David R. Henderson  

Huffington Post's Stunning Ignorance of Immigration Law

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"Yes, we're planning to add this note to all future stories about Trump," the [Huffington Post] spokesperson said. "No other candidate has called for banning 1.6 billion people from the country! If any other candidate makes such a proposal, we'll append a note under pieces about them."
This is from Peter Sterne, "HuffPost to publish anti-Trump kicker with all Trump coverage," On Media, January 28, 2016.

Is the Huffington Post spokesperson unaware that under current immigration law, only about a million or so new immigrants are allowed into the United States every year? Is he/she also unaware that none of the Democratic and Republican candidates for president advocates substantially liberalizing that law?

This means that all of the candidates advocate banning over 6 billion people from the country.

Of course, you can argue that Trump wants not even to let those 1.6 billion people enter the country, so that the issue is simply entry, not immigration.

But not so fast. Talk sometime to people from other countries who routinely get turned down. I ran into two young Chinese people, while visiting my daughter in Thailand a few years ago, who told me that the U.S. government would not give them visas to enter the United States. Has the U.S. government said no 1.6 billion times? Probably not. It doesn't need to. Nor would Donald Trump's government need to say no 1.6 billion times either, because (a) It's a certainty that not all 1.6 billion Muslims would want to enter and (2) even of those many Muslims who do want to visit the United States, many would be discouraged by the experience of their fellow Muslims.

I look forward to the Huffington Post's appending a note about Hillary Clinton the next time they write about her. How long do you think I will have to wait?


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COMMENTS (17 to date)
JK Brown writes:

Wait, when did Trump say he wanted to "ban" all Muslims? He said he would stop all Muslim immigration and visitation until the US government go a handle on vetting them, but he didn't say ban as in permanent which is the lie everyone seems to want to perpetuate.

And it really annoys me to defend the guy, but these lies that have been picked up as fact reveal more about the people writing than they do about Trump.

David R. Henderson writes:

@JK Brown,
Thanks for pointing that out. As I’m sure you noticed, I was taking the claim as given and pointing out that it applies to all the candidates.

Brett Champion writes:

Banning an entire class of people based on things like race, religious belief, etc. is qualitatively different from placing a limit on the number of people who can immigrate to or enter the country during any given time period.

Jim writes:

Brett - Israel's emigration policy discriminates on the basis of ethnicity and religion. Do you think that that is wrong?

Matt writes:

Boudreaux-worthy insight

Jon Murphy writes:
Banning an entire class of people based on things like race, religious belief, etc. is qualitatively different from placing a limit on the number of people who can immigrate to or enter the country during any given time period.

Not really. Immigration quotas are based exactly upon demographics. It's not "the first 1 m people who apply get in." It's "We're only allowing X people from these countries, Y people with IQs above a level (and none below that level)" etc etc. See the Immigration & Nationalization Act

David R. Henderson writes:

@Matt,
Boudreaux-worthy insight
Ultimate compliment. Thanks, Matt.
@Jon Murphy,
Not really. Immigration quotas are based exactly upon demographics. It's not "the first 1 m people who apply get in." It's "We're only allowing X people from these countries, Y people with IQs above a level (and none below that level)" etc etc. See the Immigration & Nationalization Act
Good point. Thanks, Jon.

Aaron J writes:

I think the Huffington Post disclaimer is justifiable. While no candidates are calling for open borders, none of the others have explicitly banned a certain class of people. The other candidates may favor limiting immigration, but they have not advocated 'banning' anybody.

If George Mason says we only are going to admit 5000 students, they have not banned anybody, merely announced a policy of limited admission. If they say we are going to admit 5000 students and Muslims need not apply, then they have banned individuals.

Jon Murphy writes:

Aaron J-

And if they say "we're only going to admit 5,000 people, people without at least a 4.0 need not apply" how is that any different? You're blocking people based upon demographics. Whether its based upon intelligence, race, country of origin, or protected status matters not.

Aaron J writes:

But we aren't blocking people on those characteristics- each person gets a case by case review for visa eligibility.

I think David is more right than the Huffington Post here, but to claim the latter are "stunningly ignorant" based on the content posted strikes me as very unfair.

David R Henderson writes:

@Aaron J,
I think David is more right than the Huffington Post here, but to claim the latter are "stunningly ignorant" based on the content posted strikes me as very unfair.
Point taken, but I would drop both the "stunningly" from my title and the "very" from your comment.

Jon Murphy writes:

But we aren't blocking people on those characteristics- each person gets a case by case review for visa eligibility.

But we are. That's exactly what a visa quota system does.

Floccina writes:

Which brings to mind an interesting idea, if you have arbitrary restrictions on immigration, as we do banning Muslims is no worse or better than having the general restriction and not bannin Muslims.

Gonzo the Great writes:

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FM writes:

I think there's a clear difference between a politician deprioritizing an issue or passively accepting the status quo vs. advocating new restrictions that disqualify a large number of people before applying.

What is the purpose of banning Muslims from entering the USA? If the purpose is to minimize the number of new entrants who perpetrate violent crime, I can't imagine 'is_muslim' is a very predictive variable on its own. You'd have to include all sorts of other variables: age, gender, past criminal/violent behavior, social media presence, relationships with violent people, place of origin, family ties, etc.

There are so many downsides to such a policy: hurts US gov relationships with other countries, hurts US gov relationships with domestic muslims, reduces potential US benefits from immigrants (I personally know a family of 2nd generation muslims where every member is a doctor), limits the freedom of international muslims to live where they want to, limits the options of intl refugees to escape their dangerous home countries, clashes with one of the founding principles of the US where the country is a safe destination for those persecuted for their religion.

Nathan W writes:

How is it anti-Trump to highlight one of his most differentiable policy initiative compared to other candidates?

Rick Bohan writes:

If any candidate has said, "We're going to ban all white Christians from coming into the country," you can bet that Fox and other outlets would be attaching a similar disclaimer to their names. So what's the fuss?

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