Monday, October 22, 2007


alex tolley

The immigration issue is extremely important, but it is a tough nut to crack. The US is not alone in trying to find ways to deal sensibly with it - Europe is in a very similar position, yet it has fewer opportunities for population expansion and employment, yet responds similarly to the US.

The broad issues are:

1. How many immigrants can the US beneficially absorb?
2. Who should be first in a quota system.
3. What legal benefits and restrictions need to be applied and for how long.
4. How to deal with "cheaters".

Some policies could be changed e.g. the family unification idea. This allows one immigrant to eventually bring in the rest of his/her family. Arguably every family member should be a treated as a separate immigrant.

We should acknowledge that some laborers are only here for work, but border restrictions make them de facto immigrants. Better just to offer work visas and travel freedoms.

One paradox is that Republicans are so anti-immigrant. Arguably a party that believes in minimal government support and free markets should encourage immigration as a no-cost, market clearing mechanism for labor. Traditional Republicans probably still do, but this is antithetical to the "family values" wing.

One question. In a world of increasingly free capital flows, why is labor treated so differently?

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