The wife and I get into the occasional heated discussion concerning immigration. She rightly points out the depressed nature of commerce in border areas, as well as the impact of an oversupply of labor throughout border regions, like most of South Texas as a problem with immigration. But that doesn’t go far enough. It is an effect of state interference in immigration; it is an effect of illegal immigration, and the restrictions placed on legal immigration; not a problem with immigration itself.
Jason L. Riley defends the rightness of allowing all immigrants who want to come to the US to work, to do just that, in his book Let Them In: The Case for Open Borders and in this CATO event. (right click here and “save as” for the audio) One by one, he takes on and shoots down all the objections that the Dobbites in the US raise when it comes to immigrants and their effects on the US economy. Here’s a shorter video version:
Immigrants are statistically the smallest group when it comes to measuring their presence in welfare roles and prisons. Immigrants have always been treated as pariah’s in the US, and blamed for all manner of social problems. The Irish, the Germans, the Chinese and the Italians were all discriminated against, unnecessarily, when their immigration numbers were the highest (the story of the plight of the Irish escaping the potato famine is quite moving) and they have all gone on to either integrate themselves into the American society, or they returned (like a good portion of the Italians) to their country after they had made their fortunes.
I posted this today because I caught the Dobbs-O-Meter on The Daily Show yesterday.
People should learn to laugh at their irrational fears; or the rest of us will be laughing at you when you display them.
On the other hand, the comments from Michael Barone that follow up Jason Riley’s presentation show the naivete of the average person when it comes to centrally established state controls, and the reasons they pass laws. Whether or not they intended their actions to have the effects they had, the effects are the only way to measure the harm that immigration quotas have caused. Continuing quotas on immigration is nothing more than pointless.