Via Coyote, after seeing an E-Verify poster that states “If you have the right to work, Don’t let anyone take it away”:
This is fairly Orwellian for those of us who believe that all people have the right to work, irrespective of the country they were born in, and this right does not flow from any national government and therefore does not stop or start at any border.
As someone whose great-grandparents were the ones who dropped everything they knew, hopped on a boat to cross an ocean to an entirely new continent, and built an entirely new life in the freedom of America, I’m somewhat blessed. So I share TJIC’s thoughts here. What I’d never considered is exactly what it would take for me to leave America — when you live here, “greener pastures” don’t seem to exist. So this little thought experiment is very interesting:
To imagine the delta in life and happiness that a Mexican can achieve by sneaking into the US and consensually trading labor for cash with a willing adult citizen, we can’t merely picture ourselves sneaking into some fictional Richistan in order to earn 2x or 3x our salary.
…because we’re all (and by that I mean the software engineers, the lawyers, and the starving musicians reading this blog) at the point in the income curve (largely because we had the good luck to be born in the US) where an additional dollar of income doesn’t mean much. Heck, even a doubling of income doesn’t mean much to us – most of our basic wants have been satisfied.
Instead, we have to imagine something comparable in benefit to what a Mexican sneaking over here achieves. A 200 year lifespan, guaranteed happiness for our children, or long and healthy life for our pets, a long, vigorous and healthy old age for our parents – that’s perhaps the equivalent.
What would you do to make sure that you, your parents, and your children lived hapilly for 200 years?
I, for one, wouldn’t hesitate for a second to sneak into a country that prides itself on its immigration, and which has a ton of work that needs doing, and has a ton of employers who are willing to pay me.
Neither would I. So how could I possibly begrudge those who come here for a comparative increase in standard-of-living to the thought experiment above?
I am honored to join The Liberty Papers.
Brad Warbiany and Doug Mataconis have been very welcoming, and my new realm into libertarian thought should be fulfilling and rich.
I’ve been at United Liberty for two years, starting with the 2008 election and running all the way up to coverage of Arizona’s discriminatory immigration law. My work goes back even further, back to the San Francisco Examiner and the neighborhood newspapers North Seattle Herald Outlook and Madison Park Times in Seattle, Washington.
In the times we live in, there seems to be a political shift going on. The United States is becoming more ethnically diverse, the economy continues to stagnate, and government is making short term maneuvers without foreseeing long-term effects. On the other side of the coin, the Right, who talk a lot of jive about freedom, are parading their own twisted form of nationalism. In these times, it’s important to try to solidify and distinguish the libertarian movement as a separate alternative to the forms of authoritarianism so far proposed to us. I hope my work at The Liberty Papers will help to do that.
I am also currently working on a book on the future of race in politics. It should be finished within the year and published subsequently.
Coyote, in far more concise words than I probably could have generated, asks a very good question.
What I would really understand is: what drives these folks?
I will take them at their word that it is not racism.
If its violent or property crime, the stats are pretty clear that immigrants don’t really contribute to these crimes disproportionately.
If its gang violence at the border, I am wondering what people see in the law’s rules that allow easier harassment of day laborers and brown-skinned people with broken turn signals that they think is going to deter gang members supposedly armed with AK47’s.
If its competition for jobs, well, I encourage folks to learn how the economy actually works (hint: it’s dynamic, not static), and further, encourage them to figure out why they feel they can’t compete with unskilled, uneducated laborers who don’t speak the native language.
Finally, if it is, as many of my emailers claim, just a matter of the rule of law — “THEY ARE ILLEGAL” as I get in many emails, inevitably all in caps, then why not just legalize their presence? After all, I lament all the hardships associated with marijuana law enforcement but you don’t see me advocating new rules to incrementally harass potential possessors — I am grown up enough to know form history that such efforts are never going to work as long as their is an enthusiastic supply and demand. I advocate legalization.
So I’ll open this one up to the readers. I see a lot of completely wrong arguments for restricting immigration, and very few with any force (at least, very few that wouldn’t be SOLVED by a legal guest worker program bringing these people out of the permanent underclass).
So what do you think?
One of the key arguments in favor of the AZ “papers please” immigration law is that the state is being overrun by crime due to the rapid influx of immigration, and that the across-the-border drug wars have been spilling over into Arizona.
That might be a potent argument, if it were true. It’s truly sad how strong of an argument, then, considering it’s blatantly false:
Yet, a look at statistics from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency and the FBI indicate that both the number of illegal crossers and violent crime in general have actually decreased in the past several years.
According to FBI statistics, violent crimes reported in Arizona dropped by nearly 1,500 reported incidents between 2005 and 2008. Reported property crimes also fell, from about 287,000 reported incidents to 279,000 in the same period. These decreases are accentuated by the fact that Arizona’s population grew by 600,000 between 2005 and 2008.
According to the nonpartisan Immigration Policy Institute, proponents of the bill “overlook two salient points: Crime rates have already been falling in Arizona for years despite the presence of unauthorized immigrants, and a century’s worth of research has demonstrated that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes or be behind bars than the native-born.”
Meanwhile, the cartel violence that has gripped Mexico for the most part has remained there, he said.
Human and drug smugglers are being “more aggressive because we’re being successful,” Escalante said, “But we’ve been lucky not to see that type of [violence] spill over here.”
But hey, who am I to suggest that facts actually be used in argument. After all, it is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.