Arnold Kling  

Concerns About the Immigration Bill

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James Miller writes,


Unskilled Immigrants + Large Welfare State = Higher Taxes

I would add

Congress + Hundreds of Legislative Pages = Unintended Consequences Up the Wazoo

I don't know what the consequences of the law will be, but I suspect that, even though I am a big fan of bringing in more immigrants, I would not like the bill if I read it. Brian Doherty gives a few hints.

From Sec. 1547: “Any person who--(1) knowingly enters into a marriage for the purpose of evading any provision of the immigration laws; or (2) knowingly misrepresents the existence or circumstances of a marriage….shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.” The investigation and ferreting out of the true, deep-down, for-real emotional meaning and circumstances of a marriage is a widely felt need in American’s private lives; seems a shame to restrict it to “green card marriages.” There’s always the next Comprehensive Act.

Just to be clear--Doherty's comments in the latter part of the paragraph are sarcastic. He has other examples in his essay.


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COMMENTS (16 to date)
vcif writes:

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adrian writes:

"I am a big fan of bringing in more immigrants"

Arnold ensuring he still gets invited to all the dinner parties, a line like this must be a part of any post on immigration, such is the journalistic status game. Being pro-immigration gets you entry to the elite club. Unless it involves Israel, and then suddenly all the journalists revert to ethnonationalists. Eg. Pro-mass immigration neocon Bill Kristal supports the racialist Likud party in Israel. Hypocrisy all round, especially when the jews come out in favour of immigration.

DRR writes:

I think Arnold Kling wanting more immigration might have something to due with the fact that, you know, he's a libertarian, and they're into that free movement of goods & people across borders thing.

I grant that to be in favor of free immigration in the U.S. while sanctioning the ethnonationalist aspects of Israel is hypocritical. But from my perspective that means the Neocons are at least half right. More than I can say white nativists stateside.

ben tillman writes:

I think Arnold Kling wanting more immigration might have something to due with the fact that, you know, he's a libertarian, and they're into that free movement of goods & people across borders thing.

I believe you have reversed the cause and effect. For some undisclosed reason Kling and other self-styled "libertarians" want more immigration, and to accommodate their desires they have decreed that the "free movement of goods & people across borders" is consistent with libertarian principles.

It's not.

People on either side of a border have a right to exclude anyone or anything they choose. It's a concept known as property.

adrian writes:

I grant that to be in favor of free immigration in the U.S. while sanctioning the ethnonationalist aspects of Israel is hypocritical. But from my perspective that means the Neocons are at least half right. More than I can say white nativists stateside.

My point was that Israel should have a closed border vis-a-vis its immediate neighbors, if they took your wishy-washy advice, or the advise Jewish journalists give to Washington, then their nation would cease to exist, which is why Jewish journalists support Israeli policies. My criticism was - why can't America do the same?

DRR writes:

I believe you have reversed the cause and effect. For some undisclosed reason Kling and other self-styled "libertarians" want more immigration, and to accommodate their desires they have decreed that the "free movement of goods & people across borders" is consistent with libertarian principles.

It's not.

Uh, yes it is. Or else you don't spend much time around libertarians.

People on either side of a border have a right to exclude anyone or anything they choose. It's a concept known as property.

I don't think Arnold Kling or anyone else who is pro-immigration is disputing the right of a nation to determine it's own immigration policy. But as far as he's concerned, he wants that policy to be liberal.

DRR writes:

My point was that Israel should have a closed border vis-a-vis its immediate neighbors, if they took your wishy-washy advice, or the advise Jewish journalists give to Washington, then their nation would cease to exist,

If the goal of Israel is to maintain itself as a uniquely jewish state, in a religious & ethnic sense, considering it's status as a low birth country surrounded by high birth muslim countries, than yes it would need to be incredibly restrictive on who it lets in.

But A: I'm not sure whether that is worthy goal & B: The situation in the U.S. is much different from that of Israel vis a vis immigration.

Steve Chapman explains in elementary terms, just what the issue is, and why there isn't much government can do about it:

Both illegals and natives gain something from this movement of people. To suppose that policies emanating from Washington can overcome these drives is like assuming that laws against sodomy can neutralize libidos.

Conservatives need no instruction on the value of market mechanisms in creating wealth. But the continuing illegal flow of people into this country, which so many conservatives decry, is a product of those mechanisms.

If there are no jobs in Town A and lots of them in Town B, many residents of A will decamp for B. The same holds for countries. Mexicans making $15 a day have a huge incentive to go where they can make $15 an hour. Like water rolling downhill, they are naturally drawn to places where they will be better off.

Of course, we often alter or stop the flow of rivers by damming them. But damming people is harder, since they, unlike H20, have the means and the motive to outwit such efforts. Thus the paradox discovered by Princeton sociologist Douglas Massey: As we have increased our efforts to seal the Mexican border, migrants have been diverted to remote areas that are harder to patrol, so much so that the rate of apprehension has actually fallen.

TGGP writes:

Steve Chapman is wrong. The current wave of immigration started because Congress passed the 1965 immigration act, and another wave started after the 1988 amnesty. Eisenhower was able to clamp down on the southern border without even an act of Congress with Operation Wetback. A graph showing the effect of these acts of the government is here. Immigration restriction was effective from 1924 until 1965, it can be effective again (as such restrictions are effective in many other countries, with Mexico being far harsher to its own central american immigrants than the US is to Mexicans). The problem is that those in charge DO NOT WANT it to be effective. Kennedy on the left and Bush on the right (with those terms being what they are in current American politics) both can't stand restrictionists and are willing to screw over the Samuel Gompers and Tancredos that should be their base when it comes to this issue.

TGGP writes:

Libertarian James Fulford has more on the successes of border/immigration enforcement in Chingo Blingo is Wrong - We Can Deport Them All.

Wild Pegasus writes:

I don't think Arnold Kling or anyone else who is pro-immigration is disputing the right of a nation to determine it's own immigration policy.

I am. No one has the right to tell me who I can or can't hire, or who I can or can't rent to. If immigration policy interferes with either, it is unjust. Hence, any policy other than completely open is unjust. Hence, there is no such "right of a nation", as if such a concept even makes sense.

- Josh

TGGP writes:

Wild Pegasus, would you endorse something like the Gulf State guest-worker model over what we currently have?

ben tillman writes:
No one has the right to tell me who I can or can't hire, or who I can or can't rent to. If immigration policy interferes with either, it is unjust.

Are you serious?

Your neighbors have the right to tell you whom you can hire and whom you can rent to. Without the consent of at least one of your neighbors, the person you want to hire or rent to can't reach you.

Matt writes:

Just stumbled upon your blog after reading Caplan's essay in Cato Unbound about his new book. Interesting although not sure i can agree completely.

As for this post I think Krauthammer sums up your point the best.

"Any bill that is 380 pages long is bound to have nooks and crannies reflecting private deals, quiet paybacks and ad hoc arrangements that you often don't learn about until it's too late."

Kling: "Congress + Hundreds of Legislative Pages = Unintended Consequences Up the Wazoo
"
This is a family blog. Let's try to keep the pornographic imagery to a minimum.

Bob writes:

Nothing I have seen about immigration reform looks realistic to me.

As import duties and prohibitions increase we also see increased smuggling. Similarly, we have an underground labor market because we tax and regulate labor.

Citizens, because we are taxed, tracked, and checked too closely, have a huge competitive disadvantage in the underground labor market. Illegal aliens can fly under the radar. Illegal immigration has increased along with the taxation and regulation of labor.

Attempts at enforcement will be as futile as those against the drug trade. Worse, they will be aimed at citizens, not illegals. Each attempt at bringing illegals into the taxed and regulated labor market will merely make room for more illegal immigrants.

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