A Note On My Anti-Anti-Immigration Argument

by Don Boudreaux on September 15, 2007

in Immigration

Since the appearance of this column of mine, on immigration, several friends (as well as non-friends) have accused me of ignoring the fact that Milton Friedman, Thomas Sowell, and some other free-market advocates oppose more-open immigration.

Fact is, I mentioned no names in my column.

I have long been aware that that Friedman, Sowell, and others whose positions I generally respect have spoken out against immigration.

But let’s be clear.  In the case of Milton Friedman, his only reason for opposing more-open borders was the existence in the U.S. of a welfare state.  Friedman emphatically did not make the anti-immigration argument that I criticize in my column.  (And he would not have made that argument.   Just before he died, I asked him by e-mail if he’d favor a return to  the pre-1920s immigration regime if the U.S. abolished its welfare state.  He wrote back saying yes.)

Nor is Thomas Sowell’s opposition to more-open immigration based upon the argument that I take issue with in my column.

There are, of course, many different possible reasons for opposing immigration, some more plausible than others.  The alleged reason that I challenged in my column is just one such reason — a reason that I continue to find illogical and downright bizarre.

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{ 49 comments }

Rob Dawg September 15, 2007 at 4:55 pm

I have long been aware that that Friedman, Sowell, and others whose positions I generally respect have spoken out against immigration.

You do a disservice to them and your readers and your position by your continual, deliberate and unapologetic conflation of immigration and illegal immigration. Illegal immigration is no more immigration than is bank robbery merely an account withdrawl.

Lee Kelly September 15, 2007 at 5:00 pm

Lee Kelly September 15, 2007 at 5:02 pm

Illegal immigration is no more immigration than is bank robbery merely an account withdrawl.

That depends on whether you analyse it as a legal issue or a moral issue. I believe Don Boudreaux has concentrated on the latter, not the former.

shecky September 15, 2007 at 5:44 pm

Sincere arguments against immigration certainly exist. Indeed the weight of Sowell and Friedman are impressive. That being said, the data tends to argue in favor of immigration, not against.

Tom Kelly September 15, 2007 at 6:01 pm

I can't wait until real immigrants get here in their spaceships from other worlds. Then these immigration arguments will make sense.

Until then immigration arguments are simply discrimination arguments- somehow the people who were born on the wrong side of a man-made boundary are supposed to be treated differently than those born on the right side?

Rob Dawg September 15, 2007 at 6:37 pm

Seems to me that the Professor's private property boundary is man-made.

I was wondering. You know a few extra people in his classes auditing for no tuition won't make any difference right? In fact the world will be more educated for it. The Prof. should walk the walk and open his classes to all who wish to attend. If a little chaos ensues he can slow down the pace and hire translators. Be sure to tell the paying students their tuition will be raised to cover costs.

Nasikabatrachus September 15, 2007 at 6:52 pm

Rob Dawg, your straw men are profound. Bravo, good sir. Few manage to contribute precisely nothing of substance to an argument, but you surpass yourself with each comment. Keep it up!

Tom Kelly September 15, 2007 at 6:52 pm

It seems to me that Professor Bordeaux does an awfully good job in sharing his wisdom with the world freely.

Class here at the Cafe is always open to all who wish to attend- but leading a horse to water doesn't make him drink, even when what is offered is the cool liberating lubricant of life- personal freedom and responsibility.

Peter Bickford September 15, 2007 at 8:06 pm

Dr. Boudreaux,

I'm a bit confused by your position here. Are you agreeing with Friedman and Sowell and effectively saying, "If it weren't for the U.S. being a welfare state, my earlier points in favor of immigration would be persuasive" or are you saying, "Despite of the U.S. being a welfare state, my points are persuasive?" The former reduces your argument to a theoretical point (unless you believe the welfare state is extinguishable in the forseeable future. If it's the latter, why not come out and say why your considerations should take precedence over the concerns they raise (or why raise them at all?)

Mathieu Bédard September 15, 2007 at 8:44 pm

As William Niskanen wrote, build a wall around the welfare State, not around the country…

John Dewey September 15, 2007 at 8:51 pm

Peter Bickford,

I believe that illegal immigrants are being denied access to the welfare state with only two exceptions: emergency medical care and childhood education. Not sure if that is true in California, which has its own rules established by its elected representatives.

I believe that a guest worker program will make it much easier for hospitals to collect from those immigrants who are currently illegal. Such a program would also ensure that taxes are collected from those workers.

I do not believe that denying education to children of guest workers would make any sense at all.

Public education is a common good, paid for by all. No parent pays for the full cost of his child's education. Few directly pay as much as even one half.

IMO, this nation needs more children to row up and become tomorrow's workforce. I see nothing wrong with educating the children of immigrant workers so that those children can become that workforce.

Ray G September 15, 2007 at 9:18 pm

Boudreaux's position is perfectly valid, but it is better suited to the theoretical.

Friedman et al largely agree with Boudreaux and the large theoretical crowd of libertarian thought, but they interject that little dose of reality by saying, "Great idea, but the system is already broke and can't handle such a change."

And this applies for many libertarian ideas, of which I am also a subscriber. Drugs, war, immigration. The standard libertarian line is correct, but there are simply other things to be addressed first.

Otherwise, these great ideas won't work as they should, and then they will be blamed wholly for not working, and society will be set back in its quest for more liberty.

Think of the so called failure of capitalism in countries that never really adopted a system of property rights for capitalism to work within. (De Soto et al.) The media at large didn't say "Hey, they don't have property rights, of course it's not working!" They just assumed capitalism – so called – wasn't for everybody.

Nasikabatrachus September 16, 2007 at 12:08 am

"Think of the so called failure of capitalism in countries that never really adopted a system of property rights for capitalism to work within. (De Soto et al.) The media at large didn't say "Hey, they don't have property rights, of course it's not working!" They just assumed capitalism – so called – wasn't for everybody."

That's a very interesting point, Ray G. Do you have any specific examples of that?

I agree with your analysis as well. Piecemeal libertarianism can be a dangerous thing–think, hypothetically, if we got rid of labor unions but gave more subsidies to robber barons, or ended the war on drugs but kept large welfare programs.

John Reed September 16, 2007 at 9:07 am

"No parent pays for the full cost of his child's education. Few directly pay as much as even one half." – John Dewey

This is doubtful given that twelve years of school attendance is paid for by 60 years of taxation.

Wojtek G September 16, 2007 at 9:57 am

With regard to the original argument in the article; I find Dr. Boudreaux's points unnecessary, and almost completely irrelevant. Rather than speaking about denied rights of interaction, why not go right back to fundamentals? What is it that allows anti-immigration libertarians to speak so forcefully about innate rights to freedom, but apply them only to those who happen to be born on one side of a political, state-created, border. If a foreigner wishes to come here and transact with us in person, to purchase land or otherwise, how is that any different than him doing so electronically, or over the phone; it's still free association, and we're still all free. I see no moral basis to prefer the rights of one individual over another, especially because something as random as where they were born, or whether some bureaucrat happened to 'grant' them that 'privilege'.

And as far as trespassing over state-owned land, I don't think it makes any sense to be anti-statist, and then allow the state to use stolen land for the purposes of the common good of a select group of individuals, while denying use of it to others using the same silly criteria I mentioned earlier.

Either way, anti-immigration is not libertarian, it's statist, and based on the very instincts liberty is supposed to protect us against.

Wojtek G September 16, 2007 at 10:07 am

Also, I don't mean disrespect; I think Dr. Boudreaux makes some good points, but they're too detailed to matter.

The other side, to whom he refers, isn't even granting liberty in their argument. The suggestion that the state can act in the interest of everyone by pretending to be tha average land-owner is silly. It's the same argument used to support any other socialist policy.

Open the borders, let the citizens decide what they want to do, and don't use state-owned property as some scapegoat for denial of freedom of movement and association.

M. Hodak September 16, 2007 at 11:21 am

John Reed, that was one of the best swats at the premise of socialized education (i.e., who could afford a private education?) that I've seen in a long time.

It's discouraging that that same premise is now being used to support public provision of health care, with the added assumption that government-controlled health care will be just as good as a private system.

SheetWise September 16, 2007 at 1:34 pm

"Indeed, whenever the U.S. government restricts immigration it coercively prevents me, an American, from hiring or befriending on my own property whomever I choose to hire or befriend."

Not "whenever". Often times the government is actively doing my bidding. Protecting me, an American, from undesireables who would choose to take from me and my community. Sometimes it's preventing the immigration of enemies. The Constitution (Article III, Section 3) defines giving aid and comfort to enemies of the United States as treason — so you never really had a right to befriend whomever you choose. Even on your own property.

"(The moral case for open immigration) grows from the recognition that a geopolitical border is a grotesquely arbitrary reason to prevent people from dealing with each other in whatever peaceful ways they choose."

Isn't my property line a geopolitical border? Is there something grotesquely arbitrary about me preventing people from trespassing on my property — peaceful or otherwise?

All of the land inside the U.S. borders is owned — individually or collectively. Your position is that collectively, these land owners cannot democratically control who crosses their collective borders, only their personal borders.

This leaves us in an awkward position where both landowners, non-land owners, and anybody else who asks for a franchise can vote to tax private property, can vote to confiscate private property — but they can't vote to defend it.

Lee Kelly September 16, 2007 at 3:05 pm

"owned collectively" is a misnomer.

SheetWise September 16, 2007 at 10:01 pm

If "owned collectively" is a misnomer, please provide me with another way to describe ownership by many.

And please help explain the purchase of land, by democratic process — at both the state and federal level. Was simply a ruse?

application

cls September 16, 2007 at 10:13 pm

I sat in on a speech Dr. Friedman gave and the question of immigration came up. He explained that day, in a bit more detail, his views. He did say that the welfare state may open, legal immigration difficult or impossible. Then he explained that this, however, did NOT apply to illegal immigration. Legal immigrants are eligible for welfare benefits which are NOT given to illegal immigrants. The welfare argument is one that is not valid, for the most part, in regards to illegal immigrants.

Numerous studies have shown that all immigrants (legal or not) today contribute more in taxes than are consumed in any benefits. And illegals are among some of the highest taxed people around since many are afraid to file for refunds due to them.

In addition I can’t find why the argument about the welfare state, if valid against immigrants, isn’t also valid against having children. Every child born in the US is eligible for welfare — unlike illegal immigrants. Not are they eligible but most are totally unproductive for at least two decades (or more) and consume vast amounts of state financing through education. Many collect welfare, many use state medical care as well. And unlike illegals they rarely hold any kind of job.

If the welfare state is the issue then we should be sterilizing women long before we worry about immigrants. But then that never was the issue was it?

a Duoist September 16, 2007 at 10:51 pm

From the south, many struggle through jungles, ford rapid rivers, and cross vast deserts before confronting guards, guns, dogs and fences. From the east, three thousand miles of gray ocean in the dark holds of slow ships, often forever leaving family and friends. From the west, six thousand miles of water, forward to utter uncertainty.

They are the risk-takers, these immigrants, and it the psychology of the risk-taker which builds this culture, this civilization, this capitalism we all share.
Anyone who has walked a thousand miles through jungle and desert to sprint across a barb-wire fence patrolled with guns and dogs, is EXACTLY the kind of risk-taker we should reward with reduced limits on becoming a citizen; say, a three year program and semi-fluency in English.

This American Experiment is grounded in the psychology of optimism, and no one is more optimistic than a risk-taking immigrant.

For the confused libertarians (synonymous terms?), government should be limited in immigration to filtering out those who have no intention of assimilation. Multiculturalism with assimilation, yes; multiculturalism with separatism, no! And as for libertarian proponents of anti-immigration, buy and read a home course in psychology and economics, after tracing the heritage of your family name.

SheetWise September 16, 2007 at 11:05 pm

I disagree, but where to start …

"Legal immigrants are eligible for welfare benefits which are NOT given to illegal immigrants. The welfare argument is one that is not valid, for the most part, in regards to illegal immigrants."

Eligible-Ineligible. When I was a young man, I viewed problems and looked at potential solutions. Eligibility was a factor when I was young. In fact, eligibility was so strong a factor that I supported many State run solutions. We simply disagreed on a definition of need and eligibility. The Government wants Everyone to be "eligible".

Today I still often believe that the State is best suited to flatten risk. Such as in cases of rare disease, sudden onset of heart disease and more common ailments.Then I wake up.

The govenment can insure nobody. I remember the S&L crisis. Every account was FEDERALLY insured for up to $100k — but (upon learning there would be losers) the federal government insured every account up to … you guessed it … totality.

In most flood plains, the only provider of flood insurance is the Government. When floods hit, the Government has a tendency to pay all damages, not just insured damages — ALL DAMAGES.

The Government LOVES to give away money –

Which is why you should never trust the government as a steward of your money.

Which is why you should always accept government insurance plans (but not pay your premiums [that's for chumps]).

Flash Gordon September 16, 2007 at 11:46 pm

Rob Dawg has it right. Boudreaux conflates immigration and illegal immigration. It appears he does not recognize any difference between the them. And he won't answer the question, does he believe the border between Arizona and Mexico should be no different that the border between Arizona and New Mexico.

[Of course, the two borders could never be exactly the same because Mexico would not agree, but the U.S. side of the border could be the same]

I wonder if Bouderaux would feel any different about illegal immigration if he had his social security number and identity stolen by an illegal immigrant, as many Americans have, and had his credit ruined and was being sued for unpaid bills that weren't his, as has happened to many of his fellow Americans? I wonder if he would feel any different if an illegal immigrant plowed into his automobile and left him with a wrecked car, and possible physical injuries to himself or a member of his family, and then simply ran away never to be found or identified?

Flash Gordon September 16, 2007 at 11:48 pm

Since these things are only happening to other people maybe it just doesn't matter.

Billy September 17, 2007 at 12:22 am

I wonder if Flash Gordon realizes that if immigration into the U.S. was totally free and unrestricted there would be no need for immigrants to obtain fake social security numbers. I wonder if he also realizes that most immigrants would be willing to enter the country through proper legal channels so that if a crime were committed by an immigrant it would be easier to find out the identity of the suspect.

John Dewey September 17, 2007 at 1:54 am

John Reed: "This is doubtful given that twelve years of school attendance is paid for by 60 years of taxation"

You are correct, of course. My statement was not complete and caused confusion.

One anti-immigration argument has been that immigants are receiving X dollars in benefits each year and not paying for them, or else only partially paying for those benefits with Y dollars in taxes each year.

What I meant to say was that almost no parent pays as much in school taxes each year as his children receive in school benefit. The school taxes of those without schoolchildren, plus property taxes on businesses that make up the difference.

I would still argue that the average parent does not directly pay for all his children's education benefits even in his entire lifetime. Some taxpayers like me have no children, yet still pay for public education. Some taxpayers send their kids to private schools, yet still pay for public education. Most businesses pay for public education as well, passing on the cost to everyone. Clearly non-users of public education are subsidizing consumers of public education. Those receiving such subsidy include some illegal immigrant families, but also some legal low and middle income families.

Governments elected by citizens determine how much each family should pay for public education. Based on the rules established by such elected representatives, illegal immigrant families are paying the correct amount.

John Dewey September 17, 2007 at 1:57 am

"I wonder if he also realizes that most immigrants would be willing to enter the country through proper legal channels "

I suspect that nearly every illegal immigrant would be willing to enter the country through proper legal channels. The problem is that no such legal channels exist for low-skilled Mexican immigrants who have no family already in the U.S.

Chris M. September 17, 2007 at 9:00 am

"Numerous studies have shown that all immigrants (legal or not) today contribute more in taxes than are consumed in any benefits." -cls

That shouldn't matter one bit in the arguement against the welfare state. You and I both contribute more in taxes than we consume in benefits too (hopefully). That's doesn't make the welfare state any less threatening. It makes it worse because we are helping to fund those in power with more money to hand out so they can stay in power.

The problem with allowing open immigration while continuing to grow an ever increasing welfare state is that, regardless of who is paying their fair share, more people are becoming dependent on the government. The more people that become dependent, the harder it becomes to strike down the welfare state. Friedman and Sowell recognise(d) this and see the most danger to our country coming from the future bankruptcy of our welfare programs. I think their points are valid and should be considered.

-Chris M.

John Dewey September 17, 2007 at 9:31 am

chris m: "The problem with allowing open immigration while continuing to grow an ever increasing welfare state is that, regardless of who is paying their fair share, more people are becoming dependent on the government. "

I don't understand this argument. Are you arguing that a portion of immigrants will become very dependent on the welfare state? or are you arguing that every immigrant will become somewhat dependent on the welfare state? And for either of those reasons we should prevent all immigrants from obtaining productive employment?

Regardless of how much welfare immigrants as a group consume, if the production of those immigrants exceeds by a healthy amount that welfare consumption, shouldn't we welcome them? After all, we need their labor or else they wouldn't be here.

John Dewey September 17, 2007 at 9:34 am

Chris M: "The problem with allowing open immigration while continuing to grow an ever increasing welfare state"

What measure indicates that we are growing an ever increasing welfare state? Are you referring to the prescription drug benefits that seniors will receive? to the ever-spirally cost of medicare? to the impending funding shortfall of social security retirement program? Wouldn't all young immigrants help the funding of those programs by increasing the ration of workers to Boomer retirees? When the children of those imnmigrants become productive citizens, won't they also increase the ratio of workers to retirees? Won't both immigrant workers and their working children grow the economy, thereby increasing the productivity capacity to support tomorrow's Boomer retirees? Why is that a bad thing?

Ramona Titov September 17, 2007 at 9:36 am

Very common story that you mentioned.

Readers tend to demand content that they want, but will deny it after time, because it is nothing new to them.

I hope you can still writing your column as you want to.

Yours Sincerely.

wintercow20 September 17, 2007 at 9:47 am

Can someone help me better understand the position of one of my self-proclaimed classical liberal colleagues? He is (to my surprise) a pretty ardent anti-immigrationist, and not on the basis of the existence of the American welfare state. When I explained my concern about limiting my right to peacefully contract with someone who happens to have been born elsewhere, his response was:

"You’re limited in what you can do with the outsider because of the calculation that your actions should not harm someone else, especially if you don’t intend to compensate him. So when Tyson Foods hires a Mexican labor contractor to deliver busloads of illegals to the little town in the state where I was born to work in the chicken processing plants, without providing adequate housing, medical care, or other infrastructure needs that are going to be shifted onto the community at large (not to mention the surge in violent crime short of murder, typically robberies or burglaries, unfortunate episodes while drunk, etc.), those already there perceive that their daily quality of life has been reduced and that no one is compensating them for it (New Yorkers eat cheaper chicken, but people in my state face higher law enforcement and public health costs, for which they are not compensated). What’s the point of your last line, by the way, “living outside the community”? Note that, in New York or Chicago, structures for absorbing large numbers of new immigrants exist; they don’t necessarily exist in Peoria or Danville, KY. Tyson Foods, in my example, can’t just wash its hands of the problem by saying, “Well, it’s the community’s and not our responsibility to create the necessary structures.” And would a New Yorker sacrifice the quality of life in Danville, KY, in return for cheaper chicken? You betcha. The problem ALWAYS is that those who reap the benefit are NOT sharing the costs. Proportionality of requital is a big deal in classical liberal thinking, from the time of Aristotle forward.

One can sign on for the utilitarian program, but one should not say that “classical liberals should just give it up and join us utilitarians.” That’s how we got Progressivism and the New Deal, with consequences with which we still are living."

I have great admiration for my colleague, but I think he is playing up the typical immigration fears here. What am I to make of this?

Chris M. September 17, 2007 at 10:03 am

"Are you arguing that a portion of immigrants will become very dependent on the welfare state? or are you arguing that every immigrant will become somewhat dependent on the welfare state? And for either of those reasons we should prevent all immigrants from obtaining productive employment?" – John Dewey

I am arguing that a portion will become dependent. I am not arguing that we should prevent all immigrants from obtaining employment, or even arguing that legal immigration should not be expanded. I am simply saying that the arguments presented by Friedman and Sowell are valid in that we need to consider which problems pose a greater risk to the future of our economy. I put the problem of the ever increasing welfare state above that of immigration. And because one problem can piggy back off the other, I am not yet in favor of opening our borders (key word is YET).

"What measure indicates that we are growing an ever increasing welfare state?… Wouldn't all young immigrants help the funding of those programs by increasing the ration of workers to Boomer retirees?… Why is that a bad thing?" – John Dewey

Yes, all those measures. Yes, they would help the funding, but that's exactly what I am wary of happening. The longer these programs stay funded (or the public perceives they are being funded), the longer is will take to abolish (or at least, reduce) them. That increased time may cause even more damage to our economy if these programs aren't "fixed" than would otherwise be caused. It's quite possible that if people woke up and realized the problem sooner, we could avoid some of that damage.

-Chris M.

John Dewey September 17, 2007 at 10:29 am

Chris M: "The longer these programs stay funded (or the public perceives they are being funded), the longer is will take to abolish (or at least, reduce) them."

Sorry, Chris, but I cannot believe that social security will ever be abolished. Benefits may be reduced, and means testing may eliminate some beneficiaries.

Let's be realistic:

1. seniors vote in far larger numbers than young people;

2. demographics indicate that senior power will grow not shrink for at least 40 years and probably longer;

3. there is no way that social security can both be privatized for younger workers and still meet the promises that have been made to seniors and near-seniors.

A politically realistic approach for the social security impending shortfall:
- raise retirement ages gradually over 50 years;
- lower benefit amounts gradually over 50 years;
- add more FICA contributors through either immigration or increased birthrates;
- increase the economic growth of the U.S. by importing workers to replace the retiring Boomers.

The first two will help social security in the long run. The last two will help the immediate problem.

John Dewey September 17, 2007 at 10:43 am

wintercow20,

Suppose an American labor contractor brought in busloads of unemployed American citizens from Detroit to do the work? Would the result be any different? My guess is it would be even worse. At least illegal immigrant workers have enormous disincentives (risk of deportation) to bad behavior.

My guess is that communities have welcomed the economic growth that a Tyson processing plant has brought to their community. Surely such a community is realizing significant economic benefits and a larger tax base. If they choose to underfund the law enforcement function to meet the requirements of a larger low-skilled workforce, we should not blame the group of immigrant workers as a whole.

wintercow20 September 17, 2007 at 11:36 am

John,

That's a good point. But I need some help understanding what the Lockean position on immigration might have been, taking into consideration the problem that Kaldor-Hicks type efficiency arguments are not necessarily consistent with individual liberty.

Cheers

Robert Hume September 17, 2007 at 1:37 pm

I assume that we live in a democracy and that our elected representatives should carry out our wishes, regardless of what economists may think optimal on some measure.

Robert Putnam has shown that diversity creates community alienation. The sort of immigration we have now creates high diversity.

If citizens want to minimize community alienation they might want their elected representatives to minimize immigration, even if that results in a major loss of economic benefits to possible immigrants (which outweigh the community alienation which most experience on leaving their native lands)and to a possible very small loss of economic benefits to the citizens themselves.

This might be called xenophobia or something worse, but every human community on earth seems to have this feature.

Robert Hume September 17, 2007 at 1:42 pm

One difference in busloads from Detroit as compared to busloads from Mexico is that the Detroit folks were presumably a welfare load on the US economy, whereas the Mexicans were a load on the Mexican economy. So we help the US by importing folks from Detroit and our overall tax level goes down.

Another difference is moral. Don't we, and especially our politicians have more of a duty to our own citizens than to citizens of a foreign country?

Rob Dawg September 17, 2007 at 2:23 pm

Regardless of how much welfare immigrants as a group consume, if the production of those immigrants exceeds by a healthy amount that welfare consumption, shouldn't we welcome them? After all, we need their labor or else they wouldn't be here.

Their presence as a part of an underground economy presents a moral hazard to our market pricing of labor.

John Dewey September 17, 2007 at 2:26 pm

Robert Hume: "whereas the Mexicans were a load on the Mexican economy."

I doubt that the Mexican workers who crossed the border were a drain on the Mexican economy. Do you have any evidence to indicate that they had been unemployed? I think it far more likely that they were productively employed.

robert hume: " Don't we, and especially our politicians have more of a duty to our own citizens than to citizens of a foreign country?"

Perhaps. I was only offerring that the small towns themselves would likely prefer Mexican workers who have demonstrated they will relocate a thousand miles in order to work. I'm fairly certain that small towns do not want U.S. welfare recipients relocating to their communities.

The problem we have in the U.S., of course, is a shortage of workers, not unemployment. If we cut off the flow of low cost labor, businesses – especially agriculture and food processing businessess – will simply relocate to nations where low-cost labor is available.

John Dewey September 17, 2007 at 2:32 pm

rob dawg: "Their presence as a part of an underground economy presents a moral hazard to our market pricing of labor"

I do not know what you mean by "moral hazard". Illegal immigrant wages are definitely subject to market forces.

If it is the underground economy that bothers you, then bring it to the surface. Institute a guest worker program.

Don't think that it is possible to remove 8 million workers from the U.S. economy and not cause great sufferring to legal as well as illegal citizens and residents.

Rob Dawg September 17, 2007 at 7:18 pm

John,You know my email. You know my blog. Is it okay to take this someplace?

When we tolerate an underground economy we exploit a class and deny a class. Were we to equalize the pool then we'd be left with a pool that potential employers could not trust to be cost effective and could not trust to be qualified.

John Dewey September 18, 2007 at 6:18 am

"we exploit a class and deny a class"

Give me a break! Mexican immigrant workers certainly are not being exploited in any large numbers. These folks are very happy to be here. I know. I have talked with them regularly. I read interviews where others have talked with them. Mexican immigrants could easily go home if they felt they were being treated poorly.

Certainly one can find exceptions where a few workers are exploited, just as some citizen workers are exploited.

Who is being denied? Unemployment levels are at full employment levels. If someone is not working in this economy it's either because they just don't want to try or else they lack work ethics or else they have serious interpersonal problems.

Rob Dawg September 18, 2007 at 2:37 pm

Give me a break! Mexican immigrant workers certainly are not being exploited in any large numbers.

You mean except for the ones in slavery sweatshop rings, those forced into prostitution, the ones paying FICA they cannot collect, those working for less than minimum wage, the dead ones, the one's in prison caught when forced to run drugs, the raped and pregnant with no prenatal care, the crime victims afraid to come forward, the killed injured and maimed by unlicensed, uninsured, unregistered drivers. You mean other than that they aren't exploited much.

John Dewey September 18, 2007 at 3:26 pm

rob dawg, I don't think you know much at all about illegal immigrant workers in the U.S. It's possible, but unlikely, that the situation where you have met them is completely unlike Texas.

A close relative of mine hires illegal workers – through a subcontractor – every day. He's been working alongside them for a decade. He knows exactly how they live.

I walked with 500,000 immigrants in the streets of Dallas protesting the proposed legislation that would make unauthorized presence a felony. For hours I talked with these workers. These workers are overjoyed to be here.

My wife has worked with several Latino women who were married to illegal immigrant workers. She's had long conversations with them about the lives they've led both as illegal immigrants and later as spouses of immigrants.

Quite simply, Dawg, I don't believe what you say is even close to the truth for the illegal Hispanic immigrant population. I admit I have no knowledge of Asian illegal immigrants.

Mesa Econoguy September 19, 2007 at 8:25 pm

Dr. Boudreaux, I remain a huge fan. You are, however, unfortunately and officially incorrect about your “no harm” theory of immigration.

If anyone is still reading this thread, and agrees with open immigration, you have a lot to answer for here:

http://www.azcentral.com/community/phoenix/articles/0919officershot0919.html#


Suspect in officer's shooting ex-con, had been deported
Jaywalker shoots 8-year police veteran
Judi Villa, Lindsey Collom and John Faherty
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 19, 2007 12:00 AM
Phoenix police Officer Nick Erfle survived two bouts of cancer to put back on his uniform and patrol the city's streets.

On Tuesday, a jaywalker shot him in the face and killed him.

"He's a hard charger. Even though he had a serious illness, he came back to work the streets as soon as he could," Sgt. Joel Tranter said.

"This will affect the officer's family and the Phoenix Police Department forever. . . . It will always be a loss."

The gunman, an illegal immigrant who had been deported last year, fled after shooting Erfle, commandeering a stopped car at gunpoint and ordering the motorist to drive. About an hour later, a Phoenix police tactical team surrounded Erik Jovani Martinez, 22, on a west Phoenix street and shot him dead as he pointed a gun at the hostage. The hostage was not hurt.

"The city of Phoenix, the citizens of Phoenix have lost another hero in our community," Assistant Phoenix Police Chief Michael Frazier said, announcing Erfle's death. "He died a hero doing the job he loved doing most."

Erfle was the second Phoenix police officer killed since July and the third Valley officer killed this year. He was married with two children and had a large extended family.

"This is another tragic day for the citizens of Phoenix. We have lost one of our family," said Dave Siebert, the city's vice mayor. "This has happened way too many times in the city of Phoenix. . . . He was one of our finest."

Martinez, who had three children, was a gang member with a history of drug abuse, police say. He was convicted of theft in 2004 and served a short stint in prison in 2006. Immigration officials confirmed he had been deported in March 2006.
A deadly morning
Police say Erfle, 33, and Officer Rob Rodarme were patrolling in a two-man car around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday when they saw three people jaywalking across 24th Street near Pinchot Avenue, interfering with traffic.

The two officers stopped the three, a man and two women, on Pinchot to talk to them and asked for identification. Police rarely issue citations for jaywalking, telling people instead to just cross at a safer spot in the future, Tranter said.

The man didn't have identification but gave officers a name and birth date that Erfle ran through a police computer. That search turned up a misdemeanor warrant for shoplifting out of Tucson.

Police would later find out the man hadn't given his real name. Martinez likely used an alias because he was trying to hide the fact he had felony warrants for aggravated assault and false imprisonment, stemming from a 2006 domestic-violence incident.

But the officers didn't know any of that and tried to arrest him on the misdemeanor warrant.

That's when Martinez shoved Erfle to the ground, pulled a gun and fired multiple times. Police said it all happened in a matter of seconds.

"There was three shots, and there was a pause, and then one more shot," said Bob Newnum, who lives nearby.

Rodarme ran after the fleeing suspect but couldn't return fire because the area was too crowded, Tranter said.

Police flooded into the area. Newnum said Erfle's body was facedown across a sidewalk, with his feet partly in the street. His partner was kneeling over Erfle, cursing.

"It's a shame," Newnum said. "I'm all choked up. I'm a real admirer of the police force. They go above and beyond all the time, and when one of them get hurts, it really bothers me."

Roger Elliott, who works nearby, came outside after a maintenance man told him to dial 911.

"Oh, my God, there was just blood all over the place," Elliott said. "I can't even describe it. I've never seen anything like it."

"There was no movement at all. . . . I'm sure he was dead."

Elliott said it took three officers to pull Rodarme away from his partner. Paramedics pumped on Erfle's chest before whisking him away in an ambulance.

"It was just a feeling I will never, ever forget," Elliott said. "I just cannot believe it. . . . It's such a stupid thing."

After the shooting, the assailant ran to the intersection of 24th Street and Thomas Road, where he carjacked the sedan. Witnesses were able to give police a description of the vehicle and a license plate.

One hour later, a tactical officer in an unmarked car spotted the stolen vehicle with a passenger matching the suspect's description. Officers began a covert surveillance of the vehicle and managed to box it in near 27th Avenue and McDowell Road.

The suspect raised his gun to the hostage, and an officer fired through a window once, killing him, Detective Bob Ragsdale said.

The two women did not flee after Erfle was shot. They were questioned by police and were cooperative, Tranter said. Police don't anticipate filing any charges against the women.
A life cut short
Erfle had been an officer for eight years. He was pronounced dead at 9:30 a.m.

In Erfle's north Phoenix neighborhood Tuesday night, Tiana Iannuzzi, 17, tearfully remembered the officer as a playful and patient family man who never raised his voice. Iannuzzi baby-sat for Erfle's two sons, ages 3 and 5, and said the officer was "a great guy."

Erfle had twice battled testicular cancer.

"We miss him a lot," said Tiana's mother, Carmella Iannuzzi. "He was just so strong during his cancer treatment. It's just very sad. He was just an all-around good guy."

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon was vacationing in Hawaii when he heard of the officer's death and was trying to make arrangements to get back to the city.

He issued a statement, saying, "Once again, a hero has died too young."

"He and his wife were still making the plans all young couples make," Gordon said.

"Today, they are left with too few memories and too much heartache. I share the grief of a caring community and continue to pray for his family."

Earlier in the day, Virginia Roper, who owns Amy's Beauty Salon on 24th Street, said she heard the police cars swarming the area and figured something serious must be happening.

Her eyes welled when she heard Erfle had been killed.

"I feel sorry for his family," said Roper, whose son-in-law is a Chandler police officer.

"They work so hard, and their life is always on the line," she said. "It's just very sad. Very, very sad."

Gary Dubay watched the aftermath from the parking lot of Phoenix Bicycle, where he works.

"I don't know how to react to something like that," Dubay said. "He was just stopping those people, and all of a sudden that breaks out. It's pretty crazy."
A series of tragedies
This has been a particularly violent year for Valley police officers.

Glendale police Officer Anthony Holly was shot and killed during a traffic stop in February. Phoenix police Officer George Cortez Jr. was killed in July after responding to a call about a bad check.

And now, just two months later, Erfle is dead.

"This just illustrates how dangerous police work is," Tranter said.

"You can contact someone for anything, a speeding ticket, jaywalking, walking down the sidewalk. What initially may be perceived as a simple contact, you could be dealing with a dangerous suspect."

Erfle was described as a well-respected, hard-working and dedicated officer who didn't allow his fight with cancer to sideline him.

Tranter said the officer even turned down a light-duty desk job to get back to patrol.

"He's a police officer. Rather than have a non-enforcement office assignment, he chose to get back in uniform and back on the street as quickly as he could," Tranter said.

"He will be greatly missed."

Republic reporters Laurie Roberts, Nikki Renner and Teana Wagner contributed to this article.

Mark September 22, 2007 at 8:07 pm

There is so much on this blog entry and the discussion to comment on.

First, I agree with Don that what ever their virtues. closed borders do restrict the freedom of both those wishing to cross the border and those wishing to associate with them. An analyst at DHS has estimated that there are 4 million fewer BUSINESS visitors a year to the United States as a result of post-9/11 changes. That suggest a lot of lost opportunities for Americans, and this is only class of temporary visa. Networking with the world is important, but the losses from deterred immigrants are likely to be much greater.

On the welfare state: As noted above, immigrants, legal or illegal are not eligible for most benefits. There is little evidence that the magnet pulling people to the United States is access to our emergency rooms and public schools. Some costs are incurred to be sure, but even most illegal immigrants pay taxes, as do the businesses their labor help to make possible.

On crime: There is poor data on citizenship status of criminals, but all the data suggests that illegal aliens are much LESS likely to commit crimes than natives. One reality check is this time trend from the DOJ of prisoners by ethnicity:
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/glance/jailrace.htm

So illegal immigrants are probably both economic and social positives for the country. What if I am wrong and they are a small negative? Then it is still only a minor problem.

I have been a Republican all my life, and a person usually able to attribute good will to those who disagree with me. But I am ashamed that so many in my party are treating human beings like the black plague. Chanting "illegal is illegal" does not move me–I see no such zeal for law enforcement against tax cheats, highway speeders, or other's committing acts that are actually criminal (illegal immigrant is only a civil violation) and do far more harm.

John Dewey September 24, 2007 at 4:43 pm

Mark,

You make very good points. Like you, I am saddened by my fellow Republicans who continue to chant "illegal is illegal" rather than face up to any workable solution.

My Republican Party is the party of Ronald Reagan, who proclaimed in his farewell address:

"I've spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don't know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and heart to get here."

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