Opening the Doors of Reason

In Let Them In: The Case for Open Borders, a book released in May, Wall Street Journal editorialist Jason L. Riley debunks some of the main arguments for restricting immigration -- and does it primarily from a pro-free-market perspective. We've pushed these facts for a long time, here on Open Veins, but it's nice to see them validated by people who, judging from our current political climate, should stand on the opposite side of the wall.

Speaking of reason, Riley took his stance to ReasonTV. (Nice transition!) He says that a general increase in population has no real tie to a nation's prosperity: He cites the rich though densely populated Hong Kong and the sparsely populated but desperately poor region of sub-Saharan Africa. Riley says that because there is no fixed number of jobs in this country immigrants aren't stealing jobs from other Americans.

As for homeland security issues, he argues that if we were to let economic migrants in legally, they would cease to function as potential shields for people entering the country who might actually threaten us.

He agrees that there are of course costs in health care and education associate with illegal immigration -- though they're generally overstated. But he thinks the benefits outweigh those costs. The problem, he says, is that the costs of immigration happen on a local level but many of the benefits go to the Federal government -- payroll and other Federal taxes paid by undocumented immigrants who will never collect those benefits and a majority of whom, according to Riley, work on the books. In my mind, this explains much of the reason why so many localities have attempted to pass their own immigration laws. They see the costs only and not the benefits. This is compounded by the propagandizing by those using the issues for their own political gain, as Riley says. Generally, as we know, those are conservatives.

But, in this talk that he gave at the "market-liberal" CATO Institute, Riley says this:

"No self-respecting free-markets advocate would ever dream of supporting laws that interrupt the free movement of goods and services across international borders. But when it comes to laws that hamper the free movement of workers who produce those goods and services, too many conservatives today abandon their free-market principles.... Ronald Reagan gives way to Pat Buchanan." (I agree with Reaganites? More evidence that political parties and ideologies are generally counterproductive to reason. How much better if we could all operate only on the level of issues.)

In his talk at CATO, Riley makes arguments that debunk the reactionary hysteria created by Lou Dobbs, Bill O'Reilly and their ilk that we're suffering some massive, illegal-immigrant crime wave:

"Numerous studies by independent researchers and government commissions over the past 100 years have repeatedly found that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes or be behind bars than the native born."

He mentions that welfare case loads have fallen during the years of the current illegal-immigrant boom and that "it's clear that immigrants have benefited the U.S."

I won't go through all of his talk. It's short. Watch it. But I leave you with his closing, after he explains that the immigration wave of the early-20th century was much more massive in relation to the U.S. population than what we have now and didn't destroy the country: "Today's immigrants aren't different. They're just newer."

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Anonymous MJ Ellis said...

More political gunk from those who belong to the "haves" of our society. MY research tends to be with those of a much lower income than those who propose open boarders and repeatedly contend that the influx of illegals from Mexico and the further away Lain countries only bring prosperity to our country.

The people I have personal ties with know what its like to lose a job and then reapply as cashiers, or hair dressers (or any other hourly wage job) only to be told they need to speak Spanish in order to even be considered for the job.

So for your audience of readers who never had to pick strawberries or green beans for a summer so they could afford clothing for school, by all means wave your welcome to America flag while demeaning Americans born here for not being able to get the education to get high paying jobs. Laugh at Americans who live in mobile homes because they can't afford better. Demean the poor but honest Americans as "hicks" while picking up a convenient compassion for illegals burrowing into our country.

Why bother with health care, day-care or educating and feeding those already here when you can get such low paying workers from across the boarder. Who needs Unions when we can undercut membership and the power of hourly workers when non-English speaking scabs can be found on any street corner?

Why bother with safety issues when you can replace a sick or injured employee with another desperately needy non-American worker banging at the door.

Iraq, Putins' Georgia, Pakistan, Mexico; the most important people in the world are the ones not found in our own country. Compassion runs like water for those in need as long as they aren't American.

Americans aren't supposed to be poor, that must be why the American poor and poorly educated are truly invisible here. Let them starve, there will always be millions of illegals who will bury their corpses for a few dollars less.

And Never-Got-Their-Hands-Dirty-Working do-gooder Americans and greedy corporations will give them the shovels to do it.

11:33 PM, September 08, 2008  

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