crasch (crasch) wrote,

Why anti-immigration laws bug me....

The inimitable joelgrus writes for a group blog called Gene Expression. Normally, I find it quite interesting to read. However, a post today by Razib irritated the heck out of me.

Here's Razib's post:

Immigration-the bad kind....

My dad paid a lot of money to his lawyer when he was sponsored by the college he worked for when I was a kid. Lots of paperwork, hoops to jump and what not. So illegal immigration kind of makes me grumpy. Back in 1986, a guy my dad knew who had jumped ship and was living with some woman for many years (he was from Bangladesh) got amnesty and was normalized. My dad joked he should have come as an illegal, would have made life much easier on him.

Anyway, here's an e-mail I just got from Robert Locke, pass the word....

Dear FrontPage Reader:

I am writing to you because you wrote to me in the past.

I regret to inform you that there is a bill in Congress that would legalize many illegal aliens. These are people who have broken the law, and they should not be rewarded. For details, please see:

I urge you to contact your congressman on this issue and forward this message to anyone you can. You can contact your congressman here:

Much thanks,

Robert Locke
Associate Editor

I suggest anyone that cares about these issues should cut & paste the above text, and forward it on, or if you have a blog, just put it up.

Here's my response:

What do you hope to gain by making it harder for illegal immigrants to obtain citizenship? We generally look with disgust upon the actions of those people who prevented tens of thousands of Jews from immigrating to the U.S. during WWII, thereby dooming them to death. While few immigrants today face such harsh alternatives to immigration, approximately 300 people die each year trying to enter the U.S., which suggests that their current environment is so poor, that they're willing to risk death to escape it. Are the gains you perceive worth a planeload's worth of people dying every year?

I find it odd, given your own father's costly difficulties with immigration laws, that you're not more sympathetic to those who don't have the resources to fight to stay legally. What if the laws had been so strict that your father would not have been able to stay? I don't know where you hail from, but I'm much happier that you're here in the U.S. than in Bangladesh or India. Have you estimated the opportunity cost of preventing people from relocating to places where their skills and intelligence can find the best use? If so, what did you conclude?

I might understand hostility to immigrants if they committed more crimes or if they used more government services than they paid in taxes. However, the evidence suggests that immigrants may actually commit fewer crimes, and pay more in taxes than they use in government services

If restricting the flow of immigrants accross national borders is a net benefit, would you also support restricting intrastate immigration? For example, according to what I've read here, as a group, blacks have lower intelligence and commit crimes at a much higher rate than the general population. Would it make sense for a state such as say, North Carolina, to ban any more blacks from entering the state?

Also, government restrictions on the flow of drugs have been a dismal failure. Why do you expect that restrictions on the flow of labor will work any better than restrictions on the flow of drugs? After all, illegal immigrants would not come if they couldn't find better jobs here than at home. The fact that most of them can find jobs here provides de facto evidence that many people want the services of these immigrants. Do you expect that demand to go away? And if anti-immigration laws raise the cost of satisfying that demand, aren't anti-immigration laws making everyone poorer than they would be otherwise?

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