On Immigration, Conservatives Sound Just Like Socialists

The other day John Hinderaker of Powerline wrote:

If someone proposes that next year we should import 10,000 unskilled immigrants from Pakistan, the first question we should ask is: why do we need them? But that is the one question that no one ever seems to pose.

This is a terrible question and to my eye shows just how close Conservatives come to accepting many of the assumptions of Socialism.

Socialists seldom think in terms of individuals, but instead talk about the economy as some great big machine that they get to run.  We all remember Bernie Sanders saying

“You don’t necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants or of 18 different pairs of sneakers when children are hungry in this country”

When Hinderaker is asking if we need more immigrants, or Sanders is asking if we need more deoderant choices, they are both working from an assumption that some authoritarian gets to sit at the top and make these choices for us.

The question "do we need immigrants" is actually senseless. Who is "we"? Who gets to make decisions for "we"? Only a socialist thinks this way. In a free society, the questions that matter are "Do I want to hire this immigrant?" or, as an immigrant, "do I want to take the chance of moving to an unfamiliar country to try to better my life." If I wish to hire someone from another country and they wish to move here and take the job, what the hell does it matter if John Hinderaker thinks this person is "needed"? I have decided I need a certain immigrant for my business, and the immigrant has decided that moving here is a good tradeoff for him.  In capitalism, that should be a done deal.

Could the immigrant or I be wrong about my employment offer being a good idea? Sure.  But authoritarian government second-guessing of individual decisions is supposed to be a progressive-socialist game, and here is a prominent Conservative doing exactly the same thing.  If Bernie Sanders wanted to require me to get government permission to produce a new flavor of deodorant, Hinderaker would be outraged.  But never-the-less he similarly wants me to get government permission (actually he wants to deny me government permission) to hire the employee I want to hire.

All this "Amercan jobs for Americans" thing may sound nice, and get head nods at the local Rotary, but what it actually means is that individual business people like myself have to be limited to hiring from a government-approved list.  Doesn't sound much like the free markets and small government Conservatives claim to want.

Hinderaker quotes approvingly from David Frum

However one assesses [the Farook family] chain and its consequences, it seems clear that the large majority of legal immigrants choose to come—or, more exactly, are chosen by their relatives—for their own reasons. They are not selected by the United States to advance some national interest. Illegal immigrants are of course entirely self-selected, as are asylum seekers. …

Donald Trump’s noisy complaints that immigration is out of control are literally true. Nobody is making conscious decisions about who is wanted and who is not, about how much immigration to accept and what kind to prioritize—not even for the portion of U.S. migration conducted according to law, much less for the larger portion that is not.

Doing things for one's own reasons.  Self-Selection.  Lack of government control.  Lack of government decisions about who or what is wanted.  Lack of national priorities.  These all sound like ... capitalism and a free society.   Replace the word immigration with any other term and Conservatives would blast these two sentences and Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama would vigorously nod.  I could write a $15 minimum wage screed using almost these identical words from Frum.    Here, let me try:

However one assesses [the John Smith] $8 wage and its consequences, it seems clear that the large majority of employers set wages for their own reasons. These wages are not set by the United States to advance some national interest. The wage rates are entirely self-selected by employers and employees.

Bernie Sanders's noisy complaints that wage rates and income inequality are out of control are literally true. Nobody in government is making conscious decisions about who is hired and for how much, about how much income to accept and what kind to prioritize.

Postscript:  Yes, I know that Conservatives are all worked up because 1 in a 1,000 or so of our immigrants might be murderers.  You know what, one in a thousand Americans born every day will likely grow up to be murderers, but we don't ban sex.  We accept the consequences that we get a few bad apples along with a lot of awesome productive people.

I would also ask Conservatives this -- why don't you think the Left's desire to ban gun ownership to head off mass shootings is fair?  I would suggest one reason is that it is unfair to ban legal gun ownership for 1,000 good people because one will use their gun to commit a murder.  If you agree with this statement, explain why your argument against immigration is different from the Left's call to ban gun ownership.

  • FelineCannonball

    Fair point. But the last I looked the violent crime rate among immigrants was 1/3 or less of the violent crime rate among the rest of us. The equivalency assumption probably isn't quite right.

  • Adriana

    On the issue of immigration, they become ardent proponents of central planning and protectionism.

  • Titan28

    Do you start these threads simply to vex your visitors? Or are you breaking your neck to demonstrate how Libertarianism, in the real world, is simply absurd? You keep throwing out this open borders, free market capitalism meme, when that isn't at all what critics of current immigration policy are upset about. If anything, many of them worry that flooding the market with unskilled, uneducated workers will collapse the free market you champion.

    In 1965, America's immigration system, aided by a big push from that Solon of promiscuity, Ted Kennedy, switched in emphasis from simply accepting people who wanted to come to America to an emphasis on family unification. Do you understand what that entails? This is an emphasis that, in effect, triples and quintuples the actual number of immigrants we get for every person who gets a Green Card. Yet even that isn't the issue here, since it doesn't pertain to concerns about Muslim immigration.

    Since this issue appears to be a bigotry trigger with you, may I suggest you read the Koran? Then read some Bernard Lewis and Samuel Huntington (The Clash of Civilizations). The problem isn't the people (immigrants) or the countries they come from, it's the religion they carry--which is implacably hostile to everything you appear to believe in. For example, why allow into America Moslems, under the guise of a specious religious tolerance platform, when the aim of their faith is the extermination of all other religions? Why can't you get that? Also, your free market employer-employee nonsense, if we take a page from the great Milton Friedman, will work if and only if there is no welfare state to steal from. Got that? While it is true that many if not most pre-9/11 Moslem immigrants to America do and did very well, economically and socially, the post 9/11 batch use various welfare programs at an astonishing rate.

    Another issue is what might be called the velocity of immigration. Simply put, immigrants are coming to America at such a rate now it is all but impossible for them to become assimilated. We want new comers to assimilate; we don't what what happens in Europe to happen here. And, finally, there are laws, any and all of which are presently being ignored by the Executive branch of government.

    This doesn't bother you? A guy in the white house who decides, on his own, which laws he'll enforce and which laws he'll ignore? That's dictatorial, right? You should be upset with him.

  • TD

    If we lived within your libertarian ideal world, you might have a point. But we don't, so now the choice is whether we want to bring in 10,000 unskilled workers who will demand and receive substantial government benefits, at the expense of productive taxpayers already here, or not. If you can create a system where they have to support themselves, bring them on. If not, then try addressing the right answer in the world we actually live in.

  • ErikEssig

    I'm a big fan of Warren and respect his opinions, but on immigration he is simply myopic.

  • ErikEssig

    To paraphrase Doc Brown, it's not you Mohammed, it's your children.

  • NL7

    "We" don't bring in unskilled workers any more than "we" bring in imported French wine, German industrial inputs, Japanese televisions or Chinese electronics. Individuals and businesses make choices in a free market to buy and sell items and to transport those items to different places. "We" did not tell people to move by the millions to California in the 20th century, and "we" are not telling them to move to Texas and the Southwest by the millions in the 21st century. People make their own choices.

    You are framing this as though it's the most natural thing in the world for the government to dictate how our lives are led, and the only question is picking which choice everybody must be forced to follow.

    The government doesn't force us to pick the same religion, the same kind of car, the same movies and shows, the same songs, the same romantic partners, the same food and drink. We get to choose where we live, what we think, and how we live our lives.

    If foreigners bother you, then your recourse is not to hire any foreigners at your business. Other people, those who don't mind foreigners, are correspondingly free to hire foreigners at their businesses. Everybody makes their own choices for themselves, which is the same bargain we have with regard to choice of religion, choice of romantic partner, choice of where to live. Freedom allows everybody to make this choice for themselves.

  • NL7

    You keep throwing out this open borders, free market capitalism meme, when that isn't at all what critics of current immigration policy are upset about.

    The fact that they don't much care about the free market is the point. They are happy to throw away the free market when it suits them.

  • NL7

    If anything, many of them worry that flooding the market with unskilled, uneducated workers will collapse the free market you champion.

    Saying that too many free economic choices will ruin the free market is like saying that too many new religions will ruin freedom of religion or too many speeches will ruin freedom of speech or too many books and newspapers will ruin freedom of the press or too many guns will ruin the right to bear arms.

  • NL7

    However one assesses [the Farook family] chain and its consequences, it seems clear that the large majority of legal immigrants choose to come—or, more exactly, are chosen by their relatives—for their own reasons. They are not selected by the United States to advance some national interest. Illegal immigrants are of course entirely self-selected, as are asylum seekers. …

    Donald Trump’s noisy complaints that immigration is out of control are literally true. Nobody is making conscious decisions about who is wanted and who is not, about how much immigration to accept and what kind to prioritize—not even for the portion of U.S. migration conducted according to law, much less for the larger portion that is not.

    So just to be clear, Frum thinks the central weakness of our current system is that it's TOO focused on individual choice and insufficiently focused on furthering the national will. Does that sound like a terribly pro-liberty argument? That our government is excessively worried about person freedom?

  • mx

    Even fewer than 1 in 1,000 people are murderers. See, for example, http://extranosalley.com/?p=19041. We freak out over murder because it's such a big deal, but it's quite rare.

  • TD

    Your response fails to address my main point, which is that many of the actual immigrants entering the country are unskilled and won't be employed by anyone, but will still be entitled to government benefits. If the immigrants had the choice of being employed or leaving, then I would support your position. What I don't support is their choice to enter and then force me to direct my resources to pay for them. As long as others are forced to pay for them through taxation, then it is entirely reasonable to ask whether they are needed.

  • FelineCannonball

    Or maybe it's a time machine thing. Most Muslims in jail found Mohammed after being incarcerated.

  • Adriana

    We already restrict public benefits to immigrants. There's no reason welfare has to be part of immigration. We couldn't afford to give welfare to every poor immigrant should we open borders, anyway. I also think it's worth noting that heterogeneous populations tend to breed discontent for welfare, not support.

    More importantly, let's take your logic to its inevitable conclusion. If having to pay taxes gives you the right to use state force to control people's peaceful choices, then how would this reasoning not apply to soda taxes/sugar bans, alcohol, drug, and tobacco prohibition, gun control/gun bans, etc. Going a step further, if it's such an unjust intrusion on you as a taxpayer to have new poor people enter your country and collect welfare, wouldn't that seemingly justify child licensing to keep financially unstable and poor people from creating new burdens on the state?

    I suspect for most or all of these you wouldn't be willing to control these choices even if they were costly, that the better and more moral answer would be to eliminate the government program rather than ban the private and consensual action.

  • NL7

    You apply that to immigrants but not to Americans. That argument could be used to control every choice Americans make for fear they will mess up and need welfare. That's a recipe for tyranny.

  • Tyrant Fluffy Pants

    What I find most amusing about the libertarian argument for open borders is the fact that the United States is just about the most libertarian-minded country in existence, certainly more so than those from where the current regime imports its future dependents.

    And, given the fact that approximately 112% of self-styled "libertarians" are white males, you not only dilute your ideology into irrevocable irrelevance, but your race as well.

    Great job, you pansies. Way to shoot us all in the foot.

    Say it with me: It's a credo, not a suicide pact.

  • dullgeek

    You might consider what Bryan Caplan has to say on this issue. Basically, if you believe that immigrants entering the country will cause problems with the welfare state, restricting immigration is probably the least humane solution to that problem. There are much more humane solutions available, like, for example, allowing immigration but not access to the welfare system.

    http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/bcaplan/pdfs/whyimmigration.pdf

  • Michmchu

    Gun ownership is a constitutional right, whereas regulating immigration is part and parcel of the state's responsibility to secure its borders. In a nutshell, you are equating a right under attack with a duty not enforced, indicating a republic with a serious misunderstanding of rights and duties. And THAT is troubling.

  • mesocyclone

    Not an apt comparison. Immigration is by its very nature the domain of the government. The government, which has the monopoly on controlling the border, must have a policy for what it is going to do. There is nothing socialist about actually setting policies, rather than the Libertarian approach of simply letting everyone flood across the border, so the Libertarian can hire them.

    Yes, it actually is a bit of central planning. That's the only way you can do federal level policies. The right approach is to take away from the feds what we don't need the feds to do. We need them to control the border. That is obvious to all except a few Libertarians, which is why Libertarians never win elections (Rand and Ron being the exceptions), but Rand has backed off from strict Libertarianism in order to do so.

  • Adriana

    Thank you for revealing your gross underlying motives. Hopefully the restrictionists in this thread will distance themselves from you.

  • Adriana

    Not sure what you mean by "by its very nature." You seem to be conflating national defense with immigration. Considering that the Constitution does not in fact authorize the federal government to regulate immigration and that the states prior to the late 19th century were handling the task (and only stopped because of a Supreme Court case regarding a head tax), I do question whether immigration is "by its nature" a federal issue. The only way it must be federal is if we all accept your premise that protecting the country from hostile invading armies is akin to restricting the flow of peaceful migrants. Since it's not, this isn't a particularly helpful analysis.

  • Adriana

    Interestingly, the Constitution doesn't give the federal government the power to regulate immigration, which is why the states regulated it before the late 19th century.

    You are equating a constitutional right with a duty not enumerated because you are confusing immigration with national defense. That's a bit troubling.

  • Tyrant Fluffy Pants

    Thank you for revealing your gross underlying motives. Hopefully the restrictionists in this thread will distance themselves from you.

    LOL. So you don't even afford yourself the same motivations embraced by the peoples you welcome into your country? Don't worry, I'm sure once we allow "the free market" to bring our population to a multi-cultural equilibrium, the huddled masses will suddenly awaken to the inherent superiority of your ideology and offer you the same quarter you so blindly gave to them.

    Let me be very clear. I really wouldn't care who lives in this country, what color their skin is, etc., etc. But unlike Ranger Dan here and his Paulian peanut gallery, I'm not so naive as to think the world is full of budding libertarians who just need to escape from under the respective thumbs of their homelands' governments to flourish in a free-market paradise. I'm also not so naive as to not recognize that, while your position on immigration intersects with that of the current power bloc, the motivations behind it could not be more different, and theirs are so much more against your interests than yours are theirs.

    Libertarianism, and for that matter anti-racism, are almost exclusively the domain of whites, particularly American whites. The immigrants you panty-waisted academics allow into this country under the guise of the "free market" care a lot less about both than you. You can ride your high horse all you like, but you're sitting backwards on it.

  • NL7

    So we suspend some freedoms to protect other freedoms? This is also an argument for abolition of free speech, free press, and voting rights. After all, why not just shoot everybody who doesn't profess the one true libertarian religion? Aren't libertarians giving away the store by not endorsing a capitalist jihad?

    You think it's appropriate to use government coercion to try to shape and control society in your own image. That's about the least libertarian notion I can think of.

  • NL7

    Government is the entity that exerts a monopoly over the legitimate use of force in a given jurisdiction. There is no reason that the force-monopoly needs to exclude peaceful people from the jurisdiction, provided those people are subjected to control by the force-monopoly.

  • Adriana

    Ron and Rand Paul aren't open borders. Maybe if you were more of a panty-waisted academic, you'd know the difference between a "Paulian" and a libertarian.

    You know, for someone who doesn't care about the color of the people living here, you sure have an odd way of talking about it. Diluting our race? Seriously? You lost your ability to say this is just about multiculturalism or dastardly foreign ideologies when you wrote that.

    But yes, please tell us more, grandpa, how free we'd be if only we used the federal government's immense power to keep the wrong sort out.

  • NL7

    I don't see why your argument couldn't apply to literally any government policy. For example:

    Compensation is by its very nature the domain of the government. The government, which has the monopoly on controlling wages and salaries, must have a policy for what it is going to do. There is nothing socialist about actually setting policies, rather than the Libertarian approach of simply letting everyone work for whatever wage they want, so the Libertarian can hire them.

    Yes, it actually is a bit of central planning. That's the only way you can do federal level policies. The right approach is to take away from the feds what we don't need the feds to do. We need them to control wages and salaries. That is obvious to all except a few Libertarians...

    You are simply assuming that, because the government claims the power to control the border, therefore it must continue to do so. Well what if the government already claims the power to set wages (which it does in several ways, primarily via the minimum wage), must libertarians say that wage controls are consistent with the free market? If "libertarian" meant "defer to government power wherever it already exists" then it'd just be called "conservatism."

  • NL7

    And, given the fact that approximately 112% of self-styled "libertarians" are white males, you not only dilute your ideology into irrevocable irrelevance, but your race as well.

    Just to be clear, you've set out the following dichotomy: Restricting immigration is the path for white supremacy, intolerance and racism. Increased immigration is the policy of racial integration, tolerance, and color-blindness.

    I agree, open borders is the tolerant position. It's not that all immigration restrictionists are white supremacists. But all white supremacists are immigration restrictionists.

  • Adriana

    Cue him calling you a ballerina and race traitor.

  • Tyrant Fluffy Pants

    So we suspend some freedoms to protect other freedoms?

    Yes! You know why? Because the more you allow non-citizens to abuse this alleged "freedom", the less you get to enjoy the ones you, a citizen, do have.

    Our fathers fought and died to secure our freedoms. The residents of the banana republics down south aren't inclined to do the same for their own posterity. They'd rather impose themselves on others as long as others are willing to let them. Europe is full of young, male "Syrians" who, if you take the propaganda at face value, fled a civil war between a brutal dictatorship and a tyrannical caliphate. That means they aren't refugees. They are deserters. And colonists, again, if you let them.

    You can sit and pontificate all you like about freedom and the restrictions thereof. But sometimes you need to dig your head out of the puckered brown hole of academia and take a good, hard look at the long-term ramifications of your abstractions. Why do we have national borders? Is it possible that others don't share the same commitment to personal freedom and autonomy that we do? What happens if they don't?

  • NL7

    Plenty of your fellow white power advocates in 1850 would've argued that people of black, Catholic, Jewish or any other 'foreign' extraction would be incapable of democratic self-government and unable to grasp the subtleties of freedom and liberty. Yet today we have Americans of every background who are able to grasp those things, and we have eloquent defenses of freedom, privacy and individual rights advanced by judges and politicians who belong to the groups that would've enraged the white supremacists of yesteryear.

    You might fear that nonwhite people will ruin freedom. I have confidence, grounded in historical experiences, that absolutely isn't true. And more to the point, I'm not willing to endorse your vision of a fascist white utopia out of fear that racial tolerance will in some far-flung future marginally undermine liberty.

  • NL7

    I don't believe we should suspend freedom of speech for people who disagree with me. I don't believe we should suspend freedom of religion for people who disagree with me. And I don't believe we should suspend freedom of movement for people who disagree with me.

    I get that you're a white supremacist and a fascist. But the rest of us are not and will be hard-pressed to accept the absurd notion that we need to destroy freedom in order to save freedom.

  • Tyrant Fluffy Pants

    Simple minds love dichotomies, don't they? So easy to follow, don't have to churn the gears too much. It's like when the talking heads tell you that racial awareness = bad, color-blindness = good... but only for whites.

  • Tyrant Fluffy Pants

    But the rest of us are not and will be hard-pressed to accept the absurd notion that we need to destroy freedom in order to save freedom.

    But what if, by "saving" freedom, you slowly erode it into nothingness? Do you have any more platitudes left in your tank that can evade that question?

  • Titan28

    You are correct. My phrasing was inept. What I meant to say was that if we let in enough people who simply will never work we will in the long run kill the goose that lays the golden egg, since the productive sector will get consumed by the scavengers. Who is John Galt?

  • NL7

    Well, Fluffy Stormfront Pants can hang. I'm happy to be a "traitor" to an arbitrary classification I did not choose and feel no fidelity towards. I feel more loyalty to the day of the week I was born on. Thursdays fucking rule.

  • Adriana

    You monster! It's clearly Saturdays.

  • http://itsaboutliberty.com/index.php MNHawk

    Who are you to demand I open up my wallet to take care of 10,000 new welfare recipients?

  • NL7

    So in order to prevent a future where foreigners eventually have children who decades later become adults who vote in slightly less libertarian ways than all the current voters who elected people like Rick Santorum, Chuck Schumer, Mike Huckabee, and Nancy Pelosi, we should simply agree today to abandon freedom as a goal and adopt racial quotas?

    First, that's like shooting yourself in the head to avoid the threat of eventually contracting cancer. You want to eliminate critical freedoms today in order to avoid a nebulous and ill-defined risk of lost freedoms years or decades away.

    Second, as I foreshadowed, it's not like the current American population has moved us in a terribly libertarian direction. Most Americans should be deported in a world where America has a libertarians-only immigration policy.

    Third, I don't accept that white Europeans and Westerners are necessarily the antidote to socialism and conservatism. Canada defines itself around its policy of making private health care illegal; Denmark and Sweden are widely associated with lavish welfare; Europeans in general have a higher pain threshold on taxes, regulations and welfare than the average American. I'd wager that letting in entrepreneurs from Hong Kong, Singapore, and certain mercantile cities in Southern China would snag more supporters of the free market than letting in a bunch of mollycoddled European welfare-staters.

    Fourth, I don't accept that race equals destiny. Every race and ethnicity is told it has severe flaws that make it incompatible with good government. People argued argued it about black, Asian and American Indian people, and in earlier times they said it about Jews, Catholics, Irish, Italians, and at times it was said of Norwegians, Dutch, Germans, and Scots. I consider all of those roundly debunked by intervening historical experience and so I don't consider the threat of racial integration to be scary.

  • NL7

    So you'd be fine as long as they didn't get any public welfare benefits? If they came in, got jobs, and used only private charity, that'd be fine for you?

  • Titan28

    Caplan says that we can't make a moral case for restricting immigration. I think we can, and I say so without disagreeing with many of his specific, micro-points. But they mistake the forest for the trees. America is a nation state. America does not owe the disenfranchised of the world American citizenship. If we literally opened our doors, 4 billion people would swim here tomorrow (I exaggerate, but you get my point). Caplan strikes me as a typical pro-open borders academic.

    In effect, he's a sentimentalist, although unlike the WaPo or HuffPo, he goes about it by making a technical argument. The nub of the issue is that America is under no obligation to take in everyone who wants to come here. There are laws.

  • http://itsaboutliberty.com/index.php MNHawk

    Yes, as no one can seriously say open immigration and a welfare state can coexist.

    And don't try telling me we don't give new immigrants welfare as I live in a town who's entire stock of section 8 housing is filled with Somalis.

  • NL7

    Right, because nobody could ever accuse white supremacists of Manichaean oversimplification. For example, no white supremacist would ever imply that nonwhite people will corrode freedom like oxygen on iron.

  • NL7

    That's a welfare problem and a labor regulation problem, not an open borders problem.

    If anything, letting in more foreigners is likely to undermine support for welfare. Heterogeneous countries like the US and Brazil tend to have weaker welfare states than historically homogenous countries like Sweden and Denmark. The New Deal came about a dozen years after the US enacted strict immigration quotas, and during a period of intense racial segregation, so many have argued that the federal welfare state was made possible because it could be directed away from immigrants and African Americans. If you want less welfare, then you should want more foreigners.

    If you're a Rand fan, she was apparently in favor of immigration. http://openborders.info/ayn-rand-immigration-obvious/

  • NL7

    That's a quality Bryan Caplan reference. Another alternative is to let immigrants pay a bond to defray the potential costs of welfare. Plenty of foreigners would begin saving up to buy a surety bond for a family member to come to America and work legally. And paying the entrance fee is still more humane than a blanket prohibition. Or rather it's less inhumane.

  • mesocyclone

    Government exists to protect its citizens, not everyone in the world. It is a natural outgrowth of this that those citizens can ask that government to restrict who crosses the borders, by any criteria the citizens desire. It is a clear duty, not just an option, for the government to protect its citizens from violence, crime and war, and that must factor into those decisions.

    It is also true that the nation state is almost always congruent with a particular culture. It is not unreasonable to ask it to protect that culture in its border enforcement.

  • bigmaq1980

    "This is a terrible question and to my eye shows just how close Conservatives come to accepting many of the assumptions of Socialism."

    This is a fair criticism of one block of conservatives. The "why do we need" question hides many sins and is darn close in relationship to the thinking behind "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs".(quick, guess who made famous these words?). Does anyone "need" more than a Lada? Does anyone "need" an iPad? Does anyone "need" Amazon, when there is an alternative already in driving distance for most?

    It is also a fair criticism that several, who call themselves conservative, want to limit immigration based simply on the race or religion. Noticed more of that lately as some "conservatives" would like to explain how Trump opened the "Overton Window" for this kind of discussion.

    There are others, who may fall under the conservative banner, who have other reasons, but we cannot invalidate all Conservatives or "conservatives" with this one example...just that argument they are using.

    Have to agree that current talk about immigration is more fear based than fact based. As a 2nd Amendment supporter, have to say that there is merit in the argument that some thug with a gun (probably illegal) is realistically more a personal threat than some immigrant (illegal or not), several of whom we probably see everyday, but never know.

    The risk that something sensational will happen because a terrorist gets through is probably less than that of some individual crazy shooting up a public place.

    The focus is all on the immigration and not on the competency of our multiple levels of LE organizations tasked with mitigating this risk (as info leaks out, it seems clearer that LE had the means to identify Farook and wife - meanwhile, LE is pushing for more surveillance capability, when they seemingly are not using what they have, nor coordinating effectively), and on alternatives to proposed solutions (e.g. is the only solution for Syrian refugees immigration to the US?).

    There is a rational case to be made on limiting would be immigrants, but it is not a case made on a weak framing like that of "need".

  • mesocyclone

    Without control of who crosses the borders, you have no national defense. That, and the fact that the border is created by the federal government and not the individual states means that it is a federal issue.

    National defense is a lot more than protecting against hostile invading armies. It is a defense of the nation from all foreign threats. Nothing in the Constitution, the Treaty of Westphalia or our and English common law restricts that defense to fighting invading armies, and nothing in those restricts the control of immigration.

    That the Constitution does not authorize control of immigration is no doubt because it was so completely obvious to the founders that they didn't feel a need to include it. The Bill of Rights, after all, was an afterthought for the same reason.

  • mesocyclone

    Yes, just like we are in national defense. Some things are inherently national.

  • Michmchu

    You sound a bit obtuse in citing states rights in the 19th century in an attempt to deflect the fairly obvious, namely, that at present, regulation of borders is a federal responsibility. See ICE. Further missing the point, as non-citizens, they are not afforded the same rights as citizens, because, well, they're not. It seems a mistake to try to grant the rights of US citizens to non-citizens, or am I missing something?