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Anti-Immigration Group Repudiates Free Market Principles

My last blog post pointed out the anti-immigrant charge that “massive infusions of cheap foreign labor” impoverishes the country is fundamentally anti-people. After all, I noted, “If fewer workers means more prosperity, then wouldn’t no workers be the ultimate prosperity? When have we limited the workforce enough?” Anti-immigrant advocates have no reply for this. They simply do not understand human beings are producers of wealth for others, that they expand the economic pie, not just consume it.

Rather than respond to this point, Ira Mehlman of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) just further attacks the free market. He writes:

I must point out the irony that CEI is arguing that limiting immigration is ‘anti-human’ while it champions labor policies that treat workers as mere commodities, not as fellow citizens who have the right to earn a fair wage for their work.

Not only must free marketeers explain to FAIR the economy’s most basic fact -- that it wouldn’t exist without human beings --  but we apparently also  must explain its second-most basic fact: that freedom of contract is mutually beneficial. It allows employees and employers, not government bureaucrats, to make contracts both sides agree are fair. No side has a “right” over the other. By contrast, “fair wage” standards create unemployment and benefit politically connected unions at everyone else’s expense. CEI doesn’t “treat workers as mere commodities” -- it treats them as individuals, deserving of equal legal treatment.

Sounding even more like an “Occupier,” Mehlman writes, “CEI charges that, ‘FAIR doesn’t want to leave people, or the market, free to choose to immigrate or not.’ They are correct on the latter; we do not want our destiny to be determined by an amorphous and unaccountable entity like ‘the market.’” Mehlman somehow separates “the market” from “people.” But what is the market? It is people, you and me, who determine the course of our lives through voluntary decisions with accountability enforced by our own free choices rather than those imposed by bureaucrats. Freeing the market means empowering people, not determining their lives for them.

Unable to justify FAIR’s policies on economic grounds, Mehlman switches gears and argues for them on political grounds: “We, the American people, should choose who we admit to our nation.” But this is a distraction.Our government can choose to cut America off from the rest of the world. The question I asked is: Would that be a good thing? Not unless, as I pointed out, you accept the premise fewer workers and fewer resources would make America richer.

Mehlman concludes with a truly bizarre argument. He interprets the fact CEI is not hiring as proof we don’t think “simply having more workers guarantees success.” Mehlman not only hasn’t read the economics, but he apparently didn’t even read my post since I made exactly this point. I wrote, “We do believe [people] are good for the economy, but only if the market, free from government interference, demands them. CEI doesn’t advocate for more immigrants -- it advocates for more freedom, and the amount is up to people.” Employers such as CEI hire new workers only when they need them -- a decision true conservatives think should be left to businessmen, not bureaucrats.

Mehlman also takes issue with my use of the term “anti-immigrant.” But consider his positions on the issues -- slashing legal avenues for immigrants, stripping American-born children of immigrants of their constitutional right to citizenship without an amendmentmass deportation of undocumented immigrants, deportation for minors brought to the U.S. as children, and deportation for parents of U.S.-born children (do citizens really have no right to parents?). Does all this sound pro-immigrant to you?

FAIR and Mehlman write hundreds of articles denigrating immigrants as “dependents” and “cheap labor" that harms Americans. Moreover, even though all these articles advocates for the detention, deportation, or exclusion of immigrants, they act surprised when people consider them “anti-immigrant”? But they are not, he insists. They are just generally opposed to population -- or, in other words, opposed to people.