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Denying Entry to Migrants: Our Racist National Shame

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cargo-la-bestia

The morally bankrupt immigration policy of the United States with its Gestapo-like Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency seeking to round up desperate people flies in the face of what this nation should value. The people crossing the border are escaping really horrible things. And now they aren’t coming because the enormous financial investment and personal risk up to and too often including death isn’t worth it if they are going to be deported. But they have nothing to return to in their home nations. They are coming here for good reasons, after all.

Reiner Ríos Gómez, who is from Honduras’s capital, Tegucigalpa, lifted his shirt last week to expose a scar about 12 inches long in the middle of his back, where he said a machete hit him as he fled the robbers who were trying to steal his pay: 2,800 lempiras, or about $119, for half a month’s work in construction.

To escape that life, he set out for the United States on Jan. 15, making it as far as Sonoyta, Mexico, a city on the Arizona border where roadside stalls sell the camouflage clothes and backpacks that migrants use to cross to the other side. Then he called a cousin in Houston.

“Why are you coming?” he said his cousin asked him. “They’re going to send you back.”

So Mr. Ríos, 33, settled down at a shelter in Sonoyta, unsure of what to do next. “I have nothing to go back to,” he said. “And I don’t know if there’s anything for me on the other side.”

Customs and Border Protection reported this week that the number of people caught trying to enter the United States illegally from Mexico had fallen in February to the lowest level in five years. The Trump administration said the sharp decline was a sign that its promises to hire more enforcement agents, deport more people and wall off the border were discouraging people from even trying to cross.

People are leaving Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, escaping horrific violence. How can we turn them away? Because we are a horrible racist nation, that’s how.

This is the modern equivalent of the 1930s refusal to allow Jewish refugees into the United States, dooming them to death. There is no significant difference between that crime against humanity made in the name of keeping America white and the current crime against humanity in the name of Make America White Again. While I don’t advocate for completely open borders, largely because there are policy implications that can’t be ignored, I certainly advocate for significantly increased levels of immigration. People like Ríos need a chance to live a dignified life. The United States should represent the place where people can do that. But now we are refusing that life to him and to millions of other people in the name of whiteness. It’s disgusting. Future Americans will see this as a national shame. And then they will probably start excluding people once again in the name of whiteness or national identity or whatnot.

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  • Murc

    I would like to advocate a new blog policy of Gareth being preemptively banned from threads of this nature, please.

    • J. Otto Pohl

      You seem to have deterred him from arriving here.

      • Murc

        If I do one productive thing today, let it have been that!

        Sadly he was replaced by newcomer Stan McGee, who is worse.

        • King Goat

          That’s kind of how purity purges work in general.

          • Murc

            I dare you to make less sense.

            • tsam

              May I offer you a ‘ILLEGULLZ CAUSE WAGE DEPRESSION’ argument?

  • King Goat

    “While I don’t advocate for completely open borders”

    So just send less, but still some, of the Jews back to the Gestapo?

    • El Guapo

      That’s not what Erik is saying at all.

      • King Goat

        If you’re going to have something less than open borders you’re going to be turning some people away. Are they supposed to be less desperate or something? This is I think the problem with framing things in such emotionally sensationalist rhetoric. It’s like when libertarians say ‘taxation is slavery!’ and then you ask them if there should be a tax supported national defense or roads and they say, well, yes, that’s an ok function of government, and then an anarchist listening says ‘a-ha, slaver!’

        • Aaron Morrow

          Are they supposed to be less desperate or something?

          Yes. Do you really not understand that?

          This is I think the problem with framing things in such emotionally sensationalist rhetoric.

          … that you don’t understand the issue you’re talking about, so you try to use a non-analogous comparison?

          • King Goat

            So the policy is to let in the desperate only? Most are going to say they’re in a bad way or they wouldn’t be trying to come here.

            • Aaron Morrow

              There were already processes in place to vet immigrants, so your concern is invalid.

              I prefer to assume that you don’t understand the issue you’re talking about out of ignorance rather than knowing lies.

              • King Goat

                I think we’re talking past one another, which is probably easy you being on your high horse, but I’ll try again. Erik says that our current policy of turning so many people away is like when the Jews were turned away to the Gestapo. He says we need to let way more people in, but he also says, not everyone. My point is that since the large majority of people coming are in fact in a bad way anything less than open borders is going to mean turning away people in a bad way. If we accept the framing at the beginning, that turning away people in a bad way is like turning the Jews back to the Gestapo, then we’d still be sending back Jews, just less. I guess that’s better, but still awful, and I suspect what’s really going on is it’s been framed wrongly at the outset.

                • Jordan

                  This is the point where “stupid or trolling?” clearly reveals itself as trolling. But also possibly stupid.

                • King Goat

                  People that disagree with you are obviously trolling, duh.

                  Keep pushing against those bubble walls, lest anything get it!

                • delazeur

                  My point is that since the large majority of people coming are in fact in a bad way anything less than open borders is going to mean turning away people in a bad way.

                  Your premise is unsupported, and even if it wasn’t the conclusion would not follow.

                • Aaron Morrow

                  Given past racism in other threads, I just assumed you were more comfortable with middle-class and upper-class WASP immigration.

                  the large majority of people coming are in fact in a bad way

                  That’s a lie.

                  Actual data shows 48% of adult-aged immigrants who entered the country between 2011 and 2015 were college-educated. If we accept the framing at the beginning, you clearly prefer immigrants who aren’t in a bad way to those who are.

                  If you didn’t buy into stereotypes, you wouldn’t have gotten caught making an antisemitic argument.

                • King Goat

                  If you’re going to throw around a slanderous charge like that, do you mind if I ask you to back it up? Where have I exhibited ‘past racism in other threads?’

                  “Actual data shows 48% of adult-aged immigrants who entered the country between 2011 and 2015 were college-educated.”

                  Undocumented immigrants?

                  “you wouldn’t have gotten caught making an antisemitic argument.”

                  What the fuck are you talking about? I’m using the exact analogy Erik did.

                • DrDick

                  This is the point where “stupid or trolling?” clearly reveals itself as trolling. But also possibly stupid.

                  I always go with all of the above in these cases and Goatfucker is a repeat offender.

                • Jordan

                  I disagree with lots of people and they are cool.

                  But sometimes I disagree with a troll, like this time.

                  /eta: DrDick: ya … yeah. Can’t help it sometimes :(.

                • rea

                  Silly King Goat, “open borders” means all the Jews get admitted in ’39, but then all the Gestapos get admitted in ’45.

                • aturner339

                  The funny (?) thing is that the US did indeed favor ethnic Germans (over 100,000) over Jews as refugees in the immediate post war era. Truman was mortified but it was the best he could get congress to do.

          • DrDick

            He never understands anything he is talking about.

    • sigaba

      As long as people are in good behavior they should be able to live wherever they want. It’s totally reasonable to make sure people don’t have a legit criminal record, or are smuggling, but that’s about it.

      • King Goat

        People with criminal records are often the people most destitute and in a bad way (true of within our nation and without).

        • sigaba

          Maybe I should qualify by saying people who are fleeing prosecution, and then excluding political crimes.

          • King Goat

            I see your point, but I’m actually talking about non-political criminals. Lots of people commit non-political crimes and then go on to not to and find themselves in a bad way and might naturally seek a better place to live like the US. If turning away desperate people is akin to turning Jews back to the Nazis, a system that turns back all with criminal records is going to involve something like that.

    • cppb

      While I might go farther than Erik re: totally open borders, it’s perfectly consistent to read his analogy as advocating for allowing 100% of Jewish refugees into the US, but still having some limits on non-refugees and/or other barriers to entry not based on racism.

      There might be reasons to criticize this position (i.e. any barrier to entry may keep some refugees out, resulting in death/oppression; is the distinction between refugee and other migrants really valid for determining the right to migrate, etc). But I’m pretty sure Eric is talking about a lot more than just increasing quotas.

      • King Goat

        “any barrier to entry may keep some refugees out, resulting in death/oppression”

        That was the nature of my point.

        • Aaron Morrow

          So your point is that more death/oppression is better than less?

          That’s worse than what I thought.

          • King Goat

            No, it’s that if you accept Erik’s initial framing, then we’d still have a system sanctioning death and oppression even with his reforms. If that seems wrong, there might be something off about that initial framing.

            • Jordan

              Yes, it is *Erik’s* framing that is off.

              Or you just want to be a shithead. One or the other.

              • King Goat

                If you frame something you disagree with as something like genocidal murder (or equally emotionally sensational) and then turn around and say ‘of course, we’ll have to allow *some* of that’ then yes, you’re initial framing seems off to me. But of course that just *must* be the shithead talking.

                • Aaron Morrow

                  Since your racist assumptions about immigration are false, I can see how they led you to making a faulty argument based on multiple types of ignorance.

                • King Goat

                  Here we see the problem with just lazily tossing out a charge like racist. This discussion is about undocumented immigrants (documented immigrants aren’t by definition being ‘turned away like the Jews in the 1930’s were’). And my assumptions weren’t ‘racist,’ they were largely correct.

                  http://undocumentedpatients.org/issuebrief/demographics-and-socioeconomic-status/

                  And, assuming they were in a desperate plight wouldn’t itself be racist anyway even if were not true. It’s not like I would think their plight is due to some failing of theirs, but rather a deduction from the fact that they were risking life and limb to get here.

                • Jordan

                  But of course that just *must* be the shithead talking.

                  Hey, you got it!

                • Ronan

                  “Since your racist assumptions about immigration are false”

                  This is ridiculous. Whatever about King Goat in generalm the post is obviously not about high skilled slective immigration.

              • Quaino

                He’s not wrong. If you want to frame things this black and white then I don’t really understand why it should absolve you of the criticism he’s putting out there, whether or not he’s a concern troll.

                There are a half dozen posts, at least, from Erik now basically accusing immigration authorities of being Nazis and American immigration policy being equivalent to systematic genocide of migrants. Erik then throws in “I’m not OK with totally open borders guys! No sirree!” Well, wait, what the fuck? The guy who wants to keep out five million Mexicans is Hitler, the guy who wants to keep out one million Mexicans is a hero?

                I am absolutely, unequivocally in support of easier immigration and immediate forgiveness for existing undocumented immigrants… but I also understand (but very much disagree with) why some people aren’t so I don’t make a point of cocking off and accusing people of being pro-genocide if they disagree with me. Erik basically has… and so I don’t understand why it’s unfair to turn the analogy back around on him — why is he OK with leaving those one million Jews to die in Germany? What is his explanation for that line in the sand that makes it OK? Genocide is fine if there are ‘policy implications’?

                • Domino

                  The fundamental rub here is:

                  You can be for open boarders, or you can be for a welfare state. You can’t be for both.

                  Since I’m not aware of anyone advocating the end of welfare, you have to control your boarders and control who can enter your country. Otherwise welfare will collapse.

                • Domino

                  Should have noted – there is obviously a lot of nuance in “supporting a welfare state”. And that you can certainly be for allowing more people into the country than are currently. And be for a path to citizenship for undocumented people currently in the country. But you do have to draw a line.

                • SatanicPanic

                  We could say- everyone from warzones, please come; people from poor nations, we’ll think about it; people from wealthy nations, please consider staying home. This would mean we are keeping people from being killed but not allowing fully open boarders. This isn’t necessarily what I want, but it does mean it’s not an either/or.

                  Also, border guards can be Nazis, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible for them not to be.

                • King Goat

                  See, you’re just being a shithead troll that doesn’t know what they’re talking about ;)

                • Domino

                  We could say- everyone from warzones, please come; people from poor nations, we’ll think about it; people from wealthy nations, please consider staying home.

                  1. That first premise alone would involve millions of people. How would you accommodate them? Because an influx of that much would swamp current services.

                  2. “We’ll think about” is not a policy, though I get you’re just spitballing. There has to be rules and regulations.

                  3. Why would we say no to a Japanese couple who decides they’d rather live in the USA instead of Japan? Like, how is the USA better off saying no to them, but yes to millions of people who don’t speak English?

                • Platypus Prime

                  1. That first premise alone would involve millions of people. How would you accommodate them? Because an influx of that much would swamp current services.

                  To follow up on Domino’s point here…

                  If we set aside the politics and the morality and just look at the numbers:
                  Population of Mexico: 122 million
                  Population of Guatemala: 14 million
                  Population of El Salvador: 6 million
                  Population of Nicaragua: 6 million
                  Population of Honduras: 8 million

                  Combined population of these countries: 156 million

                  Population of the United States: 324 million

                  Population of the world: 7.4 billion

                  The US will be able to absorb 1 million immigrants from Latin America. It would be a stretch to absorb 10 million. Absorbing 32 million (10% of the US population, or just 20% of these Latin American countries) would be extremely complicated – if not impossible, then a logistical nightmare.

                  Absorbing all 156 million – or even half – would be impossible. But even if we did manage to find a way to do so, there are still 23 million in Syria, hundreds of millions in the perpetual warzones in Africa, 45 million in Ukraine (which will get annexed or paved over by Russia sooner rather than later)… The list goes on and on.

                  As an immigrant who formerly went through the ridiculously overcomplicated immigration process 14 years ago, I have a rather convoluted perspective on all this.

                  In the end, the punchline is simple: we can’t save everyone. There are billions (or at the very least hundreds of millions) of poor, huddled masses yearning to be free, but we don’t have the capacity to let them all in. We don’t even have the capacity to let in a quarter of the people from Mexico and Latin America. And even if we did admit everyone from that region at the expense of all the other immigrants in equally terrifying situations, would one not be able to make a valid case that Americans are genociding the Africans by not letting them in?

                  …my point here is that the situation is much bigger and more complex than a single blog post can cover. (Let alone one that jumps straight to Godwin’s Law.) Our current immigration system is inefficient. The way to fix it is with data and analysis, not with emotionally charged arguments.

                • The way to fix it is with data and analysis, not with emotionally charged arguments

                  Boy, someone doesn’t understand how American politics works

                • Platypus Prime

                  Oh, I understand it well – I just refuse to accept the nationwide rhetorical mud-wrestling as a valid form of discourse.

                • Thom

                  There are a lot of hidden assumptions in your analysis, like how many can be absorbed, how many would want to come, and so forth.

                • Platypus Prime

                  True. That’s just back-of-the-napkin addition, nothing more, nothing less. That said, I can’t think of the last time one of the G-8 countries successfully absorbed more than 10% of its population. I would love to see more discussion with factual analysis and best/realistic/worst-case scenario approximations.

  • Stan McGee

    I think the immigration system needs serious reform but, you know, saying on one hand that this is a horrific, horrible, racist countrybut it’d be a shame if anyone ever had to leave it on the other, is going to strike some people as odd.

    If it’s as racist as you say it is (1) why would any brown person want to live here in the first place and (2) why would it be so bad if they had to leave? I don’t see how any brown person could lead a “dignified life” in this country, given the way you characterize it as a racist shithole.

    • aturner339

      Only people who insist on intellectual dishonesty

      • Stan McGee

        Why would you want non-white people moving to an irredeemably racist nation? That sounds like a punishment, not a safe haven.

        • SatanicPanic

          The national government is not the totality of America.

          • Stan McGee

            It’s often asserted on this blog that white Americans are horrible racists individually, not just the government itself. Given that whites are 65% of the population this should be absolutely terrifying for any brown person. Why don’t we help them get to a less racist society like Canada or Germany?

            • SatanicPanic

              Your logic is stupid so I don’t feel compelled to respond further.

              • Stan McGee

                White Americans aren’t overwhelmingly horribly racist people then?

            • addicted44

              Given that most (all?) of the authors of this blog are white do you really think that is what they are saying?

              • Stan McGee

                They see themselves as a special class of whites, the “elect” if you will, who have repented of their racism. They still view 99% of white Americans as violent racists.

                • addicted44

                  You seem to have an incredible understanding of their deep seated beliefs and thoughts.

                  And amazingly, all the white writers on this blog have the exact same thoughts and beliefs regarding white racism.

                  IOW, you’re so full of shit.

            • DrDick

              And you are doing your damnedest to prove that. Congrats!

          • DrDick

            Nor the Republican Party and racist troglodytes like Stan.

        • Origami Isopod

          Why would you want IHOPs moving to a neighborhood full of Bickford’s? That sounds like a bankruptcy, not a good business plan.

    • Thom

      Ok, but that is like asking why black people left the Bantustans (“Homelands”) in apartheid South Africa to work in the “white” cities. Because that is where the jobs, good wages, and in many cases their husbands/fathers/sisters/nephews were. Note that South Africa defined the Bantustans as separate/independent nations (or on their way to being such, in some cases), even though no other country recognized this. See “Ain’t Gonna Play Sun City.”

      • Stan McGee

        Honduras and Nicaragua are “bantustans”? Wow!

        • Thom

          The question is why people would come from place X to somewhere they will be reviled and discriminated against because of race. I answered it by a well known historical analogy (and can recommend some books, if you like). I did not say Honduras and Nicaragua were Bantustans.

          • sigaba

            In light of American foreign policy with regard to Nicaragua and Honduras, and the Americas generally, I find the comparison apt in some limited ways.

            • Thom

              Leaving aside the difference in jurisdictional status (Honduras, a recognized nation-state vs. Transkei, a phony Bantustan) we could ask why people would leave Laredo, Texas, to work in Houston or Chicago. But they do (in this case driven by economics, not by violence).

        • J. Otto Pohl

          Yes, migrant labor from Mozambique even after independence to the South African gold mines is a better example.

          • Thom

            You could spend all your life in Transkei (an “independent” Bantustan surrounded by South Africa) and never see a white person. Yet millions left that area, and many others like it, to work for whites in South Africa. Mozambique is a closer analogy in terms of recognized nation-state status, as are Lesotho, Swaziland, and Botswana, but from the point of view of the migrant, it is hard to draw the distinction. For someone going to work in the mines, what is the difference between going from Lesotho vs. going from Transkei? More to the point, in all these cases, a person is leaving a black area to go to a more obviously white-dominated area where everyday racism would be a more prominent feature of life. Yet they did it, in their millions.

    • Joe_JP

      Their former country was even worse?

      The North was rather racist in the 1920s, but lots of blacks moved there since the South was worse. Seems too obvious. Might be missing something.

      ETA: “But they have nothing to return to in their home nations. They are coming here for good reasons, after all.” If there were lots of slots in great alternative nations, wouldn’t be as bad if they had to leave.

      • King Goat

        I think this is an excellent answer to that question, thanks.

    • If it’s as racist as you say it is (1) why would any brown person want to live here in the first place and (2) why would it be so bad if they had to leave? I don’t see how any brown person could lead a “dignified life” in this country, given the way you characterize it as a racist shithole.

      Because a lot of the places these people are coming from are literally unimaginably terrifying and hopeless from our perspective. We don’t live with the same kind of fear and desperation they are fleeing.

      • Stan McGee

        Aren’t there lots of violent white men here going around shooting random brown people now? I read about lots of cases like that on this blog.

        • El Guapo

          I have an idea. Go fuck yourself. You’re not being honest here.

          • Stan McGee

            So there hasn’t been a huge, massive wave of hate killings by violent white men since the election of Trump?

            Just trying to expose the contradictions here.

            • El Guapo

              No, you are not. Go away. To fuck yourself or otherwise, I don’t care.

            • No more than the contribution to the 30,000 per year that occur in a normal year in America. And if that is your baseline, then try to picture a place where fleeing to this is a step up.

        • aturner339

          See what I mean?

      • We don’t live with the same kind of fear and desperation they are fleeing.

        Hey, Trump’s only had a month or so. Give him time!

        • Indeed. I wonder, is it hyperbole to wonder who the next Anne Frank will be in America? Or the next little girl in a red coat?

          • davidsmcwilliams

            I think it was the Syrian boy dead on the beach.

    • JKTH

      I think the immigration system needs serious reform

      I highly doubt this unless you mean a different kind of reform than the people here would generally want.

      If it’s as racist as you say it is (1) why would any brown person want to live here in the first place and (2) why would it be so bad if they had to leave? I don’t see how any brown person could lead a “dignified life” in this country, given the way you characterize it as a racist shithole.

      Coincidentally, this is the exact same argument that racists make.

      • Stan McGee

        I support adopting a Canadian style points system. We should be encouraging highly skilled immigration not more nannies and gardeners–the kind of reform advocates by many in the Left will lead to the creation of a permanent, de facto racially based servant class. That’s beneficial to people like college professors who will get cheap nannies, but not so much to Americans with high school educations.

        • King Goat

          Why not nannies and gardners? They do dignified and important work. And of course today’s nannies and gardners are often the parents of tomorrow’s ‘highly skilled’ workers.

          • Platypus Prime

            Presumably because it’s more beneficial to get a trained professional here and now instead of waiting 22 years for a nanny and a gardener to have a child and send them to college. Canada’s immigration policy is actually quite clever – I wish it received more spotlight during our endless national debates.

        • Jordan

          the kind of reform advocates by many in the Left will lead to the creation of a permanent, de facto racially based servant class

          That is both false and worded terribly. Go back to breitbart-school.

          • Stan McGee

            Breitbart? I’m anti-Trump and voted for Bernie. Not sharing your disdain for white Midwesterners and advocating for totally open borders does not make me a Breitbart fan. Your brand of liberalism is why Trump won.

            • Jordan

              And yet your support for immigration restrictions exists!

              Who is to say, truly, whether you are a Trumpist because you belive all that or whether you are just saying pro-Trump things on the internet because you truly aren’t on board with immigrants. Its truly hard to say.

              I like white widwesterners fine, and I don’t think anybody is advocating for total open borders (we gotta have *some* bureaucracy coordinating it).

              Anyways, fuck you, you seem like a racist.

            • Little Chak

              You parrot the language that readers of Stormfront and American Renaissance jack off to, and you have the audacity to say that it is our “brand” of liberalism that explains why Trump won?

              Your argument is that Trump is right about brown people taking the jobs of poor whites, and we need to get on board, or he’s going to get elected a second time.

              You’re not a liberal at all. You’re an “America First” hanger-on. There is nothing liberal about ethnic nationalism, period, full fucking stop.

        • JKTH

          will lead to the creation of a permanent, de facto racially based servant class.

          Well sure, if you have your way.

    • CP

      Front pagers? Clean up on aisle troll, please. Thanks.

    • davidsmcwilliams

      There are two possibilities here.

      1. You honestly don’t realize that living as an illegal immigrant in a racist shithole (i.e., Houston) is still better than being murdered by gangs in El Salvador, or

      2. You do realize that, but have decided to pretend that you don’t.

      Which is it?

    • tsam

      What’s this you’ve said to me, my good friend? I’ll have you know I graduated top of my class in conflict resolution, and I’ve been involved in numerous friendly discussions, and I have over 300 confirmed friends. I am trained in polite discussions and I’m the top mediator in the entire neighborhood. You are worth more to me than just another target. I hope we will come to have a friendship never before seen on this Earth. Don’t you think you might be hurting someone’s feelings saying that over the internet? Think about it, my friend. As we speak I am contacting my good friends across the USA and your P.O. box is being traced right now so you better prepare for the greeting cards, friend. The greeting cards that help you with your hate. You should look forward to it, friend. I can be anywhere, anytime for you, and I can calm you in over seven hundred ways, and that’s just with my chess set. Not only am I extensively trained in conflict resolution, but I have access to the entire group of my friends and I will use them to their full extent to start our new friendship. If only you could have known what kindness and love your little comment was about to bring you, maybe you would have reached out sooner. But you couldn’t, you didn’t, and now we get to start a new friendship, you unique person. I will give you gifts and you might have a hard time keeping up. You’re finally living, friend.

      • CP

        ::slow clap::

      • Lurking Canadian

        Oh, well played. Well played, indeed.

      • Jordan

        my favorite. and don’t let anyone tell you not to do it :)

      • tsam

        Per subsosidian’s (sic?) request.

      • Anna in PDX

        Oh god how many ways do I love this, let me count them.

  • D.N. Nation

    There was a month a while back when wingnut political cartoonists all kept drawing Obama letting a bunch of cute non-white children across the border….with the idea that you were supposed to see that and think it was horrible on its face.

  • aturner339

    There have been several reports of refugees actually fleeingn for Canada.

  • Stan McGee

    Also helping Central America fix their own problems is a much better log-term solution than increasing levels of unskilled immigration. If your argument is “more unskilled immigration because Central America has a crime problem”, well, I hope you enjoy Trump’s second term.

    • aturner339

      You’ll think real America is giving up its farm subsidies?

      • DrDick

        Or deporting undocumented gangbangers?

    • Steve LaBonne

      We caused a lot of those problems in the first place.

      • King Goat

        This is absolutely true, but most voters aren’t going to care. Hell, we almost certainly caused the wave of refugees from Syria and Iraq by literally breaking the latter, but people turn around and blame the refugees for coming here…

      • Stan McGee

        Sure, so therefore “open borders with Central America forever”? Again if this is what the Demcoratic Party is going to advocate, enjoy Trump’s second term.

        Large scale unskilled immigration does have negative effects on society, and pointing this out is not “racist”. Yes, there’s a moral duty to accept at least some immigrants fleeing violence but at some point the interests of current American citizens needs to be weighed against this–simply shouting “racist!” when this is pointed out and advocating for no borders whatsoever is how we got President Trump.

        • King Goat

          I think there’s something (sadly) to your political point. I’m not sure about your economic one, especially in the long term ‘low skill’ immigration is probably not harmful (or low skill) for long if ever.

          • Stan McGee

            It does depress wages locally and at the low end of the income scale. This is indisputable. Whether there’s log term harm depends on how well the population is integrated–and it varies by group (ex. Mexican-Americans in Texas have become very well integrated, Somalis in Minesotta not so much).

            There’s also the question of gangs–you will get them with large levels of Central American immigration (MS-13 is now in places like the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia). Telling local communities impacted by this that worrying about these factors is “racist” is not addressing very real concerns.

            • aturner339

              I am reliably informed that integration led to white kids getting beat up in school.

              • Stan McGee

                The biggest victims of gang violence are other Hispanics.

                https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/true-crime/wp/2017/03/05/ms-13-gang-members-accused-of-killing-teen-claimed-satan-wanted-a-soul-police-say/

                If you respond to this very real consequence of Centeal American immigration by shouting “racist” or condescending sarcasm, hey, Enjoy Trump’s second term!

                • sigaba

                  The victims of gang violence are people. Why would you distinguish the ethnicity of the victims, except to somehow separate their plight from that of the rest of us?

                • Aaron Morrow

                  I don’t have any evidence of what I just said, but here’s a link to an anecdote!

                • Stan McGee

                  Because you compared people who are concerned about the impact of gang violence that comes with large scale Central American immigration to white racists who opposed school segregation, maybe?

                • Stan McGee

                  Yes, there’s no evidence that MS-13 exists, nor is their evidence that it has anything at all to do with Central American immigration. LOL!

                • DrS

                  MS-13 destroyed my big ass Arby’s!

                • Jordan

                  Of course MS-13 exists. Would it exist without the US’s punitive immigration and criminal justice system? Less likely.

                • CP

                  Of course MS-13 exists. Would it exist without the US’s punitive immigration and criminal justice system? Less likely.

                  I had to read up a whole bunch on them a long time ago. A few notable points:

                  1) The gang’s growth got a huge shot in the arm from the United States’ policy of deporting gang members right back to Central America… which did a lot to help the LA-born gangs grow into the multinational organization that they are now.

                  2) It got another shot in the arm from “mano dura” policies passed by our Central American allies, on advice from the FBI and as part of the deal for those countries to show that they were serious about fighting the gangs and therefore deserved our continued funding. The policy of easy incarceration ultimately did nothing but funnel a ton of new bodies into the prison system where MS-13 was able to recruit them.

                  3) At the time I looked (about a decade ago – don’t know how that’s changed since) the only Central American nation that had actually made progress in fighting MS-13 was Nicaragua. Coincidentally, it was the only nation that had seriously invested in rehabilitation programs instead of listening to the FBI. Fancy that.

                • tsam

                  Of course MS-13 exists. Would it exist without the US’s punitive immigration and criminal justice system? Less likely.

                  This, though:

                  The Hell’s Angels, Mongols, Hermanos and Bandidos exist too. All kinds of other criminal organizations exist that have no immigrants in them as well. MS-13 is absolutely irrelevant to the discussion of immigration policy, and if anyone thinks mass deportations are going to slow MS-13 down in the least, they’re completely fucking nuts.

              • Dennis Orphen

                Then those white kids dwelled upon that until death.

                • aturner339

                  The injustice of it. Being subjected to typical schoolyard bullying by an inferior.

            • tsam

              It does depress wages locally and at the low end of the income scale. This is indisputable.

              Hey dummy, you can’t put out half the story.

              It depresses wages because there is no worker visa program to speak of for a certain class of immigrants. So they get hired under duress with shitty wages and routinely have their wages stolen. This isn’t the fault of the immigrants, this is the fault of the government who likes the system just the way it is.

              There wouldn’t be downward pressure on wages if employers were forced to pay them like they would someone with a social security number.

              Keep swinging the bat, kid, you sound like you might accidentally make a valid point someday.

            • tsam

              MS13 is a result of illegal immigration rather than a thriving black market in drugs, extortion and murder? Maybe you can explain how American born mobsters came to be players in the same trade without immigration?

              • DrS

                A series of racist turtles, all the way down?

              • CP

                MS13 is a result of illegal immigration rather than a thriving black market in drugs, extortion and murder? Maybe you can explain how American born mobsters came to be players in the same trade without immigration?

                Yep.

                Not related to the current immigrant debates, but I read a book last year on the downfall of the American Mafia, where one of the author’s most repeated points was that it wasn’t, in fact, a foreign organization opening branches in the U.S. Instead, most of the gangsters were American-raised and either born here or arrived here at a very young age. And they grew into an organization that was shaped much more by American than Italian society. It’s why, for example, Prohibition was their big break: they looked at a field that for decades had been the province of Irish mobsters, corrupt officials, moonshiners, etc, decided to take a swing at it like everyone else, and it paid off.

                The book was only about the American Mafia, but the point stands and applies pretty generally: organized crime, even among immigrants, is much more a reflection of the society it’s living in than the society the immigrants (or, more likely, their parents or grandparents) came from.

                • tsam

                  Right–and these arguments completely disregard a small group of WW2 veterans who took to a nomadic lifestyle on motorcycles, which grew into a criminal organization that rivals any other mafia or street gang. All white guys. White supremacists, in fact.

                  It’s really annoying when people make arguments about a single subset of a larger problem and try to develop a thesis out of 1/100th of the relevant factors.

                • CP

                  The enraging thing is that there IS a link between organized crime and immigration. In the most basic sense, in that immigrants are disproportionately likely to be victims of organized crime. But in a greater sense, uber-restrictive immigration laws are like most vice laws: they criminalize behavior that’s not actually inherently wrong or harmful, and that economics dictates is going to happen one way or another, thereby driving it underground. Whereas a more lax/welcoming policy wouldn’t have left an entire sector in the hands of groups like MS-13, and would also have allowed the authorities much better access to immigrant communities. (Most people don’t actually like to be involved in illegal activity, if there’s a reasonable alternative).

            • Slothrop2

              Illegal immigration probably lowers low-skilled wages. So, make them legal. Problem solved.

              • King Goat

                Excellent responses.

                • Aaron Morrow

                  Now you’re back to hating unions again, huh?

                • King Goat

                  You really are some kind of deranged asshole. I’m *agreeing* with slothrop and tsam’s replies to Stan’s ‘gang concerns’ and ‘lowers wages’ argument.

          • Jordan

            I think there’s something (sadly) to your political point.

            You should probably think more about what this says about you.

            • King Goat

              That I don’t let what I wish were true politically cloud what actually is, lest I tend to, I dunno, support candidates and causes which lose to truly awful ones?

              • Jordan

                I supported Bernie, buddy.

                • King Goat

                  Is that supposed to refute what I said? I hate this but only lol fits here.

                • Jordan

                  Uh, the only candidates who lost were Bernie, Clinton and the other republican primary candidates.

                  So you either supported Trump or you supported a losing candidate. Since you apparently didn’t support Sanders and I assume you didn’t support Clinton you either supported a fucking vanity candidate (and fuck you for doing something to make yourself feel better about yourself rather than something that could actually work) or you voted for a Republican (in which case, fuck you even more).

                  Easy enough for you?

                  (Its easily possible that you were just dumb and made a stupid statement that doesn’t reflect reality. I’ll buy that too).

        • sigaba

          Yes, there’s a moral duty to accept at least some immigrants fleeing violence but at some point the interests of current American citizens needs to be weighed against this

          At some point “Americans” are going to have to reckon with the fact that nobody “deserves” to be here, and the principle of a birthright privilege in inimical to the principles of the country. Our country was founded and settled by people who regarded native claims to land with contempt, and now live in terror that the same moral logic they used against the Cherokees et al. is being turned against them by globalism.

          Our immigration system’s agenda is completely ideological, it uses demonstrative violence to create a “native” status where none actually exists. There is no American nation, there are no American ethnicity, the claims of “current American citizens” are nothing more than demands for special privileges. It’s all a sham and a lie, but you use enough guns on enough innocent people you can make people respect the lie.

          simply shouting “racist!” when this is pointed out and advocating for no borders whatsoever is how we got President Trump.

          Can we distinguish between the moral and the political dispute please? Separating right from wrong and voting are two different things.

          • Stan McGee

            You could apply your logic to every country in the Western Henisphere. Hell you could apply it to Great Britain re: Anglo-Saxons vs. Celts or Spain wth the displacement of the Basque population.

            All countries to some degree are artificial but citizenship and borders do matter to people. Maybe not to college professors and Williamsburg hipsters, but they mater to people out in Scranton and Youngstown.

            • aturner339

              Race matters to people. The founding fathers of the US didn’t pass a single immigration law.

            • sigaba

              In other words they matter to the majority of Americans, but give ulcers to people in electoral swing districts.

              Look if you don’t wanna engage the moral question and you just want to play amateur politico, do that, but that’s not what the post is about. Wether Donald Trump wins or loses elections has no effect on wether or not the current principles of out immigration system are right or wrong.

          • Stan McGee

            By the way, on my point about the Western Hemisphere–since ther s really no such thing as a “native” status in say, Brazil either, then you’d have no problem with tens of millions of white gringos flooding northeast Brazil? You sure about that?

            • sigaba

              I dunno, is one of them Glenn Greenwald?

          • J. Otto Pohl

            This is certainly true of at least all settler states including those with much stricter immigration laws than the US. Should this apply to all settler states such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Israel? Or does it only apply to the US and these other states can continue to have exclusionary policies?

          • Timurid

            So birthright citizenship should go away?
            Hint: The end goal of the attacks on the 14th amendment from the right is not to stop Mexican anchor babies. Their ideal scenario is an arena in which everyone in this country, native born or immigrant, competes to earn their citizenship by attaining a set level of monetary/vocational success. Sounds like fun, right?

            The end of birthright citizenship would be a nightmare, regardless of what our policy on immigration is.

        • Slothrop2

          No. We have Pres. Donald Trump because he ran against HRC.

          • Stan McGee

            That, too. Bernie probably would have won.

            • King Goat

              You’ve said many questionable things here today, let’s add that.

      • DrDick

        Absolutely, for well over a century. We also directly caused much of the current problems in the named countries by deporting members of MS-13 and the 18th Street gangs, who brought with them America’s hyper violent gang culture. Many of these young men and women had lived here since childhood.

    • NeonTrotsky

      Well the U.S. has definitely overthrown at least one central american government at the behest of corporate interests, maybe Trump will give it another go.

    • Jordan

      uch better log-term solution

      nah, I think we could survive exponential immigration all right.

    • Brett

      The US has been stirring shit in Central America for many decades, usually for the worse. The best thing the US government could do in Central America is leave them alone, let them sort stuff out.

  • mpowell

    As I understand it, many people arguing for restrictive borders believe at least two things: 1) the US government does not have a significant moral duty towards non-citizens and 2) unskilled immigrants have a net negative cost on society. Are you wanting to argue that basing immigration policy on these assumption is itself racist, or that it is only racism that can lead to holding these views? It is not very compelling to me to argue that this is a racist position to hold just because some or many of the people holding this view are racist.

    • aturner339

      When these same people are also against minimum wage hikes or labor regulation?

      They lie.

      • xq

        The relationship between support for minimum wage (which is quite popular) and support for increased immigration does not appear to be very strong.

        • aturner339

          It will be “quite popular” on the right when republican run statehouses vote to raise it. Otherwise we are confusing acquiescence with popularity.

          • xq

            Obviously RW politicians oppose minimum wage. But a lot of Americans (most) support both minimum wage and immigration restriction.

            • aturner339

              Who do you figure all those RW politicians represent? A lot of people support gun control too. But do they really?

    • Hogan

      When they start going after people with red hair and Irish last names, we can talk.

      • mpowell

        Why? Do we have a large influx of low skill immigration from Ireland? It is perfectly reasonable for policy aimed at limited low skill immigration to focus on (by an enormous ratio) the primary source.

        • aturner339

          To what end? increasing the bargaining power of domestic labor?

          Is this something immigration opponents generally support?

        • Origami Isopod

          Tangential to your question, but there were quite a few Irish nationals in Boston and New York back in the days when the IRA was still extremely active and extremely murderous. I don’t seem to recall that much national concern over them.

          • Thom

            RIght. And at the time, many Irish bars had collection cup for “Irish Northern Aid,” that was presented as humanitarian aid but many assumed was for the benefit of the IRA.

        • lunaticllama

          Actually, yes. The largest group of undocumented European immigrants are from Ireland. My favorite Irish bar in my neighborhood was started by an undocumented “low skill” Irish immigrant. He eventually married an American and had to pretend to immigrate from Ireland a second time to get in legally.

          • mpowell

            You really want to hang your hat on the claim that because people who are worried about (mostly low skill) illegal immigration from Mexico/Central/South America aren’t worried about undocumented immigration from Ireland makes them racist? Is it really so hard to believe that people really do legitimately believe that immigration from the former causes legitimate social and economic distress while the latter is of no substantial or negative consequence? Glib comebacks on the internet are one thing, actual winning political messages another.

            • aturner339

              Racism can indeed be genuine.

            • CP

              You really want to hang your hat on the claim that because people who are worried about (mostly low skill) illegal immigration from Mexico/Central/South America aren’t worried about undocumented immigration from Ireland makes them racist?

              Yep.

              Is it really so hard to believe that people really do legitimately believe that immigration from the former causes legitimate social and economic distress while the latter is of no substantial or negative consequence?

              Of course it’s not hard to believe. They legitimately believe this of a large number of unskilled lower-class immigrants and not another large number of unskilled lower-class immigrants, because they’re racist. Taking two identical groups of immigrants, and freaking out about the one that’s not white, while giving a pass to the one that is, isn’t the ironclad proof of non-racism you seem to think it is.

              Glib comebacks on the internet are one thing, actual winning political messages another.

              You literally just asked whether there was a large influx in unskilled labor from Ireland, and the answer, apparently to your shock and surprise, was “yes,” you twit. If you think answering your questions constitutes a “glib comeback,” I suppose you’ve got Llama fair and square.

              • mpowell

                Nice bait-and-switch. The largest source of undocumented immigrants from Europe are from Ireland and the google estimate for the total in the US is… wait for it… 50K. Compared to an estimated total from all sources of 11M (and we’re not considering skill level here). Clearly these are two large numbers and it is inexplicable (aside from racism) why people might be concerned about one, but not the other. And the fact that I was not even aware of this set of people is evidence of … racism in the media? my ignorance of a minor regional demographic trend? The argument starts that because the pro-border crowd doesn’t care about this is proof that they are racist. But if most people aren’t even aware of it, that just undermines the claim you’re trying to make. And then there’s the further point that this number is clearly negligible compared to the total.

                I’ve seen the open borders argument many times, mostly that borders are not defensible from a perspective of justice. It’s not an argument I agree with but I can see the strength of the argument. But I think the arguments attacking the integrity of the other side of this argument tend to be of very poor quality and I don’t think will be very persuasive – I would view this as a favorable trend except that it’s not worth the populist backlash whose consequence are being felt in both Europe and the US currently.

                • Ronan

                  Right. It really isn’t comparable. And Looking at this there seems to be a lot of larger undocumented pops from non European countries who also aren’t the focus of hostility

                  http://www.pewhispanic.org/interactives/unauthorized-trends/#regions

                  And it’s unlikely the undocumented Irish population in the US is mostly unskilled. Emigration from Ireland selects disproportionately on skill level. Not Completly but quite strongly. It’s not comparing like to like at all. I mean I’m not saying there aren’t double standard or some racism at work but the comparison is ridiculous .

  • Maybe I’m just getting more cynical in my old age, but it seems to me that the reason history rhymes is because people never change. The people calling for tougher immigration are same ones who have always done it. The people fighting against gay marriage are the same ones who fought against interracial marriage, and so on. It’s just the same arguments over and over, with updated language (but often not!), sent via the Internet instead of however it used to be spread.

    The plus side, however, is that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel on a course of action. either. What worked in the past to stop this shit will probably work now, with some modification. But that means the bloody side, too. There was a lot of blood that went into civil rights, worker’s rights, and most of the other rights we’ve taken for granted, and I suspect it will take some blood to get them back.

    • Dennis Orphen

      There was a lot of blood that went into civil rights, worker’s rights, and most of the other rights we’ve taken for granted, and I suspect it will take some blood to get them back.

      Whenever I see one of those “Thank a Veteran” bumper stickers, I am reminded of how well and truly fucked we are. I’ll give them the ‘stopped Hitler Hitlers backers’ but that’s all they’ll get.

  • rea

    The sad thing is–Trump policy doesn’t really get all that many more people deported than Obama policy. Trump says he wants to deport all 11 million, but there isn’t any room in the budget for that, even with 10,000 more agents, more camps, etc. What Trump policy does is abandon rationality in choosing which ones to deport.

    • Redwood Rhiadra

      There’s plenty of room in the budget once you skip due process and just start shoving them over the border.

      As Trump is already doing.

  • Joe_JP

    I look forward to the future when enough time has passed for a Hogan’s Heroes version of this situation with refugees playing the American officials.

  • Lurking Canadian

    On the one hand, we have complaints about the “greying population” and the “demographic crunch” and “how can we possibly support all these old, sick people when the tax base of working adults is shrinking?”

    And on the other hand, we have millions of people, literally risking their lives for the chance to pay taxes to the US government.

    Seems like one problem sort of addresses the other, or at least would if the people in the second group weren’t brown.

    • aturner339

      The GOP is a microcosm of this problem. They decided they’d rather die white than live multiracial

    • Alex.S

      Yes — from the viewpoint of ignoring immigrants as people and instead pure economic units, we should be encouraging immigration. Instead of waiting 15+ years for someone to mature, America has offloaded all those pesky childhood costs to another country.

    • Dennis Orphen

      RE: The graying population and demographic changes, We are also going to have a MASSIVE amount of veterans from our totally unjustified wars to take care of, and that starts when they are still in uniform. Probably part of the dismantling of the health care system, if you think about it. You can send me that bill if you want to, but good luck with the rest.

      We’re moving toward a Potemkin Health Care System, unless you can pay cash, and that means a LOT of cash, 8 figure NET worth minimum please.

    • mpowell

      So we are going to allow a bunch of immigration from Central/South America but not give them, their kids or their families any social benefits? Nobody on the other side of the argument from you believes the public treasury is going to benefit from your apparent preferred policy.

  • aturner339

    “Racism is not merely a simplistic hatred. It is, more often, broad sympathy toward some and broader skepticism toward others…”
    Ta-Nehisi Coates

  • Slothrop2

    We have a friend whose son who came here when he was eight was involved in a domestic dispute, justifying deportation. As soon as he arrived in El Salvador, it appears that he was extorted by gangs. In less than two months, he disappeared. He is presumed dead.

    The dude barely spoke Spanish.

    • El Guapo

      I think it’s really, really hard for most Americans to understand what being turned away or deported (in sadly too many cases) actually means.

      • Slothrop2

        My wife’s mother and sister operate a Pupuseria in Aguilarus. They have to feed local gang members in order to stay in business.

        We completely destroyed their country. There are several hundred thousand Salvadorans in the US provisionally protected by temporary protective status. It’s still up in the air whether Trump will renew TPS.

        The cruelties of American immigration policy are exquisite.

  • Gregor Sansa

    It’s hyperbole to say that Central American violence is just as bad as Nazi death camps (or, in the 30s, dreams of death camps if they couldn’t all be forced to leave). There is a strong difference in degree.

    But yes, the analogy is fair.

    • I don’t think the hyperbole is as strong as you think. Were talking about situations in which young children have went through incredible peril just to get here.

    • Nick never Nick

      It’s hyperbole if you look at the totality of the situation — but it’s not hyperbole if you look at individual situations.

      Our discourse is horribly constrained by the constant invocation of Nazi death camps — they present an unusual combination of viciousness and organization that is rarely matched. Lacking the latter doesn’t mean that someone can’t be fleeing a situation that is equivalent to the former.

  • Gator90

    Deserted in the desert
    Wild wild west hurt to the dirt
    Anti-immigration
    Against brown skin
    Sounds like brown shirts

    –Public Enemy

  • This is the modern equivalent of the 1930s refusal to allow Jewish refugees into the United States, dooming them to death.

    The family of Anne Frank, for example.

  • aturner339

    The promise that by denying comfort to the poor you can enrich the middle class is the essence of American conservatism?

    The cynical “but what about?” Bargaining the trolls are trying in this thread is the essence of the Trunp program and it’s what the left has to defeat nationwide.

    • PeteW

      This is what they try to sell and too many Americans believe it. In actuality the middle class has gotten a sh’t sandwich from them. It’s been the old bait and switch for a long time. “Look, those other people are stealing your job!” Meanwhile they pick your pocket. Immigration policy is the obvious example but you can see it clearly in the new healthcare swindle.

  • SatanicPanic

    Thread’s not even an hour old and there are two people showing their ass already. Looks like you picked a good topic Mr. Loomis.

  • liberal

    While I don’t advocate for completely open borders, …

    Really? I see very little evidence of that.

    …largely because there are policy implications that can’t be ignored, I certainly advocate for significantly increased levels of immigration.

    Large scale immigration in the absence of much higher ad valorem taxes on land would be a horrible inequity. Most progressives like you don’t know enough about economics to understand that.

    People like Ríos need a chance to live a dignified life.

    We owe something to people of particular countries because we’ve done terrible things to them in the recent past (and that would include most of Central America). But in general, the state is a fiduciary for the people it governs within its borders, not the entire world. Yeah, yeah, I know, immigration will vastly increase GDP, even per capita! Which is why GDP per capita is empirically proportional to national population. Not.

    I’ve seen comments on places like Balloon Juice saying that it’s “selfish” to prioritize the economic well-being of an American worker over, say, a Chinese worker. If you want the Democratic Party to become completely politically irrelevant, keep pushing that kind of stuff about maximizing global “utility”.

    • aturner339

      Egalitarianism is the heart of liberalism and if you assume that no one will draw a wider circle of care than you prepare for disappointment.

      The fact is we have benefited from immigration throughout history and we benefit today

    • rea

      Which is why GDP per capita is empirically proportional to national population. Not.

      Wouldn’t GDP per capita necessarily be proportional to population? Isn’t that what “per capita” means?

      • MyNameIsZweig

        Which is why GDP per capita is empirically proportional to national population. Not.

        Oooooh, a “not” joke! Is it 1992 again? That was a pretty good year for me!

    • solidcitizen

      Did you want to make an argument that it is not “selfish” to prioritize the well-being of an American worker over, say a Chinese worker? Or are you only worried about the political angle? If there was no political angle, would you say there is no difference between your American brother and your Chinese sister?

      Are you saying that nationalism should trump class solidarity, or are you only saying that is does and we must adjust our moral calculations accordingly?

  • Slothrop2

    Here’s another one: I know a guy, a real character, outstanding jack of all trades. Was a colonel in the Salvadoran army trained at the school of Americas in the 1980s at Fort Benning. Not exactly on the side of Angels. He came to the US in 2002, or so. He is an easy target for deportation. This sounds incredible – he fought for the Americans in our proxy war in El Salvador and cannot seek a better life in the US.

  • Nick never Nick

    One of the frustrating aspects of this is that it is probably counterproductive for America as well. Just like thinking of the country’s budget as you would a household is wrong, just as thinking that having money flood into a country from outside is good, so is thinking that immigrants simply grab bits of a pie that never enlarges. In fact, having many young people come to a country probably expands the pie for everyone.

    Canada has had several large surges of refugees from specific incidents: Hungarians, Vietnamese, Somalis, now Syrians. They’ve hurt nothing. Canada has kept going, each of these waves have become Canadians.

    I also want to say that though I sometimes disagree with Eric’s formulation of the US as fundamentally racist, the proposed policy of separating children from their parents at the border makes me question myself. It’s rare that a policy idea makes me want to physically puke, but that one is the exception.

  • Nick never Nick

    I was also thinking about the difference between ‘law’ and ‘justice’. Everyone is familiar with the fact that simply being illegal does not mean something is unjust — that’s pretty well understood. I think that ‘illegal alien’ is a term of art, people who use it want to force the debate to the technical question of whether that person has, or has not, violated some law. They don’t refer to them as ‘unjust aliens’ because that opens up a wider can of worms — regardless of the law, does the person have a case to be made for being here? Very often they do, and its strong.

  • Joe_JP

    While I don’t advocate for completely open borders, largely because there are policy implications that can’t be ignored, I certainly advocate for significantly increased levels of immigration

    At some point, there would be a limit, so hard decisions would have to be made. It’s all of a piece too — an ideal system would include means to help improve the conditions overseas including those involving workers that cause many to emigrate. This has also been a theme of Erik Loomis’ writings.

    Suffice to say a lot more could be done to treat the people here better, even if eventually every needy person who wishes to come here might not be able to. Finally, to toss it in there, whoever thought up of the label “Dreamers” is a tad genius.

    • Nick never Nick

      I agree with this, my brain has a constrained vision of the possible, but I also can’t help but think that it sounds a little bit like someone in ancient Greece, or antebellum Mississippi, reflecting that of course slavery is bad, very bad, but ALL the slaves can’t be free, what would happen to the economy?

      When you get down to it, a hard border is distributing safety, human rights, and basic human dignity based on birth. We’re born inside, we have it; you’re born outside, you don’t. There isn’t a strong philosophical foundation for that attitude.

      • Joe_JP

        and this country was based [and I think it still is] in part on an idea of an open border of some sort [again with limits] though nativists were with us from the beginning. A limited attempt to protect Native Americans by Brits discouraging Western migration, e.g., was seen as a major abuse cited in the Declaration of Independence.

        • Nick never Nick

          Really, closed borders, or semipermeable borders, are a pretty new development in human history — the hard version currently being implemented, in conjunction with all the IT and surveillance resources of the modern state, is unprecedented.

          There may have been fitful attempts of pre-20th-century states to control their borders, but it was nothing on the scale of today. Expelling and banning someone for ten years for the crime of babysitting for money on a tourist visa would never have occurred to anyone back in the day.

          • Domino

            … because when States started taking over providing healthcare, unemployment benefits, and everything else we associate with the modern state, they had to limit who could access these systems.

            It’s a relatively new development in human history to have the State take over care for the elderly, since up until 80 years ago it was expected to be provided by their children or grandchildren. And in addition to that, providing benefits to the mentally and physically handicapped. Once those became expected, borders really began to matter.

            Arguing for open borders based on policies from 230 years ago is beyond illogical.

            The logic behind borders is very rational – if too many people free-ride off the system, the system collapses. In order to keep it functioning, you have to control who gets access to it.

            • Ronan

              Yeah I don’t see why people keep mentioning this as if it’s particularly relevant. As the modern administrative state and broader national identities emerged borders hardened. (And as transnational population movements increased) It seems trivial and mostly tangential to questions of how to regulate migration today. A lot of the states administrative capacity didn’t exist in the past . So what?

              • Nick never Nick

                I think it’s relevant because it flies in the face of our general view of the march of history. We have internalized a narrative in which our lives become freer and more just over time — people who were once oppressed and brutalized become free: women, black people, Romany, gay people, disabled people, transgender people, etc. Information becomes ‘free’. We all get to realize ourselves.

                The reason I point out that hard borders are new, is because this is a phenomenon of the modern world that is diametrically against our understanding of it. 100 years ago a Mexican farmer was much more ‘free’ to move to San Francisco and become a Californian farmer. Today, they are not. Two hundred years ago a peasant in Poland was much more free to mortgage his land and move his family to Pennsylvania. Now they are not. When you actually look at the populations involved, the numbers of people who have been deprived of a basic freedom — to live in the world, and not just the random, arbitrary chunk that they were born in — is staggeringly large.

                Pointing this out is not a waste of time — doing is one way to fight against the application of ‘normal’ to a situation that is unjust.

      • aturner339

        The notions of borders as barriers to immigration is a relatively recent one. Much younger than the US itself and a product of the growth of scientific racism.

        • Origami Isopod

          Yep. As late as the 19th century, there really wasn’t much to keep people out of countries they weren’t born in.

        • El Guapo

          Any good suggested reading on this? Genuinely curious, ty.

          • aturner339

            “The History of White People” is the best book I’ve personally that addresses this. I also like to read up on contemporary immigration and race theory from thinkers like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Horace Greely.

            • Dennis Orphen

              Seconded on Painter’s book.

          • Hogan
        • Joe_JP

          Interesting to read on how the borders were handled over history … like did Ancient Greeks welcome “barbarians” into their lands or barriers in ancient China or whatnot.

          I will not say this strongly, but think some barriers would probably be found in such a study. But, welcome to read further on the point to see otherwise.

          ETA: Another thing that comes to mind is gypsies over the centuries. How was their right to travel over borders treated. Lot of issues there.

          • aturner339

            I think rather that “welcome” is overselling the point. Ben Franklin didn’t welcome German immigration (far from it) but neither he nor his contemporaries thought to outlaw it. Heavily armed invasion have always been cause for concern. Migrant labor hasn’t until linked to race.

          • Nick never Nick

            You’re assuming that the ‘border’ actually existed. Pre-modern states normally had spheres of influence that waxed and waned, but didn’t have a line that they used to define ‘mine/not-mine’. And there were many more complicated arrangements than this. In SE Asia, for example, there was some community kind of distant from two power centres, where two kings agreed that all the members of one ethnic group would be ruled by one of them, and all the members of another ethnic group by the other. Can’t remember the details, though.

            There was no ‘Ancient Greece’ with lines around it — there were hundreds of villages and cities, with their own inclusion for membership, and understanding of what membership meant.

            • Murc

              Pre-modern states normally had spheres of influence that waxed and waned, but didn’t have a line that they used to define ‘mine/not-mine’.

              How are we defining pre-modern here?

              Because I can tell you that at least in Europe, rulers of various states and state-like entities had a VERY VERY clear idea of “mine/not mine.” It wasn’t nebulous; border disputes over very small amounts of land ownership and land use could turn contentious, vicious, and bloody.

              • Lurker

                Indeed, agrarian societies pay a lot of attention to land-ownership. In Europe, the population has been large enough that since Middle Ages, every parcel of lamd has had a distimct owner (or owners, in complex systems of different dominia.)

                Even in Finland, which was extremely sparsely inhabited during the Middle Ages, the whole country was clearly divided by ownership. The vast, uninhabited forests belonged to different communitins, with quite clearly demarcated borders for the hunting rights. This is amply evidenced by the numerous names signifying “border” in areas that were quite uninhabited then (and, often uninhabited evn now).

          • Brett

            Depends on the time and place. The Roman Empire had borders they tried to protect, usually some natural border like a river (the Rhine and Danube Rivers in the north) or mountains. In some cases they built artificial demarcating lines to separate Imperial territory from “barbarian” territory, like (probably) Hadrian’s Wall (which wasn’t useful for a defensive purpose, but good for demarcation).

            Of course, there was plenty of cross-border activity, particularly raiding and trading.

  • Nick never Nick

    And one final thought — the way that in-status/out-of-status affects everything is reminiscent of the way that in Nazi Germany one was a Jew or not. If you were, then that overrode all other categories and functions.

    For example, out-of-status has always limited access to services; but now access to legal recourse for violence perpetrated on you has been taken away. The right to be with your young children (if detained) has been taken away. It’s as if out-of-status is so fundamental that it poisons all of the rights that we think of as belonging to humans.

  • Abbey Bartlet

    This is the modern equivalent of the 1930s refusal to allow Jewish refugees into the United States, dooming them to death. There is no significant difference between that crime against humanity made in the name of keeping America white and the current crime against humanity in the name of Make America White Again.

    Could we not.

  • sonamib

    Most people are completely fine with freedom of movement inside countries. So why would interstate migration be different?

    I can see one reason, namely that law enforcement agencies are different in other countries. Maybe they’re not as trustworthy as your own, you might be letting in a dangerous person without realizing it. That can be addressed with some vetting, within reason (a several-years-long vetting process isn’t acceptable).

    But other than that? Every single objection about interstate migration also applies to internal migration :

    – They’ll lower wages!
    – They’re from a different culture!
    – It’s too crowded here!
    – They’ll change the local political balance!

    So, as a matter of consistency, every country that doesn’t use an internal passport system (like the Chinese) should have considerably more open borders. Or just embrace racism.

    • xq

      It’s a matter of degree. Yes, migration of low-skill workers from somewhere else in the same country hurts local low-skill workers. But there are only so many who move at any given time so it’s a relatively manageable problem. Letting in anyone in the world would have a much larger effect.

      • aturner339

        There’s really no evidence of this. the Mariel boatlift did not have a large (or even appreciable) affect on Miami labor markets.

        • xq

          That’s what Card said in his famous 1990 paper. But he wrote a later paper with a revised view:
          http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/209979

          • aturner339

            He was hardly the only one to study it. Even Borjas couldn’t wring a bad news story out of it and he’s the best. And for a sudden and highly localized influx of tens of thousands of people 3% ain’t half bad.

            • xq

              OK, but it contradicts “there’s really no evidence of this.” There is evidence for it. And the mechanism makes a lot of sense. More unskilled workers means lower value for unskilled labor.

              “And for a sudden and highly localized influx of tens of thousands of people 3% ain’t half bad.”

              Agreed.

              • aturner339

                ” Letting in anyone in the world would have a much larger effect.”

                No evidence of this specifically.

                • xq

                  You dispute that, if there is a negative labor market effect to increasing the supply of unskilled workers, the effect should be proportional to the size of the increase?

                  Or do you not think open borders would increase immigration rates to the US?

                • aturner339

                  I merely suggest there is no evidence of the former claim. For one it’s not simple to model and not all immigration under such a regime would be low skill and it’s not supported on a national scale.

                • sonamib

                  I’m sure that the default assumption is that open borders would increase migration rates. But the increase might not be that great.

                  I mean, here in Belgium Flanders is about 50% richer than Wallonia. And it’s right next door. You don’t even need to move too far away from friends and family to have access to better wages and employment prospects. But there’s no mass migration north. And at a more macro scale, migration within the EU is completely manageable, despite the huge wealth disparities* and the almost completely open borders. Clearly only a small minority of people take on the risks of migration, even when there are no hard restrictions on it.

                  Of course, there a lot more people in the global south than in Wallonia and Romania and Bulgaria. But still, there are, what, 1 billion people living in the developped world? Collectively, we can probably take on the minority of the third-worlders who *are* willing to migrate without too much problems.

                  But as I said elsewhere in this thread, I think it would be better to roll out slowly a more open migration policy.

                  *Romania and Bulgaria are about as rich as Mexico in terms of PPP GDP per capita.

                • xq

                  Not everyone would leave, but that opens another question: what happens to those who stay behind? What happens when you take a poor country and select against all the characteristics associated with migration?

                  The status quo isn’t so bad. Most of the world is experiencing economic growth. Global poverty is declining. The top priority should be to maintain these trends, and to maintain (or restore) political stability and competent government in developed countries so they can act on major issues like climate change. Greatly increasing migration rates seems like a large and unnecessary risk from this perspective.

      • Nick never Nick

        Why is it always ‘they’ll lower wages’? Why not ‘they’ll consume more’ or ‘they’ll make up new markets’?

        In a way, opposition to immigration is a form of rent-seeking; limiting other people’s opportunities to maintain your own.

        • tsam

          No doubt. They consume, pay sales taxes, and create demand for services.

          And again, they wouldn’t lower wages at all if they had work visas and had to be paid like someone with a social security number. This problem doesn’t belong to immigrants, it belongs to greedy Republicans who use xenophobia to keep the immigrant labor market as close to free labor (and totally tax free) as possible.

        • Zamfir

          Sure, but for many people it’s one of the few such opportunities they have. The higher classes have more barriers around their their economic position, both formal and informal.

        • sonamib

          In a way, opposition to immigration is a form of rent-seeking; limiting other people’s opportunities to maintain your own.

          Yup, exactly. Morally, it’s undistinguishable from nobles of the Ancien Régime wanting to keep the privileges they acquired by birth*. There were some poor, hard-toiling nobles too! Not all of them had huge castles!

          Now, there is an argument that change that is too radical/sudden is even more harmful than the status quo. The agonisingly slow roll of reforms in the UK was definitely better than the succession of French Revolutions and Counter-Revolutions. Still, the end goal is clear : privileges must be abolished.

          *Ok, there are a few naturalized first-worlders who are against immigration, but they’re an irrelevant minority.

    • Steve LaBonne

      Yeah, it’s racism. When’s the last time anybody heard a white American complain about undocumented Irish?

      • tsam

        Right, however, this will happen next week:

        (X)th generation American person with purportedly Irish surname:
        “Top o’ the mornin’ to yeh! LEPRECHAUNS! Also Guinness!”

        tsam: “QUIT IT”

        • N__B

          A high school friend with a fascinating family history used to wear a tee shirt that read “Kiss me, I’m 1/64 Irish!”

      • Ronan

        well population size and class also has something to do with it Id guess.

    • My feeling is that it is more administrative than anything. We can move freely within the U.S. across state boundaries because we belong to a common economic union, but for taxation and other reasons letting people just freely move across national borders would be problematic.

      These was commentary in The Guardian a while ago that had an interesting take on this, though.

    • djw

      Ch. 11 of Carens Ethics of Immigration (which I wrote about here) does a really great job demonstrating the power of the domestic freedom of movement analogy, showing how all the various objections to the analogy don’t sustain scrutiny.

      • sonamib

        I remember enjoying that review. I’ll see if the book is available as an ebook.

    • Ronan

      As a moral issue I dont know if I have a consistent case against open borders.
      But as a practical matter the potential consequences (on wages, culture, the welfare state and politics – ie the backlash) are so unpredictable I’d be wary.
      It’s also a complete non starter.

      • tsam

        Well, think it out logically–

        First, we have to quit thinking that whatever an open border means, that suddenly millions of people are just going to show up. I can’t see any reason to think there would be a sudden, unmanageable bulge in immigration just due to this kind of policy action. Either way, that’s a fairly easy one to manage with staged rollout or something like that.

        So say we implemented this policy, along with a workable guest visa program, where almost everybody coming in gets a visa. When employed, they have to be paid at least minimum wage, pay federal income taxes, etc…

        In these terms, it doesn’t seem like an untenable or unsustainable condition.

        • Ronan

          But that’s not open borders, at least as far aa Im aware of the term. That’s just less restrictive immigration (Im in favour!)

          “First, we have to quit thinking that whatever an open border means, that suddenly millions of people are just going to show up”

          I honestly dont think it’s unreasonable assumption.

          • Ronan

            I assume open borders,as people are using the term, doesnt just mean no border control but also full immediate access to the labour market, welfare state, citizenship etc?

            • sonamib

              Hey, Ronan, let me quote myself :

              So, as a matter of consistency, every country that doesn’t use an internal passport system (like the Chinese) should have considerably more open borders.

              (emphasis added now)

              See, I’m only advocating for “considerably more” open borders, not “totally” open borders. You might consider this trolling, since I reached such a weak conclusion from such a strong argument. Well, you wouldn’t be wrong ;)

              But anyway, I’m open to the idea that borders should be opened incrementally and the balance of good and bad outcomes (including not just the natives but also the migrants in this balance calculation) should be evaluated.

  • DrDick

    I need to congratulate Erik for this post which has managed to attract every one of our resident trolls at their most vile.

    • Nick never Nick

      I suppose banning them from this thread would by hypocritically ironic.

      • aturner339

        Perhaps we can emabrgo their comments until we figure out what the hell is going on?

    • tsam

      Hey–I went with the Conflict Resolution pasta this time. Much nicer than that straight SEAL

    • djw

      Yeah, I’ve noticed the JAQ-off trolls on immigration threads get fed much better than they usually do.

      • DrDick

        They do tend to start off almost, kind of, sorta, maybe reasonable and then quickly descend into braindead delusional vitriol.

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