Immigration Götterdämmerung

 

In the past, Ricochet has hosted point/counterpoint articles — a phenomenon I was pleased to take part in. My desire is to revive that tradition and the opportunity has presented itself with a new interlocutor: Fred Cole.

The subject we are going to discuss is the contentious topic of immigration. I also believe in telling you where I sit before I tell you where I stand. So, in the spirit of full disclosure, my readers should know that I work for a firm which is owned in part by a legal resident alien – a legal resident alien in possession of a Doctorate in Geotechnical Engineering who immigrated to the United States via legal processes.

I reject utterly any assertion that my positions derive from Xenophobia, Racism or any other “ism” or “phobia.” Over the years, I have tried to make my position here at Ricochet clear: I am in favor of a skills-based immigration policy in the mold of Canada’s or Australia’s points-based systems. I am opposed to all low-skill and illegal immigration. There are other forms of immigration as well, such as those applying for refugee status or asylum. I am generally opposed to these as well with a few exceptions that I will explain.

Having cleared the ground for this argument, it seems to me that the first question which needs to be answered with regard to the topic of immigration is: What is the purpose of having such a policy in the first place? The primary purpose of immigration in my estimation should be first and foremost to help Americans. By that, I mean that the position of the Government of the United States should be strongly biased towards improving the lot of Americans’ lives, with the secondary consideration being how that affects the lives of potential immigrants. An immigration policy reflecting that principle would only invite people to participate in our country who have a strong likelihood of adding to the nation’s economic might and moral capital. How would we accomplish this?

Now, I’m a Baseball fan and I try not to have a lot of sentimentality about individual players. The bottom line for me is “wins” because that is, in the end, the only metric that helps you win you the last game of the season. So, when thinking about how to assess a player there are a variety of metrics one can use to judge whether or not that player is likely to be a net addition to your team or a net drain. The relatively new metric WAR (Wins Above Replacement) is a handy means of comparison between any given player and a theoretical average of players at that position (a theoretical “replacement”) across the Major Leagues. In a similar sense, a prospective immigrant to America who is going to accomplish the goal of adding to the nation’s economic might ought to have a WAR greater than that of the median American. How we measure such a thing can come via a variety of means – perhaps an individual seeking citizenship or residency is already wealthy, or perhaps they are a professional athlete or entertainer who stands to earn millions of dollars. Perhaps they have extraordinary technical skills of one type or another which will allow them to earn a large salary in a profession which is in great demand.

To complete the baseball analogy, the United States is the biggest and most successful Major League Franchise in history, and we have the prerogative to pick and choose whom we allow to come into our country and play for us. It makes perfect sense to only select those people whom we have reason to believe will make life better for existing Americans by contributing their energy, know-how and financial resources to the country.

This statements of general principle are, I think, entirely reasonable and free of arbitrary and capricious bias. It’s worth comparing these notions to the policy we currently follow, which is one focused primarily on “family reunification,” irrespective of financial or other considerations. Family Reunification is largely responsible for what is known colloquially as “chain migration” and has led to net legal immigration to the United States of near or more than a million persons per year since the 1990s.

The result of this unprecedented level of legal immigration (for an unprecedented period) is that we are approaching the largest share of foreign-born residents in our country’s history, with the absolute number of foreign-born residents exceeding the population of the State of California:

(See the Migration Policy institute for original data)

Given this huge influx of people from a huge variety of countries, it makes perfect sense for the government to ratchet down the net inflow of immigrants – if for no other reason than to allow the current crop of foreign-born to assimilate to life here in America, as a continuous flow of ethnically native persons arriving in a community has the effect of actively inhibiting the process of assimilation.

Who said that? Why, immigrant Reihan Salam did:

“The danger, as I see it, is that as the logic of the melting pot fails to take hold, and as more newcomers are incorporated into disadvantaged groups, the level of inter-ethic tension will skyrocket, to the point where we’ll look back wistfully on the halcyon politics of the Trump years. Preventing this nightmare scenario should be our number one priority. Instead, we are sleepwalking right into it.” (Melting Pot or Civil War?, pp 65)

Indeed, if you’re the sort of person who disdains things like “nativism” the path towards increased balkanization and more of that lies in force-feeding the people who are saying “enough!” more of the same.

So, we’ve covered what immigration’s goals ought to be, and what it should consist of. That begs the question: what ought it not be?

The answer is three-fold: Immigration ought not be the lawless situation we currently have with regards to illegal immigration and it ought not be the fraud-riddled disasters we have in the form of “diversity lotteries” and fake asylum and refugee claims. These are actually somewhat different things and we should handle them separately.

The first prong that needs to be tackled is the question of asylum and refugees. The United States Government recognizes the right of certain persons to request asylum or refugee status in the US for a variety of reasons. The very notion of asylum or refugee status implies first and foremost that you are a person seeking temporary shelter from some natural or man-caused disaster. The key word here is “temporary.” The trouble is, once people achieve these forms of legal status, there seems to be very little that is “temporary” about it.

For instance, in 2001, El Salvador was struck by a 7.6 magnitude earthquake. Over 200,000 El Salvadoreans were granted refugee status of one kind or another and resettled here in the United States. Again: this status was supposed to be temporary and as such, was subject to renewal at 18-month intervals. It’s now 2018… 17 years later. Presumably, the earthquake and the conditions which precipitated the need for people to flee from El Salvador have abated? Yet only now, after interminable renewals of their temporary status through 3 Presidential Administrations is the Trump Administration considering not renewing it, which could result in these refugees finally going home. This is merely the tip of the iceberg when considering the number of such refugees from a variety of places around the world such as Haiti, Somalia or Burma.

Applications for asylum and refugee status are rife with fraud and abuse – a simple scan of ICE’s news feed will reveal multiple enforcement actions where such schemes are hatched and carried out. Again, these are merely the stories that we hear about.

When you add up the number of asylum-seekers and refugees that the US takes in from the panoply of disasters around the world over the course of decades, the numbers become pretty striking in and of themselves. Note within that link the graphic discussing the number of asylees and refugees who converted their temporary status into legal permanent resident status over time – not a massive number, but curious nonetheless for the fact that so many of these people have simply stayed, rather than go home. This isn’t to say that all of these people have come here in an unjust or dishonest fashion – it is to say that their means of arrival are decidedly not premised upon the notion that their presence should improve the lot of our nation and its citizens.

This raises the appropriate question of what the United States’s policies with regard to displaced and persecuted people ought to be. The most famous case that many people are familiar with is that of the St. Louis, where over 900 people (mainly Jewish) seeking asylum from Nazi Germany were turned away in 1942. It isn’t overstating the case to call this situation “monstrous.” The Roosevelt State department knew very well the fate which awaited those people upon their return to Germany, where the death camps beckoned.

Fortunately, Nazi or Soviet-style evils are considerably rarer in today’s age, and the black mark of that failure of moral temperament should not mean that we have to compensate for it in perpetuity with make-up calls and mea culpas.

The ideal number of refugees America should accept today is fairly close to “Zero,” barring some truly extraordinary circumstances. There are many reasons for this including the fact that resettling refugees in places much closer to their homelands is considerably cheaper than resettling them here, and that location adds to the likelihood that they will ultimately return home after the crisis in their nation is over.

In this day and age, America should only accept refugee or asylum requests from those who have a genuine claim of persecution at the hands of their home government — a person like Liu Xiaobo comes immediately to mind — as a means of shaming our geopolitical adversaries by highlighting their crimes. This is the aspect of improving “moral capital” which I mentioned earlier.

Speaking of programs which neither improve moral or economic capital, The Diversity Visa Lottery is a truly bizarre program crafted with no eye towards economic development whatsoever. It should be scrapped immediately and with prejudice. Several Diversity Lottery Visa all-stars are famous names like “Omar Mateen” and “Sayfullo Saipov.”

I’ve gone on at length here about these programs and how they’re abused, but the reality of the situation is that these programs are romper room in comparison to illegal immigration in the forms of visa overstays and illicit border-crossings. DHS estimates that there were some 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States in 2014.

In reality, the only means by which the US will ever get its arms around such a massive problem is by attacking it at the well-head; by that, I mean at the place of employment. Various studies of employment verification have revealed that some 6.5 million Social Security numbers of people who would now be 115 years old or older are currently active. By that, I mean that people are either using the SSNs of these extremely old (and presumably dead) people to either conduct banking or pay payroll taxes. Simply getting a system in place which biometrically ties a person to their SSN alongside E-Verify would weed out those who are illegally using those numbers now and mostly put an end to illegal presence in this country by cutting them off from work – be they visa over-stayers or border-jumpers.

You might ask: why am I so insistent that we severely restrict low-skill immigration? Again, I’ll quote Reihan Salam’s “Melting Pot or Civil War?”:

NAS (the National Academy of Sciences) found vastly different net present value flows for immigrant groups depending on educational attainment. The average immigrant with less than a high school degree can be expected to cost $115,000 over a seventy-five-year period. That immigrant’s descendants, if they also have less than a high school diploma will cost $70,000. Meanwhile, the net contribution of an immigrant with a bachelor’s degree is $210,000, with descendants making net contributions of $42,000, assuming they also have bachelor’s degrees. (pp 55)

And:

The NAS Study projects that of the children of foreign-born parents with less than a high school education, only 6.2% will graduate from college. Low incomes in one generation risk extending to the next.

It is beyond obvious that low-skill immigration not only has disproportionately negative impacts upon low-skill Americans in the form of depressing wages, but it is also the case that the prospects of future generations of low-skilled immigrants are not positive either. There is no reason for our nation to “lose money on the unit price” for immigrants and try to “make it up in bulk.”

Throughout the crafting of this piece, I’ve tried to remain as neutral and fact-based as possible. I’ve tried to employ statistics in marshaling the argument that while immigration can serve a positive economic role for this nation, it is nonetheless not a free lunch. The costs of immigration (particularly illegal immigration) are diffused across a wide spectrum of people who bear an asymmetric share of them, while an equally asymmetric share of the benefits accrue to those immigrants and those in search of marginally cheaper labor. This is the classic definition of a Concentrated/Diffused interest problem in economics, whereby a relatively small, but highly interested group of people are able to free-ride via spreading the costs of consuming a set of rivalrous public goods across a separate, yet relatively less-interested group.

The trouble is that the costs ultimately come due, and they emerge in the form of bifurcated communities and lower levels of public trust. We, as a nation, must wrestle and come to grips with the notion that even though we rightly consider ourselves to be a land of opportunity, there is nonetheless nothing magical about our dirt.

The secret sauce that has made America into the titan that it is has come largely in the form of improvements to human capital. Our immigration policy should reflect that reality, and the reality that unless responsible people tackle the question of immigration, irresponsible ones will ultimately fill that role.

Let us hope we choose responsibility.

Published in Immigration
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There are 64 comments.

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  1. Inactive

    There’s a recent Ars Technica article:

    Over the last two decades, 90 percent of workers in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties—the heart of Silicon Valley—have seen their real wages go down, according to a new study by the University of California, Santa Cruz and the think tank Working Partnership USA.

    About which Glenn Reynolds notes: THE FRUITS OF H1-B VISA ABUSE…Words that don’t appear in this Piketty-drenched article: “H1-B,” “Immigration,” “Visa.”

    The article continues:

    “The median wage for workers in the Silicon Valley region declined by 14 percent,” the research showed.

    This drop in income comes at the same time that productivity in the United States is at record highs, the study found. Worse still, many costs are rising: notably Bay Area housing is increasingly unaffordable.

    In short, most workers—regardless of whether they work in the tech sector or not—are getting poorer due to venture capital-driven business models that prioritize outlandish returns fueled by low-wage work that captures a given market quickly.

    “If labor’s share of production in 2016 had been the same as in 2001, every employed Silicon Valley worker would have received, on average, an additional $8,480,” the authors wrote.

    That difference is being pocketed by investors and owners, the research concluded.

    To what extent does that depend on corporate abuse of the H-1B visa process?

    • #1
    • November 26, 2018 at 3:03 pm
    • 6 likes
  2. Member

    Great post, Maj.

    I think that you make two excellent points, early on, but I do not see any prospect that anyone on the Left, or any Democrat, will agree with these two points. They are:

    Shawn Buell (Majestyk): I reject utterly any assertion that my positions derive from Xenophobia, Racism or any other “ism” or “phobia.”

    Shawn Buell (Majestyk): Having cleared the ground for this argument, it seems to me that the first question which needs to be answered with regard to the topic of immigration is: What is the purpose of having such a policy in the first place? The primary purpose of immigration in my estimation should be first and foremost to help Americans.

    I worry that I may be strawmanning the argument of the Left and the Democrats, but I don’t think so. My impression is that any Democratic politician, except maybe Joe Manchin, who said either of the following would be immediately hounded out of office:

    There are perfectly good reasons to oppose some or all immigration. Opposition to immigration is not proof of racism or xenophobia.

    The purpose of American immigration policy should be to serve the interests of American citizens and the nation as a whole.

    Frankly, I’m not sure if many Republican politicians could make these statements without paying a serious political price, largely because of the influence of the Leftist propaganda machine that seems to be in control of all media outlets.

    As a practical matter, I think that immigration reform needs to be done incrementally, and that we need to avoid any path to citizenship for anyone who has come here illegally, ever.

     

    • #2
    • November 26, 2018 at 3:05 pm
    • 6 likes
  3. Member

    @majestyk, yours is a very sound and well-reasoned argument, but I fear it is in vain if you’re hoping to convince the “open borders” contingent.

    Arguing from reason is wasted effort when dealing with those whose motivations are based almost solely on “feelings.” I know, I’ve tried it many times to no avail whatever. 

    • #3
    • November 26, 2018 at 3:09 pm
    • 6 likes
  4. Member

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):
    Frankly, I’m not sure if many Republican politicians could make these statements without paying a serious political price, largely because of the influence of the Leftist propaganda machine that seems to be in control of all media outlets.

    I don’t think they’d pay a political price. I think they’d be lambasted by the media, but there’s not much left about Republicans that hasn’t been demonized.

    The majority of Americans, left AND right, want immigration under control, and that absolutely translates into stopping the flood of illegal immigration while chain and lottery are also regarded poorly.

    The only place you may stump a majority of the electorate is limiting low-skill legal immigration because of soft-heartedness (which tends to lead to soft-headedness).

    Republicans may also lose all their funding to run campaigns. That could be the biggest issue.

    • #4
    • November 26, 2018 at 4:20 pm
    • 3 likes
  5. Member

    I love this, Maj. I think this pretty much accurately captures my take on it.

    What surprises me about the current claims of low-unemployment (hard to find workers) is that the first step to getting more employable (especially low skill) is to draw back welfare. Not a lot all at once, but gradually. Get the least desperate back into the field.

    Something also needs done about minimum wage. Illegal migration is such a boon because of the minimum wage. If we could at least create a legal loophole with a standard form to waive minimum wage and allow people to negotiate a wage by choice, I wonder what would happen.

    But also, employers need to understand they need to compete for labor, as well. If you need the workers and can’t find any, then check out that law of supply and demand. You can’t tell teachers supply outweighs demand so they are paid low while at the same time refusing to raise wages to attract a limited supply of workers to you.

    Looking forward to Fred’s response.

    • #5
    • November 26, 2018 at 4:27 pm
    • 1 like
  6. Member

    I think the analogy to a baseball team invites the worst kind of government micromanagement. It is no coincidence that American immigration restrictions come with the dawn of the progressive era and their economic tinkering for the benefit of Americans. If the government can engage in deciding what kind of workers should be let in for central planning reasons, I don’t see why they shouldn’t also micromanage what kind of degrees and job training citizens get too. Economic logic is the same. Seems focusing on immigration as the right lever is more out of legal and political convenience. Immigrants aren’t a voting constituency, and in the realm of foreign policy the Federal government has great latitude. But the ultimate kernel is still that top down desire to order people around control things. 

    Explain to me the natural law justification for the government deciding who can “legaly” work. Where in the Constitution is that an enumerated power?

     

    • #6
    • November 26, 2018 at 5:15 pm
    • 3 likes
  7. Thatcher

    In January 2018 the Harvard Harris poll surveyed Americans on views on immigration. The questions had a greater level of specificity than usually seen in a poll. The results:

    Respondents favored a deal allowing those brought young into the country illegally a path to citizenship in return for a merit-based system of legal immigration (aka, eliminating family chain migration), an end to the diversity immigration visa lottery, and funding of an electronic and physical barrier with Mexico.

    Those in favor 65%, those opposed 35%.

    Of even more interest is the breakdown:

    Whites favored the deal by 62-38, Blacks by 64-35, and Hispanics by 68-32. Democrats and Republicans both favored it at the same rate.

    • #7
    • November 26, 2018 at 5:25 pm
    • 4 likes
  8. Contributor
    Shawn Buell (Majestyk) Post author

    Valiuth (View Comment):
    Explain to me the natural law justification for the government deciding who can “legaly” work. Where in the Constitution is that an enumerated power?

    It follows given that the Federal government has sole jurisdiction over immigration matters (search the text of the Constitution for “citizen”) and defines what privileges Citizens enjoy.

    Why make the distinction between citizen and non-citizen at all, otherwise? Polities such as nation states have the right to define their borders and the right to be present within it.

    • #8
    • November 26, 2018 at 5:35 pm
    • 7 likes
  9. Coolidge
    TBA

    Sure, you’ve got a well-reasoned 2000 word essay, but…um, well, like – ‘the children’, ya know? 

    • #9
    • November 26, 2018 at 9:16 pm
    • 4 likes
  10. Reagan
    iWe

    I have no problem with admitting low-skilled people, too. Having a workforce (for low-skilled work) that allows Americans more productive hours per day is not a bad thing. Why should highly-skilled professionals overpay (or just not have any access to) domestic cleaners or lawnmowers or snow shovelers?

    Perhaps we do it like the Gulf States do: a Guest Worker program of people who are never on a citizenship track, but are welcome to come and work for as long as they pay taxes and keep their noses clean.

    • #10
    • November 27, 2018 at 1:37 am
    • 1 like
  11. Contributor
    Shawn Buell (Majestyk) Post author

    iWe (View Comment):
    Perhaps we do it like the Gulf States do: a Guest Worker program of people who are never on a citizenship track, but are welcome to come and work for as long as they pay taxes and keep their noses clean.

    I would have no problem with this if we didn’t already have a labor participation rate which is very low by historical standards.

    The other side of this that I didn’t get to would be domestic policies which will encourage people to improve their mobility and return to the workforce. Of course, there is the fact that rising wages would incent people to leave non-work alternatives.

    As was already mentioned, this is a somewhat longish piece and I’m not interested in immenatizing the eschaton.

    • #11
    • November 27, 2018 at 4:19 am
    • 4 likes
  12. Contributor
    Shawn Buell (Majestyk) Post author

    Can I just point out that I sort of addressed this issue as well? Immigration of this sort is essentially a subsidy for the owners of businesses that depend on cheap labor.

    I’m just not that sympathetic to this argument, as it cuts the lowest rungs of the economic ladder off from those who might otherwise grasp it.

    • #12
    • November 27, 2018 at 4:26 am
    • 5 likes
  13. Thatcher

    Valiuth (View Comment):
    Explain to me the natural law justification for the government deciding who can “legaly” work. Where in the Constitution is that an enumerated po

    The “natural law” justification resides in Sovereignty. The governmental structure controlling a place can set its responsibilities and the rights of those in regions where it controls. This is a basic right of any state organization, as lacking this only anarchy would be allowed.

    Persons in the United States illegally have no constitutional rights. Citizens have full constitutional rights, and legal permanent residents have those rights the government accords to that status.

    The government is free to set whatever restrictions on employment, or other aspects of life the government wishes, since the constitution does not apply to these illegally present persons.

    • #13
    • November 27, 2018 at 6:21 am
    • 4 likes
  14. Member

    iWe (View Comment):

    I have no problem with admitting low-skilled people, too. Having a workforce (for low-skilled work) that allows Americans more productive hours per day is not a bad thing. Why should highly-skilled professionals overpay (or just not have any access to) domestic cleaners or lawnmowers or snow shovelers?

    Perhaps we do it like the Gulf States do: a Guest Worker program of people who are never on a citizenship track, but are welcome to come and work for as long as they pay taxes and keep their noses clean.

    First, who says they are overpaying for domestic cleaners, lawnmowers, or snow shovelers? Second of all, what’s wrong with domestic cleaners, lawnmowers, or snow shovelers who are Americans? Third, by having a constant stream of immigrant domestic cleaners, lawnmowers, or snow shovelers, you decrease social mobility within American society and social mobility is an altogether desirable thing. Fourth, people who come to America to work and live should want to become American citizens and buy into the idea of America, otherwise they should not be here. I am completely against a guest worker program largely because of what it has done to Germany. The guest workers wound up staying, and are second class citizens.

    • #14
    • November 27, 2018 at 6:47 am
    • 5 likes
  15. Member

    Hang On (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):

    I have no problem with admitting low-skilled people, too. Having a workforce (for low-skilled work) that allows Americans more productive hours per day is not a bad thing. Why should highly-skilled professionals overpay (or just not have any access to) domestic cleaners or lawnmowers or snow shovelers?

    Perhaps we do it like the Gulf States do: a Guest Worker program of people who are never on a citizenship track, but are welcome to come and work for as long as they pay taxes and keep their noses clean.

    First, who says they are overpaying for domestic cleaners, lawnmowers, or snow shovelers? Second of all, what’s wrong with domestic cleaners, lawnmowers, or snow shovelers who are Americans? Third, by having a constant stream of immigrant domestic cleaners, lawnmowers, or snow shovelers, you decrease social mobility within American society and social mobility is an altogether desirable thing. Fourth, people who come to America to work and live should want to become American citizens and buy into the idea of America, otherwise they should not be here. I am completely against a guest worker program largely because of what it has done to Germany. The guest workers wound up staying, and are second class citizens.

    Yeah… I pay $80 a month for a guy to come weekly/bi-weekly to mow my lawn. He’s american… and white.

    I paid my best friend $60 every other week to clean my house (she also cleaned other houses) after my third was born. She’s a youth minister and at the time, was not paid. She also was a nanny. Also white American.

    To say Americans won’t do these jobs is highly short sighted. I’m not wealthy. We are not making 6 figures. We are stable. I thought these prices were reasonable and I’m sure wealthier could afford more.

    • #15
    • November 27, 2018 at 7:04 am
    • 3 likes
  16. Member

    Hang On (View Comment):
    Fourth, people who come to America to work and live should want to become American citizens and buy into the idea of America, otherwise they should not be here.

    Here is where I get into trouble when speaking about this with many people. I want people to come here who want to be Americans. I don’t want people from Mexico who want to live here, but still want to be Mexican. I don’t want people from Honduras who want to live here, but still want to be Honduran. I don’t want people from Somalia who want to live here, but still want to be Somalis. The same for anyone from Croatia, China or wherever. Keep your familial customs, but be an American. Assimilate. I’m sorry if that seems xenophobic, nationalistic or any other phobic or ism.

    • #16
    • November 27, 2018 at 7:19 am
    • 5 likes
  17. Member

    iWe (View Comment):
    I have no problem with admitting low-skilled people, too. Having a workforce (for low-skilled work) that allows Americans more productive hours per day is not a bad thing. Why should highly-skilled professionals overpay (or just not have any access to) domestic cleaners or lawnmowers or snow shovelers?

    We have plenty of people in our country at the low skill level that could use a job. If we got a lot more of them employed we could make adjustments and/or cuts to the welfare state. If not out right cuts in spending then reallocate money away from the poor who are capable of work and spend the money on the truly needy. 

    In my part of the country domestic cleaners, lawnmowers or snow shovelers are just as likely to be white or black as Hispanic. Wages for this stuff are both reasonably low and static. That is to say new low skilled workers are not lowering wages any further from where they are, the wages are low enough that downward pressure would just cause existing workers to go to Wal-mart, Target or a restaurant for higher wages. This means that new low skill labor is just competing for the same jobs as the existing low skill labor. 

    We don’t need more people capable of cleaning houses, mowing lawns or shoveling snow. A look at our high school graduation rates (84%) shows that we have plenty of people who need low skill jobs.

     

    • #17
    • November 27, 2018 at 7:26 am
    • 2 likes
  18. Member

    Buckpasser (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):
    Fourth, people who come to America to work and live should want to become American citizens and buy into the idea of America, otherwise they should not be here.

    Here is where I get into trouble when speaking about this with many people. I want people to come here who want to be Americans. I don’t want people from Mexico who want to live here, but still want to be Mexican. I don’t want people from Honduras who want to live here, but still want to be Honduran. I don’t want people from Somalia who want to live here, but still want to be Somalis. The same for anyone from Croatia, China or wherever. Keep your familial customs, but be an American. Assimilate. I’m sorry if that seems xenophobic, nationalistic or any other phobic or ism.

    There’s nothing wrong with that at all; it’s actually the founder’s intent. That’s why the oath of citizenship involves renouncing previous allegiances.

    • #18
    • November 27, 2018 at 7:32 am
    • 3 likes
  19. Member

    We had work requirements when I did this stuff as a junior officer, in the mid sixties. We quickly found that most the papers being presented proving that the applicant was a mechanic, or a nurse or whatever was in short supply, were false, so I started investigating the papers, and I understand State finally got permission to charge applicants for the investigation. It’s clear we don’t pay much attention to who is getting visas now and we give refugee status to anyone US groups can get organized enough to claim it, some of whom might actually merit it. These groups are probably the most dangerous. We were giving refugee status to thousands of Salvadoran’s in the 80’s because of the war there. (which ended when the Soviet Union collapsed) The Salvadoran refugee camp my refugee officer followed was run by the guerrillas with UNHCR pretend supervision. Many of these sorts got refugee status and move to Washington DC in droves. They were the problem one would expect. The whole thing is rotten and has a bias for the lowest classes, the most likely to end up as criminals or on welfare and those with an existing left wing bias. Most immigrants don’t, indeed the world’s normal poor end up turning food trucks into mega chains or gardening into landscape businesses or assistant pool cleaning into pool building and repair ( to mention some I’ve personally seen and used) or some such upward mobility, and we need them, but paying attention is certainly in order. My wife, a Colombian would never return to restaurants in Queens because, the noise, the smells, the dress were the same as neighborhoods she wouldn’t think of entering in Colombia. This isn’t chauvinism, or racism, it’s revulsion to certain cultural characteristic and the behavior that occurs when the numbers exceed some critical mass.

    We approved a lot of visas under those work rules. We’ve done it, it can be done it’s cheaper than sorting it out after the visa has been granted or paying welfare forever or locking a certain percentage up. Like everything else in Washington, they’re not serious and that’s the legal immigration. Illegal is much simpler. E verify and borders that work. But then Washington doesn’t seem serious about much of anything.

    • #19
    • November 27, 2018 at 7:34 am
    • Like
  20. Reagan
    iWe

    Hang On (View Comment):
    I am completely against a guest worker program largely because of what it has done to Germany. The guest workers wound up staying, and are second class citizens.

    But it has not failed in other countries – Japan, much of the Middle East, etc. Which is your model?

    • #20
    • November 27, 2018 at 7:51 am
    • Like
  21. Reagan
    iWe

    Jager (View Comment):
    We don’t need more people capable of cleaning houses, mowing lawns or shoveling snow.

    I disagree. Domestic work sucks up a lot of productive hours. So does child care, which is incredibly expensive. But I cannot afford to overpay for these things, which is what would result f I tried to hire legal citizens who could also reliably be trusted to not steal my property.

    • #21
    • November 27, 2018 at 7:54 am
    • Like
  22. Member

    iWe (View Comment):

    Jager (View Comment):
    We don’t need more people capable of cleaning houses, mowing lawns or shoveling snow.

    I disagree. Domestic work sucks up a lot of productive hours. So does child care, which is incredibly expensive. But I cannot afford to overpay for these things, which is what would result f I tried to hire legal citizens who could also reliably be trusted to not steal my property.

    Does being an immigrate make someone de facto reliably trusted not to steal your property while working for below market wages?

    I am not making some broad all immigrants are criminals type statement. But, all immigrants are people. Some are trustworthy some are not.

    There is a pretty big gap between mowing lawns/shoveling snow and child care. Way back when I was a “kid” a couple decades ago, I mowed lawns. I shoveled snow. There are affordable ways to get these things done. While giving the existing teen and adult population job skills that will help them grow. 

    Child care is a different issue. Maybe this is just where I am a “snob”. I agree that it is incredibly expensive. I did not ever hire a nanny. I looked for in home and centers that had a license. 

    Domestic work sucks up productive hours is a kind of loose statement. In my area most people can afford to hire someone to mow their yard, they don’t by choice. Every single thing that you do outside of your job sucks up productive hours. This stuff that is sucking up the time is called Life.

     

    • #22
    • November 27, 2018 at 8:27 am
    • 3 likes
  23. Member

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Explain to me the natural law justification for the government deciding who can “legaly” work. Where in the Constitution is that an enumerated power?

    I’m at the office at the moment, so I don’t have my Locke with me, but his basic natural law argument is based on the social contract. The social contract is an explicit or implicit agreement between the members of society to join together for mutual protection, delegating their natural right to self-defense and some of their liberty to a government with legitimate legislative and executive powers, with the legitimacy deriving from the agreement. The social contract is necessarily limited to members of the group, and the legislative power necessarily includes the authority to either permit, or prohibit, entry into the group.

    It seems to me that this is a solid foundation for immigration restriction, based on natural law. Restrictions on work are part of the method of implementation of immigration restrictions.

    Here’s the Wikipedia link on social contract theory, which is a good primer.

    Valiuth, you take a generally libertarian position on issues, which I find to be inconsistent with natural law and social contract theory. The problem with libertarianism is that the libertarian wants to enjoy the benefits of the social contract, but refuses to pay the cost in decreased liberty. Reality dictates that you can’t have complete individual liberty and the benefits of the social contract at the same time, as there is inherently a trade-off and tension between the two. Working out these trade-offs, on many issues, is the essence of the political process.

    The insight of Locke, and our Founders, is that we can legitimately put some liberties beyond the reach of the political process, as part of the social contract itself. What I view as the error of libertarianism is the apparent insistence that all liberties are beyond the reach of the political process. Or, perhaps more precisely, the libertarian insists that the liberties that he wants to restrict are within the legitimate bounds of debate, but that the liberties that his opponents want to restrict may not be burdened.

    I do realize that I am describing a very pure libertarianism, and that many libertarians take a more moderate position in practice.

    • #23
    • November 27, 2018 at 8:28 am
    • 3 likes
  24. Member

    iWe (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):
    I am completely against a guest worker program largely because of what it has done to Germany. The guest workers wound up staying, and are second class citizens.

    But it has not failed in other countries – Japan, much of the Middle East, etc. Which is your model?

    I think that you are factually wrong about this. I think that guest worker programs in the Middle East, in particular, have been dreadful, leaving many immigrants (mainly from India, I believe) in a permanent underclass. I am less familiar with the situation in Japan, but I think that Japan has close to zero immigration, so guest workers have little or no prospect of citizenship and eventual full, equal membership in Japanese society.

    Do you have contrary information?

    Here’s a link to the Wikipedia entry about migrant workers in the Persian Gulf area. The picture generally does not look good.

    Here’s a link to a recent WaPo article about temporary workers in Japan, noting that the program “often amounts to forced labor, according to the U.S. State Department.”

    • #24
    • November 27, 2018 at 8:35 am
    • 3 likes
  25. Member

    iWe (View Comment):

    I have no problem with admitting low-skilled people, too. Having a workforce (for low-skilled work) that allows Americans more productive hours per day is not a bad thing. Why should highly-skilled professionals overpay (or just not have any access to) domestic cleaners or lawnmowers or snow shovelers?

    Perhaps we do it like the Gulf States do: a Guest Worker program of people who are never on a citizenship track, but are welcome to come and work for as long as they pay taxes and keep their noses clean.

    Another issue: even if the Gulf States guest worker program worked — which I don’t think it does, see above — it creates a major problem in the US if we continue to interpret the 14th Amendment as granting birthright citizenship. Guest workers would be bound to have children, who would then be US citizens. So when the time comes to send the parent home, what do you do?

    • #25
    • November 27, 2018 at 8:39 am
    • 2 likes
  26. Member

    Shawn Buell (Majestyk) (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):
    Perhaps we do it like the Gulf States do: a Guest Worker program of people who are never on a citizenship track, but are welcome to come and work for as long as they pay taxes and keep their noses clean.

    I would have no problem with this if we didn’t already have a labor participation rate which is very low by historical standards.

    The other side of this that I didn’t get to would be domestic policies which will encourage people to improve their mobility and return to the workforce. Of course, there is the fact that rising wages would incent people to leave non-work alternatives.

    As was already mentioned, this is a somewhat longish piece and I’m not interested in immenatizing the eschaton.

    Maj, it’s a relatively minor point, but I don’t think that our labor force participation rate is very low by historical standards.

    It does depend on what you mean by “historical.” Here’s a BLS link that includes a chart going back to 1948.

    Current labor force participation (about 63%) is about where it was in 1980. It had been in the 55-60% range in the 1950s and 1960s, then increased gradually to about 67% in the late 1990s, before dropping to the current level of 63%. Part of this is natural demographics due to the retirement of the Baby Boom generation.

    • #26
    • November 27, 2018 at 8:44 am
    • 1 like
  27. Coolidge
    TBA

    iWe (View Comment):

    I have no problem with admitting low-skilled people, too. Having a workforce (for low-skilled work) that allows Americans more productive hours per day is not a bad thing. Why should highly-skilled professionals overpay (or just not have any access to) domestic cleaners or lawnmowers or snow shovelers?

    Perhaps we do it like the Gulf States do: a Guest Worker program of people who are never on a citizenship track, but are welcome to come and work for as long as they pay taxes and keep their noses clean.

    I believe this would be a moral hazard. 

    It is an invitation to a class system that we have almost completely avoided in the US. It is also worth noting that Gulf State citizens are said to ‘never lift anything heavier than their wallets’. 

    It is also a mortal threat. 

    30% of the population of Saudi Arabia are guest workers with no stake in the country should things go sideways. 

    Don’t get me wrong, I live the idea of other people doing work I find unpalatable, but on a massive scale it looks like the gradual effetification that leads to Eloi-ville*. 
    _________________________
    *Located SSE of the Slippery Slopes. 

    • #27
    • November 27, 2018 at 9:09 am
    • 4 likes
  28. Coolidge
    TBA

    Stina (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):

    I have no problem with admitting low-skilled people, too. Having a workforce (for low-skilled work) that allows Americans more productive hours per day is not a bad thing. Why should highly-skilled professionals overpay (or just not have any access to) domestic cleaners or lawnmowers or snow shovelers?

    Perhaps we do it like the Gulf States do: a Guest Worker program of people who are never on a citizenship track, but are welcome to come and work for as long as they pay taxes and keep their noses clean.

    First, who says they are overpaying for domestic cleaners, lawnmowers, or snow shovelers? Second of all, what’s wrong with domestic cleaners, lawnmowers, or snow shovelers who are Americans? Third, by having a constant stream of immigrant domestic cleaners, lawnmowers, or snow shovelers, you decrease social mobility within American society and social mobility is an altogether desirable thing. Fourth, people who come to America to work and live should want to become American citizens and buy into the idea of America, otherwise they should not be here. I am completely against a guest worker program largely because of what it has done to Germany. The guest workers wound up staying, and are second class citizens.

    Yeah… I pay $80 a month for a guy to come weekly/bi-weekly to mow my lawn. He’s american… and white.

    I paid my best friend $60 every other week to clean my house (she also cleaned other houses) after my third was born. She’s a youth minister and at the time, was not paid. She also was a nanny. Also white American.

    To say Americans won’t do these jobs is highly short sighted. I’m not wealthy. We are not making 6 figures. We are stable. I thought these prices were reasonable and I’m sure wealthier could afford more.

    Also, our kids can and should mow our lawns. And clean up. 

    And our grandparents can help with child care (should is another matter). 

    • #28
    • November 27, 2018 at 9:14 am
    • 2 likes
  29. Coolidge

    iWe (View Comment):
    I have no problem with admitting low-skilled people, too. Having a workforce (for low-skilled work) that allows Americans more productive hours per day is not a bad thing. Why should highly-skilled professionals overpay (or just not have any access to) domestic cleaners or lawnmowers or snow shovelers?

    Is this sarcasm?? A permanent caste system in America? 

    • #29
    • November 27, 2018 at 9:24 am
    • 1 like
  30. Coolidge
    TBA

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):

    Shawn Buell (Majestyk) (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):
    Perhaps we do it like the Gulf States do: a Guest Worker program of people who are never on a citizenship track, but are welcome to come and work for as long as they pay taxes and keep their noses clean.

    I would have no problem with this if we didn’t already have a labor participation rate which is very low by historical standards.

    The other side of this that I didn’t get to would be domestic policies which will encourage people to improve their mobility and return to the workforce. Of course, there is the fact that rising wages would incent people to leave non-work alternatives.

    As was already mentioned, this is a somewhat longish piece and I’m not interested in immenatizing the eschaton.

    Maj, it’s a relatively minor point, but I don’t think that our labor force participation rate is very low by historical standards.

    It does depend on what you mean by “historical.” Here’s a BLS link that includes a chart going back to 1948.

    Current labor force participation (about 63%) is about where it was in 1980. It had been in the 55-60% range in the 1950s and 1960s, then increased gradually to about 67% in the late 1990s, before dropping to the current level of 63%. Part of this is natural demographics due to the retirement of the Baby Boom generation.

    Our best participation rates were when people started joined the labor pool after sixth grade and died working in the mills.

    ~evil capitalist mustache twist~

    Edit: eviscerated ‘started’ above. 

    • #30
    • November 27, 2018 at 9:41 am
    • 1 like
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