About Immigration
June 20th, 2013

I’m a well-documented squish on the subject of immigration, but we’re in a weird place today where people’s thoughts about the upsides and downsides of “immigration”–which is a very broad subject–have been completely conflated with a much narrower question about a single immigration bill, of which the primary question is whether or not to amnesty a discrete population of illegal immigrants who already reside in America. You could, theoretically, be all in favor of increased STEM visas opening the legal pathway for new immigrants over the next decade, but be against the current amnesty bill, and you are hence classified as “anti-immigration.” Which is telling.

But more telling is the manner in which many of the supporters are attempting to sell the bill. For starters, we have liberal writers ranging from Jonathan Chait to Al Hunt–not to mention Congressional Democrats such as Bob Menendez–claiming that passing the current bill is necessary for the continued political success of the Republican party. On the merits, this claim is utterly unconvincing. The fact that the political expediency argument is being raised so vociferously by political opponents of the Republican party is, like the weird framing above, also telling.

Then you have Republican proponents of the bill making demographic arguments which are either beside the point, or intentionally misleading.

And finally there’s the discussion about what’s actually in the bill itself:

The key items, according to reports and sources, are: A doubling of the size of the border patrol, to 40,000 agents. Seven hundred miles of border fence. A requirement that the security plan submitted by the Department of Homeland Security include provisions — such as those above — mandated by Congress. All of these would be “triggers” that would have to be achieved before the path to citizenship can start.

But — and this is big – the provision sought by conservatives such as John Cornyn, that 90 percent apprehension be achieved as a “hard trigger,” is no longer in the deal as a precondition for citizenship. As the Times puts it: “Republicans agreed to make the 90 percent figure a goal rather than a requirement.” The key is that additional Republicans beyond the gang of eight — such as Bob Corker and John Hoeven — appear prepared to accept this.

Leading immigration advocate Frank Sharry, who was briefed on the emerging deal, tells me Dems successfully beat back Republican demands for inclusion of the 90 percent “hard trigger.” And so Sharry’s group, America’s Voice, can support the deal, albeit reluctantly.

“The deal is ridiculous from a policy point of view — it’s excessive and wasteful,” Sharry tells me. “But from a political point of view, if it brings 10 or 11 Senate Republican votes, we’ll probably will be able to live with it.”

In other words, some of the pro-reform forces aren’t even pretending that the language in the bill is being offered in good faith.

It’s this “good faith” part which is so worrisome to anyone who likes immigration in general, but is ill-at-ease with this bill. Because everywhere you look on the pro-reform side, you see people operating in what does not look like good faith at all.

Strip away all questions about policy merit and wisdom and just focus on the raw politics here for a moment. It makes you wonder how Republicans could ever get themselves suckered into voting for such a thing.

But then again, the Republican party signs on with stupid all the time.

  1. Quotes of the day « Hot Air June 20, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    […] But then again, the Republican party signs on with stupid all the time. […]

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  3. troy garrett June 21, 2013 at 2:41 am

    All these “get tough on Illegals provisions” do is create work for immigration attorneys. That is generally a good thing for immigration attorneys. Making those who get amnesty have to wait 10 years pay fines and go to hearings is still amnesty, but it puts money in the pocket of immigration attorneys. 🙂

    and no you cannot trust the government to build the fence even when they make it a law.

    As far as the politics go I just do not think that there are many Hispanics who are 100% republican on every issue but immigration.

    I ask conservatives if you the democratic party said:
    “never mind we are pro life”
    Would the average conservative say:
    “please raise taxes on the rich for more weal fair programs?”
    I cannot think of a single policy change that would get conservatives to switch teams and the same applies to democrats. The real solution is Charisma. Bush had it Kerry did not, Obama had it Mitt did not.

    Also, I do think that if a minor candidate says or does something stupid it can hurt the ticket. Thus the republicans Really need to look at there primaries and make sure they get Charismatic people.

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  5. jon June 21, 2013 at 10:39 am

    The Republic dies the day Amnesty is signed into law. We won’t be America anymore—we’ll be well on our way to a nightmare fusion of Brazil and Idiocracy.

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  7. renny4 June 21, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    KILL THE BILL. 888-978-3094 and 202-224-3121 and send free faxes from the free site, NumbersUSA.

    This bill is designed to ruin the US and create a perm. Dem. majority based on ILLEGALS who want to steal jobs, taxes, and social benefits.

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  9. troy garrett June 23, 2013 at 12:05 am

    Italians no longer vote 100% democratic it will change with Hispanics Cubans vote republican. Also the bill has in it a provision that makes it so you cannot get benefits for 10 years. even the Heritage foundation admits in its study that in the first 10 years it is a positive fiscal impact.

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  11. mrmandias June 23, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Cubans vote less Republican with time. Hispanics aren’t assimilating at the same rate as prior immigration groups and are less likely to do so if there is a constant supply of new, poor Hispanics to drive down their wages and recreate their cultures of origin.

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  13. troy garrett June 23, 2013 at 11:23 am

    The Cuban rates are interesting. The younger Cuban Americans vote like upper middle class suburban white Americans of the same age. It points to assimilation, even if the short term politics stink.

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  15. jon June 21, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Question for Mr. Last: Why are you a squish on immigration? Catholocism? Married to some 3rd Worlder? What? You care about the GOP, you read Sailer’s blog so you know something about IQ and biodiversity…..what gives?

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  17. troy garrett June 21, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    He wrote a book on the subject. His pro immigration argument is: it basically the way around a declining birth rate. That is how you keep workers/customers coming in and the economy growing. Unless all the 28 year old Americans living with there parents decide to have kids immigration is the only way to have social security or any retirement program. If you have lots of money but no workers then your money is worthless. And with current birth rates there will not be any young workers when you retire.

    But, if you read his book the part on immigration he seas both sides of the issue.

    True Idiocracy is scary but so are the consequences of having an American go from 315 million to 80 million. And we are heading that way even with out immigration. Birth rates go down the more education and money you have.

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  19. jonsmythe June 22, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    So the problem going forward is that we just won’t have enough American workers to fill the jobs out there? Really? At 8% unemployment? Really? I find it astonishing that at a time of high unemployment and stagnating wages the unified elite consensus is that the #1 threat to America is worker shortages/ high wages. You know what? Let’s risk it just for 10-20 years and see what happens. Let’s let the labor market tighten to 4% unemployment and have wages rise by 20% (gasp!) and then we can talk open borders/amnesty as a pressure valve.

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  21. troy garrett June 22, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    The interesting thing is that is not what happens. Japan and most of Europe have the same problem but it started 20-30 years sooner. And They do not have low unemployment they have 25% youth unemployment. Basically because of really bad government policy.
    Why is the policy so bad?
    Because the government does not care about unemployed young people. Why does the government not care about unemployed young people?
    Because they are a smaller part of the population that every before there are fewer children and fertile adults who can have children in today’s Italy than in the 1960’s.

    Also, The wealthy need some one to mow there lawn and they do not want to pay a college graduate to do it.
    So you have higher taxes to pay for the majority of the population that is collecting pensions. And strict regulations for the majority of workers most of whom are over 45.

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  23. MF June 22, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    Damn low-IQ Catholoc types.

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  25. Will Truman June 21, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    This is one of those places where it would be helpful if the GOP had some credibility on the immigration issue. Unfortunately, they’ve given a lot of folks comparatively little reason to believe that their motives have nothing to do with race, xenophobia, and so on. So they can’t easily say “This is a rotten deal. We’re more than open to the right deal and this isn’t about desirables versus undesirables…” and have their comments taken at face value.

    And so they have a no-win situation. Either they fight this, and they lose ground with a group of voters they are going to need at some point because it will be construed as hostile to particular demographics. Or they don’t fight this, and they’ve helped speed up the timer on the demographic timebomb.

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  27. jonsmythe June 22, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    You can’t get around the racial angle when 90% of the illegals come from the low skill/low IQ parts of the southern hemisphere. There are, in fact, undesirable elements of Hispanic culture that will, in fact, damage the country going forward if the flow continues unabated.

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  29. Will Truman June 23, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    Irish-Americans also notoriously had low-IQ’s.

    As a practical matter, they’re already here and we don’t have the gumption to send them all home. One way or another, we need to reconcile ourselves with that.

    The good news is that the rush has abated. My hope is that we’re going to have a solid period of assimilation and a chance to get our cultural bearings down.

    Whether we normalize those here or not, their children are going to be Americans. I have some real concerns over the current bill, but keeping them underground will likely slow down any assimilation efforts.

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  31. jon June 25, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Thanks for recycling the “de-facto amnesty”, “bring them out of the shadows” and “we can’t deport them all” cliches—-hat trick!

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  33. jonsmythe June 22, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Hmm…Japan has all the same demograhic problems x10 and it’s still a pretty nice, orderly, civil place to live. If the choice is between mild depopulation/ slower GDP growth, vs. a “vibrant” but stratified multi-culti mush that makes Brazil look equitable and serene, then bring on those falling birth rates!

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  35. troy garrett June 22, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    yes but China and Korea are claiming uninhabited islands. and the government is maintaining that by large deficit spending. That can go on as long as you have good bond prices and that is starting to change.

    and for the love of god buy the book. it is like $5 on kindle.

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  37. troy garrett June 23, 2013 at 12:02 am

    Every one predicted the Irish and the Italians would ruin American culture. Everyone said southern Europeans are low skill low IQ types. Yet they did not destroy the country. I am a bleeding heart liberal, so i feel strongly that America is a nation of immigrants and if we simply let every one in who was not sick or a criminal that would be a good policy. If that created welfare problems we could adjust them programs as need make it require 5 years of residency to qualify rather than 2 year etc.

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  39. mrmandias June 23, 2013 at 9:14 am

    To the extent those groups successfully assimilated (there is evidence that descendants of Eastern Europeans and Southern Europeans earn less and are less educated than other whites) most of the assimilation came during periods of anti-immigration fervor where new immigration was halted and the immigrants were under ferocious pressure to assimilate. If you want to use those historical analogies, then you favor shutting down Latin American immigration HARD and you favor widespread prejudice against “acting Hispanic” with informal and formal coercive measures designed to disrupt ties to Hispanic culture.

    Having made that point, it would be ungentlemanly of me to point out that during the periods of German, Irish, and Italian immigration, we had a massively expanding agricultural and basic manufacturing economy with an appetite for low-skills labor, and we didn’t have a welfare state. It would also be unkind to point out that the relative cost of immigrating was higher, the relative distance from the home country also was, and American self-confidence was also greater. But these are mere facts.

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  41. troy garrett June 23, 2013 at 11:10 am

    yes our economy is different, and our welfare state is different. To address the welfare state under the bill if you get legalized you cannot get any form of public assistance for 10 years. The Heritage came up with that 6 trillion figure by going out almost 100 years.

    Second as to the economy you are correct we have high skilled jobs and low skilled jobs. The middle skilled jobs in Manufacturing are gone. But we still have low skilled jobs.

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  43. mrmandias June 24, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    A number of forms of public assistance are still available under this bill, 10 years is a ridiculous timeline for people who are going to be here for a lifetime, and the low skills are not as abundant and not as profitable as during the early to mid 20th.

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  45. troy garrett June 24, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    on average immigrant leave after 20 years. That is in part because they do not assimilate. If you worked in Japan for 20 years wouldn’t you want to retire back in the good old US of A.

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  47. jon June 25, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Spare us all the Ellis Island narrative, ok? What that misty eyed version of immigration history leaves out is the fact that the National Origins Act basically eliminated net immigration into the country from 1925-1965. The result? The melting pot and the assimilation of all those Italians and Irish. Anyone proposing anything similar today to promote assimilation? Thought not.

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  49. jon June 25, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Refresh my memory—did Italy and Ireland share a 2000 mile border with us? Did the immigrants who came back then think that their land had been stolen from them? Did they have access to email, cellphones and cheap travel back and forth to Dublin and Naples? Did they have a political and intellectual elite that stressed multiculturalism and ethnocentrism over assimilation?

    I know you fell some sort of obligation to great grandma and grandpa who saw the Statue of Liberty when they floated into NYC, but nobody cares now—country’s different, economy is different, culture is different.

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  51. jon June 25, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    You know who else felt strongly optimistic? George Bush—about Iraq. Hope, optimism and strong feelings are not the basis for sound policy decisions my friend.

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  53. mrmandias June 23, 2013 at 9:15 am

    The Slowdown in the Economic Assimilation of Immigrants: Aging and Cohort Effects Revisited Again
    George J. Borjas

    Immigrants who entered the country before the 1980s typically found that their initial wage disadvantage (relative to natives) narrowed by around 15 percentage points during their first two decades in the United States. In contrast, the immigrants who entered the country after the 1980s have a negligible rate of wage convergence. Part of the slowdown in wage convergence reflects a measurable reduction in the actual rate of human capital accumulation. In particular, there has been a concurrent decline in the rate at which the newer immigrant cohorts are “picking up” English language skills. The study isolates one factor that explains part of these trends: The rate of increase in English language proficiency is significantly slower for larger national origin groups. The growth in the size of these groups accounts for about a quarter of the decline in the rates of human capital acquisition and economic assimilation.

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  55. troy garrett June 23, 2013 at 11:14 am

    I wont dispute that and in fact many immigrants come here mow lawns for 20 years then retire as a result. Also if you are a fast food worker and you go from bad English to good English do you really get any more opportunities? Part of the change in convergence is fewer benefits to assimilating. We have fewer medium skilled jobs. But I do not see why this is a problem other than welfare that they cannot get for 10 years.

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  57. mrmandias June 24, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Immigrants don’t disappear after 10 years.

    So, what exactly is your argument for bringing in a population of low skills workers who will remain low skills workers, aren’t assimilating, aren’t learning English, and will be eligible for most forms of public assistance in a decade in the best-case scenario?

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  59. troy garrett June 24, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    1: we have 10 years to fix the welfare state.
    2: we need more people. We Americans are not have enough children to replace ourselves. So without some immigration we will have a country of abandon buildings.
    3: These uneducated people are the ones who have come.
    4: finally it is worth noting that with current trends most immigrants leave after 15-20 years especially if they do not assimilate. So as a practical matter we will get 10 years of work with no benefits and after that they will retire in Mexico and go on benefits there.

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  61. troy garrett June 24, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Also we need these low skilled jobs. Young Americans are getting educated at rates of 60% or so. We cannot have an economy where you get 100,000 of debt and BA in communication and you end up getting a job mowing a lawn.

    Some one needs to do these low skilled jobs and Americans would rather get Social Security checks and say
    “I am 65 I do not have to work anymore”
    Americans would rather say I was productive 10 15 years ago so I can now live off the system. Some one needs to wash dishes.

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  63. jon June 25, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Great! So all we have to do in the next ten years is “fix the welfare state” and problem solved!

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  65. jon June 25, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    What about the native born citizens at the bottom of the rung? Do they have a right to dignity and work? You can’t just “educate” people with lower IQ’s to be smarter and more succesful—doesn’t work that way. We need to privilege our own citizens and the bottom of the scale ahead of the Third World masses you are so keen on letting into the country. Yes, our own citizens count more—that’s the whole point of “citizenship.”

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  67. jon June 25, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    They’re eligible for food stamps right fricking now! Is that not welfare in your Progessiverse?

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  69. jon June 25, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    I guess we can also address the 60% Hispanic high school dropout rate by “fixing the schools” in the next 10 years—problem solved again!

    Then we can move on to address the 60% out of wedlock birthrates for Hispanics by “fixing the culture” in the next 10 years. Easy peasy.

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  71. troy garrett June 26, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    read MR. Lasts book he is a way better writer than I am. You can get to the immigration section in the free trial part on amazon.

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  73. mrmandias June 26, 2013 at 8:13 am

    They are also required by law to be treated in emergency rooms.

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  75. Jenn June 25, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Illegals may “typically” go home after about 20 years now, but will they leave once this bill passes? Now an immigrant can work for 20-25 years at manual labor for extremely low wages, then once they can’t keep up that work – and they have negligible savings and no retirement – they can get on welfare, SSI, medicare when they’re old, etc for the rest of their lives. How will that help the economy in the long run? Why will they assimilate when school, all government functions and mass media entertainment are all available in their native language? Why bother?

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  77. troy garrett June 26, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Read Mr. Lasts book he is a better writer than I am he explains it better than I do.

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  79. Tyler Creed August 6, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    The policy of the Falconist Party is anti-illegal entry but Pro-immigration. We believe quotas should be lifted if not abolished while enforcing immigration laws as well as assimilation.