Immigration

My New "The Hill" Article Making the Case for Ending Pandemic-Related Migration Restrictions

It also explains why they probably should never have been adopted in the first place.

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The Hill recently posted my new article making the case for abolishing pandemic-related migration restrictions. I also explain how those restrictions failed dismally in achieving their supposed purpose of protecting public health. Here's an excerpt:

The coronavirus pandemic has led the United States and other nations to enact unprecedentedly severe migration restrictions. As a result of measures adopted under the Trump administration last year, the U.S. became more closed to immigration than at any other time in its history. While the Biden administration has lifted some of the restrictions, others remain in place.

The ostensible rationale for these policies was the need to stop the spread of the virus. In reality, however, migration bans did little to protect public health — and caused enormous suffering. They also undermine the scientific innovation that makes us better able to deal with pandemics and other health risks in the long run. The Biden administration should immediately lift remaining pandemic-related migration restrictions, and Congress would do well to bar such policies for the future….

These restrictions failed dismally in the goal of containing the spread of the COVID-19 virus to the United States, where more than 750,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. The continuation of many restrictions did not prevent the more contagious Alpha and Delta variants from swiftly establishing themselves here, either. At best, restrictions only briefly delayed the entry of the virus….

Pandemic-related migration restrictions have inflicted immense suffering on people fleeing poverty and oppression, including refugees escaping violence, poverty and repressive regimes in Cuba, Venezuela and Haiti. Many of those expelled under Title 42 and other policies may be condemned to a lifetime of privation or even death….

Immigrants to the U.S. and Europe make disproportionate contributions to medical, scientific and technological innovations, and immigration restrictions could block many such advances. The Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines were both developed by firms led by immigrants or children of immigrants from poor nations, who could not have made their vital contributions to these breakthroughs had they or their parents been barred from leaving their countries of origin…. Some of the migrants the U.S. government barred during the past 18 months might have gone on to make great technological and medical breakthroughs of their own.

 

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  1. So we should require everyone who works for any company to get the vaccine, but not immigrants. OK, that makes sense.

    Also, why should we spend literally millions of dollars per person on illegal immigrants when we won't even make that kind of investment in our actual tax paying citizens?

    1. Ilya - you are late to the party

      Biden already eliminated migration restrictions with his border policies

      1. Ilya couldn't help it. I'm araid that Jimmy has the right slant on the issue.

      2. Tom,
        You should have a look at the article in today's NYT, "Children Drive Britain’s Longest-Running Covid Surge" it makes a strong case for declining COVID vaccine efficacy.

        1. Omg, you are f ing nut! You can get a booster you f ing idiot! DeathSantis is now responsible for killing more Americans than Osama Bin Laden because he listened to kooks doom and gloom at the initial Delta spike. I knew you were dumb, but you are even dumber than I imagined.

          1. What in the world are you talking about SC. Sure, just blow off medical evidence and sh*T your politics from your keyboard.
            BTW what do you have to say about the NYT article that was not about the US, not about Florida, not about DeSantis? The answer NOTHING.
            When I read your post and I knew for sure who is f*cking dumb, dumber than I imagined.

            1. We have data from America that the vaccines are working in Delta world. You heard some kook talk a month ago about doom and gloom scenarios that never transpired and you aren’t intelligent enough to analyze the data today. I have an open mind and listened to the kook—time has proven him wrong. The vaccines and boosters solve the issue of waning effectiveness. And the fact North Carolina with a Democrat governor has by far the best numbers in the southeast says public health measures and vaccines are working. So DeathSantis killed a lot people by believing the kook AND fighting public health measures.

              1. BTW what do you have to say about the NYT article that was not about the US, not about Florida, not about DeSantis?

            2. All you need to know is the poster uses "DeathSantis". That means they are an robot living inside of CNNs bubble of hoaxes. Just mute them and ignore them, you aren't going to be able to change a robot's mind. I bet they also believe the Covington kids hoax (CNN paid a few million for that one) , fine people hoax, drinking bleach hoax, and many more.

              1. CNN paid a few million for that one

                A few million what? Venezuelan Bolivars? There's no evidence CNN paid any more than a nuisance value.

    2. We should require vaccines for those getting food stamps, welfare and other government payments.

      But No- biden wants to require vaccines for the productive members of society - those of who have jobs

      1. those who used to have jobs - - - - - - - -

    3. So presumably you'd be cool with allowing the immigrants in if we just required them to get vaccinated?

      If not, it's not really clear what your point is supposed to be since I don't think Professor Somin is arguing for immigrants to be excluded from vaccination requirements.

      1. Why would you presume any such stupid thing? OBVIOUSLY, saying that it makes no sense to let immigrants iin without vaccination while requiring actual citizens to be vaccinated doesn't imply eagerness to allow unlimited numbers of "the immigants" in. Did it really sound ;ile a real "gotcha" in your head to pretend otherwise?

  2. Ilya - you are late to the party

    Biden already eliminated migration restrictions with his border policies

  3. After we rescind every other restriction on citizens, we'll talk.

  4. Please explain why the US has any particular responsibility to people fleeing Venezuela, when those folks democratically voted for the hellhole they have established.

    1. Are you advocating for collective punishment?

      1. *cough* affirmative action *cough*

        What was that again about collective guilt or punishment?

        Would you be happy, then, if we opened the door to white South Africans, yes or no?

        Those are not trick questions, btw, just checking on the who/whom sort of stuff.

        1. AA isn't punishment, no matter how sad it makes you.

          We do allow white South African immigrants. I have a friend married to one.

          1. "AA" is indeed punishment of everyone it steps on.

            Racist allocation of benefits necessarily denies them to the disfavored.

            1. By that definition of punishment, all allocation of resources is punishment.

            2. " "AA" is indeed punishment of everyone it steps on. "

              Heterodox Academy and the Volokh Conspiracy hardest hit.

          2. Deciding not to accept immigrants is also not punishment, no matter how sad it makes you.

      2. Not giving away US Citizenship like Cracker Jack prizes is not "punishment".

        1. Read KHP54's rationale about why.

          Also, we do not give away citizenship easily. Its hard as hell to become a citizen. In fact, immigration is not the same as citizenship at all.

          You don't know what you're talking about.

  5. It's nice to see some libertarian stuff on this "often libertarian" blog.

    1. *eye roll*

      B/c giving US Citizenship to anyone who can get here is so "Libertarian".

      No wonder "Libertarian" is in such bad odor.

      1. Gandydancer: 'The Volokh Conspiracy often stinks'

        Gandydancer: 'That is not what I said'

      2. Why are you talking about citizenship? Do you notice the number of times Prof. Somin mentioned citizenship, as opposed to migration?

  6. In a mirror universe, Prof. Somin is writing "Why We Need an Immigration Pause For Twenty Years, or Maybe Longer."

    1. And in that other universe he has a mustache.

  7. I've yet to hear any of the open border supporters vow to give up their home, their job, and their money to the illegal aliens. It's always someone else who should give up all THEY have worked for and give it to someone who didn't work for it. I know, let's give them each $450,000 of our taxpayer money! That's a great idea!

    And, as to a migrant...."might have gone on to make great technological and medical breakthroughs of their own". Why do they have to come here to do it? They can stay in their own country. They also might murder or rape someone, or bring in enough Fentanyl to kill all the residents in your city. Who gives a crap what they "might" do. The fact is, we have all these people coming in illegally and breaking the laws of our country. If we aren't going to enforce those laws, why should we enforce any?

    Biden's border policy has been disastrous from day one. The cities and towns on this side of the border are overwhelmed with the number that are crossing. Hey, but that's fine with the open border supporters. Biden's policies are not hurting THEIR quality of life. It's just those icky southern deplorables who are being harmed. Right?

    1. Except there's no shortage of homes, jobs, and money in this country. In fact, we have a problem with too many open jobs.

      So seems like more immigration would be good!

      I'm not for open borders, but you need to get better arguments than some weird 'immigration means giving up your house to them, and also some are criminals.'

      1. "In fact, we have a problem with too many open jobs."
        That is because many previously employed are refusing to go back to them or to other open jobs. The problem is more complex than you are suggesting

        1. So bring in immigrants to do the jobs Americans won't do? Sounds familiar!

          1. Funny that before the pandemic Americans were willing to do those jobs. Our governmental response must have made those jobs much less appealing.

            1. Well seems you changed the subject. I don't care why people are avoiding doing shitty retail jobs, the point is that there's no shortage of jobs for low-skilled immigrants, despite the drum being beaten.

              The booming of the gig economy at the same time (while paying lower rates) is also interesting.

          2. It sounds familiarly Stupid.

            There are no jobs Americans won't do if you pay the market price for Americans to do them.

            1. And yet these places aren't raising their wages. Huh.

      2. "I'm not for open borders"

        (a) Roughly what amount of immigration do you think the United States should allow?

        (d) Roughly what amount of immigration would you say is most financially beneficial to American citizens? For the sake of argument, let's limit it to average working class and middle class Americans.* So that excludes everyone who owns a significant amount of stock, real estate outside a primary residence, a business with lots of employees, or has a high income or inheritance, etc.

        (c) Is your answer to (a) the same as, or different than, your answer to (b)?

        * Oddly, it is necessary to remind you preemptively, that average working class and middle class Americans include Americans of ALL races and ethnicities -- in fact, American minorities tend to be overrepresented in this group.

        1. a) I'm not an expert. Neither are you.
          b) I'm not an expert. Neither are you.

          c) I don't want immigration to be a purely economic activity. Utilitarianism is a crap philosophy to live by.

          *That's not relevant.

          1. "I'm not an expert. Neither are you."

            Wait, but you just said you are "not for open borders." What about the hordes of experts that proclaim support for open borders? Are they not experts in your view? Who then are the experts in your view? Are they those who have set current immigration levels, so your view is that current immigration levels are optimal?

            "That's not relevant."

            It is relevant because you have repeatedly demonstrated that you will denounce any rationale for limiting immigration as racist or "nativist." So what is exactly is your rationale for not being for open borders?

            1. What are you on about? I can have a general opinion, and not a specific one.

              I don't denounce any rationale for limiting immigration as racist or nativist, just the ones that are racist and nativist.

              1. Great. So you have no specific objection or disagreement with my opinion that the 1 million plus illegal immigrants per year should be stopped entirely, and the 1 million plus legal immigrants per year should be reduced by maybe half.

                1. I would double both figures.

                  And because my side has won the culture war and will continue to call the shots in America . . . good times for libertarians such as Prof. Somin!

                  Not so good for bigoted, cranky, old, right-wing clingers.

          2. "a) I'm not an expert. Neither are you."

            This just avoids the question. People can have opinions on matters of policy, even if they aren't self proclaimed experts. Especially when the policy affects them.

            Since immigration is primarily for economic reasons, it's folly not to account for it.

            1. There is nothing wrong with saying 'I don't know enough to have an opinion.'

              Especially when for line drawing asks like ML's

              1. "There is nothing wrong with saying 'I don't know enough to have an opinion.'"

                True. But you've given plenty of opinion on the subject already.

        2. (d) Roughly what amount of immigration would you say is most financially beneficial to American citizens?

          Roughly what number of manufactured widgets would you say is most financially beneficial to American citizens? How about wheat production? Or steel? Or paper?

          Why on earth do you think anyone is competent to answer these questions? Are you old enough to remember the Cold War? One side thought that government bureaucrats could figure out the answers to these questions for the economy of the country. The other side thought that only the market could actually provide the answers. Why do you think that markets for labor are different for markets for any other goods or services?

          1. So in your view should the US simply allow as many immigrants as are offered jobs here prior granting permanent status?

            Or is your view that the US should allow as many immigrants as would like to come here and live on welfare and public largesse?

            If the former, do you realize that this would be more restrictive than our current immigration policy? And do you think the employer should make a genuine effort to hire Americans first, or is it enough that an employer just wants to hire an immigrant, whether because they will work for a lower wage or just because they want to bring an immigrant into the country, and a promise to hire them if even for a month is enough to justify bringing them here forever along with all of their family? Or should all such immigration just be temporary while they have a work visa?

            1. o in your view should the US simply allow as many immigrants as are offered jobs here prior granting permanent status?

              Or is your view that the US should allow as many immigrants as would like to come here and live on welfare and public largesse?

              Well, the former is closer than the latter, but neither is the right formulation. The US should simply allow any immigrants that can support themselves. But we don't need complicated formulas for figuring that out; if they're not eligible for welfare, then they'll either support themselves or they'll leave.

              (I do like how in the nativist mind, immigrants are both taking American jobs and not working, living off welfare.)

              And do you think the employer should make a genuine effort to hire Americans first,

              I don't think it's any of my business who an employer hires unless I'm the employer in question. I don't think an employer has to justify to anyone his decision which person to hire any more than he has to justify to anyone his decision as to which vendor to buy supplies from.

          2. "Why on earth do you think anyone is competent to answer these questions?"

            Whether or not someone is "competent"....the question still needs to be answered. You need some sort of number or range. That may change, and almost certainly will, based on various circumstance. But avoiding the question entirely just runs away.

            Let's use your example "How much wheat should the US produce"
            1.5 to 2.5 Billion bushels a year.

            See how easy that is?

            1. See how easy that is?

              Yes; that's what Lenin and his successors thought. How'd that work out?

              Did you notice that somehow the U.S. has managed to outlast them, without needing to answer that question?

        3. "So that excludes everyone who owns a significant amount of stock, real estate outside a primary residence, a business with lots of employees, or has a high income or inheritance, etc."

          Not sure what you're defining as "a significant amount of stock", but the majority of Americans own stock. Stock ownership through 401(k) plans is the only viable retirement savings plan for many Americans.

      3. Sarcastro wants to suppress wages it seems...

        1. Do you think immigration suppresses wages more or less than trade with countries with prevailing wages substantially lower than the US?

          1. It's somewhat more complicated than that.

        2. CindyF posted a pretty racist screed. It basically said America is full. That's bullshit.

          Do you think America is full? And please, show your work.

          1. Fell free to tell us when you will admit that importing more rando third world people will stop being a dilution of current Americans' inheritance.

            Show your work.

            1. Immigration is not a dilution of Americans' inheritance; what even is that?

              Immigration generally helps Americans who are here, just as it has throughout our history.
              Doesn't mean I want an infinite amount of it, but a hostility to immigration based on 'fuck you, I got mine' isn't just immoral, it fundamentaly misunderstands how economics works.

          2. I think that when the labor market is tight, employers raise wages in order to compensate for it. As we see today.

            I also think there have been deliberate policy choices over made by certain people over the last few decades to have tacit illegal immigration in order greatly boost the number of low wage workers. By expanding the low-wage worker pool, wages were effectively suppressed.

            It's also been seen to an extent with certain legal immigration programs (Like H1Bs) that have ended up suppressing wages.

            1. Wages are not going up, AL. And the labor market isn't tight.

              You can't just make stuff up; we have economic metrics.

              And your second paragraph is a zero evidence paranoid conspiracy theory.

              1. Wages absolutely are going up. Most of the restaurants I see now have "we're hiring" or "estamos contratando" signs in their front window, often offering a starting wage of $14/hour plus benefits (compared to a minimum wage here of $9.50/hour).

                You are the one making things up.

              2. What?!?

                "Wages are not going up, AL. And the labor market isn't tight.
                You can't just make stuff up; we have economic metrics."

                Those metrics show the best wage growth in 35 years. You've got fast food restaurants offering hundreds of dollars in signing bonuses. For fast food employees...

                How can anyone take you seriously when you either are clueless or are lying through your teeth?

  8. "These restrictions failed dismally in the goal of containing the spread of the COVID-19 virus to the United States, where more than 750,000 Americans have died from COVID-19."

    In fact, the far more devastating lockdowns, mask mandates and vaccine mandates imposed by totalitarian Democrats failed dismally in their stated goal of containing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

    1. You missed hiis point that if we'd let in more third world people they would have included Nobel Prize winners in medicine who would have seen to it that no one would have died.

  9. Open borders post from Somin. Day ending in Y I guess.

  10. Yes. We have a lot of job openings in the U.S. Colleges and politicians pushing for sending everyone to college, regardless of their aptitude has done a great harm to the blue collar manufacturing, construction, and service industries. So, we end up with a lot of people who have graduated college(or dropped out mid-way) and have no job skills and plenty of debt. The solution is not to bring in those from other countries to do those jobs. That just ignores the problem.

    Instead, we should return to determining which high-school students are college material and which should be looking for their career without the cost of a four-year degree. It would be better to find those students who are better at and prefer working in technical or hands on careers such as automotive, plumbing, electrical, etc. and steer those into a two or three year technical school school. We need to do away with the stigma of not having a four-year degree because so many productive job paths do not need it. The students would be a lot happier.

    These students would enter the job market earlier, find productive careers, and move forward with their lives without all the debt.

    1. "U.S. Colleges and politicians pushing for sending everyone to college, regardless of their aptitude has done a great harm to the blue collar manufacturing"

      LOL. The thing that did great harm to blue collar manufacturing was trade with countries with much lower wages than the US.

      Trying to focus on industries of the past is a bad way to run an economy, in any case. Read about comparative advantage sometime.

      1. jb, tacit in the notion of comparative advantage is another notion, that labor is fungible—that whatever jobs folks do now, they can drop those and take up others en masse. That may have been true centuries ago. It does not seem to be working now. If it cannot be made to work, reliance on comparative advantage becomes a formula for economic disaster. Arguably, we are living that disaster now.

      2. Grievance Studies majors and the similarly useless (Sarcastro comes to mind) have no real competitive advantage over anyone except the microcephalitic, and maybe not over them.

  11. "The ostensible rationale for these policies was the need to stop the spread of the virus. In reality, however, migration bans did little to protect public health"

    Uggg,,,

    Somin continues in his one-sided arguments, without any realistic understanding of the complexities involved.

    "Flattening the curve" was a real concern early on, in order to preserve ICU space. A big part of this was restricting international travel. We even went to far as to limit some interstate travel. Several countries had great success in limiting the introduction of the coronavirus by limiting international travel.

    Undoubtedly the international migration bans helped to limit some of the excess deaths. Exactly how many is hard to define. But Somin sweeps this all under the rug with his overbroad arguments. As such, it's hard to take the rest of them seriously....

    1. The fact Vermont and Hawaii have the lowest death rates show travel restrictions work. So Hawaii has the best weather to mitigate spread while Vermont probably has the worst…but the key is they have Democratic governors AND restricting travel is very easy. So Florida has the second best weather to mitigate spread and it arguably has the worst death rate numbers in America because it has the nuttiest Republican governor AND travel restrictions wouldn’t work even if they were attempted.

      1. Hawaii is an island, and nobody is interested in visiting Vermont. But yes... travel restrictions.

        Florida has a very large population of people that are uniquely vulnerable to Covid. But yes... Republican governor.

        1. God you are fucking stupid. Florida does have a unique population—uniquely stupid! You must live in Florida you fucking idiot.

          1. Fucking idiots like you are found everywhere, unfortunately. If you've bred then evolutionary failure has not been punished.

            1. G
              F
              Y

          2. I like to ignore facts and reality too.

  12. Does anyone agree with Joe Biden giving $450,000 to each illegal border crosser as an award for committing crimes, rather than a punishment? When an American military service member is killed fighting for the country their family gets $100,000. And that's for dying for your countrly not committing crimes.

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