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Three cheers for immigrants!

There are few topics in the world that get people heated up more then immigration, and in both Australia and the United States, societies that have been built by mass immigration, the topic is in the news.

In the United States, the question is based more on what to do about the millions of illegal immigrants that have consistently been keen to seek opportunity in that great country, and have taken the dubious path of avoiding the proper legal channels to do so. In ordinary times this would not have been such an issue. However, since 2001 the United States has become naturally very sensitive about who enters its borders. I am actually surprised that it has taken this long to surface.

The United States immigration question is particularly interesting. You might think that a society that has built itself on mass immigration would be in favour of more immigration, but this is not the case, and generally never has been the case. In general immigration is tolerated, rather then actively embraced by the general populace, but when times get tough, the political mood can turn quite quickly on newcomers. This was as true in the recession of 1819 as it is today.

This is because the costs of immigration are felt and paid for by individuals, but the benefits of immigration are diffuse and spread right across society. It is a shame that many defenders of the right of the free movement of people refuse to admit that there are costs to immigration. The worker who finds his wages undercut or loses his job entirely, or the victim of violence or the householder who finds his property values eroded is naturally going to feel distressed and angry at what he or she sees as the ‘cause’ of his or her loss. People find themselves surrounded by people of different appearance, religion, and cultural conditions, and worry about how the newcomers will assimilate. These natural concerns of individuals become political fodder for political ratbags and racist hate mongers who wish to exploit individual discontents to promote their own grab bag of political statism and worse. In Europe this has become a particular problem because of the disconnect between mainstream politicians and ordinary voters caused by the ‘democratic deficit’.

Nevertheless the society that receives immigrants is usually much better off for having them. Immigrants are usually the best and the brightest of their societies, and the most driven. Having uprooted their lives to make a fresh start, they are open to new ways of doing things, and are thus an engine of innovation. In this era of ‘baby drought’ they boost the population and the dynamism of their new societies, and increase the purchasing power of their economies. However, because these effects are spread widely, few people identify their prosperity with immigrants.

In Europe, the situation is rather different, mostly because generous welfare provisions that are provided from the start tend to reduce the benefits and increase the costs to a host society of immigration. This situation used to apply in Australia, but a change in the law that made new migrants wait two years before being eligible for welfare has not only changed this dynamic, but taken a lot of the political heat out of the issue.

So it takes political leadership of high calibre to stand up for immigration despite the obvious merits of the cause. The freedom of the individual to choose the place of his or her residence is a precious one worth defending, but the sad fact is that in this day and age, standing up for freedom is not a cause that political leaders in the West are that happy to embrace.

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88 comments to Three cheers for immigrants!

  • Matra

    You might think that a society that has built itself on mass immigration would be in favour of more immigration

    The society has already been built. Perhaps Americans just want to preserve that society.

    Besides the success of the US is not due to mass immigration but to the original settlers. They set up a system of government that created order but at the same time generally left people alone to utilise their talents and thus prosper. The later immigrants (especially from Ellis Island on) simply took advantage of what had been built before them. Many of them did add value to their new country but they did not build the US.

    Immigrants are usually the best and the brightest of their societies

    If the Mexicans in the US, Lebanese Muslims in Australia, and Jamaican gang-bangers in Canada are the best their societies have to offer it is no wonder people don’t want to live in those countries. In the US and Europe the vast majority of immigrants are low skilled.

    Having uprooted their lives to make a fresh start, they are open to new ways of doing things, and are thus an engine of innovation.

    Some are like that but would you say that of the majority of Muslims in Europe? If anything they are more extreme than people back in Morocco and Turkey. Misha Glenny has pointed out that many of the most extreme Croatian and Serbian nationalists in the early 90s were expats. Often they got rich in other countries then funded extreme nationalism back home. Many Irish who moved to America suddenly become IRA supporters even though they had little time for them when back home. Usually this extremist nostalgia fades over the generations but that has not been the case for Muslims in Europe.

    The freedom of the individual to choose the place of his or her residence is a precious one worth defending

    As long as the receiving society wants to import such individuals. Insisting on a right to move to a more successful country, as Mexicans are doing, and benefiting from what took many generations to create is not that much different from insisting on a right to welfare paid from the pockets of more successful citizens.

  • Dave

    Yes you are 100% correct Scott, and I’m sure you also support mass-immigration of 100million Muslim Arabs into Israel with a population of only 10million??
    How could that possibly affect the host population at all, I’m sure they would love it!

    No? well what a supprise!

    Immigration benefits everyone!

    “The freedom of the individual to choose the place of his or her residence is a precious one worth defending”

    Exactly , exactly!!!
    And I choose to live in Britain!, not in the EU, not in Africa, not in the Middle East, mass-immigration is making Britain less British, you and your stupid ideas are denying me my freedom to choose to live in “”Britain””.

  • Naman

    I don’t understand this viewpoint that equates American opposition of illegal immigration to opposing immigration in general. My personal impression is that most Americans support immigration overall. They just want to reduce illegal immigration.

    Will someone please explain to me how being opposed to the practice of illegally entering and residing in the US equates to being anti-immigrant? Personally, I don’t see the connection.

  • veryretired

    What Naman said.

  • Not Dave

    Exactly Naman.

  • Verity

    “The freedom of the individual to choose the place of his or her residence is a precious one worth defending”

    There is no such freedom anywhere in the world, so how can it be defended? It doesn’t exist. I am not free to move to Canada if I feel like it, without submitting my history and references to the Canadian government, and possibly being rejected by them. I had a friend who’d been living in Australia for several years, and was established, with her own business, but she’d just been renewing a long term visa every six months or so, because she couldn’t qualify under their point system. The last time she applied, she was refused and told she had two weeks to vacate the country. She got an extension to wind up her affairs, but she still had to leave.

    As I wrote elsewhere, one has to jump through hoops to be allowed into Mexico, and one false move and you are out. Also, you can’t be secure because they only dole out one year at a time. Try getting permanent residency in Singapore! Ha ha ha ha ha!

    You can move back and forth in the EU, of course, because of treaties, but it is not a god-given right.

    So, A) there is no such freedom; and B) if there were, I would not defend it because I do not believe people have the right to barge into other people’s societies without a by-your-leave. Mass immigration of an alien culture which, in three generations is no more integrated than the day the first ones staggered off the boat, is destructive to the host societies, as is currently being proved in living colour in Britain and Europe.

    And it doesn’t square. As Dave writes above: And I choose to live in Britain!, not in the EU, not in Africa, not in the Middle East, mass-immigration is making Britain less British, you and your stupid ideas are denying me my freedom to choose to live in “”Britain””.

  • Midwesterner

    Naman,

    This is what is called a Strawman argument.

    One would have expected better from a contributor on this site, but apparently not.

  • Uain

    What Verity said…

    In America, it used to be very difficult to immigrate here. At Ellis Island, you would be turned back if you had a cold, looked unsound of body or mind or if the immigration clerk was having a bad day.
    I work in the High Tech industry and here we do have the top talent of foreign countries. I work with Chinese , Indians, Germans, etc. with advanced degrees, excellent English skills, all other characteristics that make them desireable additions to my country. But they are in immigrant limbo because they are abiding by our laws and must wait years to actually become Americans.
    The *illegal* immigrants bring no such desireable attributes, in my experience. Having recently returned from San Jose, it appeared that **NO** Americans were working at the Hilton. They were all illegals. The only ones who benefit from this destruction of our labor laws are the corrupt hoteliers and other companies that hire these people, to pay less than market wages and avoid taxes, and the corrupt politicians who get their palms lined with dirty monies.
    Many of these “immigrants” do not want to become Americans and ajitate for Bi-Lingual Education so their children will remain “Mexican” for the day they expect to return. I noticed the plethora of Mexican flags at the initial demonstrations. At subsequent ones, the organisers seized Mexican flags and handed out Americam flags.
    I say arrest the lot of them and ship their sorry butts back. The extra cost for schools, hospitals, etc, far outweigh any benefit to the common folk.

  • The only ones who benefit from this destruction of our labor laws…

    Given that I do not think there should be ‘labor laws’, I often do not much care when people break them.

    …are the corrupt hoteliers and other companies that hire these people, to pay less than market wages and avoid taxes

    How can they pay ‘less than the market wage’? If people are willing to work for what they are offering, that IS the market wage! MARKET wages are not set by regulators!

  • Troy Specter

    This is because the costs of immigration are felt and paid for by individuals, but the benefits of immigration are diffuse and spread right across society.

    This doesn’t ring true to me because all across the United States businesses of every stripe hire immigrants to do all sorts of things – flip burgers, pick crops, etc. – for cheap. This boosts our economy, but more relevant is that most Americans realize that. As they should – they do benefit from it, interact with it everyday. And yes, often a legal citizen will lose his/her job – but that’s fleeting; the unemployment rate is well under 6%.

    Having uprooted their lives to make a fresh start, they are open to new ways of doing things, and are thus an engine of innovation.

    How are low-skilled workers innovating by providing cheap labor? They are filling in the lower wage jobs and making it easier for businesses to boost the bottom line, or for Mom to do less housework.

    The freedom of the individual to choose the place of his or her residence is a precious one worth defending

    Since when does an individual have a right to live where he or she wants? If John Doe wants to live in a country that doesn’t want John Doe – tough cookies. There is no right to defend here.

  • Davitamon

    Exactly, Matra. You can add the Moroccans in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, and the Algerians in France to your list.

    In some schools in Berlin high school teachers have to teach with police officers alongside them in the classroom. In Belgium, last week, a teenager was stabbed to death because he would not hand over his mp3 player. These might be incidents, but the statistics behind them are not. Crime statistics; statistics on the economical contribution of the Moroccan and Turkish immigrants. None of them give any reason for cheering. As long as there are welfare states, mass-immigration implies mass-theft.

    Of course, as pointed out by Perry de Havilland, immigrants might put a strain on labor laws. From a liberal standpoint this can be seen as a good thing. I also appose labor regulation that interferes with market forces. The only problem is, I just don’t see this happening in Europe. Perhaps because the state’s grip on the private sector is much stronger here.

  • Troy Specter

    I say arrest the lot of them and ship their sorry butts back.

    In principle, I agree, but sadly that’s just not feasible. The task of searching for illegal immigrants across the country, where most of these people have families, friends, a lifestyle, a job, and are productive members of society is as expensive a job as it is complex. How do you conduct it? With what department? We don’t know how many illegals there are. They have already risked their lives to get to America – starvation, dehydration. The immigrants will hide, run, collaborate, bribe their ways to stay in America. We’ll be using an inordinate amount of tax money to deport 4% of our work force. We’ll be using tax money, bloating the size of our already-way-too-large government to deport our cheap labor. And like it or not, the society we have now depends on these illegal immigrants for low wage jobs.

    The illegal immigrants in [pick your city/town] hang around the same 1, 5, 20 stoes everyday, looking for work. Everyone knows it. Nobody does anything.

    Sometimes the law must stand aside for economic stability (and growth) and not making our already big government even fatter.

    Anyway, a mass deportation will never happen because big business will go nuts if it is ever seriously proposed, which it…won’t be.

  • Well, I am one of them immigrants… can’t decide if it’s a good thing or not.

  • Midwesterner

    If it is your intention to destroy small business as a fire break against something or other, you’re succeeding.

    This utterly absurd argument supporting illegal immigration as a good thing plays right into the totalitarian method of ‘make everyone a criminal, and then prosecute only enemies of the state’.

    You are compelling small business owners, who have businesses, assets, houses, etc to break the law to stay in business.

    That leaves small business owners with two choices. They can either shut up and cooperate with a totalitarian agenda so they don’t get ‘made an example of’ or they can take a vow of poverty so they can speak out with less risk of retaliation.

    Whoever is supporting these tactics is supporting a system that makes cannon fodder out of the people that otherwise would be the biggest supporters of a libertarian agenda.

  • Midwesterner

    Adriana,

    You are illegal? You don’t pay taxes or comply with any of the other laws that legal citizens have to comply with at risk of losing all their assets?

  • Matra

    Perry:

    How can they pay ‘less than the market wage’? If people are willing to work for what they are offering, that IS the market wage! MARKET wages are not set by regulators!

    They pay less than market wage by importing foreign serfs! If they were paying US market wages they wouldn’t have a worker supply problem. If they can’t stay in business paying market wages then their business model needs changing or maybe they shouldn’t be in business at all.

    I happen to believe that free market capitalism is good for both workers and employers. Those who defend importing cheap illegals to avoid market wages are helping the Left make the argument that the free market is just a sham designed to benefit employers only.

  • Verity

    With a name like Troy, I assume you are American. Britain is a small country – and Holland, Belgium and Denmark are even tinier. It cannot be compared to the vast, vast flyover time of four hours (or five hours if diagnonal) to get from coast to coast, and the population of around 300m (or so) of the United States. And the US was largely vacant – I believe the indigenous tribes are estimated at around 11m million in all that unimaginable vastness before the white folks came.

    From our British Isles point of view, which has been occupied since time immemorial by us: “where most of these people have families, friends, a lifestyle, a job, and are productive members of society is as expensive a job as it is complex would be incorrect. Most, Islamic immigrants in our small islands do not have jobs. Most are women who never or seldom leave the public housing apartment except to go to the Islamic shops and halal butchers in her immediate neighbourhood, plus three or four or five children. That leaves the adult men, who are in the minority, so “most immigrants” do not have jobs. Even if all the working age men did have jobs.

    I am absolutely mystified by Ariana’s remark. She’s a productive member of the society to which she immigrated, she has already made herself known and respected in her industry, she has not attempted to impose any religious views on her host country – despite the fact that she is clearly a Christian and her host country is not … she has never attempted to bully an indigenes into toe-ing her line…

  • I happen to believe that free market capitalism is good for both workers and employers

    If you really do, then why do you support regulation inflated wages for some people? Is that what you think a ‘free’ market is? A free market means exactly what it sounds like. You may think you support free market capitalism but that does not really track with what you are advocating.

  • Well, I did my best to try to return the benefits (and I don’t mean welfare!) that my chosen home country (i.e. Britain) bestowed upon me. However, it wasn’t easy to be ‘legal’. The problem with the immigation system in the UK, when I was subject to it, was that because they couldn’t openly treat immigrants the way they wanted to because of various PC issues and because of the difficulties of dealing with the large mostly invisible illegal immigration, the officials often used an excessively heavy-handed approach on those they could. Which was the honest visible ones.

    To me the problem is not people arriving from foreign lands, it’s the way the state behaves – multi-culturalism, welfare state etc. If you have to work for a living – you are going to learn the local language and fit in. If you are on benefits and the state encourages you to ‘preserve your culture’, you are going to set up ‘ghettos’ where you re-create the world you came from as that’s what you know. At least that’s the case in Britain. Can’t comment on the US.

    As for cheap labour… I recall an article pointing out that it was the floods of workers from Eastern Europe that helped Britain and especially London to keep afloat in last few years. Most of these immigrants were taking on manual jobs of the lowest rank and I am sure will be working their way up over time.

    So I can get worked up about intolerant cultures creating havens in countries like Britain but not about cheap labour. And I know what I am talking about – at Oxford I was paid £2 an hour for working in the college library. I can’t see any illegal immigrant undercutting that… 🙂

  • Troy Specter

    Verity,

    With a name like Troy, I assume you are American.

    Uain’s post was clearly about the US of A and I responded to his post. I also used the word ‘America’ throughout my response…maybe that gave you another hint I hope?

  • Verity

    No. Troy Specter? British? No. Even as a pen name, I think most of us cleave to our own. For example, if you ever see a post signed Jasmin or Abullah, you’ll know it’s not me.

  • Troy Specter

    Of course. But your observation was relevant purely because you assumed I was talking about American immigration policy. But that assumption was far from necessary; I am pointing out to you that it’s obvious I was talking about America’s immigration situation because I used the word ‘America’ throughout my response. After all, even some Americans (not me, usually) can remark upon British affairs; hence, the nationality of a person in cyberspace is totally irrelevant.

    In any case, and with all due respect, I refrained from explicitly disclosing the fact that I am American because last time I politely did so (under two months ago), you remarked:

    As far as your points being “from an American perspective” go, you’re hardly unique on Samizdata.

  • Uain

    Perry-
    It is a little more complicated than a simple “labor law”. Here in the US, an employee pays 7% off the top for Social Security and the employer *also* pays in 7% per employee. At this time we are confronted with the impending demise of our Social Security system. I being one of those grasping, clutching greedy types who pursued education and a successful career, will be damned for my success and denied the large amount of money I have (against my will) payed in to a corrupt system. The imported serf class, if given amnesty, will then live off the fat of my labours and that of others.
    Meanwhile, the unscrupulous employer will pay below market (eg; what a *legal* employee would earn based on actual market rates) and accrue to himself a tidy profit (not to mention the money saved from taxes unpaid). Then the common folk will have to shoulder higher taxes, the cost of education, emergency room healthcare, Bi-Lingual Ed. costs, etc.. ad nauseum.
    I still submit that sending their sorry arses back to Mexico would be less disruptive than one might think. There tends to be a large number of unemployed *Americans* in areas where illegal labour is used. Again, because it is cheaper to pay sub-market wages and skip on taxes with the illegal alien.
    I think in the end, the more efficient method will be to raise the cost to the corrupt employer. There was news today of seven executives of a large company that made freight pallets being arrested in Indiana. Perhaps making an example of the pampered executives would fix the problem more efficiently than the albeit, satisfying visual of a massive perp walk of illegals back across the border.

  • Troy Specter

    The problem is that when the government doesn’t enforce its own laws here in America, businesses that traditionally don’t hire illegals are compelled to change their policies to simply survive the industry. The more lenient our bureaucracy is – and it’s already pretty dang lenient – the more illegals will come.

    The irony of it all is that any solution that does (or tries to do) justice will cost enormous sums of money and/or an infringement on rights. Deportation, National I.D. Card, email-government-to-make-sure-social-security-number-is-correct-plan, or some variation of these things. Such is the cost for failing to enforce laws, I’m afraid: the American people get shafted for government’s shortcomings.

    In any case, I still think the cost of deportation is too high. We need to make them legal, either instantly or through some prolonged process like the McCain-Feingold idea. Then we need to build a concrete wall on the border with Mexico and put in place a huge overhaul of our legal immigration policy to make it far easier and faster to come here legally – but retain equal security measures. We should be using really big sticks to smash the criminals and really tasty carrots to reward the legal immigrants to avoid similar problems in the future.

  • John_R

    Hell, follow his link in the article, it’s to the largely worthless Wash. Post. No wonder the Samizdanistas have such skewed view of what this all about.

    WASHINGTON – It received little coverage in the mainstream news dailies, but many bloggers highlighted the significant influence of “Reconquista” advocates and concepts in the recent pro-immigration marches across the country. Reconquista aims must be honestly confronted by all sides if the immigration debate is to be honestly conducted and credibly resolved.

    Link(Link)

    The wuthor also is either ignorant of, or worse simply avoiding the issue incursions by the Mexican military

    The U.S. Border Patrol has warned agents in Arizona of incursions into the United States by Mexican soldiers “trained to escape, evade and counterambush” if detected — a scenario Mexico denied yesterday.
    The warning to Border Patrol agents in Tucson, Ariz., comes after increased sightings of what authorities described as heavily armed Mexican military units on the U.S. side of the border. The warning asks the agents to report the size, activity, location, time and equipment of any units observed.

    Link(Link)

    I well realize that I’m wasting my time posting these.

  • Verity

    Troy Spector – your fantasy name with no connection to real names in the United States (Phil Spector was also made up; it’s not a name) – what is your point?

    “The irony of it all is that any solution that does (or tries to do) justice will cost enormous sums of money and/or an infringement on rights.”

    What “rights” babe?

    Hello? I asked, “what rights”? Could you address that?

    What “enormous sums of money”?

  • Troy Specter

    Whoops. I meant McCain-Kennedy in my last comment.

  • Troy Specter

    Whoops. I meant McCain-Kennedy in my last comment.

  • Meanwhile, the unscrupulous employer will pay below market (eg; what a *legal* employee would earn based on actual market rates)

    Nope, this is a category error. The legal wage and the market wage are not the same thing at all.

    Your entire thesis is a good argument against market distorting state interventions, it is not a good argument against immigration.

  • TLB

    As someone else pointed out, those companies that employ illegal aliens are getting an even better deal (speaking financially only) than slavery.

    The slave owner had to provide room and board. The illegal alien employer is free to provide a low wage because of the massive subsidy they receive: all the social services illegal aliens can receive are paid for by others: free schooling, free emergency rooms, housing discounts, etc. etc.

    And, we already admit almost 1,000,000 new citizens per year. Given that figure, I’d imagine that we can afford to greatly reduce illegal immigration, no?

    Also, allowing companies to throw foreign serf labor at a problem reduces the need to innovate. Instead of inventing a machine to pick crops, they just bring in a new batch of illegal aliens.

    The illegal immigration marches represent a show of force by foreign citizens and are clearly a security threat. Millions of foreign citizens live in the U.S. What happens if, for instance, we try to start deportations or we pass a law those foreign citizens don’t like? Will they riot?

    How exactly could the U.S. defend itself against tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of foreign citizens rioting in our major cities? Could they hold parts of cities hostage? Could they use force to form a territory inside our country?

    Those who live in things-are-always-going-to-be-the-same land are free to dismiss such worries, but history tells a different tale.

  • rosignol

    How exactly could the U.S. defend itself against tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of foreign citizens rioting in our major cities?

    The same way it defends itself from thousands of citizens rioting- the police are called in, if they can’t do the job, the National Guard is mobilized.

    Could they hold parts of cities hostage?

    Until the NG showed up. Two, maybe three days, max.

    Could they use force to form a territory inside our country?

    That would be a matter for the Army to deal with, a la the unpleasantness circa 1860 or so.

  • guy herbert

    Since when did we determine what’s right by reference to what’s legal, rather than the other way around?

    Uain,

    The *illegal* immigrants bring no such desireable attributes, in my experience. Having recently returned from San Jose, it appeared that **NO** Americans were working at the Hilton. They were all illegals.

    How could you tell? Did you ask them all? Did you ask the Hilton management?

    Or did you make the leap from the probable fact the chamber and waiting staff you encountered were predominantly Hispanic (true in Californian hotels I’ve stayed in, including the San José Hilton), that all the staff were Hispanic; and add the false premise that all American Hispanics are illegal immigrants? Which is not even remotely true: there’s a clue in it’s being the San José Hilton.

  • guy herbert

    And, we already admit almost 1,000,000 new citizens per year.

    There are 1.7 million new born US citizens each year. What do they contribute to the welfare of the state er, nation… economy? Aren’t there too many of them, given that they’ll be dependent for maybe 18 years after they arrive? Why should they be permitted to do household chores for free in the meantime when that job could be done for pay by an unemployed adult?

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Most, Islamic immigrants in our small islands do not have jobs

    Verity, that is a bit of a strong statement. Perhaps you could cite a reference for that.

    Matra’s comments appear to unfair to all the various immigrant groups (such as Italians, Poles, Germans, Swedes, Jews, Cubans, Vietnamese, etc, etc) who have entered the USA over the past 100 years or so and played a great role in American life.

  • Brendan Halfweeg

    I’m pro-immigration and anti-state, I’ll admit that right now. The main problem with immigration, notwithstanding illegal immigration, in Australia and Britain, is the subsidisation of it by the state through welfare. Remove the welfare incentive, and the letters home talking of milk and honey, gratis, will stop, and the flow of low-skilled migrants will reduce to those prepared to pay their way doing jobs at rates of pay we are willing to pay.

    Don’t like benefiting from illegal migration, maybe you should set up fair trade American/British/Australian collectives and artificially price fix the cost of low-skilled labour. Hang on, we already have that, it’s called the state, and the state is not our friend.

    The problem for a libertarian is that to prevent illegal immigration without changing the artificial state-derived incentives such as welfare, we need to strengthen the state, give it more power over both citizen and non-citizen alike. Can’t prove who you say you are, here’s an ID card. Worried about border control, we’ll tax you to create a new homeland security bureaucracy.

    As much as it might pain us, immigration may just hasten to bring down the welfare state, it may just harden the citizenry into accepting that the state does not owe everyone a living, whether born into the state by good luck or attracted there like a bee to a honeypot. Mass immigration may just be the tipping point that brings down big government, on the other hand trying to control immigration strengthens the state and may prolong the myth that the welfare state is your friend, denying us all our freedom.

    So I’m pro-immigration and anti-state and I feel that if we are true to our convictions as libertarians, one leads to the other. On an aside, arguing that just because my great-grandpappy worked hard and paid taxes, I’m owed a right to live in free and wealthy society sounds like entitlement to me, not that disimilar to those that argue that the state owes you minimum living conditions. It’s your responsibility to defend your freedom and your welfare, and yours alone, claiming it was your ancestors who built the nation is a crutch.

  • Alex

    Hi

    The uk passport system was introduced in 1904 after a large amount of eastern european jews moved to london. This created a wave of anti imigratory feeling especially among the eastend communities where they were headed. Communities thta had orignialy developed from French Hugenots (thats right, imigrants) fleeing persicution in france. Before this point there was free movement of people across the globe, what govt see as a right to admit who they they want and when developed from this period and generally grew alongside the recent growth of nationalism, its self a very new(and dangerous) concept. Therefore imigrantion control is a fine example of govts interfering with free trade and ‘natural’ rights.

  • permanent expat

    whu is it tjat i have troubl with my speling? am i tipping faster than my brain cant cope. why do’nt i use the spel cheque i wander or ewen use the preveew facilty so others ar’ent confused? its reelly a mistery.

  • guy herbert

    Remove the welfare incentive, and the letters home talking of milk and honey, gratis, will stop,[…]

    Not necessarily. Pay and working conditions are so much better in some countries than others, and in some parts of some countries than others, that what looks like poorly paid drudgery to some looks like a great deal to others. (Cf ‘fair trade’ discussions: moving the workers is little different from moving the work.) Didn’t Dick Whittington get told stories about the streets of London being paved with gold.

  • Andy in San Diego

    One of the big problems with illegal immigration is that it’s illegal! What I mean is that since the illegal immigrant is illegal, they’re paid “under the table.” No taxes are paid on their wages; also, they get no benefits, such as health insurance, etc. Illegals are a huge drain on the hospitals because they have no insurance and no real way to pay; they’re also a drain on the various government services. Here in Southern California, emergency rooms are closing left and right because of the cost of illegals coming in for a cold or a stubbed toe – the feds mandate that if you show up at an emergency room, you get service! (I’ll stipulate that this sort of thing is wrong, but that’s the partial socialist system we live in here in the US)
    Also note that Mexico uses the US as a dumping ground (and actively encourages illegal immigration!) for their illiterate, uneducated populace, meaning that the immigrants that come here are barely equipped to work in their home country, let alone the USA.

    I see that Scott is in Australia; there’s an open invitation for you Scott – you can sleep on my sofa, drink my beer and I’ll show you the border, the hospitals, the schools, etc. that are trying to cope with the illegal immigration flood.

  • Brendan Halfweeg

    Pay and working conditions are so much better in some countries than others, and in some parts of some countries than others, that what looks like poorly paid drudgery to some looks like a great deal to others

    But the migrants will have to work for their beer and skittles, not suck on the tit of government if the welfare incentives are removed. I’d be rather pleased if migrants letters began with “With hard work and perseverance, next year we may be able to move into a nicer flat in a better area, we’re making good over here. Its hard work and lots to learn and adapt to, but I think if you were thinking of a better life, then with the right attitude, Australia/Britain/America is the place for you”, rather than “These chumps are giving us a house for free, free money, we are like kings. Get mother and father and cousin Ahmed over here as soon as you can before the milk runs dry”

  • James Dudek

    Ironically, if the wall along the US-Mexico border was to be built it would probably be by illegal immigrants……

  • Verity

    Johnathan – I cited my reasoning clearly in my post. Most immigrants do not have jobs and at least 50 per cent of them never will. Because 50% of them are women, usually illiterate village women who do not speak English and will be confined to the house and will trade in the ghetto so will never need to learn English. This means four or five children in the house will grow up in a home where one parent speaks pidgin English and the other parent speaks no English – not a great qualification for children integrating or growing up employable.

    So even if the father is employed, he will not contribute enough in taxes to pay for the medical assistance his family will use up, never mind to cover the costs of his housing and their use of resources.

    That is my reasoning, as stated above. This is the majority. I am not saying there are not clever and achieving business people or clever and achieving professional people. Of course not.

    But the British, and French, governments already lie about unemployment figures by disguising them as students on pointless “degree courses”, “job seekers” programmes, “retraining programmes” and so on – all of them synonyms for “unemployed”.

  • James Dudek

    Oh and anyone want to guess which most favoured Government tit-sucking contracting company is going to win that job?

    Two words: no-bid……..

  • Simon Cranshaw

    I do enjoy getting stuck in to the immigration ruck when it pops up here. I was just beginning to lament the last heave-ho passing off down towards the end of the page, when here comes another one!

    It seems two related questions are being debated at the same time here. One is what should be done about illegal immigrants. The other is to what extent legal permission should be given to enter a country to work. I would like to address this second question.

    I believe this issue is related to Adriana’s post. I am very glad Adriana did make it into the UK and for her to be there. It seems that some of the anti-immigrationists also saw no problem in her being here. I am very happy that Verity has found a place in Mexico. (They can keep her! Just kidding). I am most of all happy that I am allowed to stay here in Japan (whether I’m assimilating or not, thank you very much). But if these examples are good things and I believe they are, then why should such opportunities not be extended to other people ?

    Of course, I’ve seen many answers posted here: overpopulation, preservation of the countryside, cultural change. (Let’s assume benefits are withheld as in the Australian model) The question is perhaps which should take priority. Given that there are employers who would like employ them, and customers who would like to purchase their products or services and they themselves who would like to do this work, who’s rights are more significant, those of the people who want to do the above transactions or those of the people who would stop them to maintain the dubious goals of cultural purity, population stability and undeveloped countryside?

  • Perry: “A free market means exactly what it sounds like. You may think you support free market capitalism but that does not really track with what you are advocating.”

    If Perry invites 800 million Hindus over to his house for dinner next Sunday, that would be foolish but legitimate (if he provides round trip tickets). He just invited the world over to your house for Sunday dinner. That’s not legitimate. That’s theft (or fraud) even in libertarian eyes.

    Value is determined by supply and demand. A world in which human life is precious is a world in which human life is scarce. The welfare state is incompatible with unrestricted population growth. Environmental protection is a lost cause with unrestricted population growth. Even such uncontroversial forms of welfare as police protection and pollution control cannot survive with unbounded population growth.

    Free market advocates have a model which yields valuable policy recommendations most of the time. The temptation to generalize is strong, but when the issue is population growrh from immigration or natural increase the generalization misleads.

    The world’s population cannot grow without limit, therefore it will not grow without limit. Either deliberate human agency imposes the limit or something else imposes the limit. Either the death rate rises to above the birth rate or the birh rate falls to or below the death rate.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I cited my reasoning clearly in my post.

    I did not see any references to supporting data, which was what I think you should provide in making assertions that most Muslims in this country (UK) do not work. I’d be interested to know what census data shows, for instance, from the Office for National Statistics, assuming they collect that sort of info.

  • Verity

    I don’t know my way round British government (intentionally confusing, overly verbose) sites, Johnathan and don’t have time to learn. And there would be little point in learning because the figures will have been cooked anyway. Do you really think Tony Blair’s government is going to be honest about the number of Muslims being supported by the state? Especially as the reason for letting them in is they are “needed” to supply funds for pensions?

    Common sense and our own observations support my reasoning, but if you disagree, I have no way of convincing you and we will agree to differ.

  • alex

    Verity, what you assert is simply not true the overwhelming majority of imigrants illegeal or not are male.

  • alex

    Verity, what you assert is simply not true the overwhelming majority of imigrants illegal or not are male.

  • Verity

    And then they bring the brides, aka first cousins, in.

  • Alex

    its hard to compete with your ‘comon sense’ arguments verity,

    if asian comunities are so workshy, how doyou explain 130 000+ people work directly for first or second generation imigrants in the leicester area?

  • Verity

    I didn’t say they were workshy, Alex. I said there weren’t jobs for them, despite Tony Blair’s and Jack Straw’s lies that they are “needed”. I also said that most of the women don’t work because they are in the home tending their large broods and shopping in the hood.

    Anyway, it is a relief to see that all the Muslim murderers and thugs banged up in Brixton have at last got loos facing away from Mecca in a giant refurbishment. The spokesperson said the loos had been designed with regard to “all faiths”. Is there such a things as a Christian, Jewish (strike that – not too many Jews in prison), Hindu (strike that – not too many Hindus in prison), Buddhist (oops!) loo? Or would this be yet one more (Link) special concession, do you think?

  • Johnathan Pearce

    And there would be little point in learning because the figures will have been cooked anyway.

    So instead of going to a tremendous source of data — available to everyone — collected over decades, you er, rely on your own anecdotal evidence and some reasoning. That’s not very impressive. I have dealt with the ONS quite a bit and yes, some of their data has to be taken with a pinch of salt, not because they are all evil Blairite robots but due to the problems with any kind of data sampling methods.

    Malcolm writes:

    If Perry invites 800 million Hindus over to his house for dinner next Sunday, that would be foolish but legitimate (if he provides round trip tickets). He just invited the world over to your house for Sunday dinner. That’s not legitimate. That’s theft (or fraud) even in libertarian eyes

    Of course if someone who does not own my house invites someone to my home without my consent, that is objectionable. I fail to see what this has to do with immigration per se, unless you treat your country as a person treats his own private property: a category mistake.

  • Verity

    It is not data collected over decades we have reference to. It is today we are interested in, Johnathan, given the presence of terrorists and suicide murderers and maimers in Britain in the cause of their “religion”. This isn’t going to go away because you want to explain it away with government supplied data. Forty percent of these people want to have shariah law apply in civilised Britain. Twelve percent thought quickly enough to say they “weren’t sure”. (Mustn’t scare the camels.)

    “Multiculturalism” is a hellish failure (except for those implementing it in the cause of destroying Britain).

  • alex

    i’m not sure thats got much to do with imigration as such, but i do agree i don’t think anyone should be treated diffrently because of religious beliefs.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Verity, you are being shifty. You raised the issue of the proportion of Muslim immigrants and their descendants who work. You made a claim. I challenged you to provide some evidence, and you refused, making a blanket dismissal of one of the largest, oldest and most respected collectors of statistics in the world, preferring your own anecdotal findings and a lot of assumptions. I cannot you seriously.

  • permanent expat

    …………………and Statistics.
    “Unrestricted” immigration, as practiced by most (Socialist) European governments is a BAD THING…..period. Anyone unable to understand that is living on another planet.
    Illegal immigration is a TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE THING…..period. Anyone who doesn’t understand that lives far, far away in another galaxy….
    Immigration is a “Death Star”…..but there’s no Luke Skywalker anywhere to be seen.

  • Verity

    Johnathan – I am not being shifty. I said straight out in a simple declarative sentence that I do not have any evidence other than the anecdotal.

    ” I challenged you to provide some evidence, and you refused,”

    Johnathan, I did not “refuse”. I said with absolute candour that I had no statistical evidence and once again explained my reasoning and why my deductions led me to my conclusion. That made the second time I had explained my thinking. I also said it is today’s figures I am interested in, not those from 30, 40 or a hundred years ago. It is this generation that is recruiting jihadis.

    alex – I agree. But the national English flag of St George cannot be displayed in English prisons because it reminds the sensitive Muslim thugs and murderers of the Crusades.

    I am mystified by the number of apologists for Islam who simply ignore the evidence that is all around them that the massive infusion of adherents of this religion has poisoned the British body politic.

    DISCLAIMER – I am not saying all Muslims have the conquest of the West in mind, but many do. With the able assistance of the dhimmis in the British government and much of the media – specifically the state-funded BBC.

  • Dave

    guy herbert compares illegal immigration to having children.

    I wonder why you guys have a hard time convincing the wider public of your ideas?

    Immigration is where libertarians converge with Marxists. You deny people the right to defend their country, culture, sovereignty, in the name of a fantasy utopian vision of the future that is basically anarchy in which the upper class do well but everyone else has to put up with violent disorder and religous extremism.

  • permanent expat

    Small but important correction:
    Unrestricted and/or illegal immigration is a “Death Star.”
    Oh yes, I don’t think there’s a single East European plumber who wants to impose Sharia on his host country………………oh horror…they want to poison us all with Grasowka Wodka! (we should be so bloody lucky.)

  • guy herbert

    Malcolm Kirkpatrick writes,

    Value is determined by supply and demand.

    Which is back to front. Supply and demand are determined by the disparate values in monetary terms placed on goods by individual buyers and sellers.

    That premise being rubbish, it isn’t very surprising that purported conclusions don’t follow. But it is hard to see what it all has to do with migration. If there are too many people in the world or might be, than that tells you nothing about whether they ought to be allowed to move about.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I said with absolute candour that I had no statistical evidence and once again explained my reasoning and why my deductions led me to my conclusion.

    But Verity, and I will not make this point again, if you make the claim about a group (be they Muslims, Christians, or whatever) being say, largely idle, as you did, I think it is good to at the very least make it clear that you are just stating an opinion based on no evidence other than a few impressions.

  • Shad

    I don’t think any assertions in Verity’s comments are less supported than the generic feel-good twaddle from the original post:

    Nevertheless the society that receives immigrants is usually much better off for having them. Immigrants are usually the best and the brightest of their societies, and the most driven. Having uprooted their lives to make a fresh start, they are open to new ways of doing things, and are thus an engine of innovation.

    Where are the statistics to back any of these conjectures up? Alternately, where are the repeated demands that statistics be provided or massive caveats be attached, as Verity has been subjected to?

  • B's Freak

    Perry,

    Rather than “market wages”, I would argue that these employers are paying “black market wages”. They are hiring employees that do not have the same right to just change jobs if they do not feel the wages and working conditions balance out. It seems to me that this in itself is a distortion of the balance at the heart of the “free” exchange of services that is an employment contract. “You can take this or screw off back to that hellhole you were so desperate to escape” is a coercive position to negotiate from. The fact that these people are here illegally makes them criminals subject to Federal prosecution by definition. So you now have the power of the state twisted to favor the employer. That is not a free market, it is a perversion.

    From the American perspective this has an effect that gets little discussion: the propping up of a corrupt regime . As long as Mexico has an escape valve it can delay the natural build up of internal pressure to change. The last estimate I saw had remittances making up 3% percent of the Mexican GDP. The incentive to modernize and liberalise the economy is not there when you can send an increasing percentage of your population to siphon off monies from another economy and create a foreign scapegoat for your ills at the same time.
    The fact that this problem has not abated with NAFTA has shown what a joke that is. It is not improved by CAFTA. There is no way that a treaty requiring that many words is defining free trade. If thse agreements were truly as “free” as their names proclaim then we should see “the rising tide lifting all boats” reflected in reduced illegal immigration from Central America. We haven’t and we won’t.
    We will get border fences and a dillution of what citzenship means in the US. Neither of these will solve the real problem, just exacerbate some symptoms.

  • Verity

    But Johnathan – and I will not make this point again, this being the third time – at no point did I claim to be in possession of statistical evidence for my statements. I was calling it as I saw it and said so.

    (Thank you, Shad.)

    But this will gladden Jonathan’s heart – although, it at the same time may be a bitter disappointment. Here (Link) courtesy of the redoubtable ussneverdock, who quotes this:

    “Net migration to Britain rose nearly 50% in just one year, official figures showed today.

    “An estimated 223,000 more people came to the UK in 2004 than left to live overseas, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

    “The figure – up 72,000 on the previous year – was the highest net migration since the present count began in 1991, the ONS said.

    “The rise was recorded despite the highest-ever level of British citizens leaving for a new life abroad: an estimated 120,000.”

    The next link, provided by USS Neverdock, is to The Guardian: (Link)

    The first quote, supported by statistics from ONS, reads that almost 1/4 million more immigrants poured into Britain than the loss of British who sold up and buggered out.

    Net migration to Britain rose by 50%.

    Good enough for you, Johnathan?

  • (Guy Herbert):

    Supply and demand are determined by the disparate values in monetary terms placed on goods by individual buyers and sellers.

    Value is determined by supply and demand. Changes in the supply of one good will influence the rate at which that good trades for other goods. This is not an optional axiom of libertarian theory which Marxists are free to deny. It is not a principle of human economics alone. It is a fact of life. Between plant species, the ratio leaf mass to root mass varies systematically with the relative availability of sunlight and water. Compare plants such as Euphorbia and cactit of tropical deserts to plants of the rainforest floor. Grow a plant such as water hyacinth on ordinary stream water and then increase water-borne nutrient in the form of wastewater: the the plant will spend less on nutrient-gathering material relative to sunlight-gathering material (the root surface area will shrink relative to the leaf surface area).

    …it is hard to see what it all has to do with migration. If there are too many people in the world or might be, than that tells you nothing about whether they ought to be allowed to move about.

    With open borders, misery flows like heat through solid silver, until misery is evenly distributed. In a world in which the birth rate matched the death rate, the case for open borders would be stronger, but not conclusive. Absent restrictions on natural increase, open immigration means that countries whit low rates of natural increase and high trates of investment in human capital become sinks for countries with high rates of natural increase and low rates of investment in human capital.

  • Uain

    Perry, Guy-
    Are you two *sure* this website is legal? It is just too
    damned much fun!

    Guy Herbert wrote-
    re: illegal aliens in San Jose Hilton;
    “How could you tell, did you ask the Hilton management? … then a thinly veiled implication of my racism against Hispanics….

    I have been told for two decades now that people that meet me assume I work in Law Enforcement, based on my appearance, eventhough I am a warm, cuddly High Tech nerd.
    When in San Jose, I did an experiment where when walking on the street or in the hotel I sought to make eye contact and speak with those who I approached. Invariably, those who spoke English smiled at me and responded, while those who couldn’t, looked away in silence and *even* more than once, changed direction to avoid me. I am a scientist by training and trade, and this was *not* a true scientific level of quality experiment, but I still found it striking and my initial conclusion is; How can a *legal* person not be comfortable speaking or even nodding to an American?
    PS; Guy, I am *NOT* any pure bred euro, but a true blue American mutt repleat with (gasp!) non-euro ancestry.

    Perry said-
    …. eventhough I don’t think there should be “labor laws”, I often don’t much care when people break them….

    In an ideal world, I would agree with you completely.
    However, the US government, for better but probably worse, has cooked up various give-aways such as Social Security (which originally was meant for one’s last year or so of life), Medicare, Medicaid, etc.. I know I will probably never see any of this largess, but if we import a serf class, they will. I would submit to you, that if a business needs to hire *Illegal Aliens* at black market wages to survive, then that should speak volumes that such businesses are not fit to compete in the market. I believe that by allowing such, warps the marketplace by allowing inefficient businesses to prolong the agony of their impending demise.

  • Expat

    Dave,

    Your comment where “libertarians converge with Marxists” sums things up beautifully. I’ve always believed that most “libertarians” are just naive, starry-eyed upper-middle class Tory boys salivating at the idea of cheap servants, whilst living too sheltered an existence to notice the thousands who pour in purely for the welfare and the crime. Ask any Metropolitan copper how many of these immigrants are working in crime gangs, rather than fixing washers.

    Simple economics, mass immigration is forcing wages down but prices, particularly of housing, up. If the migrants and indigenes can’t pay the increased prices, they will demand that the state do it for them, or they will force wages up. More simple economics, crime and disorder costs hugely, both the State (provision of Police) and the individual. Yet more: if you turn the country into an overpopulated, overpriced, crimeridden dump (which you already have), the skilled indigenes will emigrate, taking their money-making skills with them. The English are pouring into Australia in their thousands right now. Having visited the UK recently I can fully understand why: it is a cramped, expensive dangerous third-world country, for all but those like these libertarians, who live in their safe little gated communities.

  • Verity

    Uain – Guy Herbert’s comment tell us that he has never been to the Left Coast. Guy – if the employees look Hispanic and speak in a Hispanic accent, that probably means they came from Mexico, legally or illegally. “How do you tell?” They have an accent, just as, presumably being British, do you have an accent that places you, although no one in the United States will be able to place you.

  • Uain

    Verity-
    Right on!

    Perhaps we should consider that our Brit and Aussie friends are confronted by uncivilised Islamic immigrants. They could be indulged for looking askance at the USA for being upset with illegal immigrants, but who at least share the rudiments of our Western Civilisation.

  • TLB

    rosignol suggests that we deal with foreign citizens rioting in our cities by deploying the National Guard. Would that be politically possible? What if the NG shoots someone? Won’t that inflame foreign citizens even more? Won’t the Mexican/Latino media in the U.S. and elsewhere make things even worse? Remember: Spanish-language DJs got hundreds of thousands to march in the streets of L.A. and Chicago.

    And, who’s going to pay for all that?

    Are the employers going to pay for it? Yeah, sure. Just like they pay for the public schools that their illegal alien employees use.

    And, did you know that there are some gang members in our military? Would some members of the NG or armed forces cross over to the other side?

    alex writes “Verity, what you assert is simply not true the overwhelming majority of imigrants illegal or not are male.”

    Look up “family reunification”. That’s one of the key demands made by those who support illegal immigration and massive legal immigration (see: fatboy.cc).

  • guy herbert

    Verity,

    It is frankly amazing that you can both claim to deduce from internal evidence a better knowledge of my travels with the software industry at the end of the 90s than I have myself, and at the same time misunderstand (surely not misrepresent) Uain’s and my comments from further up the thread.

    Uain said everyone working in the hotel was an illegal immigrant.

    I hinted that he could not possibly have evidence for this. And I surmised he might actually be saying that a preponderance of staff were of Latino origin (in accordance with my experience) and reinterpreting that unthreatening fact of life through the application of xenophobic prejudice.

    Your answer to me: Guy – if the employees look Hispanic and speak in a Hispanic accent, that probably means they came from Mexico, legally or illegally.

    That is not something I dispute, though I have met people from all sorts of backgrounds with all sorts of odd accents, unpredictable from their birth. What I do dispute is Uain’s implicit assertion that this makes them illegal. “legally or illegally” is not the same as “illegally”. And in practice, “legally or illegally” means mostly legally, and in a big efficient organisation like the Hilton San José it means overwhelmingly if not universally legally.

    Uain was just wrong. We can differ about the merits of immigration without your having to support his silly pronouncement. (And if he is sensible he will resile from it.)

    However, it, and your defence, do illustrate what’s going on here. You are defending Uain’s malicious suppositions on the ground not that they are true, but that they might be slightly true. We are supposed to accept that quantitatively small things that are psychologically satisfying for you should be foregrounded, and we should not worry about how much the assertions are true or the generalisations are legitimate. This is like the safety-mongers of the precautionary principle elevating neurosis to the level of policy: something might be as bad as we can imagine it being, therefore we should ignore all other possible factors; or the advertising salesman, who tells clients about the number of ABC1 readers they will reach, the focus being AB status while in fact an ABC1 readership figure is overwhelmingly C1 in most cases.

    In the promotion of fear of immigrants this is a constant rhetorical theme: the part is equivalent to the whole, and the whole is expressed in every part. It’s the purest most absolute form of collectivism available.

    Some Xenians are like Yaffles and some fewer are Yaffles; so all Xenians are Yaffles; therefore this particular Xenian I don’t know is a Yaffle despite direct evidence that he is not a Yaffle, but in fact a Zottle. Some of your best friends are Xenians, but they are all Zottles. The others aren’t like that. All other Xenians, except the ones you happen to be friends with, are Yaffles.

  • Verity

    Guy, although I should, I’m not going to plough back through to Uain’s post because this thread has become too dense (in the correct sense of the word). You may be right; I may have misread or misunderstood him.

    However, I will take issue with you here: “In the promotion of fear of immigrants this is a constant rhetorical theme.”

    We are right to fear immigrants who have expressed a determination to change our culture and make it repressive and more to their desert diety’s taste.

    And, in these numbers, define please, the difference between “immigrants” and “invaders”. There something along the lines of 250,000 “immigrants” to Britain last year. How many Normans stepped ashore in 1066? Two hundred and fifty thousand? One hundred thousand? Fifty thousand? Ten thousand?

  • James Dudek

    Shorter US “libertarian” anti-immigrant argument:

    I want to use the state to enforce my cultural values.

    The US is a huge country, with the biggest economy in the world there is plenty of room for hundreds of millions of more immigrants. No one is threatening your property rights or taking anything from you. The constitution provides US Citizens with more than enough rights. Immigrants merely want to express the human desire for a better existance for themselves and their children.

    No Irish, no Boston. No Poles, no Chicago. No Cubans, no Miami. No Latinos, no Los Angeles. No Japanese, no Seattle. No Chinese, no San Francisco. No immigrants, no New York. These people didn’t have to beg a government official to get permission to build greatness and make something of their lives, and neither should anyone else.

  • Uain

    Guy-
    I concede your point. It was rash of me to surmize from my non-scientific experiment that *all* employees were illegal. I was in San Jose during the demonstrations in March and seeing a sea of Mexican flags, young employees in the lobby sporting “We are Here” buttons and again, *many* people who would not interact with me, was going thru my mind during my first post. I apologize.
    I support Verity’s point when it comes to such an incompatible culture as Islam. The “Mexican” issue here in the USA is not that these people are foreign, but that many, as evidenced from the demonstrations, and the words of their supporters, are here to make money and send it back to their countries of origin.
    This subverts our local economies because the illegals and corrupt businesses skip on proper payroll taxes. The illegals drive up the cost of local services, but it is the legal folks who now must shoulder these costs while loosing the infusion of cash remittences sent south, from the local economy. I think the problem with this debate is that there is a well organsed effort by demagogues (corrupt politicians, business interests and ethnic spokes models) to paint anyone who is against an open border as racist. Classical shallow thinking.

  • Verity

    Uain writes: “I think the problem with this debate is that there is a well organsed effort by demagogues (corrupt politicians, business interests and ethnic spokes models) to paint anyone who is against an open border as racist. Classical shallow thinking.”

    This has only just crossed the Atlantic? This has been the standard argument by the Trots and Marxists in Britain and Europe for at least 20 years. Say the word “racist” and gag opposing points of view.

    With regard to the US, though, you’d have to gag the immigrants – who freely wave posters with La Raza writ large – and that doesn’t happen. Only legitimate inhabitants get gagged. The Mexicans can scream “La Raza” because … uh … well, it’s just OK if they do it, that’s all.

  • Morken

    Simon Cranshaw wrote:
    Of course, I’ve seen many answers posted here: overpopulation, preservation of the countryside, cultural change. (Let’s assume benefits are withheld as in the Australian model) The question is perhaps which should take priority. Given that there are employers who would like employ them, and customers who would like to purchase their products or services and they themselves who would like to do this work, who’s rights are more significant, those of the people who want to do the above transactions or those of the people who would stop them to maintain the dubious goals of cultural purity, population stability and undeveloped countryside?

    I think that the question should not be ‘What has priority?’ but instead ‘Who decides over which part of property?’ – because what has priority is a completely subjective matter. The viewpoint should narrow down from the state perspective to the city or borough perspective (or even smaller entities). Those who would like to be very picky in regard to immigrants should do so in their own area. Those who instead favour unrestricted immigration should do so as well – but in their own borough.

  • guy herbert

    Uain,

    This subverts our local economies because the illegals and corrupt businesses skip on proper payroll taxes. The illegals drive up the cost of local services,[…]

    Well, it is hard to tell. They may drive up the cost of some local public services, if they get to use them. But remember they drive down the cost of goods and services, too (including those of the same public services). And buy others, increasing revenues. Some local public ‘services’ – all that licensing and inspection that advanced states love – do not get to be provided to them, so maybe there’s a saving. Economies are complex reflexive things.

  • Troy Specter

    Numerous times in this comment thread various people have asserted that everyone has rights to enter a country as they please. How is this possibly true? A country has a right to regulate immigration to its country as it wishes. Theoretically, a country could make immigration into the country illegal and then actually enforce it (yeah, like that’ll ever happen) and no rights would be violated. The freedom of movement from one country to the other is a privilege, not a right. This distinction is the paramount key to an informed and realistic dialogue; any and all ideas without being firmly grounded in this distinction are drifting in a Utopian daydream.

  • HitNRun

    Immigrants are usually the best and the brightest of their societies, and the most driven. Having uprooted their lives to make a fresh start, they are open to new ways of doing things, and are thus an engine of innovation.

    Which is the problem here in the United States. Mexican immigrants (I generalize, as Mexicans are the bulk of the transplants and those non-Mexicans among them are culturally similar) are not the best and brightest of anything. Certainly most have not proven bright enough to assimilate into a country where it is notoriously easy to find a niche. They are by no means “making a fresh start,” as a majority send their earnings back to Mexico and a large minority support the movement to annex the southwest United States by creating a defacto province of Mexico through changing (or simply stress-shocking) the electoral system to allow illegals to vote without being challenged for identity. And it goes without saying that they have not innovated or been involved in innovation, except perhaps in the innovative new budgets had by those companies which hire them.

    The problem, from the American perspective, is not much cultural and not political in the intra-national sense, but rather political in the international. The Mexican immigrants are not laying roots in the US and assimilating. They are remaining Mexicans, and their purposes range from merely milking the foolish gringos for their dollars to a small but siginficant faction working toward annexation of something like a fifth to a quarter of the United States. Google “Aztlan” or “La Raza” if you think this is xenophobic exaggeration.

    I’m not sure what libertarian doctrine has to say about the validity of these practices. But I am sure about what Americans have to say about it.

  • guy herbert

    Numerous times in this comment thread various people have asserted that everyone has rights to enter a country as they please. How is this possibly true? A country has a right to regulate immigration to its country as it wishes

    Because you are confusing moral and legal rights, and legal rights, duties, freedoms and powers. It doesn’t help that everyone else is too.

    When people taking the pro-immigration side say everyone has a right to free movement, they mean a moral right, and that the immigrant ought to be free to immigrate, which is to say he should have the liberty to do so.

    Governments in practice universally arrogate to thenselves the power to forbid immigration or to condition it. (Though none have the physical power to enforce that, and those with zero immigration get it by being places no-one in their right mind would want to go.) The anti-immigrants say that to do so is a right and/or duty of government, even though some of them insist that government per se has no rights. Us pro-immigrationists say that it has no such duty; that whether it has a right and power to do so depends on the constitution of the state in question; and that it is better in either case if such a power is not generally exercised.

    A country isn’t the same as a state, except as shorthand, if we are going to be very precise – though fans of the romantic notion of the nation-state often think it is.

  • James

    Verity, some of the points you make are valid. However, phrases like “desert deity” are just dripping with poison, making you sound like a racist jackass. Perhaps that’s what you really are, but if not, please do your best to be civil.

  • Verity

    The only official “James” I see listed on the right of the page is contributor James Waterton, who I believe would have signed his full name and in any event is far from a bumptious idiot. The three editors are called Perry, Adriana and Dale.

    Thus your attempting to give out editorial direction on someone else’s blog is rather presumptuous. The three people mentioned above are more than capable of dishing out a whack across the knuckles when so moved – although they seldom do it because they are genuine believers in freedom of expression.

    Well, well, according to “James”, not only people who disapprove of a particular religion are “racists”, but get this! – you can be a racist against a diety! How’s that for elevation!

    James, majesterially orders me to “do your best to be civil”. Civil to who? The desert deity? You? Who?

    This certainly opens up a whole new chapter for self-righteous reprimands from those lefties who think religion and race are the same thing.

    The desert diety (the term stands) I referred to is a barbaric throwback to before the Dark Ages and deals in cruelty, destruction, conquest, oppression of 50% of the human race and a will to subjugate the entire human race to its command. (I didn’t want to say “his” in case James might think I was being sexist.)

  • Troy Specter

    Because you are confusing moral and legal rights, and legal rights, duties, freedoms and powers. It doesn’t help that everyone else is too.

    When people taking the pro-immigration side say everyone has a right to free movement, they mean a moral right, and that the immigrant ought to be free to immigrate, which is to say he should have the liberty to do so.

    Governments in practice universally arrogate to thenselves the power to forbid immigration or to condition it. (Though none have the physical power to enforce that, and those with zero immigration get it by being places no-one in their right mind would want to go.) The anti-immigrants say that to do so is a right and/or duty of government, even though some of them insist that government per se has no rights. Us pro-immigrationists say that it has no such duty; that whether it has a right and power to do so depends on the constitution of the state in question; and that it is better in either case if such a power is not generally exercised.

    A country isn’t the same as a state, except as shorthand, if we are going to be very precise – though fans of the romantic notion of the nation-state often think it is.

    Scattered thoughts:
    1. What exactly is a moral right? Sure, I agree that everyone should have the right to move about as they wish, but so what? I bet everyone, in theory, agrees. In fact, everyone does have that right, except, of course, when such an action entails trespassing on another person/nation’s property. So, with all due respect, what is the relevance of a right that has no bearing in the real world?
    2. Personally, I think legal rights should be synonymous with moral rights – you can’t harm another person for instance, or impose your morality on someone else. But the problem is that everyone has different morals. Not just within a given family, or community, or nation, but when you are saying that everyone should have the moral right to travel at will, well, some humans believe women have the moral right to breathe, and that’s about it. So what is a moral right if morality is as inconsistent as it is inapplicable to our world.
    3. Sure, some governments claim the right to do things they probably shouldn’t do, but so what? Here in the U.S. we have a Democracy where, theoretically, policies implemented are checked out by the people. If, as most Americans do, the people want to regulate immigration, that’s perfectly legal and no universal moral right, which goes against the morals of half the world, can override the right of a nation to do what it wants. Every country is a self-contained producer of its own legal system (in most the Western world anyway).
    4. In any case, of course the government of a country has the right to regulate who comes in. Never mind the practical benefits, but why not in principle? But maybe you actually agree since you said “whether it has a right and power to do so depends on the constitution of the state in question.”

  • Troy Specter

    My Apology – the above comment is addressed to guy herbert, and the text preceding “scattered thoughts” is his post.

  • James

    Verity, you’ve got me all wrong. I agree with much of what you say, and I’m certainly not a leftist. I’m just pointing out that the way you say it is counterproductive – either people already agree with you or they don’t. For those that do, angry words are preaching to the choir, and for those that don’t, angry words are a total turn-off, and in fact serve to rally your opponents against you.

  • Verity

    James – Here’s a little hint for you: I write as I choose to write. I don’t accept editorial direction from a silly, hectoring, chuntering, politically correct little naive person who is way out of his depth here.

    If you interpreted my post as “angry words”, you are indeed a pedestrian thinker. The word you are looking for is “dismissive”. I am dismissive of this toxic desert diety.

    Here’s another clue bat: and in fact serve to rally your opponents against you. So effin’ what? They’re opponents fer chrissakes!

    I’ve never seen lefties “rally” on Samizdata … an amusing concept that I doubt would get far. Maybe as many as two posts before the commentariat came roaring in and stomped on them.

    Save your lessons for when you look in the mirror.

  • James

    Here’s another clue bat: and in fact serve to rally your opponents against you. So effin’ what? They’re opponents fer chrissakes!

    I imagined you had some interest in persuading others of the merits of your arguments, but clearly you are content to wage some silly war against The Other for all perpetuity. Hint: you’re never going to win that way.