An Immigration Proposal

It is increasingly hard to have an immigration discussion here in Phoenix.  The vast majority of residents are absolutely convinced, despite evidence to the contrary, that they are in the middle of an apocalyptic version of the Mariel boatlift and have found themselves surrounded by Tony Montana's ready to carve them up save for Sheriff Joe Arpaio's brave intervention.

You never meet anyone who has actually had a problem with immigrants, and most like the immigrants, even the illegal ones, they know.   The other night a friend of mine said that we were all victims - I asked, "how?"  Everyone seems to have stories of immigrant hijinx, but they are all like the stories of the lady who put her cat in a microwave -- it happened to someone else.  And we do have stories of immigrant crimes on TV, but like shark attacks and extreme weather events, we overestimate their frequency because only certain outliers at the edges of the normal distribution get reported.

As an aside, one of the interesting things about the immigration debate for those of us who have read US history is how amazingly similar current arguments against particularly Mexican immigrants  (the commit crime, they don't integrate, they take jobs from Americans) are identical to arguments used against the Irish, Italians, and most eastern Europeans at one time or another.   I heard a woman at a part a while back of Slav background talking about how here immigrant grandparents were different than these Mexicans.  I told her that the exact same arguments she was using were used against Easter Europeans in the early 20th century, and in fact, and in fact the first real immigration quotas in this country were meant to keep her ancestors out.

As a result, I tend to grab the pro-immigration side in debates, even though I think there are some sensible reasons it probably has to be restricted or restructured, just because I really don't like the vibe coming from the immigration opponents around me.  When people take positions out of irrational fear and loathing, I am hugely reluctant to make any sort of common cause even if some of our concerns overlap.

Bruce McQuain argues that the main barrier to his advocating open immigration is the welfare state, and I am sympathetic to that argument.  I still, however, think we are smart enough to have a safety net and allow much more open immigration.  Bruce Pick has some sensible suggestions, and I published my own plan here.

And, as a final thought, the locals are never, ever going to convince me to their side when they trot Joe Arpaio up to the podium to make their case.  I have opposed the current immigration law in Arizona less because of any immigration issues and more because Joe does not need any more arbitrary authority.  I like what Radley Balko wrote the other day:

Dear Tea Partiers,

Ask Joe Arpaio to be your keynote speaker, and you've lost me.

He's a power-mad thug with a badge, the walking, mouth-breathing antithesis of the phrase "limited government."

Yes, this is but one state chapter in your movement. So distance yourself from them.

It's one thing to have a few idiots and nutjobs show up at your rallies.

It's quite another to invite one to speak.

Yours,

Radley Balko

More good stuff here.

Immigration is a thorny issue. But when we stand around and say "we don't want you here", I have to break ranks. When they say "these immigrants are damaging our economy", I have to break ranks. I don't have all the answers as to how to fix the problem, but I know that I refuse to close our country to people who want to live the American Dream. We have to enforce our laws, but when our laws are contrary to the very fabric of America, those laws need to change.

  • sethstorm


    As an aside, one of the interesting things about the immigration debate for those of us who have read US history is how amazingly similar current arguments against particularly Mexican immigrants (the commit crime, they don’t integrate, they take jobs from Americans) are identical to arguments used against the Irish, Italians, and most eastern Europeans at one time or another.

    Did the US give amnesty to the Irish, Italians, or other earlier people for whom reached US soil illegally?

    The only thing that should be done with regards to illegals is deportation and a means to identify & deny them re-entry(even if by blood/DNA/etc. to do so). All 20-40m of them.

    Then make the cost of trying to get around hiring citizens so high that illegals are turned away and reported by businesses(vs being used by them).

    --

    Make citizenship not a penalty when looking for work, but an advantage. It would be irresponsible to do everything to avoid taking on US citizens for work, yet it is done. To that end, illegal entry to the US is part of that problem.

  • TakeFive

    "...those of us who have read US history is how amazingly similar current arguments against particularly Mexican immigrants (the commit crime, they don’t integrate, they take jobs from Americans)..."

    Big difference between when the Irish and Italians arrived. There were some limits on the numbers admitted as opposed to the virtually open border policy we have now.

    Further, there was a much greater imperative to assimilate and a vastly smaller social welfare commitment. This is now completely inverted. You only need look at the L.A. schools to understand the implications.

    Yeah, Arpaio speaking at the rally is unfortunate. But this is the frustration the Tea Partiers feel. No one in the government speaks up for them. So when some guy comes along that is willing take a stand and show an ounce of leadership, people are going to rally around him.

  • dave smith

    As far as worring about 1) large welfare state existing with 2) open boarders, you are in good company, namely Milton Freidman himself.

    But the largest transfers are now to the old, not to the poor, so it is not as large as a concern as many might have thought.

  • TakeFive

    I have old parents who are beneficiaries of social security and Medicare. However, both worked for nearly 50 years, both as employees and later as business owners and paid a considerable sum in taxes.

    Further, their three offspring contribute into the system via W-2 withholdings and taxes on investment income.

    Now when I go to the supermarket and the checker is trying to help someone redeem their WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) vouchers and or operate the POS terminal to use their EBT card because they don’t speak the language and are barely literate in their own, I know there’s a problem.

    They usually have a few small kids with them, and what little cash they have was likely earned off the books, and it’s unlikely their contributions will in anyway cover their cost to the system.

    I also see another aspect of this few people hear about. People will come to this country, then bring over there parents and “abandon” them (not literally, but in a legal sense) to make them eligible for social security payments. This has become a rather common practice here in California where we have a large Asian population. You hear about the hard working Asians – which is true, but this is the other side of that immigration success story.

  • James H

    At an apartment I once lived at, my neighbors moved out and replacing them was a group of at least 10 likely illegal aliens. I believe the apartment may have been used as a drop house, I don't think I ever saw the same person coming/leaving twice. Right as they moved in, the storage room was robbed, multiple attempts were made to break into my car, a couch was stolen, etc. So there you go, this didn't happen to someone I know, it happened to me. Several instances of property crime over 2-3 months before I moved out.

  • the other coyote

    My child's school district just cut funding for after school activities like choir and band because there is a state mandate to fund English as a Second Language. The money had to come from somewhere to pay for a program that gets bigger every year - by necessity, since the Spanish-only speaking population gets bigger every year.

    There are lots of immigrants in our school system; there are more Indian kids than hispanics at her particular elementary school, but down in the old town, virtually all the kids at two elementary schools are Spanish only speakers.

    The Indian and Korean kids come to school speaking English, even though their parents are extraordinarily difficult to understand. The Mexican kids do not come to school speaking English. They and their parents expect someone else to teach them.

    When my husband's grandparents immigrated from Norway, they had (1) an education (2) a sense of the importance of an education (3) useful skills and (4) money in their pockets. The Indian and Korean immigrants in our school district do too. I have no problem with that kind of immigrant.

    The immigrant who comes with no money, no skills, and most importantly, no interest in assimilating is the one who needs a work visa, no right to become a citizen (and no right for their children to become automatic citizens), and to be sent home when their job is finished. And the right to work needs to work both ways; if we are going to let work visa Mexicans work here, they need to let work visa Americans work there. Which currently, they don't.

    It is my understanding that the Arizona law requires police to determine immigration status. To me, this is just a direct override of many sanctuary city's policies of NEVER asking. In Fort Worth, Texas, there is a directive from the chief of police that beat cops are NOT PERMITTED to determine an arrestee's status. I know the feds don't do their job in deporting, but they can't even try and fail when the local cops don't tell them when they've collared a criminal who also happens to be illegal.

  • http://stopthebreathing.blogtownhall.com/ astonerii

    Here is the argument for enforcing borders even a die hard brain damaged moronic libertarian that is no longer capable altering any neurons in his frontal lobe should be able to understand.

    If the United States of America nor her individual states can legally prevent any and all or even some of those who wish to move to this country for the various and nefarious reasons for which they may chose to migrate into the lands of this nation, then you have absolutely not one single property right as the sovereign land of this country is not safe, neither will yours be safe.

    We have 300M people in this country today, 2,000M more want to come here, there will be no place for them when they arrive, they will just take your house, your land, your car, your truck, your company and your guns from you. Maybe you will kill a few trying to protect your precious property all by yourself with no help from government law enforcement, but I assure you, they will eventually take you down and own you. Go move temporarily to some country where borders are meaningless, say the Sudan for instance, and see how it is living in a country without the laws that make civilization possible to prosper.

  • http://stopthebreathing.blogtownhall.com/ astonerii

    Just to be clear. I do not think that the author of this blog is a moron, I do think he is a die hard libertarian though.

    Also, another good example of the open borders that will demonstrate how bad your life will be with it, move to any of the European nations and see how fun it is living with huge populations of government dependent and flagrant lawbreaking Muslims and Africans who enjoy nothing more than torching things for every grievance perceived.

  • NormD

    Immigration a secondary issue. The status quo is livable.

    Just as we are on the cusp of actually limiting the size and scope of government these anti-immigrant types pop up their ugly heads and drive the whole program into the ditch. You love Obama and the Democrats, keep pushing immigration and you will have them around for lots more years.

  • sethstorm


    The immigrant who comes with no money, no skills, and most importantly, no interest in assimilating is the one who needs a work visa, no right to become a citizen (and no right for their children to become automatic citizens), and to be sent home when their job is finished. And the right to work needs to work both ways; if we are going to let work visa Mexicans work here, they need to let work visa Americans work there. Which currently, they don’t.

    Identify them, and ship them out. Then deny them entry by any means necessary and do not hesitate to enforce the law.

    No US Citizen in their right mind wants to work in that narcostate. Of course, if you don't mind being kidnapped and killed, then fine.
    Same with India, S. Korea, and many other developing nations. No cost differential could really make it worth it.

    I'd only consider it if Xe/Blackwater was doing security and was paid well enough to avoid bribes. That, and if the job had a good chunk of Third World hazard pay.

  • rsm

    My apologies for the length rant that follows, there was just so much stupid in the comments above that I blew my top a bit.

    [blockquote]Same with India, S. Korea, and many other developing nations. No cost differential could really make it worth it.[/blockquote]

    Wanna lump in Japan, Germany, Taiwan and Canada in that group as well?

    Moron.

    I'll give you India as chunks of that country are shitholes that beggar belief, but with 1B people what the heck do you expect. South Korea? The worst you can say of them is that they're stuck next to North Korea and are forced to maintain a standing army to keep out one of the truly crazy regimes on the planet. Oh, and they have fistfights in the parliament. Damnit, I want a Pelosi vs. Bachman cage match on the senate floor as much as the next person, but I really don't think that we can blame them for the lack of entertainment during senate debates and claim that it makes them a developing country. In all seriousness, South Korea is probably ahead of Japan in terms of how 'modern' it is, at least outside of the urban centers. There are problems and conflicts between modern and traditional values, and there are some seriously screwed up incentives in the system, but labeling them developing probably places most of the OECD countries in the developing category.

    Now there are entirely reasonable arguments for managing immigration. The strain on the welfare system and an already poorly thought out and poorly maintained educational infrastructure with poor incentives are two. Jobs and crime are not. Illegals take jobs that Americans don't want. They add to the economy. As for the crime scare, it's a scare, not reality. Anecdotes are anecdotes, as well as being relatively worthless in the scheme of things they are certainly not data.

    Now for some specific points of stupid from above:

    Also, another good example of the open borders that will demonstrate how bad your life will be with it, move to any of the European nations and see how fun it is living with huge populations of government dependent and flagrant lawbreaking Muslims and Africans who enjoy nothing more than torching things for every grievance perceived.

    What, open borders? European countries have open borders with countries outside of Europe? Dunce, they don't. Most of the European countries accepted refugees from war torn countries. Refugees are a mixed bag ranging from the exceptional to the criminal, the former are a boon, the latter go to jail. In France's case (which is the specific example you are referencing and extrapolating from) large chunks of their minorities came from their former colonies when they left them after running them into the ground and in trying to maintain some semblance of importance they maintain loose rules w.r.t. these countries. The lack of integration, the lack of social and economic mobility and in France's case some seriously screwed up social and political issues make it a bit of a basket case. You don't actually see Africans and Turks burning down shit in Copenhagen (Anarchists), Oslo (Satanists and anarcho-commies) or Madrid (Saudi-sympathetic terrorists or Basques) do you?

    I’d only consider it if Xe/Blackwater was doing security and was paid well enough to avoid bribes. That, and if the job had a good chunk of Third World hazard pay.

    Mmm... yes, Christian end-times fanatics who believe they are on a crusade in the Muslim world. Great thinking, that's probably real helpful. I suggest that you're probably better off hiring someone with actual military experience and training, there are plenty of reputable firms out there with high quality personnel, that aren't clinically insane, lie about their qualifications and try to steal money from the government - both federal and state. (Look up Blackwater in the Michigan Messenger if you give an actual shit)

    The only thing that should be done with regards to illegals is deportation and a means to identify & deny them re-entry(even if by blood/DNA/etc. to do so). All 20-40m of them.

    Then make the cost of trying to get around hiring citizens so high that illegals are turned away and reported by businesses(vs being used by them).

    I'm glad you want to be poor. Have you even considered the costs of this? I don't want to pay for your dreams of a police state, nor should you want to pay for the cost of that. This is a classic case of shooting yourself in the head because you have dirty thoughts and you want to get rid of them. The only good thing that this would cause is a decrease in police officers serving pointless drug warrants because they'd be busy claiming expenses for hookers in Tijuana while escorting illegals back over the border. Hey, maybe not such a dumb idea, ship the cops out with the illegals... that would certainly make the country safer.

    Again, there are sensible arguments against immigration and solutions to the problems caused by immigration, and as Coyote said, most people aren't putting those forward and are making claims without knowledge, in fear and for stupid, stupid reasons. When irrational and fearful arguments are made I can't in good conscience try for common ground either, because feeding supporting stupid ideas for the wrong reasons does no one any good.

  • http://www.mbts-mbtshoes.com mbts-mbtshoes

    I do think he is a die hard libertarian though

  • Bob Smith

    The diehard libertarian who wants open immigration is a fool, because open immigration guarantees the death of his libertarian state.

    It doesn't matter whether or not they can legally vote. Our elections are frauds, because sanctuary cities openly permit subverting our government by virtue of refusing to check the citizenship status of their voters. Even if elections were 100% good, if you're importing people with no attention paid to what they believe or why they want to come here, as is the case now, do you think we're going to get people who even remotely care about our culture, values, and history? Of course not. They aren't going to vote American, let alone libertarian, which is entirely the point of the Progressive stance on immigration. If you don't like the people, elect new ones.

    Then there is the matter of physical presence. Been to France lately? Most of the major cities have Muslim no-go zones now. French law doesn't apply in them, French isn't spoken there, and the Muslims living there attack police, firefighters, paramedics, and any other vestige of the French state daring to show its face in what are defacto Sharia mini-states. Not as bad here, yet, but we know groups like La Raza and MeCHA want to accomplish what Muslims are doing in Europe: make the US Southwest defacto extensions of the Mexican state. Show up, take over, and then dare us to kick them out. The Mexican government actively aids them. Such open contempt for American sovereignty should give pause to anybody who thinks it doesn't matter if millions of Mexican illegals come here.

  • rsm

    Wow, Bob. You really think our state is libertarian? Did you read the news lately? Do you occasionally check your definitions? If the US is libertarian (little l or big L) then I'm Mother Teresa back from the dead to steal some more cash and hoard it so that it won't go to the needy.

    The thing is that most immigrants to the US come because of the culture and they come for the values, if not the history. Being associated with the first 'modern' civil war, slavery and genocide ain't all it's cracked up to be. The values, the chance to make a living in a country that represents the ideal, if not the reality, of freedom and economic mobility, hell yeah! For a chance to be subject to the rule of law rather than a bunch of criminals or terrorists, hell, most immigrants would probably give a kidney just for a 50/50 chance to get out of dodge. To enjoy the stupidity and ignorance represented in your comment, not so much, but they'd probably take it as part of freedom of speech and enjoy the fact that they can just ignore you and your ranting, because they're in a country where that's ok.

    The people who don't pay attention to the elections are Americans, Americans with voting rights people would give their right arm for, and have. How else do you explain the fact that there are people elected that we wouldn't want in charge of the local Walmart, let alone a toll both on the turnpike. The fact is that new citizens don't want to vote for a bunch of nationalists who prefer to spend their money on military toys to subjugate their former countries, or who promote ignorant/stupid foreign policies (ex. drug war), legal policies (ex. current state's secrets cases/wiretapping/evisceration of the 4th amendment) and science policies (CAM/stem cells) isn't exactly surprising if you give it half a thought. Not that voting for the other team gets them brownie points, but at least they are polite and will use lube first.

    make the US Southwest defacto extensions of the Mexican state.

    You know what's going to happen before that? Mexico will cease to exist and become part of the US. The immigrants are coming here because they have hope here, where there isn't any at home. First and second generations may seem to long for home, but if you give it time iPhones, iPads, Hollywood and internet porn will make them more American than Mexican, Indian, Chinese, whatever. The only ones who can screw this positive trend up is the government, by throwing out what makes America a good place - the freedom to succeed, and the freedom to fuck up, and the freedom to speak your mind.

    As for France? Who gives a shit, they screwed things up nicely, and it sure didn't have much to do with open borders. Pointing to France as an example of how not to do things is a pretty good idea, so here is what we should do, as France has done the opposite: Cut agricultural subsidies, ensure the rule of law and property rights, ensure that no citizens or visitors are treated as second class, remove import tariffs and stop protecting 'national' goods, stop protecting failing national businesses, and the list goes on. About the only good thing to take away from the French experience is nuclear power, we need more - it's safe, efficient and clean. Also, maybe cut down a bit on the processed food and portion sizes... does the body good.

    Muslims and Africans riot because they are treated as second class citizens in much of Europe, the law isn't equal, and often your name will stop you from getting a job. Why don't Muslims riot in the US? Because they can lead good, fulfilling lives and their name, although under current conditions stigmatized, won't prevent them from getting a job if they have the qualifications in most cases.

  • tehag

    "It’s one thing to have a few idiots and nutjobs show up at your rallies. It’s quite another to invite one to speak."

    We demand purity of purpose and purity of essence.

  • sethstorm


    I’m glad you want to be poor. Have you even considered the costs of this? I don’t want to pay for your dreams of a police state, nor should you want to pay for the cost of that. This is a classic case of shooting yourself in the head because you have dirty thoughts and you want to get rid of them.

    However, I don't care to pay for their illegal existence in the US. It is not a case of wanting poverty, but removing a cause of it. They are people for which bring negative value to the labor market and any locality for which they reside. One only needs to look at the various communities that they are in within the US.

    The returns on removing the illegal immigrants and increasing enforcement are worth the initial measure. Once businesses no longer have the easy route of circumventing US citizens, the remainder of them will resort to actually following the law.

  • http://www.pugsofwar.blogspot.com BlogDog

    Radley Balko has some good ideas and has done yeoman's work on government overreach but his dedication ideological purity leads him to positions that are the political equivalent of the "holier than thou" Christian. Sometimes he should look beyond his hatreds.

  • Che is dead

    Immigration is a thorny issue. But when we stand around and say “we don’t want you here”, I have to break ranks.

    I know how you feel, when someone implies that I am a "racist" or "anti-immigrant" simply because I would like to adhere to the legally agreed program for immigration, I have to break ranks. America takes in more legal immigrants, without regard to race, than all the other nations of the world combined. So, for someone to suggest that supporting that generous system is "racist" or "anti-immigrant" is beyond the pale. It's more a declaration of their own moral conceit than a legitimate argument.

  • D-man

    "You never meet anyone who has actually had a problem with immigrants, and most like the immigrants, even the illegal ones, they know."

    Those wouldn't be Robert Krentz's last words, would they?

    This is an appalling naive statement, if not just plain dumb. Clearly Warren never met Robert Krentz or his family, nor does he know anyone of Krentz's murderer's friends, no doubt the nicest gaggle of illegals you'd ever want to hang with.

    I've never met a murderer either, but I know enough to know that they are not the type of people I want to open my doors to. Can I make such a statement only if I, or someone I know, has been murdered? It is basic human compassion to deeply care and sympathize for others, such as the family of the late Mr. Krentz. Are we to believe that because none of us ever knew Krentz — or his murder — that we, those of us who know no illegal bad guys but hear about such scum all around us, have no dog in this hunt?

    What's it going to take, Warren? Your son in a fender-bender with Edwin Ramos? A family member of yours murdered, or beaten, or robbed, to get you to reconsider your position? "Well ... okay ... there was this one illegal who raped my wife, but he was the lone exception in my life. Most of them are good people."

    Unbelievable.

  • http://stopthebreathing.blogtownhall.com/ astonerii

    rsm, all your arguments are old and tired and already debunked.

    Enforcement will cause almost all illegals to go back to their home countries or to another country for not much more cost than we already spend on enforcement. Workplace raids are inexpensive, the laws are on the books to put company employees who hire illegals into prison and fine the companies enough that the fines alone would pay for all the enforcement and deportation costs. I sure as hell would rather pay for that than to pay the price of unfettered border crossing on social, cultural, and financial levels.

    You talk about how all these people just want to be part of a good country, that they would give their right arm for the right to vote, well they have the ability to do that already. First they could fix their own countries, they could give their right arms and earn that right. What prevents them from doing that? The fact that they are not worthy of freedom, freedom is EARNED not granted. Our nation and the people who reside here live off the good graces of those who came before us and EARNED the freedom we enjoy and we have earned these rights over and over again through blood sweat and tears. Those blood sweat and tears were shed for a contract that binds us into a nation, not some open borders conglomeration of infighting cultures. If we continue to allow people from countries who have never sacrificed a day in their lives in the activity of creating freedom for their own country eventually we will have crossed the point where Americans will have to rise up again to fight a bloody war to regain our freedom as the immigrants will vote our freedoms away one by one in the search for the welfare check and personal government granted right. Hispanics vote overwhelmingly Democrat 2:1, what is the platform of the Democrats? Oh yeah, government will give you goodies taken from other people by force of a gun in the form of taxes. Yeah, they sure as hell are not libertarian and far from conservative. Any of those who are illegal who you try to claim are good people deserving of coming to this nation and beneficial to us, they can prove that by following our laws, our contract and entering this nation in the way in which those of us who have sacrificed and been sacrificed for choose to allow it, and I and a large majority of this free nation choose to limit the numbers of immigrants, and good immigrants would not cheat, steal and corrupt in order to be a part of this nation, they are just lazy ingrates unworthy of freedom as they have not sacrificed to create freedom and have instead lied, cheated, stolen and forged their way into the place in which a real valuable immigrant would have had the chance to enter.

    You rail against our armed forces as if they are criminals, talking about how they are used. Our armed forces is the only thing that protects your lame ass from people who would take everything you own, rape your children before killing them in front of you. Our armed forces prevent wars from breaking out all across this globe. That peace we keep allows these ingrates who cross our borders to have a chance to grow food, build homes, construct buildings where clothing can be manufactured or purchased and so forth. Because we help insure peace in this world, every last one of these ingrates already owes a great debt to our nation, certainly not the backhanded slaps that a pathetic excuse of a human like you throws around with nothing more than the freedom that is protected by our armed forces.