to reform our piss poor system in the US... But a borderless world would NOT be a better world for people who presently live in first world countries. I get the freedom of movement principle, but in the real world there are too many negative repercussions in many situations.

    Of all the freedoms we might lose with tons of immigrants, economic ones might be the most safe. We have convinced much of the world to have a capitalist-ish type system, but most with socialist programs thrown on top. However if you're going to try to pretend that all or even most immigrants do not hold very un-American ideals then that's just a load of BS. Obviously SOME foreigners probably hold more prototypical American ideals than some Americans... But it's not anywhere close on average.

  • vek||

    I have a German friend who lived/worked in the states for some years. Like MOST Germans she believes in big government with shit tons of social programs. She also believes NOBODY except the police and military should have ANY type of guns. This is a common position in most of Europe. So even the European immigrants, which share more other values/beliefs with us than other areas of the world, are completely un-American and un-libertarian in their beliefs on average on a whole host of issues. If you think that only the 5% minority of Germans who believe in gun rights, freedom of speech with no limits, small government, etc are the ones moving here you're smoking crack. She came for a job. Nothing more or less. Then went back when something better presented itself back home. She married an American and could get citizenship if she chose in the future, and it terrifies me.

    Most other countries are even worse than Europeans in terms of likely views on things. If you can't acknowledge opinion polls from the Arab world being totally cool with arresting, if not killing, gays then you're ignoring reality.

    Not to mention the fact that one must realize importing a highly educated Indian immigrant is completely different from a half illiterate immigrant from somewhere else... At least the Indian won't be a drag on the economy by flooding the already flooded low-wage sector of the economy with EVEN MORE competition, pushing somebody onto a welfare role and so on.

  • vek||

    If we opened our borders completely we'd be flooded with 100 million people from everywhere within a matter of a few years. The next billion who wanted to live here would probably not bother after the first 100 million because they'd realize America was as shitty as where they live at that point. Our major cities would have massive ghettos like you see in 2nd world countries like Brazil etc. Some parts would be nice and filled with the wealthy, the rest would be massive slums on the outskirts. Is that REALLY a desirable outcome? LA with 30 million people instead of 15 million, half living at 1/10 the average income of the poor there presently? I don't think it would be desirable at all.

    HENCE we have our flawed system to limit this kind of thing. I could go on for eons with the problems. Anybody who thinks the America we aspire to be could exist with open borders is a fool, plain and simple. Until the rest of the world even gets to the slightly better than the rest idea of what freedom is that the USA has, it would NOT end well.

  • BWM||

    I don't even agree with the dichotomy of "libertarian or anti-immigration", it's nonsense. Unless one is a pure an-cap, which is a separate debate, there is no reason one cannot be in both camps; in fact, I'd say it's required. I believe in a limited government that deals with foreign threats, domestic criminals, enforcing property rights, and so on, within a limited geographical area, called a "nation" or "state" or whatever. States, by definition, require borders. If people can come and go as they please, the government is not securing against foreign threats, nor is it even adequately dealing with domestic criminals, who can walk away scot-free whenever they feel (unless the notoriously corrupt Mexican police feel like helping), and it's hardly enforcing property rights when people who own no property are here traipsing on everyone else's, and even less if we are taking people's property against their will to give it to them/spend it on them. So a minarchist who supports open-borders is basically contradicting himself; it makes as much sense as wanting jails people can leave whenever they want, or cops no one has to listen to. So don't feel like you are not being "libertarian" enough; only an-caps can claim that, and they are a whole other barrel of fish.

  • BWM||

    Okay, so let me get this straight; instead of looking at the policies of the home countries of immigrants, instead of observing who they (and their children) vote/campaign for, instead of just literally ASKING them what they views are, we are trying to torture out a pro-capitalist angle by looking only at aggregate numbers for entire countries and correlating them with immigration? This is the same Reason that, a few months ago, published a very even-handed and rational piece about the overwhelming difficulty in attempting to statistically prove the benefits, or dangers, of gun control, because of the sheer number of variables. Now we are looking at an even more enormously complex problem, full of intangibles to boot, and sure, let's just declare the anti-immigration people dead wrong. It's totally not possible that other factors drove the economic improvements DESPITE the immigrants, or that immigration was a RESULT of greater freedom, or that not all immigration is equal (even in the US, immigrants once moved here to become Americans, not come for seasonal work, or for a few years, then go home without learning 3 words of English). Also, we only really care about MASS immigration, not ALL immigration.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online