Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

Immigration Debate Could Use Some Historical Context

Maybe both sides need to take a trip to Ellis Island.

For a politician, President Trump has been unusually good at keeping promises.

He promised to cut taxes, and he did. He promised to move the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and he did. He promised to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement to get a better deal, and he did. He promised to nominate Supreme Court justices from a pre-released list, and he did.

One high-profile campaign promise that so far remains unfulfilled, though, is Trump's wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, the wall for which candidate Trump repeatedly said Mexico would pay.

Some design prototypes of the wall have been erected. In Texas and New Mexico, some sections of what had been a border fence have been replaced with a wall, or at least a taller, thicker fence. Trump has also cracked down on immigration via executive action in other ways—by attempting to end President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, by announcing steep reductions in a program that resettles refugees in America, by issuing an executive order restricting entry into the U.S. from certain countries, by dividing some families that arrive at the border, and by detaining some children.

Responsibility for the inaction on the wall stands with Congress as much as with Trump. Senators and representatives see it as one piece of a larger immigration compromise legislative package, in which border security funding is paired with some sort of path to legal status, even citizenship, for illegal immigrants already here. Congress and advocacy groups have been discussing such a deal without actually passing it for such a long time that the two senators most closely associated with the idea, John McCain and Edward Kennedy, have died.

It hasn't happened in part because the Republican Party is divided between a restrictionist faction and a wing more favorable to immigration advocates, especially employers in the technology sector. Republicans accuse Democrats of being more interested in being able to denounce the Republicans as cruelly anti-immigrant—a winning political issue, at least in some parts of the country—than in actually passing legislation to address the issue. Democrats accuse Republicans of trying to prevent the creation of millions of new likely Democratic voters.

Both sides think waiting might bring a better deal. The Republicans fantasize about getting the wall without the amnesty, and the Democrats fantasize about getting the amnesty without the wall.

Unsticking Congress on the issue depends in part on moving public opinion. There, at least, is some encouraging news for people such as myself, who support increased legal immigration. A June 2018 Gallup Poll found what Gallup called a "record high" of 75 percent of Americans who think immigration is on the whole a good thing for the country. A separate Gallup question found "a record low" share of Americans, 29 percent, who say that immigration into America should be decreased. A July 2018 Gallup Poll at the height of the family separation controversy found immigration at the top of the list of nation's most important problems. If public opinion keeps trending in that direction, you'd think Congress might eventually respond with some action.

Immigration advocates are doing what they can to speed things along. In his speech Friday on being installed as the new president of Harvard University, Lawrence Bacow noted that "over a third of the Nobel Prizes awarded to Americans in chemistry, medicine, and physics since 2000 have gone to men and women who were foreign-born," and "over 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children." Immigration, in other words, spurs both scientific progress and economic growth.

Statistics and appears to reason are fine. This is also, though, an issue that generates strong emotions. Trump realized this and tapped into it when, as a candidate, he characterized some Mexicans as rapists and criminals. At the Republican National Convention, he showcased family members of victims of immigrant crimes.

On the pro-immigration-side, the emotional charge might come from an in-person visit to Ellis Island and the National Museum of Immigration. You can read a book about immigration or watch a movie about it, but nothing quite matches riding a boat past the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor and then climbing the steps into the same sunlit, high-ceilinged great hall where 12 million people, including one of my own grandparents, were welcomed to America. A National Park Service ranger-tour guide describes it as the greatest thing our country ever did. He could be right.

Pro-Israel philanthropists have funded trips to Israel for 600,000 young participants, rigorously evaluating the outcomes based on comparisons between students who went and others who applied for the "Birthright" trips but lost the random lottery for a spot. It'd be interesting to test a similar program funding Ellis Island visits for constituents of certain members of Congress. Without something like that, the promise of immigration reform could be an un-kept one for a long time to come.

Ira Stoll is editor of FutureOfCapitalism.com and author of JFK, Conservative.

Photo Credit: Avalon/Newscom

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.

  • ||

    the Democrats fantasize about getting the amnesty without the wall

    No they don't. Their only immigration policy is to simply not vote for Trump's policy.

  • DiegoF||

    Of all the great dissents Scalia ever wrote, the greatest may be New Jersey v. New York, wherein he eviscerated the Court's ridiculous claim that Ellis Island, New York actually belonged to the so-called "Garden State." Perhaps with enough Trump judges this greatest injustice in American legal history may be remedied someday.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    The part of Ellis Island below the waterline still belongs to New Jersey, which is a comfort for guys from the shore who sleep with the fishes.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    So what you're saying is that Jersey is forcing Global Warming on the world so that they can finally claim all of Ellis Island for themselves.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    :D

  • sharmota4zeb||

    We should raise the number of immigration visas we give out and grant visas through a combination of a random lottery open to people from all nations and reciprocal immigration visa treaties.

    By the way, is the USA granting refugee status to the Jews of France yet?

    Oh, and I didn't have anything to do with the president of Interpol disappearing.

    ;)

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I'll believe you now because of your smiling face, but I'm watching you buddy.

  • Bronze Khopesh||

    I'm fine with importing as many immigrants as you want as long as I get to put them to work in my Soylent Green factories.

  • SQRLSY One||

    And after they're done in your Soylent Green factories every day for 15 hours, they need to come and polish my monocles for another 7 hours!

  • Bronze Khopesh||

    They'll be.....a little wrapped up, so they won't be able to make it over to your factory.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    It seems like immigration is a winning issue. Immigrants are popular. Perhaps, the Libertarian Party should nominate a presidential candidate in 2020 who looks like them and talks like them.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Is that the guy who got censured from the board of the Libertarian party?

  • Hank Phillips||

    Is that the guy who pushed for striking the good part out of the LP migration plank just to spite Berlin Wall Trumpistas?

  • WhatAboutBob||

    Democrats accuse Republicans of trying to prevent the creation of millions of new likely Democratic voters.

    And they do that because it's true. The Democrats lost the battle of ideas so they just import people who like big government. It happened it California and they are hoping it happens in Arizona, Texas and Florida. They don't care what they turn the country into, all the want is Democratic majorities.

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    Funny things happen on the way to the polls...

    I suspect that the heavily Catholic immigrants from south of the border would vote Republican given the chance. Bush II won 40 some percent of the Hispanic vote a few years back. Seems like if you don't call them mostly rapists or go full draconian like Romney did; they will give the Repubs a shot. I dream of the day when I get to watch the Latinos be given citizenship en mass by the Dems only to see Roe v Wade overturned. Not because I am for or against abortion, I only want to see heads explode from the unintentional consequences of the policies they so vehemently were for or against.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Did I tell you about the time I whistled back at the Hispanic construction worker?

  • vek||

    Here's the problem with that:

    They all come from countries that are to the left of the USA. In fact EVERYBODY in the world does actually.

    This is why numbers need to be slow and steady, no matter WHERE people are from. It takes time to get Americanized so to speak.

    The other big problem with Hispanics, is that all the illegal ones are from the lower classes. AKA poor. AKA they will be poorer than average Americans for at least a generation or more likely 2 plus. That's best case scenario, and looking at their educational attainment on average, I suspect it will take longer, or perhaps NEVER happen like with blacks.

    Poor people vote in their interests... AKA for gives. AKA left.

    In conclusion, they MIGHT come around some day... But not for generations, and integration will be hurt if they keep coming in by the millions, especially if they're all from the lower classes. Generations of BAD results is not advisable if it's millions and millions of people.

    Keep in mind this is from a native Californian who watched his state turn to shit because of illegal immigration, and ALSO is part Mexican on my moms side. I think I'm pretty impartial on the subject. The problem is the facts on the ground just don't support it being a great idea to allow in endless low skilled people from a dysfunctional country.

  • Homple||

    Ellis Island eh? Let's pretend it's 1889 again and here come the immigrants. The Swedes and Norwegians will work in the lumber industry until they can afford a farm in the Midwest and settle there. The Poles and Hungarians will work in the steel mills. The Slovaks and Serbs will get jobs in the iron and copper mines. The Italians will raise vegetables and open restaurants. The Germans will move to farms or build breweries. The Irish will build the railroads. Eastern European Jews will make a success of the garment district.

    Oh, and nobody gets admitted via Ellis Island without being screened for health, criminal record, and means of support. Those who fail the screening get sent back whence they came at the expense of the carrier who brought them. Nobody waded across the Atlantic.

    Sounds like a good idea to revisit.

  • bvandyke||

    ^This. Seems many forget history and think the immigrants of the past just landed and walked right in. I'm all for legal immigration, nothing wrong with it at all. Numbers can go up. Just don't like illegal immigration and don't like the idea of fully open boarders (so I guess I'm not a "complete" libertarian).

  • Paloma||

    Not everyone came in through Ellis Island. And those who came across the border pretty much did walk right in.

  • ||

    Yes some people did walk across the border but the numbers were relatively low. They received no benefits (yes illegal aliens do receive benefits), they mostly worked on the farms and they were - other than their illegal entry - much more law-abiding.

    Later during the Eisenhower administration, most of those here illegally were deported.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Point of information:

    How did we patrol the border of the Philippines circa 19010?

  • sharmota4zeb||

    *circa 1910

  • Paloma||

    Just how did they screen for criminal record back in 1889?

    There were no visas required in 1889 either.

  • Homple||

    The operators of the ships who brought the immigrants were responsible for ensuring that the immigrants had reliable documentation from their home countries or would otherwise meet qualifications. Any potential immigrants who didn't pass screening were sent back at the carriers' expense, so there was a market-oriented incentive to have things straight before embarking.

  • Paloma||

    Documentation was pretty sketchy in 1889. No driver's licenses, no fingerprints, many people couldn't even write their names. Visas didn't exist.

  • Paloma||

    Federal records of immigrants didn't exist in 1889. I suppose if you were coughing up blood or had yellow skin the doctors would turn you back. But there was no reliable way to verify anyone's identity so it was pretty much open borders even on Ellis Island.

    Anyone who immigrated before 1907 could go and swear before a judge that he was who he said he was and get naturalized.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    But there was no reliable way to verify anyone's identity so it was pretty much open borders even on Ellis Island.

    No, it wasn't. There were pretty restrictive immigration acts that ensured the vast majority of those immigrants came almost entirely from European countries.

  • ||

    They also had to have a sponsor come and pick them up and they had to have some cash ($25 first and then upped to $50). Otherwise, they were sent home.

  • Max S.||

    Actually, this is one the right track. Let anyone in who is healthy and neither a criminal or a terrorist. Make a few changes that require some political capital. 1) No welfare or unemployment for non-citizens except for disabilities caused by accident or illness after they have arrived here. 2) Make English the national language and eliminate the multiplicity of languages supported by the various governments. 3) Require that all immigrants become citizens withing seven years or return to their native country. 4) Remove the quotas so we can eliminate programs such as asylum seeking. 5) Make deportation automatic for anyone convicted of a felony. All this simplification would make the system fairer and be a win for both potential immigrants and American citizens.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Immigration Debate Could Use Some Historical Context

    I initially read this as "Hysterical Context".

  • Longtobefree||

    And you were right. Just another 'let's combine legal and illegal immigration and call it the same' babbling piece.
    Greatly expand legal immigration, shoot enemy combatants attempting to invade. Problem solved.

  • Bubba Jones||

    I don't get it. Why isn't it ok to simply kick this can down the road? I prefer status quo to the Dem solution. They prefer the status quo to the restrictionist solution.

    So, why isn't status quo a reasonable compromise? Do we not like compromises?

  • Eddy||

    Being "for immigration" is even more meaningless than most responses to poll questions, which is saying something.

    The Pres wants to enforce the statutes against illegal immigration, reduce some of the legal immigration (which is still fairly good compared to some other countries) and shift from admitting people based on their relatives to admitting them based on skills.

    How does "for immigration" take all these variables into account?

  • Eddy||

    There may be some people saying "no more immigrants," but the Pres isn't one of them. It just looks that way from the standpoint of someone who wants no regulation at all.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    shift from admitting people based on their relatives to admitting them based on skills.

    So be more like Canada?

  • Eddy||

    In that particular context and to that limited extent, perhaps.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Godless, anti-prohibitionist Canada is next in line for a Berlin Wall. The first time Canada had more immigrants from These States than emigrants was when Nixon the Quaker was carpet-bombing our boys in Vietnam. Herbert Hoover, the previous Quaker Prez, actually got Congress to do away completely with immigration. By May of 1931and began exporting population at the rate of 3551 persons per month. God's Own Prohibitionists lost the next elections, and the ones after that, and the following ones for a couple of decades, so in a way it was worth it.

  • vek||

    Yes, this is one of very few areas where Canada actually has better laws than we do! They have expanded their refugee nonsense in recent years, but to get in under normal immigration laws you basically have to be a highly educated badass... Which is why they don't have crime problems, or low income ghettos popping up in their legal immigrant communities. They've basically been taking in nothing but highly educated Asians and Europeans until the upped their refugee program recently.

    I suspect in 5-10 years if they keep letting in the refugees, Canadians will all of a sudden turn into "evil vile white supremacist racists!!!" when they don't like the fact that they have African/Arab ghettos popping up in their cities.

    The TYPE of immigrants you let in is far and way the biggest component for whether or not immigration is good or bad.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    It'd be interesting to test a similar program funding Ellis Island visits for constituents of certain members of Congress. Without something like that, the promise of immigration reform could be an un-kept one for a long time to come.

    If only America had some sort of holiday celebrating immigration. It could mark the achievement of someone who took great pains to arrive on this side of the ocean. Maybe someone who was an immigrant to a European country who helped that country become great by offering his labor to their monarchs?

  • JeremyR||

    For historical context, ask the original inhabitants of any any country that saw mass immigration.

    Like say, the American Indians?

    Or Turkey, which despite the name, is not the Turks homeland. It used to be Greek, and even that wasn't really original. As a Kurd what they think of their region being colonized by Turks and Arabs.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    So what steps would you take in order to prevent illegal immigration?

    And no, simply stating "enforce the law" is insufficient. What tools or powers should the state use in order to enforce the law?

    And can you conceive of a situation in which the costs associated with enforcing the law outweigh the benefits? If so, what would that situation look like to you?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    So what steps would you take in order to prevent illegal immigration?

    Turn your country into Venezuela.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Well that's one way to do it.

  • Hank Phillips||

    ...or These States in May, 1931. Making beer a felony and using tax collectors to kill folks to make it stick is a formula worth examining.

  • Hank Phillips||

    East Germany clearly offered the solution that appeals to Republican politicians. They called it the Antifaschistischer Schutzwall on commemorative stamps in 1986.

  • ||

    Mandatory e-verify

    Severe pennalties for hiring illegal aliens

    Eliminate birthright citizenship

    Better more efficient guest worker programs to fill jobs (mostly agriculture) that there are worker shortages. (That's why the above has to end among the magnet is creates.

    Strengthen border security. Walls were they make sense, electronic surveillance where that makes sense

    Stricter penalties for re-entry once you've been deported

    Faster processing for those who are to be deported and in most cases detention until your case is heard.

    Deportation for most who are already here. If you know you will be deported if caught there is less of a chance you will come. Concentrate on criminals but anyone and family members (if they are illegal) get deported as well. (FYI, those born here of at least one illegal alien parent are also a citizen of the parents home country. Most families don't need to be separated.

    The cost to execute this is a small fraction of what illegal immigration costs us.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Mandatory e-verify

    So, make it illegal for me to hire my neighbor's kid to mow my lawn unless I first have the government check his citizenship papers? How exactly would you enforce this?

    Severe pennalties for hiring illegal aliens

    The penalties are already severe for hiring illegal immigrants. How much more severe do you want to make them? And how many more IRS agents do you want to hire to enforce all of these new penalties?

    The cost to execute this is a small fraction of what illegal immigration costs us.

    Really? How do you know this? You have a lot of expensive ideas on your list.

    And can you ever imagine that the cost would be greater than the benefit? If that were to happen, then what?

  • vek||

    The fact is we don't need practically ANY change in laws from what we have now... We simply need to enforce current laws more stridently.

    I'm from California. You could just walk down the street, and spot illegal immigrants left and right all over the place. It's not that hard. We've simply not enforced the laws for so long we've allowed decades of illegal immigrants to accumulate. Once you pick up on enforcement, it will naturally cut down on the number coming in too.

    I bet with 5-10 years of stricter enforcement the total numbers in the country would drop by many millions, and it would probably continue to drop until it was down to something more manageable like a million or two people in the country at any given time. There's no getting rid of everybody, but there's no reason we should have more illegal immigrants than the entire population of many countries!

  • Paloma||

    Never mind the Palestinians

  • Angelique||

    This debate needs the opinion of farmers, the ones screaming about produce rotting in the fields.

    That is the elephant in the room in the inmigration debate.

  • Homple||

    Funny thing. The farmers are discovering that the relationship between supply, demand and price works in the labor as well as other markets.

    Just as we learned to grow cotton without slave labor, we can learn how to raise strawberries without importing helot labor from the Third World.

  • Angelique||

    Yeah the trick is to convince Senators and Representatives of farm states to not to listen to those screams.

    On the other hand, the problem with agricultural work is that it is seasonal. The harvest is over, and you are out of a job again. That makes it not very tempting for Americans.

  • Angelique||

    By the way, those farmers who scream about rotting crops, they tend to vote Republican.

    Fat chance of Republicans solving the problem.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    From a Washington Post article about rotting crops:

    For the past few months, our farm's 57 field workers have been scrambling to pick 4,000 tons of peaches before they're too ripe to ship across the Midwest. They've routinely put in 12-hour shifts and didn't get a single day off for seven weeks straight.

    It's harvest season, when peaches must be picked in a short window of time. But over the century our farm has been in business, this year has been especially grueling. We've been so shorthanded that we lost 40,000 pounds of peaches because we couldn't pick them fast enough. But we're fortunate by comparison: Two farmers down the road had to walk away from entire orchards because their peaches had grown too soft to harvest.

    When a farmer authoring an article about the labor shortage in a major newspaper casually mentions his workers' 84 hour workweek, because it's the industry norm, I don't think we're the crazy ones in this drama. Stop forcing workers to endure inhuman working conditions and you might find more workers.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Further down, the article estimates the cost of the labor shortage:

    One New American Economy study estimated that U.S. growers could produce an additional $3.1 billion in fresh produce per year if they had enough workers.

    That's about the cost of building a single skyscraper. How many cities don't have any skyscrapers in the works, because of land use regulations? That's an opportunity cost we rarely think about, because there are no rent seekers demanding fewer land use regulations. How many artists would be willing to live in rural areas as seasonal workers so they could pursue their art in the off season if those areas had cities near the farms?

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    How many artists would be willing to live in rural areas as seasonal workers so they could pursue their art in the off season if those areas had cities near the farms?

    Very few. I've read of a few neo-bohemians who've given up trying to find meaning in the hyper-atomized social atmosphere of modern urban America and have migrated out to the countryside to run small farms, but they're few and far between, and I wouldn't be surprised if most of those who try end up going bust or simply give up after a few years. Running a farm, even a small operation, is hard fucking work, and a lot of these people already are behind the ball on building social capital because their hyper-politicized background makes it hard to fit in with their neighbors.

    The post-WW2 industrialization and corporatization of agriculture has ensured that only farmers in truly tight-knit communities, mega-agricorps, or those getting massively subsidized water from reclamation projects can really survive.

  • Angelique||

    Well, cities now have community farms. Have you checked what is going in Detroit?

    Funny, when it is a cooperative model you do not have a worker problem. Come harvest time, since everyone shares in the result, they have a great incentive to get as much produce picked, and never mind the hours nor effort. It is THEIR produce, and they are not going to lose it.

    Maybe there should be more cooperative farms.

  • Angelique||

    By the way, seems that Communists every now and then had a better idea (the broken clock principle). The sent University student to pick the harvest. No need to import workers from other countries. And picking produce beats going into debt to pay for your studies.

    How about "We will forgive your student loans if you work the harvest during school break. And reduced or no tuition in exchange for your work". T

  • ||

    I can't speak for peaches but mechanization is growing quickly for many crops. But as long as the farmers can continue to utilize "slave" labor they will. I wonder how many of these workers were paid overtime.

    If they don't want to invest in machinery scream for better guest worker programs. They don't do that because it will cost them more money. TS.

  • vek||

    I read about a study done that compared farms in the northeast to those on the west coast and southwest.

    The farms in the northeast had mechanized at considerably faster rates, and were far more productive per man hour because... They didn't rely on cheap illegal immigrant labor.

    This would happen en masse without the illegal immigrants. We would see a revolution in technological innovation without the cheap labor. Wages for those left employed could then rise... Which is what REAL economic advancement is about.

    But even without these advances, if farm labor simply paid a reasonable wage, they would find plenty of workers. NO Americans don't want to do back breaking labor for 80 hours a week for $7 an hour under the table... Pay decent wages, and hire enough workers where they're working 40-50 hours weeks though, and I bet there would be no shortage of labor.

  • vek||

    The fundamental question on this front is this: Do we want to chase absolute lowest wages possible, at the cost of standard of living for people that live in this country. Or do we want to have a society that is affluent overall, and has marginally higher costs for some stuff. Do we want to be China, or Switzerland?

    Ultimately it's a false argument in many ways, because as long as there is massive redistribution, we're ultimately paying more for our "cheap" produce anyway, because we're subsidizing the living of all these low wage workers.

    If we really want to chase the lowest wages possible though, with ACTUAL open borders... People need to accept that that would ultimately end in shanty towns on the outskirts of every city, and a drop in wages for probably 3/4 of existing Americans.

    That's with FULL open borders. Less than that, but more low skill immigration than we have now would result in something between what we have now, and the shanty town scenario.

    I myself lean towards very little low skill immigration... Because the robots will be taking those jobs soon enough, and they'll likely be dead weight in 10-20 years anyway.

  • Angelique||

    This is the argument I make for raising the minimum wage. That it would spur technological innovation all over. Of course there are plenty of neo-Luddists among Libertarians that decry the lost jobs.

    I dunno. Our grocery store has some automatic cashiers, Which means one employee that has to service them and instruct users when they screw up. In the meantime it has added a bakery and a deli inside, And sets up a salad bar and makes ready food. All those are more skilled labor than cashiers and paid accordingly.

    Self-service stations did not become labor free. But they became small markets which have to be stocked and checked. And their bathrooms are no immaculate.

    Labor does not disappear, it becomes more skilled.

  • vek||

    I don't think we need to have a minimum wage period. But I do think if we cut back on unskilled immigration, and let wages find their own floor, we would see a rise in the "market rate" effective minimum wage.

    The fact is the market has already set the minimum wage higher than the actual federal one in almost every part of the country. I'm thinking about moving to Idaho, and as a business owner I looked at job listing on Craigslist to see what people were paying for a few different types of jobs to see what the labor market looked like.

    They have no state minimum wage, so just the federal $7.25 an hour... YET not a single job opening offered only $7.25 an hour. Why? Because the market dictates people won't work for that little. Even fast food jobs, and other minimum wage type gigs were all basically $8.50-9.00 and up. That's the market wage there already. With tighter immigration on low skilled people, it would likely push the market wage up naturally across the country as was needed for different areas based on supply of labor, cost of living, etc. The market really does work itself out.

  • Angelique||

    In any case remember, that if the wages do not cover the cost of living, then the workers end up subsidized via food stamps and Medicaid.

    And what is galling about his subsidy is that it is paid by people who might NEVER shop at that place.

    Sorry, but if you want my money to help pay your workers, you better sell me something of value for it. No matter how you slice it, if your workers need food stamps to be able to work for you, then you are a freeloader, and I have the right to defend myself, even to the point of legislating a minimum wage that you have to pay.

    Because each time someone buys something below cost,, the difference has to come up from somewhere, and if you do not know where that somewhere is, chances is that you are IT/

  • heart_of_flint||

    "if your workers need food stamps to be able to work for you ..."

    You seem to be confused about this works. Employers don't decide who is on food stamps, and any worker on food stamps would need even more assistance without that job. You should be thanking employers who hire those on welfare. Apparently no one else is offering that worker a better deal. Hiring someone doesn't make them your ward. If it did, fewer low skill workers would be able to find jobs at all.

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    Pro-Israel philanthropists have funded trips to Israel for 600,000 young participants, rigorously evaluating the outcomes based on comparisons between students who went and others who applied for the "Birthright" trips but lost the random lottery for a spot. It'd be interesting to test a similar program funding Ellis Island visits for constituents of certain members of Congress.

    It's weird how this is presented as if the goals of the two programs are similar rather than 180° opposites.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Big difference... past immigrants wanted to make America better

    Many modern immgrants want to make America socialist.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    100% socialist, since the USA has some socialist tendencies.

  • NashTiger||

    How about the historical context that we almost stopped all immigration from 1921-1965 and in that time everyone dropped their former National Identity and became Americans

  • vek||

    This is the thing open borders people refuse to talk about.

    The period of time when the nation was the most cohesive, happiest, everybody felt secure, had the lowest income inequality figures... Basically everything that people would want in a "perfect world" scenario... It all happened when we slowed down immigration, and allowed things to settle down for a few decades.

    IMO the same would happen again if we just slowed down on immigration, but didn't halt it completely. Before the huge rush of Mexican illegal immigration Mexican Americans were... Well, pretty American.

    On my moms side an ancestor of mine moved from Mexico to California in the late 1800s or thereabouts, and they ended up being as American as they come. They married with Anglos and just got lost in the mix. Gun toting, cowboy shirt wearing, loggers in the Sierra Nevada mountains! This is exactly what SHOULD happen. Mexicans in Texas were equally integrated.

    It's the large scale during a short time span that causes most of the problems. I don't get why it is so hard for some people to grasp these things... You want to be changing to immigrants to be like YOUR society, not having them reshape YOUR country.

  • vek||

    The thing about people being in favor of immigration is that the vast majority of those people ARE NOT in favor of what the full open borders people want, or even what the Dems are demanding.

    They want legal immigration, that is mostly skewed towards skilled people. If THAT is what we're talking about, I am solidly in favor of a good amount of immigration. If we're talking about letting in any random ass person, who is half illiterate in their native tongue (let alone OURS), that doesn't speak English, and is basically destined to be a dish washer at best... I'm NOT in favor of that. I don't care if it's a dumb white flunky from Germany, or a Mexican flunky, or a Somali flunky... We don't need that kind of person by the millions in a 21st century post industrial economy.

    The whole skilled immigration angle being what most people want has been shown in basically 100% of polls for many, many, many years. All people want is sane policy that actually benefits natives, and doesn't put them on the hook for higher taxes to support the new low income people via redistribution. Keep in mind that doesn't need to be direct welfare. Low income people don't even pay in enough to cover their use of roads, schools, etc, let alone actual welfare.

  • Longtobefree||

    Never accept the writings of an author that refuses to separate legal and illegal immigration when talking about immigration policies.

  • Richard Stallman||

    The bullshitter also promised to "clean up the swamp", but he has done just the opposite.

  • Zoidzilla||

    There's also no tariffs or import restrictions between states. No state ever declared a trade war against another state. No one paces the floors over the trade deficits between the various states. People are free to sell their goods and services to people in other states without any state interference.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

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